You've made me think about buying an SSD, question!

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by Macaroooon, Feb 6, 2013.

  1. Macaroooon macrumors 6502

    Sep 9, 2012
    Right, so looking at the slowness of my computer, you've all made me want to buy an SSD. I can't afford one at the moment but I may as well do my research and find the right one for me.

    I have a mid 2012, 2.5Ghx 13" Macbook Pro.

    The SSD I think I need is this one: 512GB Crucial m4 2.5-inch SATA 6Gb/s (SATA III)

    I definitely want to match the 500GB I currently have on my mac.

    However, are there any other options, preferably cheaper, but equally as good on performance?

    My other question is, should I wait for the M500 to come out?

    I've read up on SSDs, but I get very confused as a newbie so any basic information/ help that you could give would be appreciated!
  2. Obsidian6 macrumors 6502a


    Apr 29, 2006
    Laguna Niguel, CA
    I was in the same boat as you, frustrated that my brand new mid-'12 macbook pro felt no faster than my 6+ year old Mac Pro that I had at the time. What I wound up doing was buying a 256GB SSD for my boot drive and applications and moving the 1TB drive that came with the computer into the optical drive bay.

    However I have since ordered another SSD, the one you mentioned (Crucial M4 512GB) and I'm going to swap out the 1TB internal drive for this so I can have dual SSDs (the 256GB is also a Crucial M4, which I chose because so far it has had very proven reliability, I don't want to take a chance on the latest, fastest version because SSD tech changes so quickly "perpetual-beta" I call it)

    I think that setup is going to work really well for me, and I will put the 1TB drive into an external enclosure for backup purposes.

    The reason I mentioned this is that the 256GB drives are really becoming quite affordable, and mine has been rock-solid reliable in the 6+ months I've had it in my computer.
  3. Macaroooon thread starter macrumors 6502

    Sep 9, 2012
    Woah, have to admit I got a tad confused! All this tech stuff :D

    I think an SSD would be a good way to go, it's a matter of finding the correct one, and waiting to be able to afford it, long with backing up all my data. I'm also going to increase my RAM to either 8 or 16GB :)

    Thank you for your input.
  4. Stetrain macrumors 68040

    Feb 6, 2009
    Do you use the DVD drive very much? If not you could get one of the adapters that lets you mount a hard drive where the DVD drive goes.

    Then you could move your 500GB hard drive to the DVD bay, and then install a smaller SSD (128GB or 256GB) in the normal hard drive slot.

    Then you've got a fast SSD for the operating system and your apps, and a big hard drive for music/movies etc.
  5. Ledgem macrumors 65816


    Jan 18, 2008
    Hawaii, USA
    What's being suggested in the posts above is a fairly common method to get around the limitations of smaller SSDs, since 512 GB SSDs are expensive no matter who's selling them.

    What makes your computer feel sluggish is the delay experienced when the hard drive has to seek for information for opening programs and performing specific program actions. If you start listening to a song or watching a movie then you don't really notice any slow-down, but waiting for programs to open or for the operating system to "think" on an operation is very noticeable.

    The system is to use a smaller SSD, such as a 128 GB drive, as your operating system drive. You install the operating system and your programs to it, and that's it. You take out the DVD drive from your computer and, using the "optibay" kits, you can install a second hard drive in its place. Most people move their old hard drive over to that spot. That way, you have your operating system and programs on the fast SSD, but you also have a 500 GB, 750 GB, or 1 TB drive that's also in your computer, and that contains all of your data.

    You get the speed benefits of the SSD at a price point that's affordable, without sacrificing your storage capacity. You sacrifice the internal DVD player, though; you'd need to place it in an enclosure, or buy an external DVD player, if you still wanted to have DVD and CD capabilities.
  6. Macaroooon thread starter macrumors 6502

    Sep 9, 2012
    Thank you both! Finally, you've got me to understand the optibay!

