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  • [Review] Crucial 128GB Solid State Drive MacBook Pro Upgrade

    Upgrading to a solid state drive is like getting your first Mac; there's no going back.

    A solid state drive is a disk drive that is comprised of flash memory. They are super fast, super durable, super quiet, and super power-efficient. Along with that, they are super expensive. The standard storage drive for most computers is a hard disk drive, which is a cheaper alternative to computer storage than solid state storage. Hard disk drives use magnetic technology to store data on a literal hard metal disk. This makes them vulnerable to magnet damage, and since it is comprised of moving parts, it uses more power and it can be detrimental if dropped or not handled correctly. A solid state drive on the other hand, can be dropped, hit, pummeled by magnets, no matter what, it can usually survive. Solid state memory is used today in commercial jet airliners in something called the black box. It is used to store sounds that come from the cockpit; these are also known as CVR/FDR (Cockpit Voice Recorder/Flight Data Recorder)'s and they can be used in the event that there is a plane crash to help learn what caused the crash. Yes; solid state memory takes a huge beating in a plane crash and it survives. They don't use hard disk drives because they are sensitive to movement which could damage the data.

    Crucial is a good company for buying solid state drives from. Albeit expensive for equal storage in hard disk drive form, there is no comparison to the speeds of a solid state drive. Just like the iPad, a solid state drive can make your computer have that 'instant on' effect. Anyone who has used a newer generation MacBook Air knows the glory and benefits of flash storage over a traditional hard disk dive. Applications open faster, the operating system boots up faster, and data is written much faster than if you had used a hard disk drive.

    I bought a 128GB Crucial solid state drive a couple of weeks ago and I have been toying around with it ever since. The first picture of this review is the underbelly of my 13-inch MacBook pro with the Crucial solid state drive installed in the lower left of the computer case. It's a 2.5 inch solid state memory case with all of the specifications on it and it is connected inside of the computer the same way that a hard disk drive is; with a SATA connector and power supply. Since getting the solid state drive, I've been launching a myriad of applications at once (60 or more) and all of the applications open within 20 seconds. Opening any application, one at a time, only takes less than a mere second. On a hard disk drive, opening certain applications can take upwards of around 20 seconds (Final Cut Pro, Adobe Photoshop, iWork applications). The solid state drive also brings boot speeds to a better speed than with the 5400RPM stock hard disk drive that came with this MacBook Pro. With the stock hard disk drive, booting up to Mac OS X Lion took around 40 seconds. After installing the solid state drive, it takes around 6 seconds. This is a major improvement over the slow 5400RPM hard disk drive.

    To show you all some of the benefits of the speed differences, I downloaded an application in the Mac App Store known as Blackmagic Disk Speed Test which can be downloaded for free here. Below are two pictures; the first one is the 5400RPM hard disk drive's read and write speeds. Under that is the solid state drive's read and write speeds:




    You can see that the speed increases are not marginal, but quite the contrary. The speed differences are tremendous. Since images alone are not cool enough to show off of the speed differences of the upgrade, I composed a video showing the difference in speed by duplicating a 740MB video file. The test was done on the same MacBook Pro with the same hardware; the only difference being a hard disk drive and a solid state drive. So the test is accurate to a tee. Additionally, duplicating a file with Mac OS X demonstrates both read and write speeds, as the drive has to read the original file to write a copy of it. Here is the comparison:



    The solid state drive was done within seconds; the hard disk drive took over a minute. Over time, these speed differences make a huge difference in your computing. I am very happy with the upgrade.

    MacBook Pro 13" original hard disk drive specifications:
    5400RPM Seagate 320GB; 2.5 inch hard disk drive

    MacBook Pro 13" new solid state drive specifications:
    NAND Crucial M4 128GB; 2.5 inch solid state drive

    All in all, I've noticed better battery life, better speeds, and a better computer. I recommend the Crucial solid state drive upgrade. Crucial manufactures RAM and solid state upgrades for just about any computer on the market. They operate from a company called Micron which produces their memory upgrades. The pricing is great. I got myself an 8GB RAM upgrade for only $50 there; doing so through Apple would have cost me $200. I highly recommend the solid state drive upgrade to anyone who is serious about boosting the speed of their computer. It comes with a price tag; but I couldn't be happier with the end results.

