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Old 30th Apr 2012, 23:11   #1
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Fastest 120-128GB SSD

Good evening gentlemen (and ladies, if Carrie's around).

I'm purchasing a new MacBook Pro for my sister, and need some advice regarding its most important upgrade - replacing the 5400rpm 750GB default HDD with an SSD. As far as I understand, this should be a relatively simple upgrade, requiring only the special drivers necessary to get inside the MacBook's case. The MacBook's motherboard is compatible with SATA III SSDs (when installed in the HD bay, at any rate) so I don't expect any problems.

I've never bought an SSD separately before (have bought a laptop that already had one installed) and could use some advice regarding which is best. Bit-Tech recommends the Vertex 3, but its review is almost a year old - has technology moved on? Working solely on brands I recognise, and Scan, whom I know relatively well;

OCZ Vertex 3 120GB (SandForce SF2281) 106.94
Corsair Force GT 120GB (SandForce SF2200) 111.74
Crucial RealSSD M4 128GB (MLC) 103.34

I see Corsair's Performance 3 line tops the price charts (can anyone explain why?) with their Performance Pro not far behind.

Which would you recommend, if not one of the above? And for what reasons? And if you've any Mac/SSD experience, tips or tricks, please - drop me a line.
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Old 30th Apr 2012, 23:58   #2
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Right, whilst you could try using 'Trim enabler', depending upon your OSX version, there results can be very hit'n'miss with different SSDs.

(i'm not an expert on Macs & SSDs by any stretch, so i couldn't tell you which are 100% compatible with the enabler)


Now, working on the assumption that it did not work properly (& so speeds would suffer for SSDs that rely on trim), you'd then really be looking at one of two broad options -

either a sync or toggle nand SF (both the ones you've listed are sync nand ones btw)...

...or a Samsung 830

- the SFs having the more robust GC of the two, but the 830 is a very good alternative option.


Now, it's really up to you which you go for...

- A new MacBook shouldn't have any issues with the SFs (though, as always, if you did have major issues with a SF then return it for a refund & buy a SSD using an alt controller), but would suggest that you consider spending the extra for a faster toggle nand SF given that the price difference isn't huge atm...

...the 120GB V3 max iops is 125 on Amazon - & they normally have great customer service.


- Alternatively, since the f/w on the 128GB 830 was last updated, it has become slightly quicker overall than the max iops overall (though would be generally slower for reads for a normal usage)...

...but, as said the GC isn't quite as good (which 'may' lead to speeds suffering more if there's not sufficient idle time).

The 128GB 830 is just under 130 on Amazon, Dabs, etc, etc...


Oh, & if a bigger SSD would be advantageous, then i described how to get a 256GB 830 for just under 200 here.


There's other technical differences of course - the SFs have higher nand longevity & can survive an entire nand die failing (if either of them matter to you) - & that should cover the big ones.


if the extra cost of either of them is too much, unless someone can 100% guaranty that a certain non-SF SSD will work with trim enabler on your specific Macbook & version of OSX, i'd then go with whichever sync nand SF took your fancy...
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Old 1st May 2012, 09:18   #3
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I favour the Corsair Force GT as it seems to be a hell of alot more compatible with my setup....had to send my Vertex 3 back due to having too many issues with it.

They are well known for BSODing.

Im benching very good speeds with the Force GT also.
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Old 1st May 2012, 10:06   #4
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You can get in to a MBP with just a small screwdriver.
It took about 20 minutes to open mine, add 16GB RAM, a 240GB SSD & swap the optical drive for a 500GB HDD.
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Old 1st May 2012, 10:14   #5
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I'd myself go for the Samsung 830, a bit more expensive but should be rock solid.
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Old 1st May 2012, 10:57   #6
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M4 is currently the best value I'd say

currently 90 for 128gb 7mm version at ebuyer

http://www.ebuyer.com/341840-crucial...mm-ct128m4ssd1
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Old 1st May 2012, 11:53   #7
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I've see the Samsung 830 recommended for mac systems somewhere. I think it might actually be the ssd apple use in their air laptops.
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Old 1st May 2012, 12:04   #8
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And just to confuse matters with yet another recommendation, I'd recommend an Intel 520 SSD.

Not the fastest out there, but then in reality I doubt you would ever notice any difference between any of the current top rung of SSDs - all of them are veritable leaps and bounds faster than a mechanical disk.

The reasoning behind recommending Intel is that of reliability - after having had both SandForce and Crucial SSDs die on me (to be fair, the C300 came back to life, but all the data was lost), I'm shying away from them. Intel seems to have the best track record for reliability.
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Old 1st May 2012, 12:12   #9
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Certainly the 128GB SSD I've got in my MacBook is a Samsung - and what're the projected problems with SSDs under OSX? I was under the impression that OSX Lion supported TRIM, but now I see those sneaky b******s at Apple only support it for Apple's OE SSDs.

