Solid State Drives (SSDs) are the bees-knees in computing, at least from all the tech reviews I’ve read. SSDs promise the holy valhalla of computing: super fast boot-up times, instant application launches, and increased durability due to no moving parts. In short, everything a traditional hard drive should be.
The downside to these drives has been its higher GB/$ cost when compared with conventional hard drives. Slowly but surely, as production and adoption of these drives increase, the price points will go down (just like everything else in technology). More than a little piqued by the phenomenon of SSD drives, I decided to buy one. The unit I purchased was the 40GB Mercury Extreme Pro SSD, from my site sponsor Other World Computing. I spent roughly $120US total for both the 40GB OWC Extreme Pro SSD and Icy Dock.
I placed the order last Monday, and the goods arrived on Saturday. Along with the SSD drive, I purchased an Icy Dock 2.5″ to 3.5″ converter. The Icy Dock lets 2.5″ drives interface with 3.5″ SATA ports. It’s made of durable plastic and perfectly housed OWC SSD within it. Installation within the Mac Pro involved mounting the Icy Dock to one of the Mac Pro’s built-in drive sleds. Four screws later and the OWC SSD was inside the machine. Installation was literally a snap. I only encountered one minor snag – and that was initially lining up the drive sleds with the Mac Pro.
The OWC SSD unit I purchased was 40GB in size. While this size is paltry for all the data I work with, my intention was to use the OWC SSD drive for speeding up boot times and application launches. After reformatting the drive using Disk Utility, I performed a clean installation of Snow Leopard and all my main applications. This left me with 11GB to spare on the SSD. I opted to leave my data (all 400GB of it) where it was at, on my internal SATA hard drive.
How Fast is It
While I haven’t made any quantitative measurements, I will say that this drive is a significant improvement over the conventional hard disk drive. Boot time after installing my applications and utilities was under 30 seconds – compared to the usual minute and a half. Application launches, especially for heavy apps like Photoshop and Maya, took place at a fraction of the time they normally would via HDD.
I’m not really going out on a limb by saying that SSDs are the future of computing storage. I can imagine that in the next three years, SSDs will be the standard on all machines. My first impressions with the OWC SSD can be summed up in two words: insanely fast.
If you yearn for faster performance and have the money to spend, adding an OWC SSD is a fantastic upgrade for your machine. It’ll literally make you feel like you have a new computer again. Now that I have had a chance to own and use one in my Mac Pro, I have seen the light.
Quantitative results will happen soon. Questions? Hit me up on the comments below.
P.S. The ApplePress has an informative review of the 120GB OWC Extreme Pro SSD.
Shameless plug: My book, PC Weenies Rebootus Maximus, is now on sale!