★ Pimp my Mac(book Pro)

My main computer is a 13″ Macbook Pro (the Mid 2009 model), which I bought in October 2009. I bought it with just 2gb of RAM and upgraded that to 4gb myself.

Now, about 18 months later, the thing is still perfectly operational but I was starting to bump into the limitations of the system. Pixel-level photo-editing, running multiple virtual machines at the same time or rendering large video files.

The first reflex I had was ‘more RAM’ but after some research and asking around, I found that that wasn’t really going to make noticeable difference, as the other bottlenecks were the speed of the internal harddrive (160GB, 5400 RPM) and the processor (2.26Ghz Intel Core Duo 2) and adding RAM would not make up for that.

Then, by coincidence, one of my colleagues was talking about his order at Azerty, saying that it still hadn’t shipped yet and that he was thinking about adding some stuff to it. I checked out the website and saw that the prices of DDR3 SODIMM’s had dropped quite a bit since say 3 month’s ago. So I added some RAM to my colleague’s order :). That’s same colleague is also kind of a pc-hardware-nut and his advice was just 3 words: Solid State Drive.

The harddrive that came with my Macbook was 160GB and that was more then enough for me (I even had a Windows partition of 40gb on there for about a year, without a problem).
So how much space would I want if I got that SSD? I feel like I can write a lot about this so I’ll keep most of that for another post. In short: 120GB. (When buying an SSD, more space still means exponentially more money).

So, last weekend I made a full backup, powered the macbook down, flipped it over and put these 2 in it:
2 x 4Gb Corsair DDR3 1066MHz

OCZ Vertex 2 Series SSD 120GB

All you need to do this is a Philips #00 screwdriver, it’s really easy and you can find tons of walk-throughs and videos about this online.

Closed it up again, and booted it from a firewire-disk with a 10.6 image on it and installed a fresh OS on the SSD (don’t forget that you have to format the SSD before you can use it, it won’t show up on the ‘available drives list’ if you don’t :)). 20 minutes later, I was up & running again. First thing I did was install the combined update to 10.6.6 (available on apple.com, so you don’t have to do this through software update’). With the OS completely up to date and no other apps installed, this is what my diskspace looked like:

Meanwhile, I’ve copied over my backup and my music and installed a bunch of apps, that now gives me an available disk space of around 50GB.

Performance-wise, it feels like I working on a brand new machine. Booting with no peripherals connected takes about 16 seconds now, rebooting is done in around 30s. Which is outrageously fast. I’m sure that it’s will do just fine for quite some time 🙂

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