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I am considering buying SSD drive for my 2009 apple macbook 17" dual core 2800mhz. I use it mostly for software development and have tons of browser windows, a Java IDE, database, various servers running in the background. I also use photoshop and Excel. I usually max out the RAM (currently 4Gb but I have ordered another 4Gb) and so it is often swapping and sometimes when I wake it from sleep it can take a while before it is responsive.

I'd like to know if:

a) an SSD drive will help at all and

b) given that I just have SATA II, is it worth waiting/paying extra for upcoming Vertex 3 SSD or should I just get one of the current crop (I gather the Crucial C300 or Vertex 2 are the best).

c) or I should save my pennies and upgrade to new quad-core macbook pro next year.

I should also mention that benchmarks do not interest me especially, I care about value, productivity and reliability.

Thanks in advance for any advice, Tom

share|improve this question
Are you concerned with reliability or performance? If the former, skip Crucial and OCZ entirely and go with Intel. It sounds like you're more concerned with getting some speedups, though. – Shinrai Feb 25 '11 at 18:56
The question was regarding performance. However, it needs to be reliable as this is my main work machine and so I should consider any reliability issues. Are the intel ones much more reliable? Which model would you recommend? Would they be noticeably slower. Im not interested in having the fastest or the jazziest. I want value for money that will improve my productivity and not crash. – Tom Feb 25 '11 at 19:32
@Shinrai: With their recent firmwares, the C300 and Vertex 2 have been in the same reliability class as the Intel G2 drives. It's not as if Intel has a clean history with their firmwares either, like having to pull their first firmware release for TRIM support because it bricked drives. – afrazier Feb 26 '11 at 2:26
@afrazier - No, agreed. All I know is I hear about RMAs on those two drives, but I have shipped literally THOUSANDS of Intel G2 drives and never had a single failure in the field (and only one DOA). – Shinrai Feb 28 '11 at 15:15
@Shinrai: You might find this interesting. Intel's using a Marvell controller in their new 510 series SSDs -- the same one that's in the C300. Source @ StorageReview – afrazier Feb 28 '11 at 18:37
up vote 1 down vote accepted

Looking at the random I/O performance from Anand's Vertex 3 review (Linky), the Vertex 3 (Pro or not) are absolute monsters at random reads, even on 3 Gb/s SATA 2. For your workload, an SSD will make a world of difference in your system's responsiveness under load. The extra RAM will be noticed as well.

The only caveat to getting a Vertex 3 is that it's currently an unknown when it comes to reliability. Theoretically, Sandforce and OCZ should have most of the major issues figured out because of their expertise from their controllers up to this point, but it's not a guarantee that the drives will be without issues. As fast as the drive looks, it's hard to recommend being an early adopter unless you've got a good backup scheme already in place and you don't mind dealing with teething issues.

If those things bother you, then I'd stick to a C300 or Vertex 2.

share|improve this answer
Thanks for the advice. I'm in no rush so might wait until the v3 comes out then see what the first reports are like. Cheers. – Tom Feb 28 '11 at 0:39
@Tom: It can take a couple months of widespread use and/or a firmware update or two for the show stoppers to become apparent. That said, the major OEMs haven't tended to leave users in the cold either. It really comes down to your tolerance for issues. – afrazier Feb 28 '11 at 1:25
Should the fact that the vertex drives have sandforce chips and OSX not supporting TRIM factor into my decision? – Tom Feb 28 '11 at 20:13
@Tom: No. Most drives available now also do their own garbage collection. TRIM helps improve things, but it's not absolutely necessary, precisely because OS X and Vista don't have it available. – afrazier Feb 28 '11 at 20:32

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