I shall look into exactly what tools I need to get under the MacBook Pro's skin - I seem to recall Apple switching to proprietary Torx-esque drivers to make it difficult, just because they can.
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Old 1st May 2012, 14:47   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by megadriveguy View Post
M4 is currently the best value I'd say

currently 90 for 128gb 7mm version at ebuyer

http://www.ebuyer.com/341840-crucial...mm-ct128m4ssd1
& you can guaranty that trim enabler will work with it with whatever the OP's buying?

The M4s are decent enough mid range SSDs, but their GC really isn't up to scratch - so there's a high risk of speed loss.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Mister_Tad View Post
And just to confuse matters with yet another recommendation, I'd recommend an Intel 520 SSD.

Not the fastest out there, but then in reality I doubt you would ever notice any difference between any of the current top rung of SSDs - all of them are veritable leaps and bounds faster than a mechanical disk.

The reasoning behind recommending Intel is that of reliability - after having had both SandForce and Crucial SSDs die on me (to be fair, the C300 came back to life, but all the data was lost), I'm shying away from them. Intel seems to have the best track record for reliability.
The 520 *is* a SF SSD...

...if you meant the 510, this has the same issue as the M4.
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Old 1st May 2012, 14:51   #11
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Fastest SSD overall is Corsair Performance pro 256GB flavour. Absolute beast.
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Old 1st May 2012, 14:52   #12
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Hexus Conclusion

Bottom line: the Performance Pro is blazing fast in almost every scenario; SSDs don't come much better than this.

http://hexus.net/tech/reviews/storag...-256gb/?page=8
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Old 1st May 2012, 15:23   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by littlepuppi View Post
Hexus Conclusion

Bottom line: the Performance Pro is blazing fast in almost every scenario; SSDs don't come much better than this.

http://hexus.net/tech/reviews/storag...-256gb/?page=8
That was before the 830 had its f/w upgrade... ...is based on the 256GB model... ...& it is less good in non-trim environments than the SFs/830 so, again, can you guaranty that trim enabler will work.

[NB i should make it clear that 'if' you are only using a SSD for highly sequential data - ie video - &/or there's loads of idle time with lots of free space (& maybe extra OP) then the lack of trim on the SSDs with worse GC isn't as important... ...but the OP's looking at an OS use on a laptop so these won't apply.]
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Old 1st May 2012, 16:27   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PocketDemon View Post

The 520 *is* a SF SSD...

...if you meant the 510, this has the same issue as the M4.
Totally didn't realise this! I Assumed all Intel ones were home brew on the basis of their earlier models.

I'm using 320s for the sake of reliability, which I would recommend, but they're certainly not the last word in performance.
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Old 1st May 2012, 16:35   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by littlepuppi View Post
Fastest SSD overall is Corsair Performance pro 256GB flavour. Absolute beast.
I have the 128 GB Performance Pro which pocket helped me choose, and its stellar for my use. Not sure if it is suitable for OP
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Old 1st May 2012, 19:56   #16
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Quote:
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I have the 128 GB Performance Pro which pocket helped me choose, and its stellar for my use. Not sure if it is suitable for OP
The PP is a great drive, don't get me wrong...

though the 830 did subsequently get a f/w upgrade that improved speeds (this was unpredictable in advance) & prices change making different choices better value for money at a given time (& that's always the case with buying anything)

...but the issue here is about buying an OS drive when no one can guaranty that it won't be in a non-trim environment - unless you buy one of the Apple approved ones.


it's basically having to look at the same premise as choosing SSDs for an OS raid R0/R1 array on a PC atm - though without the 'promise' that intel will get drivers out that will allow trim at some point (if you choose a board with an intel controller that is) since Apple like to restrict what you can do to tie you in to their upgrades.
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Old 2nd May 2012, 00:47   #17
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Yeah, Apple's playpen is a sandpit, whereas Microsoft's is more of a quarry. The former is small, safe for kids and heavily policed; the latter is huge and varied but you might break things exploring it.

Well, I'm gonna wait and see if any other OSX users want to chime in. Thankyou everyone for your input thus far, +rep all round.
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Old 2nd May 2012, 20:31   #18
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The only SandForce-based SSD I'd buy would be either Intel's 520 or 330 series, favouring the 520 series.

The SandForce SF-2281 controller is about the fastest you can get right now, but how much is that worth if you're in constant BSoD hell. Apparently, Intel has worked with SandForce for about 1.5 years on the firmware, which resulted in the most stable SF drives at the moment. Most of those firmware changes are supposedly "Intel exclusives" for the time being.
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