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Posted by DJ RANN on May-21-2011 22:15:

HappyHappy How to get a super cheap but seriously powerful mac....

I've been doing a ton of research ever since it came up last year and it seems the technology is finally with us to make it viable.

I have a 2008 imac which has served me well; solid as a rock, nice and powerful, and really quiet. In looking to one day replace it, I can't justify the $1300+ to get a marginally more powerful imac, and it's seems the leaps in processing have not been as substantial as the decade before.

But one thing that has happened is SSD's!

I've been looking at the results where people who have been replacing the internal drives in the macs and PC's are seeing staggering performance results, to the point it's like having bought a completely new computer.

Random access read times (the bit we're really concerned with) jump from around 60-80mbps to over 200 for SATA3, and over 400 for RAID0 or SATA 6 configs.

The stability has now got to comparable levels with mechanical drives, especially with intel's x25 range and the sizes of drive compared to cost mean they're getting close to what normal HHD's were about 6 years ago.

For instance you can pick up a 120g Intel SSD MLC for around $200, and that's more than enough space for your system drive.

I just installed 2 SSD's in a friends mac pro for composing and watching logic load in under 5 seconds, especially with all his libraries for composing, truly is a thing to behold.

So back to the thread topic: you can buy a excellent condition ALU 2008 or 2009 24" imac for about $600 second hand. Slap in a 120 or 160g SSD, and you've got a audio rig that will smoke a stock machine bought for 3 times the price.

WORD OF WARNING - do research on what SSD will suit your computer. Some work better than others and some need software to avoid gradual degredation in performance. Also, 2011 imac's are currently extremely difficult to install SSD's in, not just in terms of installation, but they also require hard to find adaptor cables.

More info here: (scroll down to the side by side comparison)

http://forums.macnn.com/58/imac-ema...n-24-inch-imac/

And just for fun...


Posted by clay on May-21-2011 23:19:

what SSD should i get for my almost two year old macbook pro 13". the current HD is 250GB and currently 200GB free. in other words i dont need space.


Posted by Waza on May-21-2011 23:21:

Yip i agree i have just upgraded to intel 510 ssd 120gb drive and it's very fast.


Posted by Storyteller on May-22-2011 01:05:

had a harddrive crash last tuesday which was a deadline day for the biggest webproject 8'm working on thus far. I was not amused.

Went to the pc shop and got a 64gb ssd. Wanted 128 but I had to get that on backorder in any nearby shop so I had to go with it as I couldn't wait the 24 hrs. With just windows 7 on there it's already 60% full, but damn in it is fast . Everything feels do much more instantanious, just when you thought computers wouldn't really get anu quicker anymore. It's relatively expensive technology, rougly 40 timer more expensive than regular harddriver but well worth it.

Want to get another 120gb ssd soon but first need some invoices paid.


Posted by clay on May-23-2011 21:16:

im bumping this.

wants a SSD for my macbook pro. just not sure what the hell to get. 128GB is more than enough, but 64 might be a little bit too small as im running OSX and Logic (i guess those two takes up 30GB alone).


Posted by Lunar Phase 7 on May-24-2011 07:09:

Re: How to get a super cheap but seriously powerful mac....

quote:
Originally posted by DJ RANN
I've been doing a ton of research ever since it came up last year and it seems the technology is finally with us to make it viable.

I have a 2008 imac which has served me well; solid as a rock, nice and powerful, and really quiet. In looking to one day replace it, I can't justify the $1300+ to get a marginally more powerful imac, and it's seems the leaps in processing have not been as substantial as the decade before.

But one thing that has happened is SSD's!

I've been looking at the results where people who have been replacing the internal drives in the macs and PC's are seeing staggering performance results, to the point it's like having bought a completely new computer.

Random access read times (the bit we're really concerned with) jump from around 60-80mbps to over 200 for SATA3, and over 400 for RAID0 or SATA 6 configs.

The stability has now got to comparable levels with mechanical drives, especially with intel's x25 range and the sizes of drive compared to cost mean they're getting close to what normal HHD's were about 6 years ago.

For instance you can pick up a 120g Intel SSD MLC for around $200, and that's more than enough space for your system drive.

I just installed 2 SSD's in a friends mac pro for composing and watching logic load in under 5 seconds, especially with all his libraries for composing, truly is a thing to behold.

So back to the thread topic: you can buy a excellent condition ALU 2008 or 2009 24" imac for about $600 second hand. Slap in a 120 or 160g SSD, and you've got a audio rig that will smoke a stock machine bought for 3 times the price.

WORD OF WARNING - do research on what SSD will suit your computer. Some work better than others and some need software to avoid gradual degredation in performance. Also, 2011 imac's are currently extremely difficult to install SSD's in, not just in terms of installation, but they also require hard to find adaptor cables.

More info here: (scroll down to the side by side comparison)

http://forums.macnn.com/58/imac-ema...n-24-inch-imac/

And just for fun...



Link to a said high specced 2nd hand mac please?

All I've found on eBay are shocking.

Also would not a modern, cheap windows build with ssd beat a 3/4 yr old mac? I fear it would.