    A few questions:

    If I followed your advice and installed a 128GB SSD and moved my HD, would the speed benefits be the same as if I just bought a 512 SSD and kept my DVD Drive?

    To be fair I hardly use my DVD Drive, although I do love having it their incase, but as you say you can buy an external, and the speed of the computer right now is my priority.

    How much would going by this method cost? (Buying a 128GB SSD and then an exclosure etc)?

    Thanks a lot for both of your advice!
  7. CarreraGuy macrumors regular


    Jan 15, 2013

    If you haven't already get a 500'ish gb ssd drive, I bought this one:

    I put in in my 2010 circa 13" MBP last month and it's already dropped in price about $10 and if trends continue will continue to drop.

    It really does help speed everything up. There is a good tweaking guide in this forum:

    I didn't go nuts and do everything but this got me going:

    * Install and enable TrimEnable (you need if you buy third party ssd)
    * Turn off motion sensor
    * Disable hibernate and remove the 8gb image file associated with it.

    I kept my optical drive even though I rarely used it. I bought this too:

    And an enclosure for my old mechanical drive which I use as an external backup.
  8. Macaroooon thread starter macrumors 6502

    Sep 9, 2012
    Thank you for advice! If I do go along getting the larger capacity SSD I will definitely refer to this, but for now the idea of getting the 128/ 256GB SSD and moving my HD to the optical drive seem the more affordable option for me!

    Hopefully this combined with increasing my RAM will be a huge help :D
  9. el-John-o macrumors 65816

    Nov 29, 2010
    Mostly, yes. Technically speaking, if you had EVERYTHING on the SSD and NO spinning drive, the machine would be faster than having the OS and some applications on the SSD, and the rest on the spinning drive. It's not likely to be noticeable, however. Most of the noticeable speed differences, as the above poster pointed out, comes from seek times, not necessarily read/write speeds. So, if you didn't have enough room on, say, a 128GB SSD and installed an application on the spinning disk, that application could potentially feel 'slow'.

    So, in THAT case, the 512GB SSD would be faster. There are also two other advantages to running the 512GB SSD instead of a small SSD / Spinning drive combo. For one, battery life. Though not significant, running an SSD+Spinning Drive combo will use more battery than JUST an SSD. If you swapped your hard drive out for an SSD and did not install a spinning drive at all, there would be a slight bump in battery life. If you installed a spinning drive AND an SSD, there would be a slight drop in battery life compared to what you have now.

    Secondly, is noise. A spinning drive is one of the noisiest components on a MacBook Pro. Running just a solid state drive will make the machine ultra-quiet in low end tasks, when the fan doesn't have to spin up (web browsing, e-mail, etc.)

    Bottom line, 99% of the time an SSD+HDD combo is generally going to be much, much quicker. Unless you are doing a ton of file intensive tasks, or running a huge database, you aren't likely to notice. If you're storing photos, music, movies, etc. on the HDD and Software and the OS on the SSD, I really think you'd have it perfect. Try and get an SSD big enough to store ALL of your applications, plus the OS. Then leave your HDD for music, movies, downloads, documents, etc.

    One option would be to put your optical drive into an enclosure.

    Optical Drive enclosure; $37.99

    OWC Data Doubler; $44.99

    Crucial M4 128GB SSD; $110.99

    TOTAL: $193.97 + Shipping and any taxes

    Or, Crucial M4 512GB SSD; $389.99

    Note that there are cheaper alternatives to the OWC Data Doubler or even the Opti-Bay. I just used those for a baseline, and it's what a lot of us use. It also includes instructions, and all of the special screwdrivers. That may or may not be necessary for you, but for some users less comfortable with cracking open the machine, having everything in one box is valuable.
  10. Macaroooon thread starter macrumors 6502

    Sep 9, 2012
    Thank you very much.

