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Buying an SSD


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#1 tarvos

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Posted 25 November 2011 - 12:57 AM

I need help picking out an SSD. I'm not sure whether to get a 64 or 128 because 64 should be plenty for the operating system and applications (and put user folder on a separate HD) but it wouldn't hurt to have some flexibility for the future.

I'm on a Mac so a requirement is that I can update the firmware. I will probably be installing Windows 7 on it too, though, so if it will work from that, that's fine.

I like the idea of the new SandForce-based drives and the DuraWrite they use (I won't be using TRIM since that's not supported and the 3rd party trim enabler causes a lot of problems) but as long as it's fast and writing to it won't choke after a few years (I'll be using this for at least 3-4 years) it's not necessary.

I heard the OCZ Vertex 3 and Crucial M4 are good drives. Any others to consider? I'm not looking for absolute top of the line, but just good speeds and good reliability. About $200ish max budget.

And on another note, would it be a better choice to just wait a year to buy it because of the technology getting cheaper?

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#2 rotor123

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Posted 25 November 2011 - 06:16 PM

OCZ will for sure need firmware updates. Sandforce has had a troubled history with firmware releases. Any SSD you are looking at read the user reviews they'll tell the tale over a period of time.

Samsung would work very well for you, Plus it is my understanding they are one of the OEM SSD makers used by Apple.
Samsung and Intel are both reliable. However since you mention MAC I suggest Samsung. I also suggest you get double what you think you can get by with. Having free space on the drive will enhance its life due to wear leveling having more room to work with.

I know for sure that with the Intel drives the larger ones are faster than the smaller ones too.

Better to have to much room than to find out down the road you need to buy bigger.

As I understand it the Samsungs have decent garbage collection routines built in.
You can't run the latest MAC OS? I thought I read that they now supported TRIM?
Intel has a Windows program "SSD Toolbox" that you can run once a week to aid in garbage collection.


http://www.macrumors.com/2011/07/26/apple-still-using-ssds-with-varying-speeds-on-new-macbook-air/
"
Tuesday July 26, 2011 8:26 am PDT by Eric Slivka
Several months ago, we noted that Apple appeared to be using two different suppliers, Samsung and Toshiba, for the solid-state drives (SSDs) on its MacBook Air models. Notably, the Samsung SSDs registered significantly faster read and write speeds than the Toshiba SSDs.... More at the link
"

Edited by rotor123, 25 November 2011 - 06:23 PM.

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#3 tarvos

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Posted 26 November 2011 - 08:34 PM

Samsung 470 looks pretty nice.

Trim is supported on Apple SSDs (like those that come in the Macbook Air) but I don't think it is supported on 3rd party SSDs.

Any other suggestions? Any reason why not the Crucial?

#4 rotor123

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Posted 27 November 2011 - 09:23 AM

Samsung 470 looks pretty nice.

Trim is supported on Apple SSDs (like those that come in the Macbook Air) but I don't think it is supported on 3rd party SSDs.

Any other suggestions? Any reason why not the Crucial?


Why not the Crucial? Sandforce has had firmware issues, hopefully fixed now. Crucial is not a hard drive maker, Samsung also makes hard drive as well as SSDs. Samsung is good enough to be a Apple supplier of SSDs. Intel 320 series has a five year warranty. From what I've read Samsung makes their own memory and controller chip.

Crucial will most likely be a bit faster on Benchmarks, in the real world I doubt you'll see a difference.
I use a workstation with a 10,000 RPM Ultra 320 SCSI at work and a Intel 320 series at home. At work despite the fast hard drive Firefox is slow loading and on the Intel it pops right up. Same with Thunderbird. The Samsungs work just as good. I used two of them as backups and testing them afterwards they performed good too. I already had to restore my Brothers computer from the backup due to his catching a Virus.

If you had a computer case where the insides are visible the Samsungs just look good too. Just not a factor in your Mac.

FWIW I believe I had read that Apple now supports TRIM for all SSDs, Some research needed there to be sure.

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#5 tarvos

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Posted 27 November 2011 - 03:13 PM

But the Crucial M4 isn't based on a SandForce chip... :huh:

Do you know anything about the new Samsung 870? I know my mbp only supports 3gbps but it wouldn't hurt to future proof it.

