My Dilema: SSD as main drive or SSD/HDD combo in a MBP

Hey guys,

Ive been doing a lot of research recently about SSDs, and Ive come to a dilema of exactly how much memory my system needs and how much risk Im willing to take on the new system (macbook pro, i7)

The first option is to get a 160gb SSD (Intel x25-m) for around $400 and simply replace the stock 500gb 5400 rpm drive. From there I would use that SSD as my main drive for storing the OS, programs, and media.

The second option is to get the macbook pro with a 500gb hdd but @ 7200 rpm( +$45) and also buy an 80gb Intel SSD (+210). Using an optibay (+$100), I would replace the disk drive with my SSD and store only the OS and programs on the 80gbs. With the 500gb drive still in the macbook, I would use that for media, movies, etc.

Information about the optibay is here. Its pretty cool and im looking forward to still be able to use the disk drive via USB.

So whats your optinion? Spend $400 for an SSD that would be the main harddrive. Or spend $355 for an 80gb ssd, optibay, and an upgraded hdd (7200 rpm) that would all be in the macbook pro. (Final drive space of 580 gb)

The main dilema i am facing is the corruptibility of a 160gb SSD as my main harddrive (lots of read/writes), the heat issues of having 2 drives in my macbook, and the power consumption of having 2 drives.

I know the trend in desktops is to use an SSD for only boot/programs, but im not sure if that can be effectively utilized in laptops.

Give me your opinions, thanks :D
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  1. My recommendation would be to use the optbay and have the SSD for OS and your HDD for storage. Once you do that, review this video on the "Ghosting" the HDD part to maintain SSD speeds.

    As your concern for power and heat, remember a SSD uses little power and produces little heat since there are no moving parts, so that won't be a major concern for me.
  2. Thankyou for posting this. How did it go/what did you decide on? I plan to tweak out/max spec my black macbook for audio recording in the big picture, but also use it for photo editing, and communication over the net. Here is the best idea I have come up with myself to date. Right now, my OS with all the apps I need and use regularily, and configured to my liking concearning the best audio recording, editing, playing, and ripping software is just around 17gb. Now, my plan is to copy this boot system to a small 30gb kingston SSD from ebay $120 incl. shipping. Then buy an optibay ($24 from ebay) and put a 500gb 7200rpm Hitachi HDD($110 from ebay) Take out my disc drive and have an internal running straight off the cd drive buss. Also, I will be wanting to max out the ram, and this 2 year old blackbook can take up to 6gb of DDR2 667mHz ($205 from OWC) This leaves me with a 2.4Ghz core 2 duo, with 6gb ram, OS X on a 30gb SSD, with 2nd internal storage drive of 500gb at 7200rpm to read/write/store/transfer data. Also my usb and firewire ports are still available for a usb hub for mouse, ipod, etc. a usb midi keyboard/controller, and an edirol firewire audio interface/soundcard. Now all of this makes a greatly powerful and efficient, completely mobile recording studio. The advantages here, are obviously the system stored on a seperate SSD, and the home folder and files that get changed a lot are moved to the 7200rpm internal in the optibay. 6gb ram is just right. more that i need. and the 2.4ghz cpu is pretty snappy. I paid $1200 for the stock computer 1 and a half years ago, and these "upgrades" will cost me $349. At a total of $1549, I have a great laptop to kick but making music. Not bad. This is even cheaper to do now, and I see companies in the future providing dual hard drive configs, where the system is on a ssd that barely gets changed, thus the write/re-write downfall of SSD's becomes null, and to write/read/re-write/move around/re-organize data on a fast internal in doing these "upgrades" now, I believe I am ahead of the curve, but I am stuck with a 3MB L2 cache, and only an 800Mhz frontside buss. In my eyes, this is an affordable and quality mobile setup for recording audio, fast and compact. Cheers, and thanks for reading.
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