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Boot some MacBook Pros via an ExpressCard solid state drive
Authored by: poochie2 on Dec 17, '09 03:39:38PM

Uhm, any chance to know what controller lies in that SSD? I wouldn't go for that much trouble for 24GB of an unknown SSD. Get a X25-M 80 GB and you'll fly, then you can bring out your dvd writer and put there the normal HD you have and get a bit of the best of both worlds..
PS: what does XBench say if you test that SSD?

Edited on Dec 17, '09 03:46:35PM by poochie2



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Boot some MacBook Pros via an ExpressCard solid state drive
Authored by: robg on Dec 17, '09 05:25:42PM

These are not *internal* SSDs, but *ExpressCard* SSDs. The largest available that I've seen is 64GB. But the whole point is that they're easy to install, as you don't need to tear your Mac apart to do it.

I have tested mine, and it comes out (using a different test tool) at 123MB/sec read and 72MB/sec write. The internal drive (200gb, 7200rpm) scores 53MB/sec for both read and write on the same test.

-rob.



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Boot some MacBook Pros via an ExpressCard solid state drive
Authored by: poochie2 on Dec 17, '09 05:41:53PM

I see the point of the trouble free install (changing a HD is nothing that hard by the way), but I do know something about SSDs and what really matters to measure the improvements are random read and write values (xbench isn't great but gives an idea about that), sequential results are meaningful only for file transfers, not for loading and saving stuff in a multi tasking environment. I would be afraid that those "SSDs" suffer in random writes as the first Jmicron based SSD did, with terrible performance and caused random pauses in the OS usage due to this problem.



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Boot some MacBook Pros via an ExpressCard solid state drive
Authored by: poochie2 on Dec 17, '09 06:03:50PM

OK, I found a test made on this disk, but it's a bit sad: X25-M 80 GB with latest firmware (note that this drive is the best random read-write performer and one of the worst sequential write performers):

Sequential Read : 247.890 MB/s
Sequential Write : 84.426 MB/s
Random Read 512KB : 173.893 MB/s
Random Write 512KB : 73.066 MB/s
Random Read 4KB : 23.410 MB/s
Random Write 4KB : 59.855 MB/s

Test Size : 1000 MB
Date : 2009/12/02 11:14:18

FileMate SolidGO 48GB: http://www.pro-clockers.com/storage/192-wintec-filemate-solidgo-48gb-expresscard-34-ultra-ssd.html?start=3
Sequential Read : 120 MB/s
Sequential Write : 67 MB/s
Random Read 512KB : 114 MB/s
Random Write 512KB : 54 MB/s
Random Read 4KB : 11 MB/s
Random Write 4KB : 2 MB/s

Test Size : 1000 MB



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Boot some MacBook Pros via an ExpressCard solid state drive
Authored by: robg on Dec 17, '09 07:09:32PM

I have no doubt at all that an internal SSD is faster than an ExpressCard SSD. But it's also a heck of a lot more money, especially for a fast SSD like that one -- $300 vs. $165.

If someone has the time, money, and inclination to rip into their Mac and replace the hard drive, I'm all for it. But in the end, you wind up with 80GB of very fast storage for $300, plus the labor involved in the swap.

With an ExpressCard SSD, I get 248GB of storage, with 48GB of it being very fast compared to the 200GB I had before, all for $165 (or $125 in my case, thanks to the sale) and roughly zero install labor.

Two very good solutions, two very different solutions.

-rob.



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Boot some MacBook Pros via an ExpressCard solid state drive
Authored by: poochie2 on Dec 18, '09 01:46:26AM

It's surely nice (most ExpressCard SSDs are a lot worse than that, but good 3.5 HDs have a similar performance to the one I got for that SSD), but given the price per GB I'd absolutely go for the internal one. The labor required to install it depends on the machine, I am a lucky owner of a Late 2008 MBP Unibody so it takes me extactly 4-5 minutes to swap HD (pull one lever, loosen one screw and move 4 "pins" from the old the new hd, screw back, close), so I'd say the major advantage of using the ExpressCard is actually not having to sacrifice the other HD or DVD Writer. On other machines a lot of work is required, but in my experience is just the first time that il may look scary, otherwise it's a 10m job.



