MacBook Pro SSD vs Stock 5400 RPM HDD – SSD Performance Blows HDD Away

Dec 22, 2010 - 19 Comments

How does an SSD stand up against a stock MacBook Pro hard drive? Watch the video and it speaks for itself. 48 applications are launched simultaneously, with the SSD all the apps launch in an amazing 18 seconds. The stock spinning drive? A laggard 198 seconds to launch the exact same app.

This video shows the same MacBook Pro 17″ 2.5Ghz Core i5 model with an SSD OCZ Vertex Series drive vs the stock Hitachi 500GB 5400 RPM drive that comes standard. The disk was cloned (presumably using Carbon Copy Cloner) so everything is identical except for the drives themselves.

You can grab the OCZ 120 GB Vertex 2 Series SSD for $220 on Amazon with free shipping.

18 seconds vs 198 seconds… if that isn’t a compelling reason to upgrade I don’t know what is.

This video was found on Twitter via AppleSpotlight

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Posted by: William Pearson in Hardware, Mac

19 Comments

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  1. peter says:

    as long as you have an external drive for media storage, SSD is the way to go

    while that video seems remarkable, you get used to it once you have it, and then a spinning drive feels dreadfully slow

  2. javcab says:

    I have the same SSD OCZ Vertex and I put away the dvd rom, I never used, and then I put the Seagate Hybrid with 500 GB for all the media Stuff, now, I have a new Mac Book pro, the next step is the 8g in Ram, all this updates is just about 500 euros. Thats is far cheaper than just change or buy a new Mac Book Pro.

    I am web designer and I can feel the difference between the open and close programs with adobe CS5.

    Cheers.

  3. mystro2b says:

    I bought one of the hybrid drives for $99 you mentioned awhile back for my Macbook. I haven’t found the fast boot up times everyone talks about…tried repair disk and an update combo of Snow Leopard…anybody have any ideas?
    2.4 GHz Core 2 Duo with 4 GB of RAM

    • Tavi says:

      The hybrid won’t have the same boot times as a pure ssd because the hybrid uses it’s flash drive as a cache system for currently accessed data almost like a ram disk.

      The boot speeds of ssd are often overstated, a Macbook air I used boots at maybe 20-30 seconds, which sure is about half the time of a hard drive but it’s hardly “instant on” which is what it’s often marketed as.

  4. Greg818 says:

    My MBP (13″ 2.4GHz/8GB of RAM) boots in 4 seconds with an SSD, compared to the 40 seconds it takes to the MBU (2.4GHz/8GHz too) with the HDD. I personally consider that as instant on… or almost.

  5. James says:

    Wow, Greg, 4 seconds is amazing! That posting alone makes me want to upgrade my MBP’s hard drive.

    I have a question. If I put in my own SSD does that void my AppleCare warranty? I’ve already installed my own 8GB of non-Apple RAM but that is so easy to swap out.. if I need to take my MBP to the Apple Store, I could just put the original memory cards back in.

    Also, has anyone found a great source for MBP (I have a 13″) SSD? Is the SSD OCZ Vertex Series the best way to go?

    Great article!

    • Joseph says:

      Putting in an SSD in your computer shouldn’t void your warranty. I took mine in and they didn’t care, though the guy was puzzled why the size of the disk was so small. I just mentioned it was an SSD and that was it. So should be the same with RAM.

      Or you know what they don’t know wont hurt them :D

  6. James says:

    Thanks, Joseph… good to know!

  7. qka says:

    Looking for a SSD – you may want to investigate Other World Computing (OWC) @ macsales.com

    I have no experience with their SSD; I’m just a happy customer of other products I’ve bought from them. They do have helpful tech support folks!

  8. Shaker says:

    I just installed the OCZ 160GB SSD in my MBP 13″ 2010-Mid; amazing difference and it about doubled the battery life too.

    I found drive performance on the stock disk absolutely dreadful, my Ubuntu desktop was so much faster it made using the laptop a very painful experience. Heck, even my old 2006 Alienware laptop was smoking the MAC. Now with 8GB of memory and the SSD drive, it’s a much better experience. Can’t wait to install Ubuntu on it… where’d I put that disk?!

  9. james braselton says:

    hi there you need too buy or download lion ox from the itunes store or apple store lion ox is expecaily adoppted for ssd solid state drive configeration but cost $29.99 from itunes or the memory stick version is like $69.99 hope this help i am on lion 10.7 ox on macbook air

  10. james braselton says:

    hi there macbook air 2.13 ghz duo core cpu 4 gb ram 256 gb ssd

  11. MC says:

    I have just returned my crucial 256Gb SDD as the performance didnt warrant the cost of £325.

    I ran geekbench before and after the install and the performance reduced in ALL categories !

    The boot time went form 53 secs to 59 secs

    Sure all apps loaded much quicker for a first time load, but they were just as quick when they loaded a second time with the HDD.

    Windows (parallels) booted in 24 secs instead of 48sec with HDD.

    Overall I cant see the value in an SDD unless you have high disk based IO workloads.

    For the standard user once you have got over the fact that the apps load quicker, everything else is much the same.

    My laptop spec is an (aluminum) 4Gb ,Macbook 2Ghz intel core 2 duo with a seagate 500Gb 7200rpm HDD.

    In summary I sent my SDD back for a full refund which I am now waiting for.

    Hope this helps ….

    • Paul G says:

      This is helpful – about to order (in UK) 15″ MCP 2.2 i7QC with 8GB Ram and am trying to decide whether to get SDD or HDD. From what you say apart from initial boot time there is not much difference in practical terms. Is the 7200 RPM HDD significantly better than 5400 RPM in terms of speed and anybody know if this makes noise/ fan difference as there seems to have been lot in forums about fan noise of 2011 MCP.

      thanks

    • SG says:

      the extra sec of your SSD vs HD (59s vs 53s)
      i believe is you didn’t set the thing right
      You MUST choose the new hard drive as your boot drive once in system preference whenever you change you HD, if you don’t, you’ll probably stay on a white screen a long time before you getting the apple appear on your boot up screen. This is becoz your mac can’t recognize ur new HD.
      i guess no SSD should use more than 15 sec boot up your mac, esp in OSX lion.

  12. SG says:

    @MC

    the extra sec of your SSD vs HD (59s vs 53s)
    i believe is you didn’t set the thing right
    You MUST choose the new hard drive as your boot drive once in system preference whenever you change you HD, if you don’t, you’ll probably stay on a white screen a long time before you getting the apple appear on your boot up screen. This is becoz your mac can’t recognize ur new HD.
    i guess no SSD should use more than 15 sec boot up your mac, esp in OSX lion.

  13. elmefarda says:

    Thnx . I was looking for this information

  14. james braselton says:

    hi there my macbook air has a 256 gb ssd and used 86 gb soo i have plenty storage i have instant on instant off fast boot up time no lag time

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