Having been impressed with the performance increase in my work laptop, I decided to give my MacBook a much needed upgrade. I browsed around a fair bit and finally found the Kingston SSDNow V100 128GB drive at YoYo Tech. I did a fair bit of research to find something for a decent price which also had good specifications. There were a few 80GB drives that I considered, however the read and write speeds weren’t too fast on those. I didn’t really need 128GB, however more hard disk space never hurts and the specifications on this drive definitely justifies the purchase!
The main thing to note when looking at SSD’s are the read and write speeds. For this Kingston drive, they’re 250MB/s and 230MB/s respectively, a lot faster than drives of smaller capacities. That’s something worth bearing in mind when purchasing an SSD – if you want something cheap, then it may not actually be worth the purchase since the read and write speeds aren’t going to be that great. You might as well go for a slightly more expensive drive since you’ll be a lot more bang for your buck.
I first started looking at 80GB drives or similar, and most of these were in the price range of £120-130. The read and write speeds varied greatly – almost always the write speed was below 100MB/s. The Kingston drive that I purchased only cost £150ish, so you’re paying £20-30 for about 60GB more and much faster read and write speeds. Definitely worth putting that extra money in!
The process of switching drives is pretty pain free on Macs. I popped off the battery, screwed off the L-shaped panel which also hides the RAM, and slid out the SATA drive. I think removed the small enclosure and fitted the SSD drive in, slid it back in and closed up the MacBook. I had backed up my laptop on to an external drive using Time Machine before, so when I started up with the new SSD, I put the Mac OS X disc in where it gives a prompt to recover from a Time Machine backup. I selected that and had to wait an hour for everything to be recovered on to the new SSD.
There was about 60GB worth of stuff to recover, and once it was done, it rebooted my laptop with exactly the same configuration as I had before switching the drives. I didn’t have to change a single thing once it was finished, it felt like I hadn’t even changed drives at all since that’s how easy the transition was!
Now on to performance. Boot time on the old SATA drive was probably a couple of minutes. It would go past the Apple logo and load my wallpaper, only to take a bit of time loading the icons in the bar at the top. Now, everything is rapid, and it boots up in about 30 seconds. Applications respond much quicker, opening up and being ready to use in a matter of seconds (such as Chrome, Thunderbird, Adium, Twitter, iTunes, etc.) The performance increase is a huge jump from the old SATA drive!
If I had the cash, I’d definitely consider upgrading my Alienware M11x to SSD too, but I had too many games on there and would need a 250GB or thereabouts drive, which are not exactly cheap at the moment! However, for the MacBook it’s been an extremely worthwhile upgrade and much cheaper than purchasing a MacBook with SSD preinstalled, as the price goes through the roof for those.