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You are here: MacNN Forums > Hardware - Troubleshooting and Discussion > Mac Notebooks > Is it worth upgrading to SSD in Late 08 2.4Ghz MBP

Is it worth upgrading to SSD in Late 08 2.4Ghz MBP
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Lancer409
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Oct 21, 2012, 11:55 PM
 
So, I have a 15inch MBP 2.4 (Late 08 / Unibody) with Nvidia GeForce 9400M with 256MB vram.
I'm wondering if it's worth pulling out the optical and sticking a ssd into this guy.


I'd like the SSD to boot the Operating system for more speed, and move my existing 500gb spinner to where the dvd drive is. Does this make sense, or is it better to keep the ssd in the optical spot, so that i can remove and upgrade my "storage" drive as needed?

also, the laptop is from late 08. is it worth upgrading? Will i notice a huge jump in performance with a SSD or should I go with a new laptop? I find my current laptop lags every now and then, but i'm not sure if it's just due to the HDD. I dont do any graphics work, and gaming is a rarity. I just use this thing to go online, watch movies... the usual.

i also hear that this laptop only supports a certain speed, so the highest end ssd wouldnt make much difference compared to a slower one. is that the case? what's the recommended drive if i were to go that route?

Thanks all. I haven't been on in ages, and the first thing I do is ask for help... taking taking taking instead of giving back to the community


In any case, thanks for your help.

Lastly ... I can't believe Zimphire has been surpassed.. it really has been a while since I've been on! (sorry to go off topic)

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Waragainstsleep
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Oct 22, 2012, 03:26 AM
 
I have an SSD in the same machine, its definitely much better but be aware that the SATA cables are not necessarily up to the task of handling that extra speed from what I'm told anyway. Avoid OCZ for this Mac, mine has issues.
I have plenty of more important things to do, if only I could bring myself to do them....
     
P
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Oct 22, 2012, 04:12 AM
 
In general: Yes, an SSD upgrade makes excellent sense. I wouldn't bother too much about the maximum transfer speed - the big gain from SSDs is random access, not maximum bandwidth - so, no, don't bother with the most expensive drives. I recommend either Intel 330/520 series or a Samsung 830 (and the TRIM Enabler hack).

Get one of those bays to store your SSD in the optical bay - you need a converter from slim SATA anyway, so you might as well get one so it's secure.
The new Mac Pro has up to 30 MB of cache inside the processor itself. That's more than the HD in my first Mac. Somehow I'm still running out of space.
     
Waragainstsleep
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Oct 22, 2012, 04:57 AM
 
It wasn't just a speed thing, the cable on my HDD simply wouldn't deal with my SSD properly, caused all manner of problems.
I have plenty of more important things to do, if only I could bring myself to do them....
     
Nergol
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Oct 22, 2012, 07:58 PM
 
This may be an unpopular opinion, but...

For most people - meaning, roughly, unless you're doing media editing or you're a hardcore gamer - CPU speed hasn't really been a problem for a while. In fact, for most people, a Core 2 Duo is plenty powerful, and really all the CPU they need now, or will need for a while to come.

For someone who has average needs and doesn't have an unlimited budget, then, I'd say that if they have a C2D or later, the best use of their money would be to put an SSD and a RAM upgrade in whatever machine they're currently using. The speed improvements will be dramatic, and make the machine into something that will be as fast as you really need it to be for some time to come.

Do, however, put the SSD in your main drive slot and not in the optical drive bay. There have been some problems reported with doing it the other way.
     
SierraDragon
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Oct 22, 2012, 08:34 PM
 
Unless one is doing video work an SSD is all about latency, and the difference of any SSD versus any 2.5" HDD is huge. Go for it.

IMO put the SSD in the HDD bay and move the HDD to the optical bay and put the Superdrive in an external case. If you use the optical drive constantly instead put the HDD in an external case. If the HDD is half full or more replace it with a 1 TB HDD.

IMO each of us should empirically evaluate whether or not we have adequate RAM:

Look at the Page Outs number under System Memory on the Activity Monitor app before starting a typical work session and write the number down. Recheck the Page Outs count after working and write the number down again. if the page outs change (manual calculation of ending page outs number minus starting page outs number) is not zero your workflow is RAM-starved. Ignore the pie charts and other info in Activity Monitor.

