Completely moved to Solid State

Posted on January 3, 2012

tl;dr: SSDs are awesome. Don’t have one? Get one!

Happy new year!

I got a late christmas gift in the form of a Crucial M4 256G* Solid State Drive. But let me start a bit earlier.

I wrote my diploma thesis on my trusty old Mid-2009 13" MacBook Pro. By far not the fastest machine even by Mid-2009 standards but fast enough for most of my needs most of the time. When I started at akquinet last year, they got me a 2.2 GHz i7 17" MacBook Pro and wow, that thing was fast! Especially compared to my old 13“. Even though the i7 was equipped with a traditional spinning disk hard disk, it felt way faster.

But I still use my 13" a lot and since everybody was singing the song of the SSD, I gut myself an OCZ Vertex 2* to see what their tune was all about. And it was music… pure music. All of a sudden, the mighty i7 17" felt dead slow to me. It was like trying to ride on a dead horse. Where my aging 13" was snappy and responsive, the spinning disk in the 17" made it feel like it was heaving trouble getting up at all.

They say, the only people not recommending an SSD to you, are those, that don’t have one themself. This can’t be more true. Remember the old days of the late 90ies. When the best thing you could do to your computer was add more RAM. Always. Those days are over. Screw RAM. I have Gigs idling around all the time. Today the very best performance upgrade that money can buy is a solid state disk! Yes, they are expensive. More expensive than spinning disks. But they are worth every cent. 256 Gig SSDs are not absurdly expensive and they are a size that one can live with. Flush out all your huge files on to a big disk and live with the slight inconvenience of having to attach a USB drive when you want to watch that blue-ray rip. Once you’ve tasted the blood of an SSD you won’t go back!

Speaking of blood, I should probably mention one caveat. SSDs are not per se less reliable than spinning disks. But they apparently have a tendency to fail big time when they do fail. Think in terms of oh-my-God-what-just-happened-to-all-my-data. I’ll report when one of my SSDs has gone that way. Until then, Time Machine and myself will be good friends and seeing each other quite frequently.

By the way, I decided to start fresh with the new SSD and reinstalled Lion from scratch. Thanks to a rather fast internet connection, the cloud in general and iCloud in particular as well was a recent time machine backup, I’ve got my system from SSD-in-my-hand to ready-for-production-work in about 3 to 4 hours. This made me really appreciate the Mac App Store. In the time it took me to search for the licenses in my mails, I got all apps from the MAS ready to go with no interaction. Downloaded and licensed. No registration-key-copy-pasta. This was such a pleasant experience that I seriously consider purchasing MAS-Versions of the applications that I got pre-MAS that are available in the MAS by now.

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