Treat your Mac: 
Spend a bit extra and get SSD

By the time you read this, Apple has introduced a new iPad and possibly a new Apple TV as well, but as the deadline for submitting this article was before the event on March 7, I couldn’t fit that in now.

By (Mac talk with Magnus Nystedt)

Published: Sat 10 Mar 2012, 11:07 PM

Last updated: Fri 3 Apr 2015, 1:56 AM

Instead, we’ll get back to what Apple announced next week and this week I’ll take you on a journey on storage for your Mac, finishing with why you should get SSD for your existing or next Mac.

Sometime in the early 1990s I had a Mac with 40 MB (yes, megabytes) of internal storage, and I remember upgrading it to a hard drive around 200 MB. That cost me somewhere in the neighbourhood of $300. As you can imagine that space increase was amazing, and I thought why would I ever need anything bigger. Now I write this on a MacBook Pro with a 256 GB (gigabytes) of storage. And just to remind you, one gigabyte is 1,000 megabytes.

Hard drives have become increasingly cheaper as well as larger over the years. Today you pay very little per megabyte and you can get 4 TB (terabyte) internal hard drives for desktop computers. What’s on offer for notebooks is a bit different but the 1 TB barrier has been broken even in portable computers. And by and large, hard drives are dependable and perform well.

But the Achilles heel of hard drives is that they are made up of metal platters that sit extremely close to one another and spin very fast. Thousands of times per second the platters spin and there’s little if any room for error, like if a computer falls or you bump into it. So hard drives may be cheap and offer lots of space but they are also rather delicate instruments.

A Solid State Drive (SSD) tackles many of the drawbacks of hard drives. There are no moving parts in an SSD. It’s like the flash memory on the USB stick you probably own, but with more space and usually better performance. This means you don’t have to worry about dropping your computer, at least not when it comes to the storage. It also means that your Mac will operate faster with an SSD than with a hard drive, especially when starting up. Finally, SSD usually requires less power than a hard drive, so a notebook can get longer battery life.

This all sounds great, doesn’t it? There are two main drawbacks with an SSD: price and size. First of all, you can’t get as much storage space with an SSD. Currently, on a MacBook Pro you can get up to 750 GB hard drive but only 512 GB SSD. That may not be a huge difference but you will pay almost Dh5,000 extra to get the 512 GB SSD compared to the larger hard drive. For a 256 GB SSD, the premium is Dh2,100.

But even though you pay a premium putting an SSD in your Mac I strongly recommend you doing just that. Either upgrade your existing Mac or opt for an SSD when you buy your next Mac. It will give you a better experience and ensure you get even more pleasure out of your Apple computer.

Sooner or later, pretty much all Macs will come with an SSD as standard, like the MacBook Air already does, but go ahead and take the jump already now.

Magnus Nystedt @mnystedt

More news from