Yesterday’s Computer Project, Back to HDD from SSD

Yesterday, I began some badly needed work on my MacBook 5,1. I love SSD speed, but I don’t love shuffling and losing files. My catalog of photos and research materials reached a critical point on my 120 GB Intel X25-M SATA Solid-State Drive. I saw that Amazon had the best price on a Western Digital Scorpio 500 GB hard disk drive, so I picked up one of those to give my MacBook the internal storage capacity that I needed.

Swapping the drives is a quick and painless affair if you have a tiny philips head screw driver and a torx driver set.

After formatting the new drive, I reinstalled Lion and transferred many files to the new drive from a TimeMachine backup. I am now in the process of consolidating files that I was forced to keep on another external drive. I believe everything should be in place soon, and I can begin a new TimeMachine backup.

I should also receive new Corsair memory in the mail soon to bring my MacBook up to 8 GB. It currently has 4 GB and multiple open applications in Lion significantly decreases system responsiveness. Some applications, like Safari under Lion, are memory hogs (as I have reported on before). I hope adding RAM will help alleviate this issue.

Enable TRIM in Mac OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard for Speed and Longer SSD Life

Lifehacker’s Whitson Gordon has an easy to follow how-to guide on “[Enablng] TRIM on Your Macs Solid-State Drive .” TRIM is a feature on many SSDs (solid state drives) that prolongs their service life while increasing performance.

I followed the guide for my 120 GB Intel SSD (model INTEL SSDSA2M120G2GC), and I immediately saw my MacBook 5,1 system boot time decrease from about a minute to approximately 30 seconds. In case there were any problems, I did backup my Mac OS settings (Groth’s program has a backup button that you can’t miss) before applying the patch.

The important thing to consider is that this only works on SSDs that support TRIM, and if you do successfully apply this to your system, you should run the cache cleaning commands in the article.

If things do not work correctly for you, don’t forget that you can boot into Safe Mode (hold down Shift while booting), rerun Oskar Groth’s Trim Enabler for Mac, restore your old, non-TRIM settings, and reboot normally.

Happy TRIMming!

Back to SSD with Intel X25-M 120 GB SATA Drive


IMG_6777, originally uploaded by dynamicsubspace.

After getting most of my files sorted out on a 250 GB 2.5″ HDD (hard disk drive, or a traditional drive that uses spinning platters to store data magnetically and moving arms that read/write the data on the fast spinning disks) in my Unibody, Late 2009 MacBook, I switched back to a smaller SDD (solid state drive, or a drive made entirely of memory chips that store your files) for speed. Originally, my MacBook had a 128 GB Samsung SSD drive that I switched out for the larger, albeit significantly slower, HDD by Hitachi so that I could locally work on my collection of files and get it into a more manageable order. With that now done, I decided to shift back into the fast lane with a better class of SSD: the Intel X25-M. This SSD has received a lot of online praises for its speed, reliability, and price, so I chose it over some of the other SSDs available. Instead of using Time Machine to copy my files onto the new drive, I decided to perform a fresh install of MacOS X 10.6 and then apply all the necessary updates. This initial install process took about 30 minutes with the new drive, but it took about an hour on the Hitachi HDD (an undistinguished 5400rpm drive). I haven’t run any tests yet, but it does feel significantly faster when I am loading apps–especially Word, Aperture, and World of Warcraft. I am impressed by the Intel SSD even after only a few days of heavy use.