Put An SSD In Your ExpressCard Slot?

I spied the Wintec FileMate 48GB Ultra ExpressCard and began to wonder how it works as a boot drive for Mac OS X in a late 2008 MacBook Pro (the model just before Apple replaced the ExpressCard slot with an SD slot). But I didn’t have to wonder too much, as a post to this MacObserver forum thread offers enough details to make a geek salivate:

The computer now boots primarily from the SSD Card and will start up the computer in less than 1/2 the time of the internal HD […] I have all the applications and system files on the SSD Card, the user files/record on the internal HD. Programs launch about 4 to 5 times faster.

The manufacturer claims 115MB/s reads and 65MB/s and writes, which is better than the max performance (according to Tom’s Hardware) of the 320GB 5400 RPM drive it shipped with, but only similar to the max performance of the top of the line 7200 RPM drives. The stated read performance of the SSD, however, is only slightly better than the average performance those 7200 RPM drives, and the write performance is middling. For comparison, Intel claims their consumer-class X25-M can do 250MB/s reads and 100MB/s writes. (However, none of these numbers show the effect of seek times on actual performance, which may account for the gains reported in the forum posting.)

So, is it worth it?

2 thoughts on “Put An SSD In Your ExpressCard Slot?

  1. Looking at bulk transfer rates for SSDs is akin to focusing on megapixels for digital cameras: While the numbers aren’t irrelevant, they are just a part of the truth. What’s far more interesting is the factor 50-100 in speed for small random access reads (and something in the same ballpark for writes as far as the Intel drive goes).

    I’m waiting for delivery of a Kingston V 40GB, which contains Intel X25-M technology. While the bulk write speed is a paltry 40MB/sec for that drive, I am confident that it will far outperform my current 7200 RPM harddisk.

  2. I think it’s worth it! My MacBook Pro 2.4 is far more pleasant to use when booted from the Wintec 48GB EC SSD.
    Cooler and quicker and happier running XP virtual machine (virtual disc on the internal 500GB HDD).

    I have set the EC SSD as system and apps, home folder on the HDD. Scratch, swap and sleepimage are written to a 50GB partition on the HDD.

    When I upgrade to internal SSD/s I may use the Wintec EC SSD for those temp files – so it’s a good long term investment.

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