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Are SSDs worth the bother?

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  • SSD
  • Macintosh
  • Components
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March 10, 2010 1:01:28 PM

I have a 3 year old mac and I'm backing it up every week. Now I'm although there are no signs of a hard disk failure, I'm down to 20GB and I'm thinking now might be a good time to upgrade to an SSD to replace the SATA drive - is this a good idea for prolonging the life of my laptop?

The new mac 17" use Samsung 250GB but I've heard bad reviews on the reliability where as other sites recommend using the Intel 160GB instead (which would give me 40GB more)

Any ideas?

More about : ssds worth bother

March 10, 2010 2:14:36 PM

SSDs are awesome, and can speed up your system like no other upgrade. They are quite expensive for the amount of space, so if you dont need the speed, a regular drive is a better option. You will have to decide that, I dont know how much money you have.

If you are only getting an extra 40 gigs from the upgrade, then you are only really looking at a performance upgrade, not really enough extra for data. You will still be doing the backup dance once you use the extra 40 gigs. If I were you I would look at the 250-400 gig range, even though its spendy as hell. Realize that you can take this drive out after you upgrade to a new laptop or desktop (your machine is 3+ years old) and you will see better performance with the same product in a new machine.

Food for thought.
March 10, 2010 2:20:27 PM

Hi newcomer and welcome to the Tom's hardware forum

What especifications have the MAC?
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March 10, 2010 2:22:25 PM

As the above poster said they are worth the bother if you're after the speed and you have a high budget. Other than that, the price per GB at the moment doesn't really make them a practical option for a low budget. I'm considering buying one for my system when I can afford it and maybe when the price drops a little.

At the moment, the way I see SSDs being used are for the Windows and Program Files directories. Pop your Windows installation on your SSD (since it doesn't need a massive space) and keep your Documents on a separate mechanical HDD where you can afford to get a higher capacity drive.

Also as the above poster mentioned, an SSD is one of the very few parts that you can simply swap in to an older machine without having to upgrade any other parts. Obviously you can pop in a new CPU but chances are you will need a new motherboard to support it etc. but with an SSD you see a massive performance boost and all you really need is the spare SATA port.
March 10, 2010 2:31:49 PM

That reminds me- you can get an external case for a laptop sized drive that is really small if you wanted to go with a lower capacity SSD and still keep your current drive by making it external.
March 10, 2010 3:35:33 PM

As pointed out - On a Price per Gigabyte, they're an order of magnitude more expensive than a spinning disc. They're also that much faster than a spinning disc, and will make an easily noticable difference.

Again - to add to the previous suggestions: The most efficient use of this expensive bit of technology is an SSD for your operating system and key programs. Then add/use a large capacity conventional drive for storage. My new rig is set up as such, and I can attest this approach is very effective.
March 10, 2010 6:12:17 PM

They're worth the bother if time is esential. Not worth the price if you have more milliseconds than you do cash.
March 10, 2010 6:50:49 PM

Getting an SSD is probably one of the best investments I have ever made in any of my computers...It literally redefined my overall computer expirience. Bootup of windows 7+loading your account profile =8seconds altogether...starting up application is literally instant. No stutter ever. Much less heat, less noise...etc Its amazing.

The only Con i have to an SSD is that because everything is no lightning fast, whenever you use another computer with a normal hard drive, it makes you extremely impatient since you aren't used to waiting so long for things to happen.
March 15, 2010 1:56:46 PM

Well, I guess I'll just to wait for all the prices to come down. I anticipate that when Apple et al start releasing laptops with i-7 Quad core processors they will probably off SSD extras at more competitive prices which will hopefully push the prices down lower OR more likely when Intel/Samsung release the next higher spec version of the SSD.
Does anyone know which SSD manufacturer is better? Intel or Samsung?
March 15, 2010 6:42:27 PM

It usually depends on the individual drive model to determine whether the SSD is good or not in my opinion.
March 16, 2010 8:31:23 AM

Any recommendations? I quite liked the Intel one here, but its only 160 GB and like you mentioned earlier it might not be worth it for just an extra 40 Gigs. The alternative is to get hold of a non brand one which is considerably larger at 256 GB here. I like the idea of a bigger drive but would how do I know a non brand would be reliable enough? Is it worth the risk? Or should I wait it out for the next Intel model to come up with a bigger storage capacity?
March 16, 2010 3:32:56 PM

Check this out:
http://www.ssdbenchmarks.com/charts.html

as far as brands, look at the warranty and the type of memory used in the drive. There will be some that use the same thing but are different prices. I personally hold no brand loyalty when it comes to drives, since I have been burned by every drive maker over the last 20 years. Its a crapshoot. SSDs will have much less problems overall compared to mech drives, IMO.
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