Would you buy an SSD for a Macbook Pro if you were me?

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by spuality, Dec 13, 2010.

  1. spuality macrumors newbie

    Feb 23, 2007
    I've been thinking about "upgrading" to an SSD HD in my late 2009 Macbook Pro (15", 2.53Ghz C2D, 4GB memory). Currently, I have the stock 320GB 7200RPM drive that came with the computer, and it works just fine, although I wouldn't mind a bit more performance. I don't want to upgrade to an SSD just because it's kind of the cool thing to do right now, I want to actually get some performance gains, better battery life, etc. I do some pretty intense photo editing in Photoshop at times, some web design and development, and then just basic internet surfing, checking mail, etc. I have a 1TB external drive, so the lack of space in an SSD isn't an issue to me since I could back up my RAW photos to that. I eventually burn them to a DVD for storage anyway and delete them off the HD. Other than that my HD is pretty empty.

    So I ask all of my fellow MacRumors Forum members; have you switched to an SSD in your MacBook Pro and are you happy with the outcome? What model SSD did you choose? What do you primarily use your computer for? If you haven't switched, why not?
  2. Vantage Point macrumors 65816

    Mar 1, 2010
    New Jersey
    I would spend about $100 and double the ram to 8gb first, especially if your photoshop version is CS5 which is a ram hog and takes advantage of the 3Gb limitation of CS4. Down the rad SSD's will offer a greater bank for the buck but right now 8Gb RAM is cheap.
  3. spuality thread starter macrumors newbie

    Feb 23, 2007
    Well, I am still using CS4. Although I did not know that about CS5. That's very interesting...
  4. Nobita macrumors 6502

    Oct 5, 2008
    La la land
    Yes I would wait for buying SSD as well. For now I'll buy some RAM if I were you. I'll buy SSD later down the road when the price goes down a bit more. I know I'll be using my computer for at least 5-6 years no matter how cool new laptop is going to be by then. But upgrading to SSD in 2-3 years will be a much wiser thing to do than upgrading now.
  5. ZenAmateur macrumors newbie

    May 21, 2008

    I put a 128 Gb Patriot SSD in my MacBook Pro 13 (4Gb RAM), and in my MacPro (8 Gb RAM) as the boot drive.


    Yes, I am shouting :). I bought my drives six months ago when they were half again as expensive as they are now, and never felt like I wasted a dime. I bought a 60 Gb first for my desktop, and was so blown away by the increase in responsiveness that I bought a 128 for my laptop the next month, and then sold the 60 and bought the 128 a couple of months after that.

    The other posters don't have SSD drives in their computers, so they really don't have the experience of seeing boot times decrease to a third, or application launching speeds drop to a quarter. Photoshop CS5 bounces twice, and it is up. Apps are super responsive, and anything that reads and writes to the drive just screams.

    RAM won't do this (I upgraded my MacBook from stock 2 Gb to 4 Gb as soon as I bought it), faster platter HDs won't do it either(the SSD replaced a 7200 rpm upgraded drive); the SSD is the best performance enhancer for the money.
  6. Nobita macrumors 6502

    Oct 5, 2008
    La la land
    What SSD brand do you have? I'm actually drolling over Intel's :rolleyes:

    However my point was that an 8GB RAM will set him back around $100, but a 128GB SSD will set him back around $300 (maybe more if it's intel). I was saying that maybe it's worth waiting until we can buy 256GB SSD at a more reasonable price in a year or two.

    Do you guys think price will drop quickly?
  7. Heath macrumors regular

    Aug 19, 2005
    Another option would be to look at Seagate's Momentus XT, which is hybrid SSD/Conventional HD. They claim to get about 80% of the performance of an SSD but are much more reasonably priced.Linky
  8. LAS.mac macrumors 6502

    May 6, 2009
    OWC Mercury extreme Pro here.
    And yes it's A-M-A-Z-I-N-G!!!
    Never thought that the SSD upgrade would make such a difference, especially during boot, shut down, open and close applications.
    I've always upgraded RAM in my laptops, yes noticing some increase in overall behavior, but nothing as with SSD.

    Will never buy another laptop without SSD, for sure.
  9. ChrisA macrumors G4

    Jan 5, 2006
    Redondo Beach, California
    It all depends on what you do with your computer. FOr many people "fast" means programs load fast and the computer boots quickly. I guess those people only load programs the re-boot. But if you tend to use software to work for longer periods, say you are editing video or photos running engineering simulations then you don't care so much about program start up times.

    So what you do is run Activity Meter while you do your work. Keep an eye on the CPU usage, disk reads/writes and the RAM. If the disk I/Os per second is very small them getting a faster disk will no nothing. If the system is doing page outs at all then you need RAM. Also adding RAM can reduce the need for the system to use the disk. Nothing is faster then not accessing the disk at all.

    Almost certainly the best upgrade in terms f bang per buck is RAM unless your goal is fast program loads. But if you do have lots of data, RAW format photos or whatever then you may be hitting the disk hard and SSD will help but Activity Meter will tell you where the bottle neck is
  10. DiamondGCoupe macrumors 6502

    Nov 12, 2007
    Upgrading from a 7200RPM drive won't yield a huge performance increase once the computer is booted (application loading time). If you had a stock 5400, I'd say yes go for it.
  11. Zortrium macrumors 6502

    Jun 23, 2003
    The SSD in my iMac (OCZ Vertex 2) begs to differ.
  12. ZenAmateur, Dec 13, 2010
    Last edited: Dec 13, 2010

    ZenAmateur macrumors newbie

    May 21, 2008
    Apples to apples

    @spuality - I do the exact same work you do, and I wouldn't have bought three of these drives (one as a trade up from the 60 Gb I originally bought) if I wasn't COMPLETELY happy with the performance both at boot and during work. In fact I don't really care about the boot times as I typically reboot less than once a month, usually only for updates that require it. 128 Gb drives are available at newegg.com for around $215, which will get you way more speed than the 8 Gb of RAM, for a little more than twice the price. RAM is actually going to set you back around $145, as you have to buy two 4 Gb modules, as the 4 Gb from Apple is in two 2 Gb sticks, so the price difference is more like $70.

    One thing no one is mentioning is that for laptop users the SSD is insurance against drive damage by picking up your laptop before it is really asleep. I have several clients who hosed their HDs by closing the lid and dropping their laptop in a bag, only to be presented with the horrid restart warning which confirmed that the drive was toast from the shock while still writing data.

    @ChrisA - setting the SSD as the swap disk boosts PS performance, as when you apply a filter the program caches parts of the file to the drive while it performs the transform, so IO speed means quite a bit to the user.

    Battery life is better too, though not by a huge amount.

    Note that the posters who actually have SSDs in their machines are raving about them, not a one among us giving a "meh". I am a real cheapskate, I read macrumors then dealmac every morning, and this is definitely an upgrade worth the money. If you make a living off of your hardware then you can easily get a return on this investment.

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