Macbook Warp speed
Published by António Lopes on June 17, 2011
Categories: Apple, Geek, Mac, Personal, Technology

I installed 4GB of RAM on my Macbook 6 months or so ago and, although I noticed some improvement on its performance (especially on video editing tasks), it still was having some stupid slow-downs that can only be interpreted as the Macbook’s “coffee break”, where it simply stopped responding and presented me with the wonderfully hypnotic beachball of death. Considering I still had a lot of RAM to spare and the CPU was usually very low during these breaks, there’s only one more part to blame: the ridiculously slow 5400 RPM Hard Disk that comes bundled with these Macbooks.

So, after being tired of hearing people saying how much faster their computers were after installing an SSD I decided to finally go for the jump. At first, after a friend suggested the Kingston SSDNow V+ 100 I really considered buying it since it was so cheap at Amazon. However, after looking at these benchmarks (thanks, Carlos), the OCZ Vertex series felt more like the best option.


Takes us to Warp 5, Mr. Sulu

I settled for the OCZ Vertex 2(1) on Amazon and after a simple installation and a clean install (which was long overdue) I was really amazed at the performance difference. It’s not only the time it takes to boot(2), it’s the (not so) little differences across the entire OS. Applications now open instantly. And you know that time it takes to open a folder on Finder that is not that long but it’s long enough for you to notice that it’s there? Well, now it isn’t. Or how quicker Spotlight and Alfred are that you can actually call them productivity tools now? It’s that amazing. Overall, it’s a new world of responsiveness that makes you feel like you just bought a new computer.

Keeping your SSD healthy

However, not everything is perfect in the SSD world. You don’t have to have crazy Google-fu skills to find a lot of people with SSD problems mainly due to their short lifespan (of the SSDs, not the people). So, if you’re the lucky owner of a brand new SSD you may want to prevent (or at least, delay) those problems by taking some simple measures.

First of all, activate TRIM support. Since native TRIM support will only come in Mac OS X Lion (due in July), the solution for now is to hack your way through that TRIM activation. Luckly, some guy has made the process as simple as to press a button, so, go grab the TRIM Support Enabler here.

Secondly, you’ll want to reduce the amount of writes that are done to the disk, especially those superflous writes that may be useful for special features but are far from being vital. This post is wonderful to guide you on some of those situations.

In conclusion

Go for it! Really! It may be only a few months or a year before I have to buy a new SSD but this was definitely the best investment on any computer that I’ve made so far.

(1) Before you ask why I didn’t get the OCZ Vertex 3, consider that my Macbook HD Interface is only Serial ATA (3 Gb/s) and the only difference from the Vertex 2 is that the Vertex 3 is 6 Gb/s

(2) Which now is merely a 4 or 5 seconds boot. But, actually, to me this makes no difference since I only reboot my machine for update purposes.


  1. […] 14 months old SSD has started to act up presenting some occurrences of bad blocks to a point that yesterday my […]

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