Posted by meriter on May-24-2011 11:48:

120gb Intel x25-m here w/ april 2010 macbook pro i5. blistering fast


Posted by kitphillips on May-24-2011 15:00:

I'm going to hang out for another 18 months, or until I get my next machine. Then I'll be trying for a 128 gig SSD and a 750 GB magnetic disk. Do the macbook pros have two hard disk slots? Most PCs laptops do these days, but not sure about macs... May make the switch if they do.


Posted by meriter on May-24-2011 21:17:

quote:
Originally posted by kitphillips
I'm going to hang out for another 18 months, or until I get my next machine. Then I'll be trying for a 128 gig SSD and a 750 GB magnetic disk. Do the macbook pros have two hard disk slots? Most PCs laptops do these days, but not sure about macs... May make the switch if they do.


you have to swap out the optical drive which voids the warranty. It can easily be done though.


Posted by DJ RANN on May-25-2011 01:50:

quote:
Originally posted by clay
im bumping this.

wants a SSD for my macbook pro. just not sure what the hell to get. 128GB is more than enough, but 64 might be a little bit too small as im running OSX and Logic (i guess those two takes up 30GB alone).


OSX takes up about 9/10gigs but with all your peripheral drivers (printers etc), and misc software, you're probably looking at about 16 all said and done. Then you want to add your audio programs (non library ones - you can put those files on external disk and just use the copy files to working directory option) so you'll be at about 30gig.

The only thing is, the process difference between a 60, 80 and even 120 isn't that huge so I'd just go for the biggest one above 80gigs that you can afford.

One thing to bear in mind though, is that some of the larger drives are actually slightly faster, even form the same model range; an example of this in the intel 320 series, where the 160gig is slightly faster than the smaller ones even though they are the same model.

The best drives at the moment, in terms of both performance and reliability are the intel drives. They make both the controller chips and the firmware, as well as the drive technology itself so compatibility issues are minimized and they're the most solid.

Some other drives claim to have faster sequential read times, but for our uses, that is not important. All we care about is the Random access read times and Intel are up there with the best.

For your MBP, go for an Intel SSD, either the 320 series or 510. The main difference is the 510 does SATA3 (6gb/s) and SATA2 (3GB/s) while 320 only does SATA2. As your MBP is only SATA2, there's not much point going for the 510, unless you want to use it in the future with another computer that has a SATA3 motherboard. In use, on a SATA2 system, both these drive perform nearly the same with Random access times.

@LP7 - just checked ebay for imac 2008 and found one 20" for $300 (will probably go for around $800), and then two other 24" going for around $900. That's more than 40% off their original retail price. And yes, we could get in to the old mac vs PC debate, but as I've said many times before, the imacs are, all thing considered (stunning screen, case, connectivity, reliability, performance, etc) extremely good value, so buying a second hand one for that money and putting an SSD in there will give a damn powerful and fast computer for little money.

@kit - yes it's actually very easy. All you need is the optical bay converter kit. Then you just keeps the parts you removed and should you have a warranty issue, just slap the old optical drive back in.



Do it. You know want to come over to the darkside


Posted by aNYthing on May-25-2011 04:10:

quote:
Originally posted by meriter
you have to swap out the optical drive which voids the warranty. It can easily be done though.


I was researching this subject matter and it appears that it does not. It voids the optical drive warranty but the rest should be fine. Best bet (came from mac forums): email support and ask them if it will void your warranty. When they reply (most likely along the lines above): just save it. Because in warranty it states something like "unless in writing from apple support" yada yada yada.

So, if they say: Hey, your optical will be OOW but rest cool - you're good to go.

I'm gonna do the swap on my mac very soon. Just installed 750GB Seagate 7.2K rpm drive and ALREADY see blazing fast speed vs piece of shit 5400 rpm that came with it. Also, I saw 256GB mac book air drive for $400 or so - you can get an adapter that will fit it into available slot.

might go that route. BTW, I loaded Ableton on my girl's MBA (new one) and that shit IS AWESOME!

I might wait til mid year when they come out with more powerful MBAs and buy that shit instead for portable use.


Posted by johncannons1 on May-25-2011 05:38:

Re: How to get a super cheap but seriously powerful mac....

So im a little confused.
I have an old 24inch white imac. The version just before they changed to the new silver ones.

Am i able to modify that to make it better because its SLOW as!
I have 4gb of ram in it because it cant take more supposdly..
hardrive is full as and its just slow..
I use my macbook pro now.. but can i make my old comp faster than that you rekon?


Posted by atxbigballer1 on May-25-2011 07:12:



Posted by kitphillips on May-25-2011 11:36:

quote:
Originally posted by meriter
you have to swap out the optical drive which voids the warranty. It can easily be done though.


quote:
Originally posted by DJ RANN


@kit - yes it's actually very easy. All you need is the optical bay converter kit. Then you just keeps the parts you removed and should you have a warranty issue, just slap the old optical drive back in.



Do it. You know want to come over to the darkside


quote:
Originally posted by aNYthing
I was researching this subject matter and it appears that it does not. It voids the optical drive warranty but the rest should be fine. Best bet (came from mac forums): email support and ask them if it will void your warranty. When they reply (most likely along the lines above): just save it. Because in warranty it states something like "unless in writing from apple support" yada yada yada.