    You can pick up a Crucial solid state drive for yourself from Crucial's Web Site or you can order the same 128GB 2.5 inch model that I bought by clicking here.

    The cost lineup for one of Crucial's solid state drives are as follows:
    • 64GB - $118.99
    • 128GB - $209.99
    • 256GB - $410.99
    • 512GB - $794.99
    So folks, are you interested in upgrading to solid state storage? Share in the comments below!

    Sources: Crucial
    This article was originally published in forum thread: [Review] Crucial 128GB Solid State Drive MacBook Pro Upgrade started by Anthony Bouchard View original post
    Comments 33 Comments
    1. heavens_blade's Avatar
      heavens_blade -
      my mid 2009 mbp has a owc 120 gb ssd and the owc data doubler. I've been using it for more than a year and so far no problems. I've also maxed out my ram to 8 gb so my mbp is insanely fast. it puts new mbp's to shame. this is an upgrade worth doing. I just bought an enclosure for my super drive to use it as an external dvd drive.
    1. Anthony Bouchard's Avatar
      Anthony Bouchard -
      Quote Originally Posted by heavens_blade View Post
      my mid 2009 mbp has a owc 120 gb ssd and the owc data doubler. I've been using it for more than a year and so far no problems. I've also maxed out my ram to 8 gb so my mbp is insanely fast. it puts new mbp's to shame. this is an upgrade worth doing. I just bought an enclosure for my super drive to use it as an external dvd drive.
      You should grab that 16GB RAM upgrade. But if your upgrade puts the newer (my) MacBook Pro to shame, then after I install the upgrade we should drag race ;D
    1. heavens_blade's Avatar
      heavens_blade -
      Quote Originally Posted by Anthony Bouchard View Post
      You should grab that 16GB RAM upgrade. But if your upgrade puts the newer (my) MacBook Pro to shame, then after I install the upgrade we should drag race ;D
      when I get it then we could definitely drag race bro!
    1. s0ulp1xel's Avatar
      s0ulp1xel -
      Have those for the iPad? LOL
    1. MSFLFC's Avatar
      MSFLFC -
      Quote Originally Posted by Anthony Bouchard View Post
      You should grab that 16GB RAM upgrade. But if your upgrade puts the newer (my) MacBook Pro to shame, then after I install the upgrade we should drag race ;D
      Anthony / anybody,

      I quote you:

      With the stock hard disk drive, booting up to Mac OS X Lion took around 40 seconds. After installing the solid state drive, it takes around 6 seconds.

      There is no way your MacBook Pro boots in 6 seconds FROM pushing the start button UNTIL you see the desktop (I have the 256GB SSD Crucial M4 in my MB Pro Early 2011 model running Lion and it boots in around 18 seconds (FROM - UNTIL above). I still have 170GB free storage space left.
      I have 8GB ram.

      I do not believe the 128GB does it any faster.

      If yours do it 6 seconds how do you reach that phenomenal speed???? I'd be extremely curious to know!

      (PS The Mac comes from a complete shut down state - not sleep / hibernation state).
    1. Anthony Bouchard's Avatar
      Anthony Bouchard -
      Quote Originally Posted by MSFLFC View Post
      Anthony / anybody,

      I quote you:

      With the stock hard disk drive, booting up to Mac OS X Lion took around 40 seconds. After installing the solid state drive, it takes around 6 seconds.

      There is no way your MacBook Pro boots in 6 seconds FROM pushing the start button UNTIL you see the desktop (I have the 256GB SSD Crucial M4 in my MB Pro Early 2011 model running Lion and it boots in around 18 seconds (FROM - UNTIL above). I still have 170GB free storage space left.
      I have 8GB ram.

