Why Now Is A Great Time To Finally Upgrade Your Mac With An SSD

Why Now Is A Great Time To Finally Upgrade Your Mac With An SSD

If your Mac doesn’t already have one of these, now’s a good time to make the upgrade.

Forget RAM, forget a faster CPU, forget a beefier graphics card. If you are still running a Mac with a spinning, physical hard drive, the best upgrade you can possibly make is to drop a solid-state flash drive into the machine. The immediate effect on perceived performance is stunning: it’s the difference between seeing a spinning beach ball every hour and not seeing one for months at a time.

Unfortunately, for a long time, what has kept most people from making this update to their older Macs has been price. SSDs are more expensive than physical HDDs. That’s still true, by the way, but it’s less so now than it ever has been, making this a perfect time to finally take the plunge.

Thanks in large part to the floods in Thailand that caused the price of HDDs to wildly inflate, SSDs are a lot more competitively priced per gig than they once were. And thanks to a lot of competition that has causes prices to drop steadily over the past year, it’s a great time to upgrade to an SSD.

There’s more detailed info over on TechReport, including a number of charts and graphs of average SSD prices, but the bottom line is this is a great time to finally upgrade your Mac to an SSD. If you haven’t already, upgrading to an SSD drive is really something everyone should consider doing: it’ll give your old Mac a new lease on life.

  • Aaron

    Very true! I put an Intel 160GB SATA-II SSD into my first-generation MacBook Pro (2.16GHz Core Duo) about a year ago. What a difference! The computer runs quieter, cooler, and MUCH faster. Timing from the appearance of the Apple logo to the login screen is about 7 seconds, even though the computer only has a SATA-I interface.

    Beware of some of the more recent SATA-III SSDs though. A friend tried putting one in a MacBook (2GHz Core 2 Duo, SATA-II interface), and it wouldn’t recognize it. A SATA-II SSD worked nicely in the same computer.

  • mr_bee

    Disagree. it’s not worth replacing your hard drive with an SSD until the SSD can take the place of your hard drive all by itself. Putting the OS on the SSD and the rest of your stuff on a conventional drive is way too confusing for most people.

    Until SSD’s come in 500GB sizes at a reasonable price, it’s still not time for the average person to upgrade their hard drive.

  • chrisbachman

    “Thanks in large part to the floods in Thailand that caused the price of HDDs wildly inflate, SSDs are a lot more competitively priced per gig than they once were.”

    Sort of makes it sound like the floods were a positive thing. I know you probably didn’t mean it that way, but just be careful…

  • Daniel Hertlein

    Disagree. it’s not worth replacing your hard drive with an SSD until the SSD can take the place of your hard drive all by itself. Putting the OS on the SSD and the rest of your stuff on a conventional drive is way too confusing for most people.

    Until SSD’s come in 500GB sizes at a reasonable price, it’s still not time for the average person to upgrade their hard drive.

    Disagree. I swapped out the optical drive bay in an old 2007 MacBook for a 64 GB SSD in March, and moved the OS and applications onto that drive while keeping everything else on the 500GB disk drive. I would up leaving the old drive in it’s original bay because I wanted to keep it hooked up to the motion sensor, but the installation was easy and took about 20 minutes start to finish. Getting the system to recognize the new startup disk was even easier. And I wound up with a very useable laptop.

    As tothe point bout it being too complicated for the average person, there are extra screws but in reality replacing the bay wasn’t any more technically difficult than swapping out the hard drive. Remove the battery and don’t spill liquids on your computer while the guts are exposed and you should be fine. Both MCE and OWC have optical bay conversion kits with very detailed instructions,

    It depends on how much you use DVD’s, but for most of the people I know, this is a very useable way to get more performance out of any given machine.

  • medic6910

    Evening all. Just read the article and I want to convert to an SSD. I have a mid-2009 MBP 13″ 2.26 core 2 duo, 8 gb ddr3 1067. what are some ssd options that will work with my mbp? Also, can I convert the disc drive to an SSD and the HDD to SSD?

    thanks for any assistance!

About the author

John BrownleeJohn Brownlee is a Contributing Editor. He has also written for Wired, Playboy, Boing Boing, Popular Mechanics, VentureBeat, and Gizmodo. He lives in Boston with his wife and two parakeets. You can follow him here on Twitter.

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