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Sep 11

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My post on SSD upgrade in MacBook Pro

Preamble

Everything began with me noticing my “old” MacBook Pro (mid 2009) being too slow… Specially after installing the OS X Lion, the bootup time started to increase as the Applications folder began to grow. Some people reported that being a problem with Lauchpad, which loads the Application icons at startup. Ok, that makes sense! But waiting 5 minutes before being able to get to work was way too much in my opinion.

To upgrade or not to upgrade, that is the question!

Before finally deciding to upgrade, I searched a lot in the Internet, trying to find ways to make my computer faster without having to spend too much money. Most of the discussions ended by concluding that the performance issue was being caused by the HDD access time.

Then I searched for some videos on YouTube showing the comparison between HDD and SDD in identical computer models, and this was really what convinced me to give SSD a try. The Solid State Drive really seemed to boost performance in any system with 2,3 years old or more, which was my case…

How much space do I need?

If you ever thought about upgrading to an SSD you might have come across the big question: which is the configuration that best fits my needs? I mean, SSDs are still a lot more expensive than regular HDDs, so you should try to buy the least amount of storage that will accomodate  your Operating System and Applications.

For me, 128 Gb was enough for either OSX or Windows, but not for both… Sometimes at university or at work I still need to have Windows installed, so if 1+1=2, then 128+128 = 256 GB drive was what I was looking for.

What about my data? 256GB is not enough for my “garbage collection”!

Yes, I know! 256GB is ok for the OS, but I also felt that it was not enough for the rest of my personal data files (I had a 320GB Full HDD with OSX+Windows+Data).

So I decided I wanted to have both 256GB SSD and 320GB HDD in my laptop……. what? did I say laptop? Yes, I only have 1 space for a 2.5″ SATA drive. The solution is to give up on your CD/DVD Drive, which for me isn’t  so hard because I rarely used it (mainly to install Windows with Boot Camp).

Many people are swapping their CD/DVD drive with a caddy that fits in the same place, but accepts a 2.5″ disk drive. So my decision was making a little search on eBay and I found one auction for a kit that included the Caddy + USB Enclosure for the Superdrive (for around 23€). With that I could put a disk in the DVD drive place, but still would be able to use Superdrive by connecting it through USB.

Results

I installed Mountain Lion in the new SSD and it really feels like I just bought a new computer. Launching applications is just a matter of seconds! Boot time decreased from 5 minutes to 15 seconds! This is not an accurate time measurement, because the first configuration is loaded with applications and the second is a fresh install. However, I don’t remember seeing my laptop booting in less than 1 minute.

For future, I plan to upgrade RAM from 4 to 8 GB, especially if I will have to work with Windows again. My last experience with a fresh install of Windows 7 lasted 1 month and a half: it was painfull to have to continuously close and reopen the programs because I was running out of memory. I was running IIS, Apache, MySQL Server, MediaRoom, Notepad++, Salamander and Chrome, nothing special in my opinion.

I’m glad I’m back to OSX. :)

About the author

Ricardo Dias

Ricardo Dias was born in Entroncamento, Portugal and is studying Electronic and Telecommunications Engineering at University of Aveiro. He is a researcher in robotics and is currently the Team Leader of CAMBADA@MSL team. As a hobby, he is also a freelancer Stage Lighting Designer.

Permanent link to this article: http://ricardo-dias.com/2012/09/11/my-post-on-ssd-upgrade-in-macbook-pro/

5 comments

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  1. Nuno Santos

    Eu tenho um HP G62 com um HDD Seagate de 320Gb a 7200Rpm, e desde que comecei a usar um SSD Plextor M3Pro de 128Gb notei uma diferença do como do dia para a noite.

    Para quem necessita de desempenho puro o SSD apesar de ter menos capacidade e ser mais caro compensa.

    Já Agora qual é o modelo do disco que instalaste? Eu tenho instalado o seguinte: http://omundodaprogramacao.com/analise-plextor-m3pro-128gb/

    Cumprimentos

    1. Ricardo Dias

      Boas Nuno.

      Realmente é uma diferença brutal… :)
      Instalei um Kingston SSDNow V200 256GB SATA 3 2.5Pol upg Bdl Kt, primeiro porque foi o mais barato que encontrei (comprei a 186.99€) e depois porque incluía uma caixa/adaptador USB para discos de 2.5″.

      Cumprimentos,
      Ricardo Dias

      1. Nuno Santos

        Boas!

        Sim realmente os Kingston tem uma boa relação qualidade / preço! Para mim os 128Gb já começam a ficar curtos, mas como fiquei com o HDD de 320Gb como disco externo vou gerindo a coisa!

        O futuro passa pelos SSD, pena é terem um tempo de vida bem mais curto que os tradicionais HDD.

        Cumprimentos
        Nuno Santos

  2. Artur Rodrigues

    Boas,
    Queres poupar-me trabalho e postar o link de onde compraste a caixa para a superdrive? x)
    Obrigado!

    1. Ricardo Dias

      Boas Artur

      Fiz a compra conjunta, numa bid igual a esta (deste mesmo senhor):
      http://www.ebay.com/itm/9-5mm-2nd-HDD-Caddy-for-Macbook-Pro-Unibody-USB-Enclosure-Case-for-Superdrive-/271106860345?pt=UK_Collectables_HardDriveEnclosures_RL&hash=item3f1f3a6539

      PS: A caixa externa não é grande espingarda, ou então não soube montar. A abertura não me parece estar bem ao nível da entrada. Não estou a usar a SuperDrive de todo…

      Cumprimentos,
      Ricardo Dias

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