11 Replies Latest reply: Jan 9, 2014 11:12 AM by rebbi
Rick Lecoat Level 1 (145 points)

I have an (early) 2008 Macbook Pro 15". I have been considering replacing the HDD with a SSD to give the machine a bit of a boost, but I'm having doubts about it. The thing is that, according to System Profiler, my MBP would appear to have only a SATA-1 interface, limited to 1.5 Gigabit link speed (both basic and 'negotiated'). This being the case, is there any real point in me putting an expensive 6G SSD into a machine which, if I understand the technicalities correctly, can only make use of a quarter of the drive's potential speed?


Grateful for any words of wisdom you can offer.


MacBook Pro (15-inch Early 2008), Mac OS X (10.6.8), 2.6 GHz, 4GB RAM, 7200 rpm drive
  • ds store Level 7 (30,325 points)

    No, use a 7,200 RPM hard drive, you'll get more storage and save a fortune.


    That machine is 4 years old, at it's end of life stage, when it dies, you can place the internal drive into a enclosure and use it for a backup /clone.


     Most commonly used backup methods explained

  • Shootist007 Level 6 (16,660 points)

    And older system don't handle SSDs that well, for whatever reason.

  • OGELTHORPE Level 8 (45,045 points)

    I concurr with ds store.  I would install a 750 GB 7200rpm HDD instead.


    I personally feel the the capacity/price ratio for SSDs is still too high and the additional speed that is obtained is of minimal value.



  • Amanuensis Level 1 (0 points)

    I put a 120gb patriot SSD into my early 2008 MacBook Pro late last year and I'm very happy with the results.  My machine flies, and is faster than all my roommates new laptops that are using HDD's.  I already had an external harddrive laying around for extra storage space. 


    You shouldn't be concerned about the difference between SATA I, II, or III speeds, as all are backwards compatible and even a Sata I SSD connection will feel significantly faster than a 5,400 RPM HDD.


    Best of luck.

  • dvanderhoop Level 1 (0 points)

    I also have an early 2008 15" MacBook pro. I put a 7200 RPM drive into it a year ago with very little performance benefit. A month ago I took advantage of an OWC close out on a 3G SATA II 480 Gb SSD and the difference is amazing. Best bang for the buck upgrade I've ever performed. No spinning beach balls. Microsoft word and excel open in one second instead of twenty-five seconds. Prior to the SSD, I'd been thinking I had to upgrade. That is no longer necessary-My laptop is now responsive and a pleasure to use.

  • tsairox Level 1 (0 points)

    I have the same MBP as you.  Where do I get this SSD?  I want to upgrade badly.  Mac OS X Lion won't update past 10.7.4 to 10.7.5 and the Apple store has told me 3x that it is because I upgraded my hd from the 320GB that was in it to a Seagate 750Gb.  Strange because I went from Leopard->Snow Leopard->Lion with no problem until this update.  The internet is flooded with problems with this update.  I have tried every solution from every forum and still have to revert back to 10.7.4.  Upgrading to SSD may be may last hope before installing Linux on it. .


    Thanks for your help.



  • dvanderhoop Level 1 (0 points)

    OWC, a.k.a. Other World Computing is a vendor that has supported Macs for many years. Just a great company. I've bought many internal hard drives, RAM, external hard drives, etc. from them over the years. They also offer great support. If you get on their mailing list, they offer deals and the occasional garage sale.You can find their SSD drives here:




    If you are the kind of person who buys used equipment, or refurbished laptops from Apple, note that some of the February 2011 MacBook Pros didn't play well with any SATA III 6G SSD drives but did fine with SATA II, 3G SSD drives. Supposedly, those problems were eliminated from the October 2011 MBP lineup. I bought the 3G SATA II for my early 2008 MBP, reasoning that I might one day upgrade to a February 2011 MBP and would transfer my SSD drive to that machine. Also, back when I bought my SSD, there was an appreciable difference in cost between the 3G and 6G drives. But now, not only have the drives dropped almost a hundred bucks in cost, the cost difference between the 3G and 6G basic drive isn't much different. I'm guessing that the 6G drive will work in our 2008 machine but I would check with OWC first. Note that there are other good brands of SSDs out there, but there are also some really bad ones. So look around and do your research so you don't get burned. But quite frankly, you are probably best off just going to OWC (No, I don't work for them-I just prefer doing business with them).


