After months of my wife’s complaints about her 5-year-old 15″ MacBook Pro 3,1 hanging during normal operations, I upgraded the hard drive to an OWC 240GB Mercury Electra 2.5″ 3G SSD and saw an amazing performance increase. I highly recommend adding an SSD to a MacBook Pro or MacBook to regain performance, extending the life of your computer. Please comment if you add an SSD to a MacBook Pro and let us all know your experience.
Prior to the upgrade, the spinning rainbow interrupted just about everything she tried to do, including web browsing and e-mail. My wife uses her computer primarily for web browsing, email, iPhoto, Photoshop, and her web site design company, Plain&Simple Web Design, These aren’t particularly CPU intensive applications and still the MacBook Pro was becoming unusable. I tried optimizing the disk, deleting files, and several other free techniques to speed up the computer, but nothing made any difference.
In February 2012 I purchased a mid-2011 MacBook Air and was surprised at the speed of the computer for doing everyday tasks like web browsing, email, and document processing. It felt faster than my early 2008 MacPro with 16GB of memory and a 10K RPM primary hard drive. This made me think it might be the speed of the disk slowing her MacBook Pro down. I had purchased the standard 13-inch MacBook Air with the 128GB SSD in it and replaced it with the OWC 240GB Mercury Aura Pro Express 6G SSD. I based this decision on the analysis performed by StorageReview.com showing how much faster the OWC SSD was over the standard Apple supplied SSDs.
I could either purchase a new computer for my wife or try adding an SSD to the MacBook Pro, replacing the hard-drive. It was a lot cheaper to purchase a 240GB Mercury Electra Solid State Drive by OWC (about $250) than it was to buy a new MacBook Pro, so I decided to give this a try first. Worse case if the computer was still slow after the upgrade I could buy a new computer and put the solid-state drive into it.
Before installing the SSD into the MacBook Pro I attached put the SSD into a spare USB disk drive housing so that I could attached it to my USB port so that I could set it up as a Mac Boot Drive and transfer my files. I used the disk utility to create a single partition and set it up as a boot drive. Then I used Carbon Copy Cloner to transfer all my files with their permissions intact to the SSD. Next I followed this SSD Upgrade Video on YouTube to do the replacement. I used the HDD to SSD closing video to make sure I didn’t miss any steps in
I was not prepared for the speed increase I saw! The mid 2007 15″ MacBook Pro was fast again. No spinning rainbow! I no longer get daily complaints about how slow her computer is. I highly recommend upgrading your old computer with a OWC SSD. The Mercury Electra 3G will work with any MacBook that has the SATA disk drive interface in it (looks like any MacBook or MacBook Pro made in 2006 or after).
To see a good video of the performance difference of SSD to a HDD see OWC Speed Comparison Video – SSD versus HDD.
Would it make economic sense to purchase a used MacBook Pro and add an SSD if you were looking at getting a new computer? My wife’s computer isn’t as fast or as small as my MacBook Air, but pretty close on speed now that we have done the SSD upgrade. Looking at the completed sales on eBay these computers sell for about $400. Add to that the $250 for the OWC and you get a total of $650 for a 240GB SSD system or $570 for a 120GB SSD System (the OWC 120GB SSD is $170). This is certainly cheaper than a new MacBook Pro, it is also $750 cheaper over a 15″ MacBook Pro; on Apple’s Refurbished Web Store. If you need processing power you might want to consider a new computer. If you are using non-CPU intensive applications or don’t mind waiting for the occasional complex task in Photoshop to finish, this is a much cheaper option. A 2006 MacBook 13″ sells on eBay for less than $200, plus the SSD for a $170 you have a fast Apple computer for $370.
I would be interested to hear if anyone else has added an SSD to older MacBook Pro or MacBook. Please leave a comment with your experiences.