Non-Unibody, Core Duo & Core 2 Duo Processors

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How to increase speed & performance? Upgrade to an SSD?

I have an early 2006 17" MacBook Pro A1151 - 2.16 GHz laptop

I have an upgraded Toshiba 160 GB HD but have learned that it is possible to increase speed and performance with a SSD upgrade.

Currently using Snow Leopard OS 10.6.8 but it is still slow.

There are contradicting threads on forums re: SATA 1 vs SATA 3 and compatibility.

Is it worth it to upgrade to a SSD?

Any insights are greatly appreciated !

Thank you

Joseph

Answered! View the answer I have this problem too

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Here's your systems specs: MacBook Pro 17" Core Duo 2.16 GHz

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You do have a few different issues here. First how much of an investment are you willing to put into this older system? This is only a Core Duo based system so it won't run newer versions of Apps as its limited to 32bit apps and most are migrating to 64bit running under the newer 64bit OS's (review the link I posted in your question).

While the type of drive you have in your system is a factor of performance, memory can also effect performance as well as drive maintenance. If your drive is getting quite full I would first think about either cleaning things out or going with a bigger drive. You do want to up to 1/3 of the space free on these smaller drives. More so when you have a limited amount of RAM (1 or 2 GB) like in this series.

While I love SSD's, I do wonder if they make sense in these older systems. You see you face the dreaded compatibility issues many SSD's have as most don't support the older SATA I (1.5 Gb/s) interface in your system. While you can still find them I think you'll find going with a SSHD hybrid drive a better direction. The other factor here is costs, Yes, the smaller SSD's are more economical but again you do need to watch how full your drive is as these systems limit in memory requires more free space on the drive. Lastly, the OS you have doesn't offer TRIM services. While there is a 3rd party which offers a solution I'm not sure if they are still in business. There are a few SSD's which have their own cleanup services builtin now can you find the right SSD that works in your system??

I would recommend sticking with the SSHD hybrid drive (Seagate) Mayer has pointed you to. It will run in your system without any problems. A SSHD offers the benefits of being a traditional disk for the bulk storage (HD) and a deep SSD cache to speed up system boot up and running apps.

But before you jump into getting a new drive how about booting up under the grey CD/DVD your system came with and run Disk Utility to see if it has any problems and then try defrag'ing the drive using a good file defragmentation utility like: Drive Genius You'll need to ask them for the older version that runs on Snow Leopard. See if that improves things. Lastly, look at your RAM have you maxed it out to 2 GB? Which sadly is the limit of this system.

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"But before you jump into getting a new drive how about booting up under the grey CD/DVD your system came with and run Disk Utility to see if it has any problems and then try defrag'ing the drive using a good file defragmentation utility like: Drive Genius You'll need to ask them for the older version that runs on Snow Leopard. See if that improves things. Lastly, look at your RAM have you maxed it out to 2 GB? Which sadly is the limit of this system."...

Thanks for your response Dan.

I thought by upgrading to SL and removing photos and music and files to an external HD would "clear the slate"; because I rebooted OS erasing everything and then upgraded to SL. DiD I miss something?

As you suggest,using the grey DVD/Cd that came with my computer is the 10.4 Tiger OS.

I would then have to reinstall everything to bring me back to Snow Leopard-yes?

If you think that will resolve any issues I'm willing because ,at the very least I feel this machine should be as fast as when I bought it.

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NO! Don't reformat your HD at this point. Deleting files only frees up space it doesn't really defrag the drive. You'll need to use a defrag program like 'Drive Genius' to defrag the disk or replace the drive in the process you'll migrate your files over that will in effect defrag the drive (you'll need an external FireWire case to hold your new drive to prep it up).

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Okay I am ready to replace Hd to Seagate 500Gb ssd Hybrid. Do I need to buy external usb device to clone the old HD when installing upgrade?Please advise!Thank you !

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Yes, you'll need something to hold the second drive (either the new drive or the old one). Your options here are a matter of choice, using a simple USB to SATA adapter to just get the files moved over (this will be slow), or go with a FireWire case which will allow you to also use the drive as a backup to hold a second copy of your stuff just in case something happens.

- Startech 2.5" SATA to USB adapter

- OWC Mercury On-The-Go 2.5" FireWire case

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thank you dan !!

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Most Helpful Answer

I'd go with a Seagate 500 GB SSHD, more bang for the buck.

500 GB SSD Hybrid 2.5" Hard Drive

500 GB SSD Hybrid 2.5" Hard Drive Image

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Agreed! The best bang for the buck!

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Thank you mayer for your response ! The next question is with the new HD,as I understand I will need to utilize "Carbon Copy" app to clone existing HD then transfer it to new HD?

I am confused as to why Snow Leopard is sluggish. I updated via Apple for Sl updates to bring to 10.6.8 yet surfing Facebook for example is slow.

Firefox version for SL is slow. Safari for SL is slow. I transferred all photos and music files to an external HD so of the 160 GB on HD I have @ 120 GB free.

Should I try Dan's suggestion of defragmenting HD via "Disk Genius" to ensure no files are corrupted?

Even with the age of my system. functions such as e-mail,web browsing should be at least as fast as when I bought it. Yes or no?

Again thank you for the support!

Joseph

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How much RAM do you have? Also try force quitting to see what apps may be running in the background.

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2 GB ram. There aren't any apps running in background.

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It may just be that my wi-fi connection here out in the country is inconsistent which contributes to the speed.

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Though a hybrid is a better balance between speed upgrade and storage size, if you're used to 160GB now, and looking for the fastest upgrade possible, go for full SSD. The smaller SSDs are getting pretty cheap now, and you just can't beat them in terms of speed.

Even though the machine has only a SATA 1 bus, the speed difference is quite remarkable. There are indeed some reports about backwards compatibility of the SATA version, and possible issues coming from that, but after 20+ replaces on these models (and their slightly newer versions) i've never had any issues.

Definitely worth it in my opinion.

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@eendje - Joost I think you've been very lucky!

These older SATA I (1.5 Gb/s) systems are more difficult to upgrade with SSD's. The issue is the SSD unit you chose.

Many SSD's today are fixed to one SATA I/O speed: SATA II (3.0 Gb/s) or SATA III (6.0 Gb/s); or only support via auto sense logic only SATA II/III systems. Some SSD's require you set them via software but you get into the Catch 22 problem you need a system which supports their default SATA speed and often need Windows! To run the configuration software.

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joseph will be eternally grateful.
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