Changing to an SSD Disk

My disk died two days ago, and lamenting my loss on Facebook everybody told me to get an SSD. The peer pressure was immense.

I’d thought of a 7200 rpm 320 GB disk, it would have been a nice upgrade from the dead 120 GB 5400 rpm disk, but educating myself on SSDs it became abundantly clear that an Intel X25-M was the way to go.

The price was scary though, around €670, and that was too much. So I was going to buy a mechanical disk until I found the X25-M for €430 at Dustin Home. And not only that, they were also the only webshop that claimed to have it in stock. So I ordered it yesterday morning, and 24 hours later it was delivered.

Unboxing the Intel X25-M SSD

I had rigged an old Maxtor firewire disk as an interim solution, since I didn’t know for how long I’d have to wait for the new disk, but the Maxtor was starting to emit clicking noises that scared me, so I was happy that I got a new disk.

I have replaced the disk in a PowerBook G4 once, and that was a really annoying and complicated operation, I never got the laptop perfectly assembled afterwards, so I was a little apprehensive. Then I found the OWC Install Video and it didn’t look too bad.

Open MacBook Pro With the Dead Disk

I got the laptop opened up without incident, the only real problem was getting the dead disk out because the wires on top of it was glued on pretty well, and I had to get them off to get the disk out. It took 10 minutes prying those wires off, I ended up using a knife blade to loosen them.

But that was the only tricky part, putting it all back together again with the SSD was easy. Clearly Apple have also improved that part of their design since the PowerBook days.

Powering up again, booting on the firewire disk, Mac OS X whined a little about not being able to read the disk. No cause for alarm though, it was just because there were no partitions on it. In Disk the SSD was found as “160.04 GB INTEL SSDSA2M160G2GC Media”, and it just worked normally from there on, partitioning, formatting and then making a clean install.

And the performance: Wow!

Booting is much faster, logging on too. When I click on Safari the icon hardly have time to bounce in the dock before the browser is running. It’s insane. The improvement is just as big when I run VMware. I won’t go back to mechanical disks again if I can in any way help it.

SSDs are still costly, but their performance is so good that they’re clearly worth it. As they come down in price, they just get more and more attractive.