    I would say I am pretty much an average user, I use itunes, safari, imovie, app store, iPhoto and use a few games, but I don't use anything I would say is ridiculously demanding, so this set up sounds right for me, I may go for the 256GB SSD though, to be sure I have enough room for apps etc.

    If I put the HD into my Optical Drive part, can I go back in the future if I wished and put in the optical drive?

    I was thinking of just buying a new external optical drive, but if all I need to do is by casing a cable to make it work then I won't bother!
  11. el-John-o macrumors 65816

    Nov 29, 2010
    Sounds good! Bigger is better, it all comes down to budget.

    Here's a tip. Click the Apple Menu, then "About This Mac", then "More Info" and then click the 'storage' tab up top. You'll see a graph showing how much of what types of files you use. Take the total of "Storage" and "apps". That, plus 20% or so, would be a good baseline for the SSD. "Other" includes OS files, and Apps of course is your Applications; so if the total of the two is under 128GB, you can safely fit all of your Apps and the OS on a 128GB SSD. The rest, music, movies, etc., will go on the other drive. I have a feeling, though, that 128GB will be a tight squeeze. That's okay though, even the OS and MOST of your apps will be a significant speed improvement.

    Absolutely. Just swaps back in. You will have to remove a few screws and swap parts out, but nothing about this process is permanent. Everything can be removed or rearranged.

    Also, I'd leave your HD right where it is and put the SSD in the optical drive bay. It's less work (there's no advantage to doing it the other way around, a few years ago some MBP's had a slower connection to the optical bay, but your mid-2012 has full speed on both), AND, the spinning HD will get the vibration dampening and cooling it needs, that the SSD doesn't need quite as badly.

    That's what I do. I have my superdrive mounted externally and plugged into my cinema display, so when I plug my machine into the cinema display, I get my superdrive. I rarely need it. It's also portable enough I can carry it in my laptop bag. In case maybe I want to watch a DVD on the go or something. Be aware that inside that plastic enclosure it's fairly noisy, especially when inserting or ejecting discs. That's normal. It's a fairly noisy drive, it's just dampened in the MBP enclosure, wheras it's echoed in that cheap external enclosure.

  12. Macaroooon thread starter macrumors 6502

    Sep 9, 2012
    You're giving me a huge amount of help, thank you.

    And I'm glad I can just put the SSD into the optical drive - when I buy it (from crucial) should I buy the one that comes with the bracket?

  13. el-John-o macrumors 65816

    Nov 29, 2010
    Crucial doesn't sell a drive with a bracket for the MacBook Pro. The bracket they sell is meant for desktop computers. Unless you are referring to the 'kit' which includes a cable for transferring files, in which case, yes, that can be helpful.

    You'll need to buy the drive, and the OptiBay (or Data Doubler from OWC) separately.

    Also, even with your movies and EVERYTHING, you're only using about 200GB of storage. That means you could put 100% of what you are currently using on a 256GB SSD. So if you are able to spring for that, you'd have EVERYTHING on that. If you fill it up, just transfer some of your movies and photos to the other drive.
  14. Macaroooon thread starter macrumors 6502

    Sep 9, 2012
    Ah right, I see. But if I kept my HD, would I need to transfer any files?

    I'm thinking in the next few months I'll probably have more files etc, so I reckon it'd be good to keep the HD for when that happens!
  15. el-John-o macrumors 65816

    Nov 29, 2010
    Yes you'll need to transfer files. If you get a 256GB SSD, you can actually just install it like you were planning, in the optical bay (and no need for a cable) and use disk utility to copy all of the files from your HDD to the SSD. Then switch to the SSD as your boot disk, re-boot into OSX, and format the HDD. You'll end up with the same machine (no need to reinstall anything), full speed, good to go. And you'll have an empty 500GB second drive for other files. If you want to free up space, I'd just move all of your movies (141GB!) over to the HDD.
  16. Macaroooon thread starter macrumors 6502

    Sep 9, 2012
    Ah right, I see exactly what you mean now.

