Let’s geek out a little with a new SSD


Ok, this post may not be for everyone, but for the geeks out there:

I have been noticing that prices on some SSDs have dropped dramatically the last few weeks. I have been waiting for this so that I could purchase one for my early 2011 Macbook Pro, on which I do all my work. I settled on the very attractively priced 512GB M4 drive from Crucial, which I found online for $399. I could have bought a smaller capacity one earlier, but I really wanted one that was large enough to hold all my files (work, music, photos) so I wouldn’t have to split it up (and split the performance benefit as well).

Installation was a breeze, you just open the machine, turn a few screws, pop out the old drive, and pop the new one in. But restoring your old data, while easy to do, takes a frustratingly long time. I just booted from my Time Machine backup and restored the whole system, which took (for about 400GB of data) an insane 7 hours to accomplish. Next time, I would start this process late at night and wake up to a new machine. I lost a lot of productive time yesterday watching that stupid progress bar inch forward. (I guess I had assumed that since the target drive was SSD, it would all transfer quite a bit faster to it, even over USB2 from the external drive).

Now that is is all installed and running, all I have to say is “WOW!”

Everything is so much faster, and I mean EVERYTHING. Even things I didn’t expect to be much faster, like web browsing. It clearly makes a big difference when accessing the cache and other items held on disk, and browsing is like¬†lightning. Applications all open in a second, startup time is about 10 seconds. Launching and working with large image files is a breeze. iPhoto is crazy faster. My machine now gives me hand jobs and makes me breakfast. Ok, maybe not that great, but still. This is like buying a new machine, but much cheaper. I highly recommend it (now that prices are coming down).


  1. Robert Bentley says:

    OK, I’m curious; Why did you not go with a thunderbolt solution ?

    My preference was to go with (for storage and as a working drive) a
    64 GB USB 3 Stick. I can plug into my Macbook Pro or my old Windows
    desktop at the office (Since I use, Office, Autocad, Adobe and a couple
    of other programs) the files are interchangeable with each platform.
    Once a week on Fridays, I backup to a 2TB USB External Drive. Once
    I’m finished with a project, it’s files go to the 2TB drive. I just keep
    current projects on the 64 GB Stick, It never gets more than 30% full
    at any given time (However, for emergency. I do have an additional
    64 GB stick)


  2. Stephen says:

    Two reasons, actually: cost and portability.

    Thunderbolt solutions, while great, are still on the expensive side. And since I often travel for work, I like having everything internal to my laptop.

  3. Robert Bentley says:


    My reason for the USB stick, is; I have not ever, had one
    malfunction. However, being a P.C. user for many years
    (going back to the 80’s) I’ve had many internal HDD die,
    with catastrophic results (before portable storage options
    were available etc).


  4. Stephen says:

    This is why it is important to always back up, which I do religiously by Time Machine, every hour of every day :)

  5. Stephen says:

    But as I am looking at your first comment, perhaps you misunderstood the reason for my upgrade: speed of my machine. It has nothing whatsoever to do with backups. Those are a separate system.

  6. Robert says:

    I was aware of the speed up senario …

    My 64GB USB3 Stick; in a PC USB3
    Port reacts faster than the PC internal
    Hard Disk. In the Macbook Pro, it’s either
    as fast or faster than the internal Hard
    Disk. (It’s not as visually obvious as with
    the PC)