If your test and calculation showed that page outs increased during operation you can

• add RAM (very strongly recommended)

• and/or restart before work sessions to clear possible memory leaks

• and/or switch from 64-bit operation to 32-bit operation (which will make some additional RAM space available). See Switching Kernels:

Mac OS X v10.6: Starting up with the 32-bit or 64-bit kernel

Note 10.7.x is more RAM-demanding so personally I do not recommend 10.7 or above on older Macs.

HTH


-Allen
     
P
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Oct 22, 2012, 10:01 PM
 
Originally Posted by SierraDragon View Post
IMO each of us should empirically evaluate whether or not we have adequate RAM:
I agree, but I think that there is an easier way to evaluate that:

* Check current RAM. Call this number A.
* Check what Apple reports as the maximum RAM. Call this number B

If A is less than B, upgrade RAM. If A=B, check if anyone has managed to get it working with more, and consider upgrading anyway.



RAM is cheap atm, and anything not used for programs is used as disk cache. Just upgrade.
The new Mac Pro has up to 30 MB of cache inside the processor itself. That's more than the HD in my first Mac. Somehow I'm still running out of space.
     
Waragainstsleep
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Oct 23, 2012, 12:37 AM
 
Originally Posted by Nergol View Post
Do, however, put the SSD in your main drive slot and not in the optical drive bay. There have been some problems reported with doing it the other way.
I found the reverse to be true for this particular Mac. Some of the later ones actually had slower SATA connections for their optical drives too I believe.
I have plenty of more important things to do, if only I could bring myself to do them....
     
SierraDragon
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Oct 23, 2012, 11:38 AM
 
Originally Posted by P View Post
Originally Posted by SierraDragon View Post
IMO each of us should empirically evaluate whether or not we have adequate RAM:
I agree, but I think that there is an easier way to evaluate that:

* Check current RAM. Call this number A.
* Check what Apple reports as the maximum RAM. Call this number B

If A is less than B, upgrade RAM. If A=B, check if anyone has managed to get it working with more, and consider upgrading anyway.



RAM is cheap atm, and anything not used for programs is used as disk cache. Just upgrade.
Agreed.

After upgrading to maximum RAM page out testing is still important, because if one still pages out with max RAM adding a SSD can be very beneficial. E.g. Aperture breaks on many 2-GB RAM boxes with HDD, but if an SSD is in place it just slows rather than breaking.
     
Nergol
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Oct 30, 2012, 02:50 AM
 
On sale today at Dealnews:
http://dealnews.com/Samsung-128-GB-SATA-6-Gbps-Internal-SSD-for-70-free-shipping/629346.html
     
seanc
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Oct 31, 2012, 03:12 PM
 
I just put a Crucial M4 256GB SSD into my Early 2008 MacBook Pro, huge difference in speed!

Granted there's not much on this SSD in terms of applications and it's a clean install because migration assistant is broken, but yes it's well worth it.
I was going to upgrade the RAM to 8GB but decided if it pages to the SSD now, I probably won't notice it much.

I left my old hard drive out to conserve battery power since it's the original battery and it only gives around 2.5-3hrs now, but might get an optibay at some point and put it in.

Whatever SSD you get, put the latest firmware on it before you install it.
     
Lancer409  (op)
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Oct 31, 2012, 06:01 PM
 
alright, looks like i'll go SSD. just wondered if i should invest in a 08 machine, or pay to get a top notch processor / fast ram / good vram. considering my usage, i guess an ssd will hold me over another year or two. hopefully the retina mbp will be commonplace by then.

any recommendation on size? i saw the info about the $70 samsung ssd sale. wondering if 128 is too little or if it'lll be plenty.


Btw, already have 8gb ram in this laptop. i find it lags/chokes when i have a ton of tabs (i can hoard up to 50+ at a time!)

Thanks again, and Happy Halloweeeeeeeeen!

