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You are here: MacNN Forums > Hardware - Troubleshooting and Discussion > Mac Notebooks > Late 2008 MacBook - Which SSD?

Late 2008 MacBook - Which SSD?
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ghporter
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Oct 6, 2018, 10:00 PM
 
I’m upgrading my wife’s well loved late 2008 MacBook (aluminum - the last model that had a removable battery). I have the RAM maxed out and it’s got a new battery, so the current bottleneck is its 5400 RPM hard drive.

I’ve found tons of listings for 9.5 or 7mm 2.5” form factor SSDs that will work with the late 2008 MacBook, but not a lot about how this one or that one is superior - or INferior.

So far I’m leaning toward a Crucial MX500 series SSD. Crucial ships all of their 7mm 2.5s with a 9mm adapter, so the fit isn’t an issue, and the newer MX500s are both better on paper and less expensive than older Crucial SSDs.

But there are a bunch of other, similarly sized SSDs that vary widely in price per GB, from way less expensive to WAY more expensive. OWC, for example, prices their drives head and shoulders over Crucial and Kingston’s SSDs, while ADATA has a noticeably lower price point.

Am I missing anything, or is it as simple as “go with a well known maker and a dependable vendor?” Guidance would be well appreciated.

Glenn -----OTR/L, MOT, Tx
     
BLAZE_MkIV
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Oct 6, 2018, 10:32 PM
 
From what I have seen on sites like Anandtech there can be a big performance difference between SSDs. They aren't as limited by physics as the HD's are. All of the current and last gen drives are miles beyond a 5400 rpm through on any metric but $/Gb
     
Waragainstsleep
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Oct 7, 2018, 02:06 AM
 
The controllers are picky in the Macs of that era. I believe the Crucials are ok but I'm 99% certain you won't go wrong with a Samsung Evo. Current ones are 860s and 870s. I haven't tried the 870s but the 860s are fine, as were the 850s.
I have plenty of more important things to do, if only I could bring myself to do them....
     
P
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Oct 8, 2018, 04:57 PM
 
Yes, Samsung is a safe choice. Apple used a controller similar to the old 830 in its first SSDs.
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.
     
OreoCookie
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Oct 8, 2018, 08:03 PM
 
Another vote for Samsung.
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turtle777
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Oct 9, 2018, 12:11 AM
 
If you want to be safe, get it from OWC.

They know what they’re doing (selling)

-t
     
ghporter  (op)
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Oct 16, 2018, 09:22 PM
 
I've been doing the price comparisons, and OWC has some really nice stuff. Competitive prices too. But Crucial's MX500 series drives are about twice as fast (560 MB/s read and 510 MB/s write versus 274 MB/s read 253 MB/s write).

I think I'm going with the Crucial drive here.

Glenn -----OTR/L, MOT, Tx
     
reader50
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Oct 16, 2018, 10:19 PM
 
The OWC drives are SATA-2 (3G speeds), matching your 2008 MBP controller. The MX500 SATA-3 (6G) speeds will matter only if you later move the drive. To a computer with 6G speeds, or a USB3 enclosure.
     
subego
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Oct 17, 2018, 05:51 AM
 
Originally Posted by ghporter View Post
I've been doing the price comparisons, and OWC has some really nice stuff. Competitive prices too. But Crucial's MX500 series drives are about twice as fast (560 MB/s read and 510 MB/s write versus 274 MB/s read 253 MB/s write).

I think I'm going with the Crucial drive here.
About 4-5 years back there was a flash memory shortage, and manufacturers were increasing supply by easing up on QA.

I needed an SSD for something “mission critical”, so I was checking them for bad cells out of the box. The two Crucials I tested were pristine.

The rest looked like Vietnam.

For whatever that’s worth. It’s obviously out of date, and the shortage has eased up.


P.S. Those were also about the speeds I got when I tested them.
( Last edited by subego; Oct 17, 2018 at 06:02 AM. )
     
ghporter  (op)
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Oct 17, 2018, 05:45 PM
 
Originally Posted by reader50 View Post
The OWC drives are SATA-2 (3G speeds), matching your 2008 MBP controller. The MX500 SATA-3 (6G) speeds will matter only if you later move the drive. To a computer with 6G speeds, or a USB3 enclosure.
Ah. That's an important consideration. And I'm sure that applies to the Mac Book (my wife's computer) as well as MBPs.

The OWC page for their Mercury Electra 3G drives offers as a "recommended item" a 7mm to 9.5mm spacer (such spacers come with all Crucial drives), but the page for the spacer says it's "not needed for any installation of a 7mm drive in Apple Macintosh computers." I assume that includes Mac Books?

Finally, would there be any problem using a "more capable" drive (a 6G, like the Crucial) in the 2008 MacBook as compared to a drive that's more matched to the controller, like the 3G OWC drive? I can get both shipped free. The price difference for a 250 GB unit is about $15, but for a 500GB drive, the OWC drive is almost $45 more.

Glenn -----OTR/L, MOT, Tx
     
reader50
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Oct 17, 2018, 06:44 PM
 
A SATA-3 drive is backwards-compatible with -2 and -1. There are rare exceptions, but I'm not aware of any with a 2008 MBP.

Personally, I'd buy by price, and the biggest drive I'm willing to afford. That said, I like OWC. And their solution will definitely work.
     
   
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