I have an older MacBook Pro (Model 2,2 or about 3 years old now, I had upgraded the hard drive awhile back from the stock 120gb drive to a Samsung 500gb drive. The drive was nice for being able to keep my iTunes library as well as my pictures (I have a SLR camera so lots and lots of RAW images) with me but I would get the “spinning beach ball” a lot and having VMware Fusion open would almost make the whole computer unusable.
I started looking at replacing the Samsung with a solid state drive, Chad Sakac had a really good blog post including some performance numbers on various SSD drives, I was originally leaning towards the 128gb Kingston SSDnow drive as it seemed to be one of the better price/gb SSD’s on the market.
I ended up going with an Intel one however, I really think Intel makes some of the best consumer SSD’s on the market right now. I picked up the 80gb X25-M G2 and had it installed in no time.
One thing to be aware of: My MBP is pretty old as I mentioned, and only supports SATA I.
I did a few before and after tests, one using Xbench for disk performance, and a few others simply documenting the boot up time as well as time to open Safari. Here were my results:
This is Xbench with my old hard drive, you can see random small block reads/writes were awful – both well below 1MB/sec
And now the Xbench results after installing the SSD
Pretty impressive improvement for the random reads/writes I would say but this was more impressive to me:
I ran 3 tests booting up my computer with my old hard drive, each time stopping it once the dock/system menu/desktop icons were loaded. During the 3 tests I recorded results of 58, 53 and 48 seconds for an average of about 53 seconds from pressing the power button to being fully booted.
I also ran a few tests with Safari, rebooting/clearing cache each time and seeing how long before it opened and was loaded on google. My results were 7, 17 and 12 seconds for an average of 12 seconds.
I ran the same tests after installing the SSD, for booting up I now was at 22, 21 and 21 seconds for an average of 21.3 seconds, almost 2.5 times faster!
The Safari test was quite a bit harder, basically I would say it started in 1 second each of the 3 times which would be 12 times faster then before.
And perhaps the most important thing, I can now easily run Fusion and all my Mac apps at the same time and still have a responsive system, just need to figure out how to store less junk on the drive now!