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Need a Lamborghini inside your G5 or Mac Pro?
Say you drive your three beautiful children to school every day, and you’re trying to think of a way to get this task done more quickly. You could go for a faster car—say, a Lamborghini. That could get your kids to school in no time—except that you can no longer fit said children into the car, seeing as how it’s a Lamborghini.
We were struck by a similar quandary when testing the MTRON Pro 64GB SATA solid-state drive (SSD). DV Nation sent us two of the nearly $2,000 beauties to review, and we added them to a Mac Pro as the second and third drives, combining them into a 118.57GB striped RAID. And as you can imagine, it screamed. Using Xbench (free, www.xbench.com), we got Sequential Uncached Read speeds of 189.86MB/sec and Sequential Uncached Write speeds of 137.75MB/sec. The Mac Pro’s stock 500GB, 7,200-rpm hard drive (HDD) clocked speeds of 72.18MB/sec in the read test, and 72.11MB/sec in the write test.
So installing these drives will let you achieve really fast transfer times—it took us 15 minutes to transfer a 1.58GB folder (containing a variety of files of different sizes) from the Mac Pro’s standard hard drive to a USB 2.0 flash drive, but only 25.91 seconds to transfer the same folder from the HDD to the SSD RAID. But the $1,959 question is: Who, besides Bruce Wayne, should buy these drives? The logical benefit to an SSD is to transfer files quickly, but files that normally transfer slowly tend to also be huge (high-def video or uncompressed audio, for example). Who needs speed but not capacity? It’s the ol’driving-carpool-in-a-Lamborghini problem. Although since the Mac Pro fits four drives total, we can have our SSD RAID on the side and still keep the 500GB HDD for the main drive.
If you are Bruce Wayne, or you just have a need for speed (backing up your iPod in no time flat, maybe? Or editing video projects that will then be offloaded elsewhere?), the MTRON drives are awesome and competitive with the market price-wise. But we still think SSDs in a desktop Mac are a bit ahead of their time.
COMPANY: DV Nation
REQUIREMENTS: Mac Pro, Power Mac G5, or other machine that takes 3.5-inch SATA hard drives
Solid-state disk drives are much faster than regular hard drives, and contain no moving parts.
SSDs are still pricey as a category.