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Cost efficient SSD for SATA-1 limited macbook?

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November 28, 2011 2:34:55 PM

Hello,

I'm looking for recommendations to upgrade my 2008 era macbook. The system is limited to SATA-1, so I don't need the fastest drives around, and I'm looking for something with at least 100GB of storage (160-240GB preferred).

All of the current tom's monthly SSD recommendations seem to target the SATA-3 market. I wonder if there's some solid advice out there to look for a SSD that'll saturate SATA-1 for reads and writes, but doesn't cost as much as the SSD's that can go lots faster than I need.

Thanks in advance for your advice. I'm guessing/hoping people will come back with make/model recommendations, or minimum controller specs, whatever you've got will help.

Be well,

Rik

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a b G Storage
November 28, 2011 2:57:05 PM

Look into the OCZ Solid 3 series. They are cheap, quick, and do not suffer the same driver issues that earlier OCZ drives had. I put one in my wife's old C2D setup and it works wonderfully. Only problem I have had with it is that it occasionally (and I mean once a month or less) will hang on sleep mode with win7.

Do not worry about the SATA rating on the SSD you purchase, they are all backwards compatable to SATA1. Due to newer manufacturing processes many SATA3 drives are cheaper than the older SATA1 varients, and they tend to be more stable as companies have learned a few tricks over the years.

Running OSx you may want to do more research as Apple has not jumped on the SSD train yet and does not support TRIM which is useful for many SSD firmwares to prevent them from slowing down over time.
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a c 342 G Storage
November 28, 2011 6:12:53 PM

You must realize that a SATA3 (more correctly, SATA 6.0 Gb/s) SSD can move data MUCH faster than the 1.5 Gb/s communication rate of the first SATA systems. So if you laptop's HDD controller can only work at that speed, you will NOT see the potential speed of an SSD. In fact, most modern mechanical drives (that is, rotating disks, NOT SSD's) can move data at the original 1.5 Gb/s rate of "SATA I". Maybe your original HDD can't. But you may get the max speed available from your laptop by simply installing a new modern mechanical HDD (whether it claims to be SATA 3.0 or SATA 6.0) at a cheaper price than an SSD. (Well, I know that HDD prices are inflated right now, but they should return to normal sometime.)
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December 1, 2011 8:08:30 PM

Thanks Paperdoc,

I get the difference of the various sata specifications, that's why I framed the question the way I did.

I also get that I won't see the full performance benefit of a modern SSD, but I should see a significant performance increase over even modern laptop hd's, at least according to the performance numbers given in a recent tom's article (http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/advanced-format-1tb...). Note: only a couple of HDs were able to meet or exceed SATA peak bandwidth (~150MB/s) in one or two metrics. Most HD's operated at below half SATA-1 max spec. in most of the metrics.

I expect a modern SSD to hit the SATA data transfer cap in just about everything it does. Nevermind the huge difference in seek times between SSDs and HDs. I know that I won't see any difference during most of my work, but a SSD should reduce my wait time as I do different things, including significant use of vmware fusion.

I appreciate you trying to save me a few bucks, but for now I'm looking for good advice about which SSD to get. That'll help me extend the life of my macbook as much as I can, and let me feel like it's performing at the peak of its potential.

Thanks!
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December 1, 2011 8:17:01 PM

Hi Caedenv,

Thanks for the info. You've set my mind at ease for moving forward with a purchase. I figured the modern SSDs were backwards compatible.

As for TRIM support, after a quick look (google) it seems that 10.6.8 enables trim support for Apple SSDs and some other third party SSDs. 10.7 supposedly supports more SSDs by default. Plus it looks like there are some third party tools for enabling trim support regardless.

I think my biggest worry is getting firmware updates, but I can always slave the drive to my PC to get that done.

Last, I wonder about sector alignment related performance issues, the stuff that comes up for people running OSs pre-Windows 7... does that even come up with Macs? We'll see.

Anyhow, thanks for your advice. I'm heartened by it. Time to go shopping.

Be well,
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December 1, 2011 8:17:35 PM

Best answer selected by halemos.
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