SSDs for Macbook or Macbook Pros

by postbreak

Over the past few weeks I have been researching SSDs to find the perfect one for my Macbook. I thought I would share some of the information that lead up to the purchase of this PQI SSD. There were a lot of specs to factor in before choosing the drive and if you’re in the market for an SSD then this information could help you out.

MLC v.s. SLC

On an SSD data is stored in what are called “cells”. These are portions of memory that can either contain a one or a zero. SLC based SSDs have a single layer of cells meaning they can only contain 2 bits, 1 or 0. These were the first types of SSDs developed and are quickly being phased out. The benefit to having an SLC drive is that they have a much higher life span. This notion is rendered moot when you consider that even the lowest lasting SSDs have a max life of 7 years after being slammed with constant read/writes.

MLC is an architecture that contains multiple levels in the cell. These are the more recent style of SSDs and it is the type I purchased. MLC drives have a life span about 1/10th that of SLC, however, the drive I purchased could be written to 50GBs per day for 8 years before it breaks down. MLC drives are much more affordable currently and it was an easy decision for me.

SATA I or SATA II

My Macbook has a SATA I connection which means it tops out at 150MB/s. At the current price of SSDs I knew I wouldn’t get anything faster than that so it wasn’t an issue. If you have deep wallets you can pick up an Intel SSD which boasts 250MB/s read times which is only attainable with a SATA II connection. To see which SATA connection you have open System Profiler, click on Serial-ATA, and look at the part that says Speed. 1.5 Gigabit means SATA I, 3.0 Gigabit means SATA II.

Cost v.s. Reward

The reason I bought an SSD is because I want faster read times on my Macbook. My 7200rpm drive tops out at 40MB/s read time, I look to triple that with an SSD. Now I am doing a hybrid SSD/HDD combo so I get the best of both worlds and 64GB isn’t too much of a storage problem. The large SSDs cost lots of money so if you want the most bang for your buck wait a year.

Resources

To find the drive I wanted I used quite a few sources for reviews. First and foremost I looked on Newegg for customer reviews of the SSDs. The next source I used was DiskCompare. I put my drive’s product number into there and it instantly pulled up a database showcasing which drives compared. The last thing I did was a Google search to find out about the different drive types and there is an excellent article on HardMac about SSDs. The drive I chose was nice from a money stand point and had many positive reviews on Newegg. If you’re in the market for an SSD just take your time and do your research. SSDs on Newegg don’t exactly have a return policy so if you get a clunker there’s little chance to get a new one. I’ll be sure to give a detailed review of the drive when it comes in and probably a video review on my YouTube channel.

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