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Peter Coleman Level 2 (195 points)
In my mind playing around with a demo unit in an Apple store isn't all that useful, and the benchmarks don't provide a real-life story. Anyone have an SSD they've used - at home, or office, in a real-life situation - yet?

What're your impressions re: speed? Is there a noticeable boost over the standard HD unit? Does it seem MacBook zippy?

Any feedback - good or bad - would really help!

Several, Mac OS X (10.4.10)
  • John Guo Level 5 (5,260 points)
    Think of SSD as a grown-up version of those flash memory sticks you slip into your Mac’s USB ports. Instead of storing data on spinning platters, as a standard hard drive does, SSDs store data in solid-state memory—either NAND flash memory or SDRAM. Increase that USB stick’s capacity and add an ATA or SATA interface, and you’ve got an SSD. SSDs seem like the perfect mass storage devices for a notebook. They have no moving parts, so they’re less susceptible to damage from the shocks and jolts of travel. SSDs can withstand 10 times as much impact as a standard hard drive. They also deal well with vibration. Then there’s an SSD’s parsimonious power consumption. Powered down, SSDs consume virtually no juice—somewhere around 0.05 watts. Even when operational, an SSD draws only 1w or so—about a third the consumption of a comparable hard drive. In terms of seek times and throughput, SSD performance is about equal to that of a standard hard drive. But SSDs turn on instantly: They don’t have to spin up platters as hard drives do, so they reduce computer boot, restart, and wake-up times substantially. In addition to being sturdier, more power efficient, and faster than standard hard drives, SSDs are also slightly lighter and can, if necessary, be molded into different form factors to fit tight spaces. The circular platters of a hard drive don’t allow for that kind of design flexibility.
  • tele_player Level 5 (5,380 points)
    Seek times (the SSD doesn't really seek) and read speeds are much faster than 1.8" 4200 rpm HDD.
  • Peter Coleman Level 2 (195 points)
    Thanks for the summary and information, John. I am familiar with the differences in drives, but am looking more for the proverbial rubber hitting the road; what are users actually experiencing?

    Since the Air will virtually have to be a second notebook for users, I figured someone here who has one has something to compare it to.
  • Hawk9858 Level 1 (0 points)

    Got mine today (SSD) and it works as well as I expected i.e. very quick to boot, quiet (almost too quiet) but one issue. When I went poking around for the 1st time it only shows 34.3GB available which I'm finding very disturbing at first glance. Having not loaded any software I anticipated approximately 57GB (90% rule).
    I'll continue to investigate later tonight as my boss doesn't like paying me for playing with my new toy.
  • Peter Coleman Level 2 (195 points)
    Hey, great! Thanks for the information... and let me know what you find re: the 57GB vs. 34.3GB. I'm with you in that seems awfully small for a 64GB drive.
  • Brian Caslis Level 3 (795 points)
    The 64GB drive formats to 55GB. Technically it's 60GB (measured in 1024 bits rather than 1k bits) and then formatting reduces it to 55GB (like any drive). Once the OS is installed you get down to 37GB. You could erase and do a custom install to not put things on like printer drivers you won't use and apps you won't use (like iDVD).

    I wanted to get one myself today but all the local stores only had the HD model, not the SSD.
  • Hawk9858 Level 1 (0 points)

    Thanks for the input, my next move was going to be a fresh install and do some "mining".

    1st impressions (not a FanBoy, actually been using a Vaio TX for about 1 1/2 years which I have been very happy with)

    Love the backlit keyboard, nice touch
    Love the quiet!!
    Have no regrets, well worth it!!

  • Evangelist Level 1 (120 points)
    Hey Brian, what's the easiest way to do a "custom install" for OS X???
  • Brian Caslis Level 3 (795 points)
    Boot from the DVD, and do an erase and install. At the screen after the erase and install option, there should be button on the bottom left (don't have disc with me so I'm doing this from memory) saying something like "Options". Click that and you can select and deselect pieces to install. Obvious things to not include are printer drivers for printers you don't use and apps you don't use. Not a lot you can exclude from the core OS itself.
  • Evangelist Level 1 (120 points)
    OK, thanks. Is the "erase" an actual option that can chosen?
  • BarryXSharp Level 5 (7,875 points)
    OK, thanks. Is the "erase" an actual option that can chosen?

    Yes it is. It's labeled as "Install & Erase" if I recall correctly.

    Remove all languages except English will save ~3GB
    Remove all print drivers except say HP and that saves another 2GB easily
    Remove Apps you don't need could save another 3GB

    These three alone adds to 8GB.

    So if bundled OS yields 34GB free space you should be able to raise this to around 45GB is my guess.
  • Evangelist Level 1 (120 points)
    Awesome! 8GBs is quite a lot on the SSD!

    Thanks for the info!
  • BarryXSharp Level 5 (7,875 points)

    Of course a user with the MBA w/SSD will need say a MacBook Core Duo (i.e., a Rev A MacBook) 2GHz with say 2GB RAM to make a decent comparison for helping us understand the performance benefits of SSD. Mind you, the SSD offers more than just performance of traditional HDDs - there's the aspect of heat, battery drain, durability, etc.

    In all honesty, my greatest fear with the MBA w/HDD is the durability of the 1.8" iPod-like HDD. The iPod HDD has suffered from premature failures and this fact raises issues for me wrt the MBA w/HDD. Even with 2.5" HDD in the MacBook has causes issues for some users. I have a Rev A MacBook Core Duo (Black) and I've gone thru 2 HDD with it. Thank goodness the HDD is easy to replace on the MacBook. THis isn't so user-friendly on the MBA.
  • Evangelist Level 1 (120 points)
    Yeah, Barry, that's important and I'm glad you pointed it out about the SSD! I have posted several times in other threads the same thing: there's so much more to the advantages of the SSD compared to the regular HD than just the benchmarks!
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