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besson3c
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Oct 31, 2012, 11:54 PM
 
Originally Posted by Nergol View Post
This may be an unpopular opinion, but...
For most people - meaning, roughly, unless you're doing media editing or you're a hardcore gamer - CPU speed hasn't really been a problem for a while. In fact, for most people, a Core 2 Duo is plenty powerful, and really all the CPU they need now, or will need for a while to come.
For someone who has average needs and doesn't have an unlimited budget, then, I'd say that if they have a C2D or later, the best use of their money would be to put an SSD and a RAM upgrade in whatever machine they're currently using. The speed improvements will be dramatic, and make the machine into something that will be as fast as you really need it to be for some time to come.
Do, however, put the SSD in your main drive slot and not in the optical drive bay. There have been some problems reported with doing it the other way.
I don't think this is an unpopular opinion at all, sounds pretty bang on to me!
     
Waragainstsleep
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Nov 1, 2012, 01:28 AM
 
Originally Posted by seanc View Post
I just put a Crucial M4 256GB SSD into my Early 2008 MacBook Pro, huge difference in speed!
Granted there's not much on this SSD in terms of applications and it's a clean install because migration assistant is broken, but yes it's well worth it.
I was going to upgrade the RAM to 8GB but decided if it pages to the SSD now, I probably won't notice it much.
I'm afraid the Early 08 MBPs will only take 6GB RAM anyway.
I have plenty of more important things to do, if only I could bring myself to do them....
     
seanc
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Nov 1, 2012, 03:43 PM
 
Originally Posted by Waragainstsleep View Post
I'm afraid the Early 08 MBPs will only take 6GB RAM anyway.
Oh good! That makes life upgrade cheaper
     
Shaddim
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Nov 2, 2012, 10:20 PM
 
Grab a cheap second gen Intel 160GB drive, I've seen factory refurbs selling for <$100. They are still the most bulletproof SSDs ever made.
"Those who expect to reap the blessings of freedom must, like men, undergo the fatigue of supporting it."
- Thomas Paine
     
gbhgbh
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Nov 5, 2012, 06:39 AM
 
I'd also recommend getting SuperDuper and use it's Sandbox feature to put the sytem files and applications on the SSD. But, if you're comfortable with the command line, then try the DIY Fusion Drive hack:
Announced on Tumblr
and Youtube video
     
Martin2012
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Nov 6, 2012, 12:12 PM
 
Hi,

I got the same late 2008 MBP 2.4Ghz 15" and did the following upgrade 3 months ago.

Replaced my HDD to a Samsung 830 series 128 GB SSD
Took out the cd drive and put in a 1 Tb HDD, with a frame adapter (check supported hight)

2 x 4 gb Ram upgrade (from 2 x 2GB)

Running super duper once a week to secure the SSD to the HDD

Of course all software is on SSD and music etc on the HDD

My fans where most of the time spinning high, opened it up (Ifixit) and to my surprise the fans where stuck with lots dust. Got it cleaned and runs quite again.

WOW, what a difference. More or less all software opens instantly, no lags.

I recently read that Mountain Lion automatically runs Fusion Drive, but I don't know how to check it.


Again, highly recommend to do the upgrade. I believe I can run my laptop for another 2 years now. The USB3 and SD card would still be nice to have dough.

Good Luck!
     
Waragainstsleep
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Nov 6, 2012, 02:31 PM
 
Mountain Lion does not run Fusion Drive automatically.
I have plenty of more important things to do, if only I could bring myself to do them....
     
Lancer409  (op)
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Nov 6, 2012, 08:27 PM
 
Originally Posted by Martin2012 View Post
Hi,
I got the same late 2008 MBP 2.4Ghz 15" and did the following upgrade 3 months ago.
Replaced my HDD to a Samsung 830 series 128 GB SSD
...
Good Luck!


Thanks Martin2012! I think I'll do the same, but wait til black friday to see if there are any SSD sales. Do you think 128gb is enough compared to 256SSD?

which 1gb did you get (your "check height" comment made me nervous), or what is the height to look for/avoid?

Thank you so much. I find that this laptop does what I need, but the laptop lags hard when I have a ton of browsers open, with a number of apps in the background.. I would have liked usb 3, and a much faster processor/vid, but i dont game much anymore, and might not in the near future. if this extends the life of my laptop, I can wait another year or two and get a retina model when the kinks are worked out.

Thanks again for sharing your experience!

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Lancer409  (op)
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Nov 6, 2012, 09:34 PM
 
Any thoughts on this product?