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Boot some MacBook Pros via an ExpressCard solid state drive
Authored by: Hes Nikke on Dec 19, '09 04:43:02PM
For comparison, here is my Kingston SSD Now! 128 GB according to X-Bench:
Disk Test	72.81	
	Sequential	101.32	
		Uncached Write	115.53	70.93 MB/sec [4K blocks]
		Uncached Write	138.55	78.39 MB/sec [256K blocks]
		Uncached Read	52.34	15.32 MB/sec [4K blocks]
		Uncached Read	222.21	111.68 MB/sec [256K blocks]
	Random	56.83	
		Uncached Write	16.50	1.75 MB/sec [4K blocks]
		Uncached Write	135.07	43.24 MB/sec [256K blocks]
		Uncached Read	1819.53	12.89 MB/sec [4K blocks]
		Uncached Read	551.78	102.39 MB/sec [256K blocks]
---
vacuums do not suck. they merely provide an absence that allows other objects to take the place of what becomes absent.


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Boot some MacBook Pros via an ExpressCard solid state drive
Authored by: robg on Dec 17, '09 07:10:47PM

As for the possibility of "OS pauses," I've been using this one now for 48 hours, pretty much constantly, and it hasn't hiccuped a single time. Time will tell, of course, but I'm thrilled with the performance to date.

Having a very cool left palmrest is also a very nice side benefit :)

-rob.



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Boot some MacBook Pros via an ExpressCard solid state drive
Authored by: poochie2 on Dec 18, '09 01:50:51AM

I'm almost sure that if you use all the space on that SSD there may be performance problems in time, but I'd like to use that in my MBP for secondary virtual machines and maybe as secondary SSD, but most ExpressCArd SSDs I can find here in Italy are really terrible performers.



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Boot some MacBook Pros via an ExpressCard solid state drive
Authored by: bkr on Dec 17, '09 05:50:54PM

64GB? and fast? and bootable? Can you elaborate?
Pretec has a 128 GB one, but it seems to use the USB interface embedded in the ExpressCard slot.



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Boot some MacBook Pros via an ExpressCard solid state drive
Authored by: robg on Dec 17, '09 05:57:44PM

The ExpressCard slot does *not* use a USB2 interface, at least based on my testing. The card I bought has a USB2 interface, and if I plug that through the USB2 port on the Mac and test, I get read/write speeds that are very low: 32MB/sec and 19MB/sec, as I recall.

Plugged into the ExpressCard slot, the figures are 123MB and 72MB, respectively.

As for real-world speed, I have all of those tests, and I'm writing them up for Macworld now -- the article should be online tomorrow, and I'll post a URL when it's ready. Suffice it to say that I'm thrilled with the results, and can't imagine going back to the internal boot drive now.

-rob.



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Boot some MacBook Pros via an ExpressCard solid state drive
Authored by: bkr on Dec 18, '09 04:35:49AM

Hi Rob,

sorry, I think I was a bit tired when I wrote that, so it wasn't very clear.
I wasn't questioning your speed report, I just wanted to know which
brand you found that offers 64G+bootable+fast(PCI interface).

The ExpressCard port includes an USB 2.0 Port as part of its
specification. There are cards on the market sold as ExpressCard SSDs
which just use this to connect. They are recognizable by transfer
speeds that don't exceed the USB 2.0 range.
For example, the "128GB Express Card USB SSS" by PreTec is
specified with "High read/write speed up to 38/30MB/s" - I am pretty
sure this one uses the embedded USB2.

Maybe you want to point that out to your readers so they don't rush out and buy cards
which are slower than hard drives.

Kind regards, Bjoern



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Boot some MacBook Pros via an ExpressCard solid state drive
Authored by: robg on Dec 18, '09 06:27:22AM

Agreed -- no point to do this if the card you buy is using the USB interface in the ExpressCard slot. I linked to the one I bought in the hint itself -- the 48GB FileMate drive. Buyers should do their research, though, and make sure the read/write figures for the drive reflect a true ExpressCard PCI connection, and that the drive will be bootable in their Mac.

-rob.



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