MacBooks forum


Solid State vs. Serial ATA Drive on 2011 13' MBP

by ck8601 / April 29, 2011 2:42 AM PDT

I'm committed to buying a new 2011 13' Mac Book Pro. I'm going for the 2.3 GHz Dual-core i5, and 4GB of Ram. The big question I have is:

Do I go for the 128GB Solid State Drive, or stick with the 320GB Serial ATA Drive?

The Solid State is $250 more and obviously I'm getting much less space.

Is the solid state worth it? Can anyone explain to me what the Pros and Cons are of the Solid State Drive vs. the Serial ATA Drive?


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All Answers

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Me too.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / April 29, 2011 4:38 AM PDT

But I see no reason to pop for SSD as I look around the office with some thousand drives and not one failure. It seems to happen to everyone else but us. I can't justify the smaller size for more money.

If Apple can't sell you (or me) then why do this?

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There are two main benefits
by Jimmy Greystone / April 29, 2011 10:55 AM PDT

There are two main benefits: Speed and lower failure rate.

The main drawback is that SSDs aren't necessarily as robust as HDDs over the long term. Eventually they will fail into a read-only mode, but while they work they tend to be much faster, and there are no mechanical parts to fail.

I repair Apple systems for a living, and it is pretty rare to find a bad HDD. I probably see more than most people, but out of probably a couple hundred systems I've fixed, I'd estimate no more than 10% involved the HDD.

My two cents is that SSDs are something to keep an eye on, but not necessarily quite there yet for most people. They have been making some impressive strides however. They've really only been available mass market for a couple of years, and they've already nearly caught up to platter based HDDs in price, capacity, and longevity. In another 2-3 years, it's entirely possible they will overtake platter based drives. So, maybe by the next time you buy a system things will be different. And of course it's a relatively simple measure to replace your HDD with a SSD later. You will forfeit your warranty coverage on that particular component, and POSSIBLY the entire system, though MOST Apple repair shops will still honor any warranty so long as the issue isn't traced back to the SSD you installed. Though they can use it as justification to refuse service. We actually had to do that after a customer kept insisting that there was something wrong with his system, when everything pointed to the fact that it was the HDD he installed. After 2-3 rounds of this, and my providing a pretty detailed analysis showing how every other component checks out, we had to pull out the Apple warranty agreement which does say that it doesn't cover any unauthorized repairs or modifications made to the system. It's rarely enforced, but it's there to deal with problem customers who can't take a hint, and so you should at least be aware of it.

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