    After reading your post, I pulled out my old 7200 hard drive to see what system I was running when I made the switch to an SSD, and it was 10.7.3. So that's what went on my SSD. Since then, I've put Mountain Lion on it which has worked flawlessly (hate what they've done to Contacts, though). So you might ask if I've changed my mind after almost eight months? Not a bit. I spent over $600 on the SSD which some might argue would have been better spent on a newer MBP, but for me, it was the right way to go. My laptop is very responsive and a pleasure to use. As I mentioned before, I was thinking I would have to upgrade to a newer MBP and was constantly perusing Craigslist or looking at Apple's refurbished laptops, but since this upgrade, I've completely lost interest in upgrading.


    One thing I might recommend is taking advantage of one of OWC's bundles where you buy not only the SSD but also an external case that you can put your old hard drive in. That is what I did. If you buy the Firewire version, you can use it as a backup system to boot up your laptop to run Lion, or you can erase it and use it as a Time Machine backup drive, or just use it as an empty drive to transfer or store files.


    I am not aware of any problem with using a 750 Gb drive on our almost five year old MBP. Doesn't sound right.


    Good luck

  • dvanderhoop Level 1 (0 points)

    After I posted that message, I thought wait a minute.... so I went back to look at my OWC receipt. Turns out that I actually bought this closeout drive in March, so I'm going on nine to ten months of flawless, consistent performance. Also, their 480 Gb drives are currently selling for a little over $500 if you are on their mailing list. I paid $599 but if memory serves, they were selling 480 Gb drives for around $700 at the time. So they have dropped substantially in price since then.

  • rebbi Level 2 (255 points)

    Although I am very late to this conversation, I wanted to chime in here and say that I am just about to install a solid-state drive (in addition to upgrading my memory from 4 GB to 6 GB) in an early-2008 MacBook Pro 15 inch laptop. I am really excited about this. I ordered a 480 gigabyte Samsung drive from Amazon.com and 6 GB of memory from OWC.


    I am just really getting into editing all of the 12 years of mini DV tapes I have shot on my FireWire based camcorder. I wanted to "goose" the performance of my old laptop for several reasons. First, I don't want to spend the money on a brand-new machine. Second, the current MacBook Pros (Retina models) have only the Thunderbolt Port and lack any native FireWire connectivity, My current machine sports one FireWire 400 Port and one FireWire 800 Port. I know that the serial ATA Interface on my MacBook Pro motherboard will limit the performance of the drive, But from everything I've read online, it should still really bump up the performance of my machine. Additionally, the price of solid-state drives has continued to drop pretty steadily since this thread originated. I got my Samsung drive for well under $400.

  • dvanderhoop Level 1 (0 points)

    Hi Rebbi,

         just got an email that you posted to this thread.... Just a short update and some thoughts.... My OWC SSD is going on two years old now and is working perfectly. My son and daughter were home over the holidays, sporting their 2012 (son) and 2013 (daughter) MacBook Pros, both with Apple SSDs,  so one morning I ran a test comparing mine to my daughters. I was very pleasantly surprised. Yes, hers booted slightly faster but to my surprise, Excel booted more quickly on mine from the second boot on.


         I also spent the holidays importing all my Sony videotapes onto a new external hard drive because I was afraid that the tapes, dating back to 1986 were in danger of becoming brittle. My early 2008 MacBook Pro handled it fine.


         I was a little disappointed that the new late 2013 MacBook Pros do not use a conventionally sized hard drive, so my 2.5" SSD can only be used in MacBook Pros from last year and older, or be used in an external case. As a result, when the time comes, I'll probably buy one of the 2012 models so I can transfer the SSD. Of course, that won't be necessary if my laptop continues to perform as it does. Who knows, maybe it will last another six years ;-)


         Have fun with your new SSD. You will notice a difference!

  • rebbi Level 2 (255 points)

    Okay, as promised, here's my quick report. While my extra 2 gigs of RAM is held up by bad weather at the UPS facility in Mesquite, Texas , I installed my new SSD this morning. It is SO AMAZING!    


    Programs launch really quickly.

    My battery life is better.

    My computer is whisper quiet.

    I now have no longing for a new laptop, as my old MBP seems nearly as responsive as the new models in the Apple Store... plus, I get to keep all my nice USB and FireWire ports for video editing.


    Don't hesitate for an instant to make this upgrade... it virtually gives you a brand new machine for relatively very little money.