I've read about a lot of problems with the OCZ Vertex 3 on the mbp.. even with the firmware update so that's out of the books now. The crucial M4 on mbps seem to be a mixed bag.. in the past a lot of people had to downgrade their EFI to 1.6 (and be limited to 1.5gbps) to alleviate the issues... which I wouldn't be willing to do, but I've also read that the new crucial firmware update also fixes it..

#6 rotor123

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Posted 28 November 2011 - 11:45 AM

I hadn't looked at the Crucial that deeply. The Sandforce warning was a generic one since it isn't used only in OCZ, other brands use it too.

Since your research shows that the Crucial has had problems in the MBP and hopefully the new firmware fixes it I'd still stay away. You would hate to find out later it didn't fix it.

I only have the older Samsungs, Are you sure you don't mean the Samsung 830 series. The 830 wasn't out at the time. I would read user reviews, not reviewer reviews. I do see that their 512Gb is reasonable priced compared to Intel for example. Only $850. Yeah very high but others are higher.

I looked at some user reviews for the 830 Series and they seem OK.

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#7 amstadaM

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Posted 28 November 2011 - 03:55 PM

Just bought a Crucial M4 128gb. It is running perfectly and have no complaints..

Great for the price IMO!
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#8 tarvos

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Posted 28 November 2011 - 04:18 PM

Yeah I'm really leaning towards the Crucial M4 right now. Would like the Samsung (yes I meant 830) but it just hasn't been out long enough to see if any problems with mid 2009 mbp's.

What price did you get it at? I want to buy from Newegg b/c of their great customer service but the--out of stock-- price right now is $209, it has been sub 200 for the last couple months.

#9 amstadaM

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Posted 28 November 2011 - 04:34 PM

I bought mine at Newegg for 209$.

I have been looking around trying to see how cheap they would get for the good ole "Cyber Monday".. But, no price drops for the Crucial M4 that I can find.


To me there are pro's and con's to every hardware device. From my experience and a few others that I know that have a Crucial M4... They enjoy and it works well!

Good luck!

Edited by amstadaM, 28 November 2011 - 04:35 PM.

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#10 tarvos

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Posted 30 November 2011 - 12:10 AM

I went out on a limb and just bought an OCZ Vertex 3. I know I know but I did it for four reasons:

1. The SandForce firmware 2.15 is supposed to be pretty good at fixing the stability issues

2. It's got much better garbage collection than the M4 and comparable Samsung drives. I don't want to hack enable trim so this should be sufficient.

2. The issues people were reporting on Mid 2009 Macbook Pro's (that use SATA 2 connector) seem to be fixed entirely with a patch posted by OCZ about a month ago. See here: http://www.ocztechnologyforum.com/forum/showthread.php?96106-Macbook-users-with-1.5Gb-s-link-instead-of-3Gb-s-link

Before, the drives were reverting to SATA 1 (1.5 Gbps link speeds) speeds instead of the SATA 2 that the cables support, and beachballs were rampant. From the few pages of users posting their results, the issues seem to be entirely fixed.

3. It's dirt freakin' cheap at $170 after a rebate


I could have gone with a Crucial M4 but even that had it's fair share of problems.. couldn't ascertain for sure whether the new firmware fixed the problem of macbook pro's beachballing and people having to downgrade to EFI 1.6.. and it's $40 more right now on NewEgg.

Thanks for the help though peeps

Edited by tarvos, 30 November 2011 - 12:11 AM.


#11 rotor123

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Posted 30 November 2011 - 11:24 AM

Good Luck

Why not post back after using it for a while.

Just curious how it works out for you.

Cheers

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#12 tarvos

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Posted 30 November 2011 - 09:24 PM

Will do :)

#13 tarvos

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Posted 01 January 2012 - 03:05 AM

Just installed the SSD and optibay the other day and it has been pretty frustrating to get it set up as I like but I have had 0 problems with the drive so far. After running a speed fix (had to borrow an external CD drive to boot the iso off) I am now getting 160 MB/s write, 256 MB/s read. My battery life has been shot though, it seems like I am only getting about 3 hours with the HDD unmounted and 2 with it mounted.. was like 4.5 hrs before, but I am going to look into that more and figure out how to resolve it (shouldn't be this different because the idle wattage is about the same as the HDD).

No beachballs so I haven't bothered to update the firmware to the latest.

Will post back in a month or two as well.

Edited by tarvos, 01 January 2012 - 03:06 AM.





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