I’ve been doing this whole computer thing for twenty years, and I’ve never seen anything like the effect an SSD has on a system. A solid state drive is a replacement for the traditional spinning magnetic hard disk technology. Back in 2001 or so, we started to see SSD-based music players, but actually many-gigabyte computer drives were a very expensive dream for years. In the past two to three years, I’d heard stories from people with more disposable income than me who said how amazing an SSD was, but until this year, I hadn’t experienced it myself. Our iPhones and iPads had Flash memory (solid state memory), but trying to compare a phone to a computer is a bit apples to oranges.
Tammy’s MacBook Air was our first SSD based Mac. But it was a little difficult to tell whether it was fast because it had an SSD or because it was also a faster computer.
Then, this summer I upgraded the spinning disk in my work MacBook Pro to an SSD, and the experience has been… transformative. This was the first time that I had a true apples to apples comparison.
When we replaced our Mac Mini family computer last year, we kept the old one around. I had always intended to find a use for it, but other than letting the kids play Minecraft on the LAN, it’s not done much. Part of the problem is that at five-plus years old, it’s pretty old, and pretty slow. However, I was morbidly curious what would happen if it had an SSD. Prices on SSD’s have continued to fall, and when Memory Express had a 250 GB for only $149, I asked Tammy if I could perform the experiment.
I followed this video to get the Mini open (it’s not easy) and replaced the drive. After it booted, I was giddy: the Mac had gone from sluggish and painful to snappy! 🙂 Hee hee hee! It demonstrated the value to Tammy as well. At the moment, 1 TB SSDs are about $500, which is what we would need for the new Mac Mini that is our family computer. I’ll just keep an eye on that, and perhaps when the time is right, we’ll eliminate yet another spinning disk in our house.