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Optibay and X25

November 30, 2010 Leave a comment Go to comments

So a little over a month ago, I decided to break the bank by pulling the trigger on an MCE Optibay and a 160 GB G2 Intel X25-m. Being the trigger happy idiot I can be sometimes, I actually paid a little bit of a premium for the solid state drive, with it dropping something around $50 just a week and a half later. I figured I’d rather swallow the cost instead of bothering to take apart my MacBook Pro again and deal with the annoying tiny screws in order to return the drive and re-order it from Newegg instead.

I’d like to follow up on the performance of the drive since I made the installation. As a side note, the Superdrive enclosure that MCE tech “graciously” provided works flawlessly, as I have been viewing and ripping DVDs off of it without a hitch.

I didn’t make any technical benchmarks, but I can give a general idea of performance after the installation. I timed the boot up for the “before” and I got roughly a minute and 30 seconds. Yes, this is actually fairly slow, but I am using a late 2008 umbp with only a 2.4 GHz C2D, and a 5200 RPM 1 TB WD Scorpio Blue. I’m sure the 5200 RPM (an actual downgrade from the stock 5400 RPM drive) contributed to the slow boot up.

After the Optibay and SSD installation, I cloned the necessary system files (leaving the actual home folder in the on the 1 TB drive), I found the boot up to be a much quicker 45 seconds total.

I’m a little skeptical that 45 seconds is the best boot time I can get though, as I’ve read reports of even older discrete MBPs booting faster with lesser SSDs. When I have some more time on my hands, I might run some more tests, but I’m guessing that these boot up times can be attributed to one of two factors:

1. The fact that the SSD is connected to the SATA connector in the optical bay creates a delay, as that connection may have a different protocol at boot up.

2. Putting the home folder on the 5200 RPM drive may require that the disk drive also boot up, thus making that the bottleneck.

Nevertheless, I’m quite satisfied with the significantly improved boot time. Regarding application launch time, I have nothing but positive comments to make. What used to take 6 or 7 “bounces” in the dock now takes one bounce and bam, the application is open.

It is true that OS X lacks TRIM support, but I have yet to see any performance degradation, but this could be due to the fact that I’m only using the ssd for a system drive, and the writes are kept at a minimum.  I’ll update again in the coming months if any of this changes, but I’m confident that the Intel controller can keep the drive in top shape, especially with enough free space.

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