Is SSD Worth It? Performance Tests With MacBook Pro

Solid State Drives cost more per gigabyte than standard hard drives but promise better performance, durability and more. Just how much more? Macworld tested a couple of MacBook Pros (one with typical HDD and the other upgraded with SSD) to find out.

Sometimes it's hard to decide whether the SSD upgrade option is worth the extra cost, especially since upgrading to SSD reduces the storage capacity in your computer. In the MacBook Pro test example, upgrading from a 320GB HDD to the 128GB SSD adds $US250 to the price of the entry-level model (raising it from $US1199 to $US1449). Apple's higher capacity SSD options are even pricier: $US400 for a 256GB SSD or $US1000 for 512GB.

So, is it worth the extra cost? In their testing of several MacBook Pro configurations (one 13-inch with the upgraded 128GB SSD, one with a standard 5400-rpm drive, and a couple of others), MacWorld found that:

  • The SSD upgrade made the 13-inch MacBook Pro boot faster, in 20 seconds versus 38 seconds (of note, the 13-inch MacBook Air with flash storage booted in 15 seconds)
  • The MacBook with the SSD upgrade was also 20 per cent faster in Speedmark tests — taking less than half the time to copy a file and significantly faster in other file operations.
  • SSD also enabled the MacBook Pro to outperform a model with a faster processor, at least in disk-intensive tests: the 13-inch 2.3GHz Core i5 MacBook Pro with SSD was 8 per cent faster than the 2.7GHz Core i7 MacBook Pro with a 500GB 5400-rpm HDD.

There you have some concrete measurements, and something to consider particularly if you're looking at MacBook Pro configurations. Coupled with the speed boosts, SSD's greater impact resistance, noiseless operation, battery life, and durability may very well make it worth the upgrade for you — if you can live with the smaller drive capacity.

Note: You can also install a SSD in your MacBook yourself (and possibly save some cash) and we also have a guide to help if you're still wondering whether solid state drives are worth the money. Photo by gillyberlin

How SSD Affects 13-in 2.3GHz Core i5 MacBook Pro Performance [PCWorld/Macworld]


Comments

    Now if you could just find some info on a real computer please :]

    Thats... not as much of an improvement as I expected. I wonder how a 7200 (or, if you're feeling brave, a VelociRaptor) would compare to an SSD? Certainly the price/GB is always in HDDs favour.

      VelociRaptor requires 12v power as well as 5v (same as all desktop drives), which I do not believe the MBP sata connector will provide... even if it does physically fit.

      Wouldn't a 7200 drive consume more battery?

      When you stop thinking in terms of $/GB or thinking of SSDs as a storage device and instead think of them as a performance device similar to processor/RAM it will all make sense.

        I agree with James and would also like to point out that an SSD is for performance so why even compare $/GB? I have an SSD, the whole computer runs much smoother.

    Putting the benchmarks aside and offering some real world experieince... the snappiest, fastest, best, most pleasant to use portable computer I've ever owned or used is my Macbook Air 11" which on the surface has terrrible specs... 2GB RAM, some slow sub 2Ghz core 2 duo ancient processor... yet it FLIES thanks to the SSD... Best portable I had prior to that was a +$2K Dell with 7200rpm HDD and 4GB RAM and Core i5... but MBA is MUCH faster in ALL areas.

    Or get the best of both worlds - for $120 I got a 7200rpm hybrid 500GB drive with a wee 12gb SSD on top, works very nicely. Other than that, get an optibay, get rid of your dvd drive (do you ever use it?) and install a 500gb hd in one, and an ssd in the other. Sautéed.

      Is that the seagate hybrid drive ? Where did get it for $120?

    hi there i want pure speed not battery life give me a warp 5 hard drive with 5 minutes of battery with hard drives spinning 5 times light speed alwsoume

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