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New SSD in late 2008 Unibody MBP failed after two weeks - Should I try again?


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FrankMurphy

 
Member Since: Oct 06, 2012
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Hi,

My late 2008 unibody MBP (15", 2.4 GHz Core 2 Duo, 250GB 5400RPM HDD, 2GB RAM, OS X 10.6.8) was starting to get sluggish, so I decided to upgrade the RAM to 8GB and the HDD to an SSD. After doing some basic research on SSDs, I decided on the Crucial m4 256GB. I know that the SATA bus of my MBP maxes out at 3Gb/s and that it wouldn't be able to take advantage of the m4's 6Gb/s SATA speeds, but I was a bit wary of the older SSDs since the technology is still maturing.

The RAM upgrade was easy and went off without a hitch. For the SSD upgrade, I plugged the SSD into the computer using the included SATA-to-USB cable, formatted the drive as an HFS+ volume using Disk Utility, cloned the existing HDD onto it using SuperDuper, swapped in the SSD for the HDD, reset the SMC and the PRAM, and enabled TRIM support within OSX using TRIM Enabler. The computer ran beautifully until two weeks later, when I started to get the spinning pinwheel of death. It would usually happen randomly upon starting up an application or trying to exit an application, and it would always require a hard reboot. I tried upgrading the firmware to the recently-released 010G revision (it shipped with 000F), but that didn't make any difference. A few hard reboots later, the SSD failed entirely. The computer would no longer boot up, and the SSD wouldn't mount when I tied to plug it into my wife's MB. I had used the computer normally during the two weeks that the SSD worked. The only resource-intensive tasks I performed were a few video encodes. But in all but one of those video encodes, the source and destination file were stored on a network drive, not the SSD. I did leave the computer on at night most of the time, but I hardly think that should cause a catastrophic failure after only two weeks.

Luckily, because I was still within the SSD's return window, I was able to take it back to Fry's and get a full refund. Because my old HDD still worked and I made nightly backups during the SSD's brief stint, I hadn't lost any data. I'm wondering whether and how I should proceed. Questions:

1) Did I do anything wrong in my installation that could have caused the failure? Did I miss a step?

2) Is it possible that the quick failure is due to some basic incompatibility of the first generation unibody MBPs with SSDs? I know that technically, there isn't any reason why I shouldn't be able to swap in an SSD, but Apple didn't even start offering SSDs as an option until the second generation. This guy said that he tried multiple SSDs with his late 2008 MBP and they all failed within weeks.

3) On the other hand, I'm trying to squeeze as much life out of this computer as I possible can. It's been 4 years now, but if I can get the computer running the way it ran during those two weeks reliably and consistently, I would use it for another 2-3 years. Is it worth it to give it another shot, or should I just ride out the remaining life of my old HDD and just get an SSD with my next computer? FWIW, the RAM upgrade by itself has resulted in a significant performance boost, but I really miss the lightning fast boot times and instant app loading that resulted from the SSD.

4) If I do decide to give it another shot, which SSD should I use this time? I'm obviously wary of the m4, but I also know that the m4 generally has a good reputation and that I could have just gotten a defective one. The Samsung 830 seems to be generating a lot of buzz, but it hasn't been around as long as the m4 and doesn't have as much of a track record. I'm not looking to spend any more than $225 or so.

Any advice would be greatly appreciated.
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ycl1688

 
Member Since: Mar 09, 2011
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Mac Specs: mbp 15 2009, mbp 13 2010

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I did have a m4 on my 2009 mbp, it is has been working fine for past 3 weeks, with exactly what you have done to install, with firmware 000f only, as for 'reset the SMC and the PRAM' I did not do anything with it. If it goes bad after working for 2 weeks, seems puzzling. The m4 could not mount on your wife's mb is a sign of bad drive, samsung 830 seems to be good, 256gb price seems to have come down you could get it for under $225 or more, since 840 is coming out soon.
Since you can return the ssd drive, give it a shot on samsung, you have nothing to lose, I do have 830 on another mbp, seems to work as good as crucial.
M4 seems to have random problems with users, anyways give samsung a shot. since you have done the work on ssd, give it another shot. If it works will keep you from buying new one for few years. Never doubt samsung ssd, some are in retina display MBP 15" if I am not wrong.
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FrankMurphy

 
Member Since: Oct 06, 2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ycl1688 View Post
I did have a m4 on my 2009 mbp, it is has been working fine for past 3 weeks, with exactly what you have done to install, with firmware 000f only, as for 'reset the SMC and the PRAM' I did not do anything with it. If it goes bad after working for 2 weeks, seems puzzling. The m4 could not mount on your wife's mb is a sign of bad drive, samsung 830 seems to be good, 256gb price seems to have come down you could get it for under $225 or more, since 840 is coming out soon.
Since you can return the ssd drive, give it a shot on samsung, you have nothing to lose, I do have 830 on another mbp, seems to work as good as crucial.
M4 seems to have random problems with users, anyways give samsung a shot. since you have done the work on ssd, give it another shot. If it works will keep you from buying new one for few years. Never doubt samsung ssd, some are in retina display MBP 15" if I am not wrong.
Thanks for your reply! How long have you had the 830 in your other MBP? What kind of MBP is it?
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ycl1688

 
Member Since: Mar 09, 2011
Posts: 742
ycl1688 will become famous soon enough
Mac Specs: mbp 15 2009, mbp 13 2010

ycl1688 is offline
mbp is mid 2010 13", for nearly a year.
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