Solid, Man, Solid

I take my MacBook Pro pretty much everywhere. And by that I mean it comes with me to the office every day as well as the occasional trip to a WiFi spot, and it contains most of my important data, photos, music, etc.

The mobility is great, but I’ve grown increasingly concerned about the fact that there’s a set of spinning platters inside the computer holding all this important information. There are also the questions of heat, battery life, and speed, all of which all led me to the decision to replace the stock 250 GB hard drive in the MBP with a Crucial M4 128 GB Solid State Drive from NewEgg. It was well worth it.

The prices on solid state drives have come down significantly in recent months, so after a bit of brand research and online price comparison I decided to go with the Crucial from NewEgg.

I won’t go into the details here of how I performed the upgrade– many people have done this and have posted their success stories, plus there are the excellent iFixit guides that walk you through the process step-by-step. I’ve written before about how I’m a big fan of SuperDuper! which was my disk duplication tool of choice in this operation.

The only other prep work I had to do was to get my hard drive usage down to something that would fit on the new SSD. I had about 160 GB of data on the drive, and most of that was in my iPhoto library, which went back 7 years. I used an excellent product called iPhoto Library Manager to archive my entire iPhoto library to an external hard drive, and then I felt safe deleting what I had on the computer’s drive. I also had to get rid of VirtualBox and its related files, which wasn’t a huge deal since it’s been a while since I had to run Windows on my Mac. (Lisa always felt this was an abomination anyway. 🙂

Everyone who has an SSD will talk about the lightning-fast boot-up times they have– that’s great, but how many times do I actually boot my computer? I’m happy to report that not only does my MacBook boot as quickly as Lisa’s 11-inch MacBook Air, but applications load and run a lot faster. On top of this, the computer’s fans have not turned on at all in the past couple days, the unit is much cooler, and I get an average of about 5-6 hours on a single battery charge. All great results that make me glad I did the upgrade.

Next up: upgrading the MBP from Snow Leopard to Lion. I intentionally waited this long to see the bugs in the OS worked out, so it seems a logical next step.