    When I actually buy the SSD I will ask obviously once more and make sure I'm doing it right!

    I'm going to also buy an external HD and back up everything on my laptop just incase, so I'll have plenty of space :eek:
  17. el-John-o macrumors 65816

    Nov 29, 2010
    Feel free to PM me when you're ready to buy if you have more questions, I'd be happy to answer them if I know the answer!

    With a 500GB hard drive and a 256GB SSD I can't imagine you running out of space. Backups are ALWAYS a good idea!
  18. Macaroooon thread starter macrumors 6502

    Sep 9, 2012
    Thank you, I definitely will, you've been a great help!

    Yes, I need to back up, I keep meaning to buy one, I'm really going to blow my uni budget this year :eek: but it'll be worth it if it makes the most of my mac!


    Which are the cheaper options for the OWC Data Doubler? Just compiling a list to see how much this will all cost!
  19. el-John-o macrumors 65816

    Nov 29, 2010
    Here's a couple no-names;

    Optical Bay adapter;

    External SuperDrive Enclosure;

    If you read he reviews, you'll see that they are cheap. Having to bend things, things breaking, etc. But, that's probably okay for most folks. You can get the tray AND the optical drive enclosure for half the price of just one of those parts from a name brand...
  20. Xgm541 macrumors 65816

    May 3, 2011
    I think the optibay is much slower than the regular SSD slot so it may not be worthwhile to put another SSD in there. Hope you're going to research that.
  21. robvas macrumors 68030

    Mar 29, 2009
    SATA 2.0 (3Gb/s) isn't that slow!
  22. el-John-o, Feb 7, 2013
    Last edited: Feb 7, 2013

    el-John-o macrumors 65816

    Nov 29, 2010
    As I said in my post, the OP has a Mid-2012 MacBook Pro. That means both the optical bay AND the hard disk bay are full 6gbps SATA III. It's why a lot of us are able to get blazing speeds with two SSD's in RAID0 (I'm hitting 975MB/s read speeds, which is about 7.6gbps)

    It's one of those classic internet forum cases of outdated information still getting perpetuated. A couple years ago, the HDD bay was faster, so everyone was swapping stuff around. That changed, but, apparently internet forums didn't get the memo so they still suggest moving the hard drive to the optical bay! It won't hurt anything, but it's a total waste of time and it's extra steps. Plus, the HDD may last longer in it's original position.
  23. Macaroooon thread starter macrumors 6502

    Sep 9, 2012
    Thank you. Would you say getting the more expensive adapter bracket is worth the extra £20 or not?
  24. robvas macrumors 68030

    Mar 29, 2009
    You KNOW the OWC one will fit and work. You're taking a chance with the others.
  25. el-John-o macrumors 65816

    Nov 29, 2010

    The other ones are a good value, but here's why I went with the OWC;

    1) It's made of plastic, and is a one-piece mold type component. Rather than little tangs and things here and there that are sticking out and having to line everything up, it just drops in and bolts in. I'm also concerned about the reliability of the cheaper ones, a solid block of plastic isn't going to fail.

    2) I don't like the idea of putting something inside my MacBook Pro that reviewers say has to be forced, or tweaked, or modified, or otherwise. These are some very small screws surrounded by thin and fragile cables that have basically no slack. As you probably know, Apple has some really tight manufacturing tolerances. There's not a lot of room in there, especially in a 13". If you follow OWC's instructions, you just remove a few pieces and the data doubler drops right in, no problem. Then the other components (like the speaker, cables, etc.) go right back in. I just didn't like the idea of the cheap ones.

    That said, though the data doubler was excellent, I also have their optical drive external enclosure. It's very, very cheap. Cheap thin plastic, flimsy connectors, and it's very noisy. I'm okay with it, but I wouldn't buy it again. I think you could go with the cheap enclosure for that one (the external enclosure for the optical drive). Though, I'd go with the OWC Data Doubler if you can.

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