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Best SDD available for 2011 Macbook Pro

Posted on 2011-03-08
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Last Modified: 2012-05-11
I am getting ready to purchase a 15" Macbook Pro with the 2.0 GHz i7.  I was planning on putting a Crucial RealSSD Sata III in it, but have read about stuttering problems with the 2010 MBP and that drive.  I also noticed that the new OCZ Vortex 3 SSDs came out this week and Intel's SSDs will be out soon.  Cost is not an issue.  What is the absolutely fastest SSD I can put in a 2011 MBP and not have any problems with it?

I'd prefer actual hands on experience (i.e. has anyone actually purchased a Crucial SATA III and had it work perfectly in the new MBPs?)
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Question by:jsclev2007
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et01267 earned 500 total points
ID: 35082556
I have had a OWC Mercury Extreme 200GB as my drive in my MBP 2010 since I got it almost a year ago.  It has been essentially flawless.

I like the drive because of the Sandforce controller that (theoretically) eliminates the need for TRIM and means that performance won't degrade over the life of the drive.  

The OCZ Vertex (not Vortex) 3 uses the Sandforce controller, but the new 2500 chip.  However, I'm not sure you would see a huge benefit over the cheaper earlier versions using the 1200 chip which is what I have.  The Vertex 3 sports a 6Gb SATA interface, but I think even the newest MBPs only have a 3GB SATA.  

I would actually get the OCZ drive if I had to do it over because they seem to have a special relationship with the Sandforce people and get "special sauce" firmware.  They also seem to have a slightly better channel to firmware updates (though, to be honest, I have not had to do any firmware updates).

But check the excellent SSD reviews at Anandtech - that's what I relied on for my purchase decision last year.
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by:jsclev2007
ID: 35090617
et01267: thanks.  Let me do a little research based on your suggestion.  I have to admit I'm extremely disappointed if the 2011 MBPs only support a 3Gb interface.  For some reason I just assumed they had been upgraded to support 6Gb.  I'll post back once I've gotten a few answers.  Thanks for the leads, I'll be back soon.
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by:jsclev2007
ID: 35090750
Ok, it turns out the 2011 MBP is the first MBP to support the 6Gb SATA interface, which is good.  However, just getting a SATA III SSD is not necessarily the best thing.  See this article: http://www.barefeats.com/mbps02.html where they tested a variety of hard drives, including the Crucial C300, which is what I was initially planning on getting a couple weeks ago.  Their performance tests for the C300 look better than other SSDs, yet they still don't recommend that SSD for the MBP.  Did a little more digging and the C300 just has a variety of problems with the MBPs.

For everyone out there: the current MBPs just seem to work better with Sandforce based SSDs, as et01267 corroborates above.  Thus, the C300 is definitely off the list for now.  More details to follow.
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by:et01267
ID: 35090816
Thanks for the correction.
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by:jsclev2007
ID: 35090868
Another update from http://blog.macsales.com/9089-macbook-pro-early-2011-upgrades-benchmark-results:

3/1/11 Correction: The optical bus on the new MBP’s remains 3Gb/s, only the main hard drive bay was bumped to 6Gb/s. We apologize for any confusion.

Just an FYI to anyone who, like me, is looking to get the most out of their MBP.  I don't need a huge hard drive (64Gb is PLENTY for me), thus I can easily afford the best SSD that's available.  A 500Gb top of the line SSD SATA III at $1500 on the other hand would be out of my range.
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by:jsclev2007
ID: 35105556
This info will be outdated within a couple months, but for the time being, it looks like the options for the best SATA 3 SSDs that will go into a 2011 MBP are:

Crucial RealSSD
Corsair Performance 3
Intel 510
OCZ Vertex 3
Plextor PX-M2

Based on extensive online research the OCZ Vertex 3 is the one to get right now.  It won't be available for another week or two, but it pretty much beats every other SATA III on the market right now.  The Intel 510 follows very closely behind if you like Intel SSDs.

While OCZ has received some negative feedback on sub-par memory in the past, it turns out that they pored a ton of research, development, quality assurance, and testing into their new line of Vertex SSDs.  When they hit the shelves in a week or two, it sounds like they'll be the best on the market.
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