I currently have a 2010 Macbook Pro 13" with a 60GB Vertex2 (sandforce) SSD as a boot/apps drive and a 750GB spinning platter for my home directory (lots of VMs, photos, music, etc).

I've been thinking of upgrading the SSD for more space (might be able to migrate my home directory back onto the drive and instead keep the biggest content on the platter)... but I'm unsure whether it's worth my while to get a SATA III drive since my laptop doesn't support it.

Would my laptop see any speed benefit from a SATA III 6 Gbps SSD, or would the speed increase be negated because the laptop only supports SATA II?

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    Your question is in danger of being closed, as it's very specific to your situation. I already edited your question to make it a bit more clear, but if you'd like to edit it yourself to make it more general, it's less likely to be closed. Changing it to be more along the lines of "would a computer with only SATA II benefit from a SATA III drive" and making it less specific to your computer model would make it a better question, that wouldn't be too localized. – nhinkle Aug 16 '11 at 19:22
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    possible duplicate of Is it worth to get a SATA-3 controller to max my SSD out? Not an exact duplicate, but it covers literally the same material (benefits/drawbacks of using a SATA-3 SSD on a SATA-2 chipset) without being so localized. Also @r00fus, you might want to look at this question. – Breakthrough Aug 16 '11 at 20:06
  • @Breakthrough, I didn't see that as much duplicate as the discussion was more about adding the SATA3 controller, as opposed to the pro/cons of running a SATA3 drive on a SATA2 bus. Considering the costs of prev. generation drives (ie, Vertex2 240gb) haven't really come down, I'm probably going to just get a newer drive for when I do upgrade the laptop. – r00fus Aug 18 '11 at 4:19
  • @r00fus if you look at my answer to that question, I state, "Whether or not you notice the difference in those transfer rates depends on you as a user, and what your purposes for the drive are. Even if your drive was capped-out at 300 MB/s, it still has nearly zero seek time compared to a conventional mechanical hard disk, and that's what most users will primarily notice.". – Breakthrough Aug 18 '11 at 10:19

Only high-end SSDs with decent Sandforce controllers are able to enjoy the full 6Gbps speed (= 600MB/s). Older generations can only provide R/W speed in the 200-300MB/s range which is within the capability of SATA 2.0 (300MB/s).

All SATA versions are currently downwards compatible, so a SATA 3.0 disk can work with a SATA 2.0 port but the peak (external) transfer speed is limited by the port in this case. Thus you will not have the full benefits of the new interface.

However, the new generation of controllers may bring other performance improvements over their SATA 2 counterparts, so they are still worth buying. But if you're not planning to get a new computer any time soon, you can get one with slower access speeds, e.g. around 250-300MB/s. (Flash chips are pure silicon so they follow Moore's Law, so by the time you get a new computer, the prices of these SSDs must have dropped so significantly that it's not worth buying the expensive ones now.)


You will see a benefit in performance. Hard Drives don't just lack in speed but one of the biggest drawbacks to HDD's are the write and read times. Your disk has to search for the specific location to write the data on a physical platter. Depending on your version of OSX I would suggest making sure TRIM is enabled just to keep the operating system from giving the SSD access usage because they do age. You'll see the full bandwidth of Sata II on your system which is faster then most Hard Drives on the Market.

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