13 Replies Latest reply: Jul 21, 2010 7:06 AM by ch0b1ts2600
Tom Kirkman Level 3 (800 points)
I am getting ready to order a new MacBook Pro. What is the advantage, if any, of the solid state drive option? I would assume this is something that has no moving parts thus the computer could be moved while in use and there is greater dependabilty. True? I value any opinions that you can offer. Thanks.

2009 iMac, Mac OS X (10.5.6)
  • J D McIninch Level 5 (4,060 points)
    Pros: extremely fast (0ms seek time, transfer rate at bus speed), use slightly less power, generate less heat, more durable (no mechanical parts at all)

    Cons: much more expensive per GB of storage, lower capacity, performance (write) decreases as they fill (particularly after 80% capacity) due to wear-leveling.

    A solid-state disk makes sense if you: a.) have the cash for it, b.) are doing things that are disk-performance bound (constantly reading/writing to the disk). A hard disk makes sense if you want to save money or need more space.
  • JoeyR Level 6 (8,280 points)
    Another option (although not an option through Apple) is Seagate's recently released Momentus XT. This is a hybrid hard drive. It uses 4GB of SLC flash (in addition to 32MB cache)in conjunction with a standard hard drive. Firmware within the drive determines the data most often used and stores it in the flash portion. All reviews are showing close to SSD performance after a few uses (so the firmware can get a chance to store the data on the flash). The over all performance is not on par with an actual SSD, but the performance is significantly improved over a standard hard drive. The biggest benefit being the much more reasonable price. A 500GB SSD goes for about $1500 US while the 500GB Momentus XT goes for about $130 US. This is actually slightly more expensive than a standard hard drive, but significantly less expensive than a comparable SSD.
  • PhilippeY Level 1 (5 points)
    My main motive for using an SSD is peace of mind. You can move laptop with an SSD, not worry about bumpy rides in airplanes, in trucks or in tanks
  • JoeyR Level 6 (8,280 points)
    SSDs are certainly more robust and nearly indestructible. It really depends on what your needs are. To be honest, standard hard drives are remarkably robust as well. I've never had a hard drive fail in a notebook (going back nearly 20 years)due to movement. I've never treated them particularly gently either. During that time they have become much more reliable and incorporated technologies to make them even more reliable. After all, billions of notebooks have been sold over the years with hard drives. SSDs are only a recent development. It's also worth noting that while SSDs have no moving parts, it is not all that uncommon for them to fail (although this tends to happen early on). If you need a rock solid drive because you expect to be in environments subject to some extreme shock and need to reduce the likelihood of failure to the absolute lowest possible, an SSD is probably worth it. If your consideration is more towards performance, an SSD is still your best bet, but a hybrid drive is a very close second at a very reasonable price.
  • Tom Kirkman Level 3 (800 points)
    Thank you. If the standard hard drives are truly reliable in a notebook, then I might consider sticking with one of those, maybe. I'll just have to think about it a bit.

    I don't plan to drop and bang the thing around, but I do shift it around from time to time while in use.
  • Xandris Level 2 (160 points)
    Notebook hard drives are the LEAST reliable part of a computer. They are the LEAST reliable parts probably in any computer. I work at a computer repair shop. I get several dead hard drives on a weekly basis that require replacement. Its very rarely the result of "movement" of the computer while the drive is spinning, although it does happen. While SSD drives arent the perfect solution, especially with a Mac, since there is NO TRIM support in OSX, they do offer speed, less heat, and generally higher reliability. Much smaller size is a major factor however.
  • tomcat1990 Level 1 (0 points)
    you can now use seagate Momentus XT until the end of year intel will introduce new ssd drive with bigger capacity but i think the price will still around 500-600$
  • spiraleye Level 1 (0 points)
    tomcat1990 wrote:
    you can now use seagate Momentus XT until the end of year intel will introduce new ssd drive with bigger capacity but i think the price will still around 500-600$

    you can now use seagate Momentus XT

    Am about to buy a new laptop. When you say 'use' do u mean it can be installed into a MacBook Pro instead of the factory SSD, or do u mean it can be used as an additional external drive? I do live performance video processing realttime and use my laptop on a rolling trolley sometimes during the shows. I am thinking SSD is best way for me to go, since I need robust and fast.
    I am also doing some projects in the Amazon... so robust is essential.

  • Jolly Blackburn1 Level 4 (1,510 points)
    Same here. My first Apple Laptop was purchased in 1995. I've never had a HD failure (knock wood). And my last powerbook 15" was dropped twice. The Optical drive died but the HD kept right on going.

    Course YMMV. I'm interested in getting an SSD but not for a few years yet. The price would have to drop a LOT. More storage capacity at this point is more important to me than rock solid stability. If HD's were more prone to failure (or my experience was different than it is) I might think differently.
  • spiraleye Level 1 (0 points)
    For my live video performance work I have been using a fast external 7200 firewire 800 drive for storing my video files, and keeping the internal drive as empty as possible. I had the Intel Core 2 MacBook Pro which now died.

    I am thinking to continue this method but with a new laptop with an SSD drive instead. *Anyone know if this is the best approach?*

  • eww Level 9 (52,975 points)
    If you can afford the capacity you need in SSD form, then yes, for your usage, an SSD would be more durable. Moving your computer around while you use it with a conventional hard drive operating inside it is asking for trouble.
  • tomcat1990 Level 1 (0 points)
    i mean u can install it in the macbook pro
    i have an intel ssd 160gb and from my experience its very fast if u can afford it
    and manage with the limited 160gb and i think intel will introduce new ssd line in the end of year so u can install segate xt for now