MCE Optibay (also comes with external case for the superdrive for $29)
http://store.mcetech.com/Merchant2/merchant.mvc?Screen=PROD&Product_Code=OBSXGB-UNB&Category_Code=STORHDOPTIBAY

I think I may end up with a 128gb SSD, and a 1TB 2.5 for storage. Wondering what I should use to mount in the optical bay.

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besson3c
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Nov 6, 2012, 09:54 PM
 
Originally Posted by Lancer409 View Post
Any thoughts on this product?
MCE Optibay (also comes with external case for the superdrive for $29)
http://store.mcetech.com/Merchant2/merchant.mvc?Screen=PROD&amp;Product_Code=OBSXGB-UNB&amp;Category_Code=STORHDOPTIBAY
I think I may end up with a 128gb SSD, and a 1TB 2.5 for storage. Wondering what I should use to mount in the optical bay.
The Optibay is overpriced. I'd go for this instead:

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B004FM6ZJ4

You can get the Superdrive enclosure cheaper too:

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B002IRY3ME
     
Waragainstsleep
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Nov 7, 2012, 09:59 AM
 
I bought a Dell optibay adaptor from eBay for about £10. Works just fine.
I have plenty of more important things to do, if only I could bring myself to do them....
     
gbhgbh
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Nov 8, 2012, 10:26 AM
 
You can find a hard drive caddy for MacBook Pro on Amazon for about $10 to $20. I got this one for $16 plus $6 shipping, it works fine. I'd also buy an external DVD writer, and sell the internal writer on eBay or Craig's List. The external writer will cost between $15 to $35, but the fit and finish will be much better than getting an external case.
     
Eug
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Nov 9, 2012, 04:04 AM
 
I'm rockin' a 128 GB Kingston V+100 in my 2009 13" 2.26 GHz Core 2 Duo MacBook Pro. The Intel 330 I got is faster, but uses more power, so I stuck that in my Atom nettop instead. (Plus the Intel is Sandforce.)

With the SSD, I have no desire to upgrade. Well, actually I do a bit, but CPU speed or drive speed aren't factors now. The only reasons I want to eventually upgrade are:

1) Weight. I'd like to have a MacBook Pro without optical drive, to save grams.
2) USB 3
3) 802.11ac

But otherwise speedwise I could see myself using this Core 2 Duo MacBook Pro for years longer, because of the SSD. Note though I had to replace the fan on this laptop last year, so be aware that these old laptops can have other problems too. They don't last forever, even if the speed with SSD seems sufficient for them to last almost forever.
     
P
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Nov 9, 2012, 06:10 AM
 
For good old-fashioned personal computing, the Core 2 is still really hard to beat. Newer processors fix the weaknesses the Core 2 has and brings down the power consumption, but the Core 2 manages to hide those holes surprisingly well.
The new Mac Pro has up to 30 MB of cache inside the processor itself. That's more than the HD in my first Mac. Somehow I'm still running out of space.
     
Nergol
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Nov 10, 2012, 01:37 AM
 
For the repurposed optical drive, I suggest this enclosure:
http://eshop.macsales.com/item/OWC/VLSS9TOPTU2O/

I have it. Stylish, works great. Not the cheapest, but probably the best.
     
SierraDragon
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Nov 10, 2012, 02:46 PM
 
Originally Posted by Nergol View Post
For the repurposed optical drive, I suggest this enclosure:
http://eshop.macsales.com/item/OWC/VLSS9TOPTU2O/

I have it. Stylish, works great. Not the cheapest, but probably the best.
Follow Nergol's link and the price is "garage sale" $17.50 while elsewhere on the OWC site the exact same product VLSS9TOPTU2 is listed at $37.50. Perhaps a website error and/or a faster new version (USB3?) is coming soon. Either way $17.50 is a good price with OWC support.

-Allen
     
barryjaylevine
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Nov 13, 2012, 06:28 AM
 
I put an SSD into a white MacBook (the last model that could -not- be upgraded to Mountain Lion - 2008?). I used the 120GB Sandisk 6Gb model (even though the MacBook has, IIRC only a 1.5Gb bus). The result? It's literally two-to-three times faster with everything Booting takes 14 seconds. Still running Snow Leopard.

I also tried the SSD in a 2011 MB Pro (Core i7, 13"). As well, it felt twice as fast. Booting took about 14 seconds but that machine was running Mountain Lion.

