Post SSD install, the MacBook [Pro] Air not-so-thin

A couple of days ago I said I would share my thought post install. After swapping the factory installed Hitachi 7200 RPM hard drive with an OWC Mercury Extreme Pro SSD, all I can say is wow. The overall improvement was immediately apparent after the startup Apple logo appeared then quickly disappeared moments before the menu bar and dock popped into view.

  • Faster startup / shutdown
  • Notebook runs slightly cooler
  • Similar “instant-on” MacBook Air users enjoy
  • Applications start within a second or two (including Adobe apps)

My previous habit of starting an app, bouncing back to another to continue working then returning to the first (after fully loading) are a thing of the past. Click on an icon in the dock and it opens immediately. Productivity boost! Check out the read / write performance figures before and after installation. The second column is the Xbench score.

Apple installed Hitachi 7200 RPM

OWC Mercury Extreme Pro SSD

Props to Apple for making the hard drive so easy to swap. The entire swap not including disk cloning was under 15 minutes. The OWC Data Doubler kits look super tempting now.

Discuss - 7 Comments

  1. I did something sorta similar… I have the Intel X25-M (which appears to be not nearly as quick as your SSD haha) but I used the MCE Optibay to replace my superdrive with the SSD. I use my base 7200 RPM drive for storing media like movies and music, then the SSD for boot and apps.

    • Derek says:

      Torn between the OWC and MCE SuperDrive swap kit. MCE offers a external enclosure for the drive which could come in handy later. Although, Lion is supposedly going to be disk-less install(?).

      I like the idea of leaving the 7200 RPM drive in the main slot with the SSD in the optical bay. But, now that I’m solid, kind of want to do the second drive solid :) I’ll wait until the OWC SSD drives come down more.

    • Joe Siri Ekgren says:

      Whitson Gordon wrote a nice walkthrough and a useful tip:

      http://lifehacker.com/#!5541774/how-to-install-a-solid+state-drive-in-your-macbook

      Useful tip:
      “It seems that connecting the SSD to the optical drive slot will give you problems waking from sleep, since the MacBook doesn’t look to that SATA port for your main drive. I did not notice this before, as I don’t sleep my computer. So, instead of installing your SSD in the Optibay, you’ll want to disconnect your regular hard drive, install the SSD in that slot, and then install your old drive in the Optibay and continue as written.”

      All the best,
      Joe

    • Derek says:

      An OWC tech recommended not using the standard hard drive in the optibay / data doubler because of the lack of any sort of impact detection.

    • Joe Siri Ekgren says:

      Interesting point, Derek. Thank you for your useful and inspiring article!

  2. Neil Bradley says:

    Great post Derek. Did you just buy the 2.2ghz version of the macbook pro?