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]