      I do not believe the 128GB does it any faster.

      If yours do it 6 seconds how do you reach that phenomenal speed???? I'd be extremely curious to know!

      (PS The Mac comes from a complete shut down state - not sleep / hibernation state).
      It just does. I have timed it. Maybe you have more clutter in your operating system that needs to be loaded at boot. I have very minimal installed and it does boot up in 6 seconds.
    1. MSFLFC's Avatar
      MSFLFC -
      OK, so you don't have a "magical" solution for me

      Even from new with only Lion installed it took about 18 seconds.

      I'd be interested to know if anyone else can honestly verify this?
      And if anyone has any solution as to how.

      Anthony, thanks for replying.

      OK, so you don't have a "magical" solution for me

      Even from new with only Lion installed it took about 18 seconds.

      I'd be interested to know if anyone else can honestly verify this?
      And if anyone has any solution as to how.

      Anthony, thanks for replying.
    1. Anthony Bouchard's Avatar
      Anthony Bouchard -
      Quote Originally Posted by MSFLFC View Post
      OK, so you don't have a "magical" solution for me

      Even from new with only Lion installed it took about 18 seconds.

      I'd be interested to know if anyone else can honestly verify this?
      And if anyone has any solution as to how.

      Anthony, thanks for replying.

      OK, so you don't have a "magical" solution for me

      Even from new with only Lion installed it took about 18 seconds.

      I'd be interested to know if anyone else can honestly verify this?
      And if anyone has any solution as to how.

      Anthony, thanks for replying.
      18 seconds to boot up Lion? That's half of the speed of my 5400RPM hard disk drive. Maybe you have a malfunctioning drive.
    1. MSFLFC's Avatar
      MSFLFC -
      Yes 18 seconds.

      MB Pro is completely shut down - I am timing it from the very moment I push the START button. I stop the timer the moment I see the desktop. 18 seconds on the dot.

      Do you time it the same way?

      Otherwise we may be comparing oranges to apples.

      I might contact Crucial.
    1. Anthony Bouchard's Avatar
      Anthony Bouchard -
      Quote Originally Posted by MSFLFC View Post
      Yes 18 seconds.

      MB Pro is completely shut down - I am timing it from the very moment I push the START button. I stop the timer the moment I see the desktop. 18 seconds on the dot.

      Do you time it the same way?

      Otherwise we may be comparing oranges to apples.

      I might contact Crucial.
      I am uploading a video to YouTube to show you; give me about 5 minutes

      EDIT: Here is my latest bootup; around 8-9 total seconds dedicated to bootup.
    1. MSFLFC's Avatar
      MSFLFC -
      Great - thanks.

      Timing mine from when the start up sounds comes (when your clip starts as well) lets my Mac boot in 13 seconds straight.

      This brings my boot time close to yours (8-9 seks vs 13).

      I see that I have twice as many programs in my dock than you including MS Office for Mac, iWorks, etc... So the difference might be
      those extra programs.

      My Mac does however get pretty hot when doing some simple gaming and having web browser open.
      So I might contact Crucial to know whether I have a case for the heating up.

      It comes and goes, like the fans noise.

      Thanks for getting back to me.
    1. Anthony Bouchard's Avatar
      Anthony Bouchard -
      Quote Originally Posted by MSFLFC View Post
      Great - thanks.

      Timing mine from when the start up sounds comes (when your clip starts as well) lets my Mac boot in 13 seconds straight.

      This brings my boot time close to yours (8-9 seks vs 13).

      I see that I have twice as many programs in my dock than you including MS Office for Mac, iWorks, etc... So the difference might be
      those extra programs.

      My Mac does however get pretty hot when doing some simple gaming and having web browser open.
      So I might contact Crucial to know whether I have a case for the heating up.

      It comes and goes, like the fans noise.

      Thanks for getting back to me.
      Try using OnyX to empty all of your caches and see if that helps you boot up any faster.
    1. MSFLFC's Avatar
      MSFLFC -
      Thanks, will try that. Cheers