The SSD upgrade works great. OWC has a bracket to install the SSD in place of the optical and I can state that the upgrade isn't difficult if you follow directions and have nimble fingers (and a spudger!).
     
anthology123
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Nov 13, 2012, 10:07 AM
 
I have a 2008 MBpp 2.8Ghz with a 256GB SSD (original install). That is the machine I still use now. It had good speed then, and it still has good performance now. I even run a VM with Win 7 32-bit, and that runs quite well. I would add another vote to installing an SSD for your system start-up.
     
Lancer409  (op)
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Nov 13, 2012, 06:10 PM
 
Getting super excited about the SSD now. Are all SSDs rated at 6Gb/s now? I'm not sure if my mbp is 1.5 or 3Gb/s, so I suppose any SSD will be good enough. I look forward to grabbing an SSD and likely a 1TB HDD for the upgrade.

Will need to continue to look for a drive enclosure though. Looks like NN'ers jumped onto your link and bought 'em out!

Thank you all for your suggestions.. getting antsy now.
I can wait 'til black friday/cyber monday. can't wait!

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CharlesS
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Nov 14, 2012, 06:08 PM
 
Your MBP is the same as mine, so I can safely tell you that it has a 3 Gb/s SATA port. Normally, I'd say to go with a 6 GB/s capable SSD, since you might end up migrating it into your next machine. However, it looks like Apple's probably going to stop offering 2.5" drive bays so probably any old thing will be fine, at least as far as performance goes. Still, the high-end SSDs may be more reliable and/or more likely to get support, as well as being more likely to be properly tested with Macs to avoid weird issues like Boot Camp not working (which was a problem with some SSDs a couple of years ago, although I don't know if it affects any current ones).

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Lancer409  (op)
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Dec 3, 2012, 06:48 PM
 
Black Friday came and went - I didn't do any shopping other than to pick up the items that were in my amazon cart.

256GB OCZ Vertex 4
Western Digital Blue 1TB
mounting caddy/bracket thing to put the 1tb into the optical slot
external case for the superdrive.



I have the following questions if you'll indulge me.

1) the 1TB hdd was to be in "frustration free" packaging. in past experience, that meant in a card board box instead of plastic blister packaging. the hdd was delivered in a sealed anti-static grey bag, put inside a bubble mailer. no signature needed, so the mailman threw it above my gate (into the side of my house, and bouncing down the stairs).
i contacted amazon, who will be sending another out in a box. i dont trust my data to a drive that may have internal damage.


2) What do I need to do to prep an SSD? I heard about updating drivers, and about "TRIM". Anyone have any input?!


3) I've read a bit about creating my own Fusion drive... do you think this is safe/reasonable? The idea of everything running fast VS os/programs loading fast with slow storage drive sounds very tempting. the 1TB hdd is 5400RPM, not 72--


Thank you all for your help and input!

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Waragainstsleep
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Dec 4, 2012, 12:51 AM
 
I haven't tried the home-brew Fusion drive (yet) but my suspicion is that even the factory version has only been released by Apple under the assumption that everyone will have a Time Machine backup.
I have plenty of more important things to do, if only I could bring myself to do them....
     
P
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Dec 4, 2012, 05:19 AM
 
1) I would keep the SSD. No movable parts.

2) Check if there is a firmware update available. TRIM is a long story and its usability is doubtful at best, and in any case it is not enabled before installation but after, on the installed OS. Google for TrimEnabler and make sure you have a version that is explicitly compatible with the OS you are running.

3) Fusion Drive is very interesting, but personally I would hold off a little to make sure that all the bugs have been shaken out.

(And to head off some comments that I know are coming otherwise: Every time I mention that TRIM is not absolutely essential, I get at least one comment telling me that I don't understand what TRIM is and that any drive run for any length of time without TRIM enabled is liable to self destruct and that the resulting explosion is likely to take the entire neighborhood with it. I really don't want to explain again why that is not the case, so before you make a comment on this, please make sure that you understand OS file allocation patterns and are prepared to have an intelligent discussion about how they affect SSDs. Thank you.)
The new Mac Pro has up to 30 MB of cache inside the processor itself. That's more than the HD in my first Mac. Somehow I'm still running out of space.
     
   
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