Thursday March 01, 2018
How much faster does a new SSD make a 2012 MacBook Pro? A lot.
I recently upgraded a 2012 MacBook Pro with a new SSD, and I was blown away by the results. The computer was basically unusable before the upgrade - it took several minutes to boot (I wish I had timed it). It also wasn’t uncommon to wait multiple minutes for a program like Safari to launch. Apparently (based on online message boards, YouTube, etc.), lots of older MacBooks suffer from really slow responsiveness when running newer versions of macOS. The problem can be fixed pretty easily by replacing the OEM hard drive with an SSD - after the fix, the MacBook Pro boots in under 20 seconds and launches programs almost instantly.
The 2012 MacBook Pro comes with a 5400RPM hard disk, which is basically a bottom-shelf hard disk by modern standards. The low performance of the disk limits the speed that data can be read from or written to the disk. Basically, the MacBook runs slow because it can’t load it’s operating system and programs from the hard drive fast enough. This becomes really apparent on newer versions of macOS, where the time needed to boot the OS or load an application is really slow. In fact, the hard drive is so slow that it is the biggest bottleneck in the system.
Fortunately, this is easy to fix with a simple hard drive upgrade. Disk I/O on an SSD is more than 100 times faster than a 5400 RPM hard disk, so replacing the disk with an SSD makes all the performance problems due to disk I/O go away. The other components in the system have no problem keeping up, so the system shows huge performance improvements simply by upgrading the hard disk.