Putting solid state drives (SSD) into MacBook Pros
:: Monday, January 11th, 2010 @ 5:41:18 pm
MacBook Pro with Intel X25-M SSD and second 500GB SATA drive
Photographer Tony Wu is excited by the new 15″ MacBook Pro I’ve put together for him. It features a 2.8Ghz Core 2 Duo processor w/6MB shared L2 cache, 8GB RAM and dual internal hard disks: a 160GB Intel X25-M SSD G2 and the stock 500GB drive it shipped with. I purchased a third-party SSD because the SSD Apple ships is embarrassingly slow.
Unboxing — first view of Tony’s new machine
Tony will use the 160GB SSD as a boot / applications / cache drive and will probably keep his Aperture library package on it (even though his library is failing — poor Aperture users). The 500GB will be used to store images and video. His old MacBook Pro has a terrible display — everything is dim and fuzzy. I’m not sure if they were all that bad, or if Tony’s has just deteriorated over a few years of constant use (I don’t remember my old MBP’s display being as bad).
The new machine boots really quickly:
Even after being fully configured my MacBook Pro with Intel X25-M still boots in just over 20 seconds. Most computers lock up when a user starts up and logs in because all the startup apps hit the hard disk simultaneously (and this is really slow when you have a spinning drive).
What did you use to replace the SuperDrive with a hard disk?
I used the MaxConnect Optical Bay kit for MacBook and MacBook Pro Unibody Laptops. Previously, I used another product, but I really like the MaxConnect optical; everything fits perfectly. My only gripe is that the adapter is 100% metal, which means that it is heavier than it should be. I think it should be made of strong plastic. In general, I like MaxConnect products; I also use their SAS/SATA BackPlane Attachment for Mac Pro, which I find to be an excellent solution for putting an SSD or two into a Mac Pro desktop machine.
Why the Intel X25-M SSD?
I know that there are finally faster SSDs coming to market, but the Intel X25-M is still a really strong choice and outperforms almost every other consumer SSD currently available. In real-world use it is ridiculously fast due to its best-of-class random read and write speeds. More importantly, Tony could order an X25-M and have it shipped to me overnight. The new SSDs are clearly fast and are getting great reviews, but they’re not quite available yet. It is great to see OCZ innovating in the SSD space after their initial products, which used crappy controllers and were easily coaxed into multi-second write delays. OCZ also seems to put out a new SSD line every few weeks — really confusing for non-computer people. They should clean up their product line!
Personally, I use RAID striped Intel X25-M SSDs (generation 1, vs Tony’s G2 drive). I love this machine and never have to wait for anything other than Mac OS X network timeouts (improved over old versions of OS X but still annoying).