So, if they say: Hey, your optical will be OOW but rest cool - you're good to go.


This is all interesting and good to know, cheers guys

@ RANN, there's a good chance I'll eventually make the switch. Its just a matter of time and working out what software I need etc. Some of the stuff I use for uni isn't available for mac still...


Posted by Lunar Phase 7 on May-25-2011 18:44:

Re: Re: How to get a super cheap but seriously powerful mac....

quote:
Originally posted by Lunar Phase 7
Link to a said high specced 2nd hand mac please?

All I've found on eBay are shocking.

Also would not a modern, cheap windows build with ssd beat a 3/4 yr old mac? I fear it would.


Posted by clay on May-25-2011 20:57:

thanks rann, 120gb intel 320 will be bought.


Posted by DJ RANN on May-26-2011 20:22:

Re: Re: Re: How to get a super cheap but seriously powerful mac....

quote:
Originally posted by Lunar Phase 7
Originally posted by Lunar Phase 7
Link to a said high specced 2nd hand mac please?

All I've found on eBay are shocking.

Also would not a modern, cheap windows build with ssd beat a 3/4 yr old mac? I fear it would.


quote:
Originally posted by RANN
@LP7 - just checked ebay for imac 2008 and found one 20" for $300 (will probably go for around $800), and then two other 24" going for around $900. That's more than 40% off their original retail price. And yes, we could get in to the old mac vs PC debate, but as I've said many times before, the imacs are, all thing considered (stunning screen, case, connectivity, reliability, performance, etc) extremely good value, so buying a second hand one for that money and putting an SSD in there will give a damn powerful and fast computer for little money.


Don't make me LMGTFY

quote:
Originally posted by John Cannons
So im a little confused.
I have an old 24inch white imac. The version just before they changed to the new silver ones.

Am i able to modify that to make it better because its SLOW as!
I have 4gb of ram in it because it cant take more supposdly..
hardrive is full as and its just slow..
I use my macbook pro now.. but can i make my old comp faster than that you rekon?


The short answer is yes. If it's one on the last white ones before the Alu versions came out (2006?), it will be intel processors (good news for compatibility reasons etc).

The only downside (I think) is that the 2006 imac only have SATA1 on those, so you won't quite see the kind of massive boost that SATA2 or 3 do, but still it will be the single biggest improvement you can make to your imac. SHould speed it up nicely.

Here's a link on someelse that did it so it should be very easy:

http://www.xlr8yourmac.com/systems/..._2006_imac.html


Posted by DJ RANN on May-26-2011 20:30:

ONE FINAL THING FOR ANYONE INSTALLING SSD IN TO A MAC:

you have to be running snow leopard and/or install the updates to facilitate TRIM.

TRIM is basically intel's way of making sure used data blocks get wiped and ready for reuse (to avoid performance degradation over time).

If you're using a PC, you MUST install TRIM as well.


Posted by kevin shawn on May-26-2011 20:52:

My hackintosh has been restarting randomly under heavy loads lately. I think my video card is on it's way out

Going to get new video card and install snow leopard sometime soon


Posted by DJ RANN on May-26-2011 21:39:

quote:
Originally posted by kevin shawn
My hackintosh has been restarting randomly under heavy loads lately. I think my video card is on it's way out

Going to get new video card and install snow leopard sometime soon


That will elarn you for trying to fake a mac


Speaking seriously, I wouldn't both with Snow Leopard. Lion is about to come out any time now and will be a big step up.


Posted by clay on May-26-2011 21:41:

yeah Lion suppose to come in June, but hackintosh will probably take another few months lol. fuck hackintosh, the whole point is sort of lost.


Posted by kevin shawn on May-26-2011 22:12:

The entire point is logic and that alone really but I've been using this computer as a workhorse for everything else including gaming. Need to get a media machine with windows built, I should get a summer job at an electronics store Frys!

The hackintosh process is easy it's the terminology that's confusing coming from a windows background.


Posted by evo8 on May-26-2011 23:25:

quote:
Originally posted by kevin shawn
My hackintosh has been restarting randomly under heavy loads lately. I think my video card is on it's way out

Going to get new video card and install snow leopard sometime soon

why do you think its a video card problem?
sounds like thermal shutdown or not enough power (power supply) to me


Posted by kevin shawn on May-26-2011 23:57:

I did replace my PSU last year, it worked for a good 6 months with no reboots or kernel panics. Currently dual booting with seperate HDs, most restarts are when I'm gaming on PC. It will do it randomly when in OSX. My office does get a little warm evo I probably need to reinstall my heatsink.

I am wanting to build a new machine for gaming and I guess whatever parts don't fix it when troubleshooting could go towards a new build. Hopefully it will be as easy as a tube of thermal paste


Posted by kevin shawn on May-27-2011 08:37:

Watching a few of those SSD videos again holy balls those are fast!

Actually it might be worth picking up a quad core g5 tower I see some on craigslist for about 600 right now. Install an SSD in there and I will be all legal no more hack it's tempting all for under $1000 easy.


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