Saturday, 24 December 2011

My SSD is faster than my HDD

As I get to be my own Santa, the day before Xmas, I delivered myself a new SSD to replace the basic HDD in my MBP.

The setup was as follows...

Apple MacBook Pro (8.2), 15-inch, Late 2011
Processor: Intel i7 2.4 GHz Quad Core 
Memory: 8 GB RAM 1333MHz DDR3
and a
750 GB HDD (5400rpm, Toshiba MK7559GSFX / HDD2J60) 
to be replaced with a
240 GB SSD (OCZ Vertex3, 2.5”, SATA III, 6Gbps, SandForce)
Operating System:
Mac OS X Lion 10.7.2 (11C74)
No extra software installed.

First off, I copied the content of the built in HDD to the SSD - connected by USB in a HDD enclosure from Ace - with the free and excellent SuperDuper! ( This took 19 minutes and  24 seconds according to the software.
Remember that I had a brand new installation of Lion without any extra software, so if you’re moving a lot of data it might take quite a bit longer!
Secondly, I replaced the built in HDD for the new SSD. This was quite easy. Drop the unibody of the MBP (ten philips headed screws - seven short and three longer, ) and remove the HDD (four more philips headed screws). 
Be careful when removing and re-attaching the connectors to the drivers!
Also, remember to move the four round screws, two on the left and two the right side, of the HDD to the new drive (SSD). This will require an really thin hex- or torx-headed tool. I used the latter.
Total time for swapping the drive both physically and with all content took only about half an hour.

Let's have some speed comparisons...

Boot, or startup-, time is here defined as the time from starting the computer by pushing the power button until the login-screen shows up.
On the “old” standard 750 GB HDD boot time took 32.5 seconds. 
With the 240 GB SSD it took 44.6 seconds.
WTF? Is the SSD slower on startup? Aiiiii!!

-No, now just relax!
OS X still thinks the “old” HDD is the startup disc, so it still searches for it for a while, and when it can’t find it, it starts looking for other discs it can boot from. Remember that SuperDuper! just copied the content the first disk (HDD) by cloning it. When OS X boots from she SSD it still thinks the HDD is the startup disk. So, to make your computer find the SSD quicker you just have to let OS X know the SSD is the new real startup disk. 
Simply enter System Preferences and select Startup Disk. There you select your new disk and reboot. Voila!
The new startup time for 240 GB SSD is now down to a mere 16.0 seconds. 
That’s twice as fast as the standard HDD. -And that’s just the startup time.

My SSD is faster than my HDD! :-)