Breathe New Life into your Mac with SSD!

stopwatchWe’re continuing  our diligent work here at the OWC testing lab benchmarking every machine compatible with Snow Leopard and should be ready to start posting some of the results soon.

In the meantime, however, we found some great nuggets of information that we’d like to share!

For our latest test, we took two machines in which the most memory that can be installed was 2GB, maxed out their memory, and checked the performance gains that installing a faster hard drive can provide.  The results were quite impressive!

The Contenders:

MacBookiMacG5The original 2006 MacBook 13″
1.83GHz Core Duo running OS 10.6.1


The 2004 iMac G5 20″
PowerPC 1.8GHz running 10.5.8

Heres what we found:DriveSpeedTests


  • The Photoshop Action Test measures the time (in seconds) it takes to execute a custom action script comprising of 47 commonly-used, memory-intensive processes on a 21 megapixel image using Adobe Photoshop CS4. It is designed to represent an average photo editing session of a graphic artist. No other processes are running in the background besides those that keep the machine itself running. This is pure, linear computing where every available resource is on hand for the one test running.  Lower times are better.
  • Our Stress Test is a variation on the Photoshop Action Test where the test is performed while iTunes is playing music with the visualizer running. This test adds one additional program to represent that additional light computing we do on the side in real life. With the Visualizer on, the resource draw on the machine is not limited to processor power and memory but to the video card and memory allocated for video as well. Lower times are better.
  • The 16 Program Launch test simply measures the time (in seconds) it takes for 16 common programs* from OS X and iLife to open simultaneously.  Lower times are better.
  • The Boot Time Test is exactly what it sounds like – the time it takes to boot the machine.  Again, lower times are better.

Considering the investment that a new Apple computer can cost, it makes sense to get all you can out of the machine you have before taking the plunge.  Installing a Solid State Drive can certainly extend the retirement date of your existing Mac for a fraction of the cost of a new computer.

*Address Book, Calculator, Chess, Dictionary, DVD Player, GarageBand, iCal, iChat, iDVD, iMovie, iPhoto, iTunes, Preview, QuickTime, Stickies, and TextEdit
This test measures the time (in seconds) it takes to execute a custom action script comprising of 47 commonly-used, memory-intensive processes on a 21 megapixel image using Adobe Photoshop CS4. It is designed to represent an average photo editing session of a graphic artist. No other processes are running in the background besides those that keep the machine itself running. This is pure, linear computing where every available resource is on hand for the one test running. Photoshop CS4 is a 32 bit program that has a limit of 3GB of memory that can be used by the program itself so timing should not differentiate greatly with additional memory added to the system.
When CS5 is released from Adobe as a true 64 bit program, we are expecting that any additional memory added to the system is going to speed up a single process like this, but once you have all the memory in the system that the single process can use, and you’re running no other processes, the differences in time are very slight. Lower times are better.


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