First of all, I own both pc and mac. I use them for different things. I don't intend to push my preference in this thread, so it's not a "<3 apple" type thing, just thought I'd share my hardware adventuring. I'm sure some of you may have thoughts or similar adventuring of your own to share. With that being said….
I have an early 2011 macbook pro. 15 inch 2.0 i7 quad core. I didn't do any advanced configurations on it. (because it was already too expensive as it was.) I haven't had any issues with my macbook. You'll notice below I replaced some of the parts (fans). I haven't had any heating issues and the fans weren't worn out. I'm just extremely paranoid about laptop heat issues. So I replaced them and applied thermal paste to the GPU and CPU. I had planned to trade in early 2012 and get an upgrade. The early 2012 models aren't out yet, but they don't look to be a redesign. Only marginal stat increases. So I ended up spending about 350 dollars acquiring the following hardware:
(X2) CORSAIR 8GB DDR3 1333 (PC3 10600) Memory CMSA16GX3M2A1333C9 optibay enclosure for 2.5" SATA device OCZ 120 GB Vertex 3 SATA III 6.0 Gb-s 2.5-Inch Solid State Drive VTX3-25SAT3-120G USB enclosure for macbook superdrive macbook pro left and right fan replacements Arctic Silver 5 Thermal Compound
Should be said I used an anti-static mat under the notebook. Also used an antistatic bracelet. Unplugged all circuitry, lifted the board up, removed heat sinks from GPU and CPU. Cleaned each surface with a thermal paste prep substance. Not sure, but probably some type of alcohol compound. Applied plenty of thermal paste to each. Spread it out evenly. Put the heat sinks back on both. Put the board back in its place. I replaced my 4 gigs of ram with 16 gigs. I removed my hard drive and replaced it with the 120 gig solid state drive. I removed my dvd superdrive from the macbook. I installed the optibay enclosure in its place with the old hard drive. Installed the new fans for both CPU and GPU. Plugged all the circuitry back up. Turned on, everything works. Installed my old superdrive into a USB enclosure and use it externally now.
All in all, took about an hour. I was extra slow and careful. Especially about removing the connections on the board. It required a few different specialized screw drivers (phillips #00 and a torx t6) which I researched ahead of time. I've ended up installing OSX on the solid state drive and formatting the old 500 gig hard drive. It takes about 11 seconds now to totally boot osx. Up from 53 seconds as I timed it before the upgrades. I'm able to run multiple VMs with different operating systems now, thanks to the extra ram, without slowing to a crawl. The termal paste and fan have lowered the heat on the hardware substantially. I'm measuring an 9 degrees celsius drop. It was running in the low 80's with everything heated up. Now it's down to 71ish. Which is safely under spec.
Good job. Your work on the cooling will most likely pay off in terms of longevity.
Other than boot time, do you notice any other SSD performance benefits, such as app switching speeds, graphical editing, etc.?
I do a lot of photoshop stuff. I can't say if it's the ram or the ssd, but I'm able to open many design PSDs at once without needing to close old ones to maintain performance. In general, I've noticed opening any application is much, much faster from the solid state drive. That's probably because the file read speed is rated about 10 times as fast as a traditional hard drive.
Going for a 'good' ssd is worth it whatever the computer you use. Way more important than transfer rate, it is the seeking time that gives the way more snappier feel. The only thing to look for when you buy a ssd is the random small files writing rate. I use one for my old thinkpad t42p (1600*1200 screen, 15inch, the best screen ever on a laptop), it makes Windows Seven feels like it is installed on my quad core (os also installed on a small SSD). Of course it wont compile as fast, but when doing mundane stuff, I actually dont see much differences. That and enough RAM is way more important than cpu power in most cases. Hard drive IO is really the bottleneck of modern computers.
MLC NAND Flash Interface: SATA 6Gbps / Backwards Compatible 3Gbps Native TRIM support Seek Time: .1ms Slim 2.5" Design 99.8 x 69.63 x 9.3mm Lightweight: 77g Operating Temp: 0C ~ 70C Ambient Temp: 0C ~ 55C Storage Temp: -45C ~ 85C Low Power Consumption: 3W Active, 1.65W Idle Shock Resistant up to 1500G RAID Support Included 3.5" Desktop adapter bracket Compatible with Windows 7, Vista, XP 32-bit/64-bit, Mac OSX MTBF: 2 million hours
Max Read: up to 550MB/s Max Write: up to 500MB/s Random Write 4KB: 60,000 IOPS Maximum 4K Random Write: 85,000 IOPS
I picked this model @ 120 gigs because it was a pretty good balance of power and size for the cost. I've read the new SATA 3 connectors can make these fly. And my laptop just so happened to have SATA 3. :)
I was actually super close to getting a hybrid drive, but I've read a lot of bad things about their reliability at this point. I don't have time to fish for driver updates and tech support calls, unfortunately.
Just to compare, that same companies budget solid state drive has these stats:
Max Read: up to 185MB/s Max Write: up to 75MB/s Random Write 4KB: 2,000 IOPS Random Read 4KB: 22,000 IOPS
Low-Latency Seek Time: 0.06ms Read; 0.09ms Write
Much lower stats in general. So I think it's fair to say that not all solid state drives are going to be performant even on throughput, or operations per second… or latency for that matter.
Also, I'm going to eventually replace my old hard drive with a large solid state drive. Still deciding on exactly how much I want to spend and how much performance I need for a large drive. Or I might just do some type of raid configuration and use an external drive for my media needs. Dunno. I'm still in my research phase on my second drive.
I spoke too soon. Having problems with the vertex 3 SSD. Going to return it. Too many reliability problems, and I can't flash it in anything but windows…which I find absurd. Just reading on their forums and customer reviews shows this thing is very hit or miss with terrible customer service, and even if they send me another one I don't want to be dealing with this 6 months down the road. I didn't do my due diligence on this deal. So I'm just going to go ahead and correct my error right now. Ordered the crucial m4 256 gig model. It comes with high customer reviews and better reliability.
And some straight up machine crashes/kernel panics. Both are symptomatic of bugs that their firmware upgrades may or may not fix. Their hoops don't make it easy to do the upgrades for me and just decided not to deal with it since I've got a good return policy.
Hey Runter, I recently built a computer over Thanksgiving break and after doing a ton of researching, the best SSD out on the market is a crucial M4. I have a 64gb version on my build and it's amazing.
Also, I noticed that you said you "Applied plenty of thermal paste to each" on your CPU and heatsink. I will say that that isn't a very good idea at all. You also stated your temperatures were 'down to 71ish' which I didn't know if that was during max load or something. But if you're idle on you computer not doing anything and your temperature is 71 celsius then there is a problem and it's probably your amount of paste you used. You should normally be around 40 to 50 for a laptop at idle. Different can of worms but my desktop idles around 38c, but my laptop idles around 40c and only gets to about 64 when playing games on it.
The 'technique' to apply paste is to put just a pea sized amount of paste on top of your CPU and put the heatsink straight down on it letting it smear the paste itself. If you have too much paste then it actually hinders your CPU heatsink to do it's job.
Your problems could have stemmed from your laptop overheating and turning itself off. Maybe maybe not.
No, 71 celsius during max load benchmarks for CPU and video card. Which is down from my testing before. I added the thermal paste because it's about a year old, and the old application needed refreshing. And a pea size is about as much as was used.
The problem was almost certainly the EFI problems with early macbook pro 2011 and sata 3 devices.
Anyways, I got the crucial M4 256gig yesterday and installed it. Haven't had a single problem with it. I did quite a bit of research and I think its very reliable and performant.