Upgraded my 2011 MBP with Samsung 840 EVO 500GB SSD

Amazon recently has the Samsung 840 EVO 500GB SSD (MZ-7TE500BW) on sale. I decided to pick one up andupgrade the Samsung 830 256GB SSD on my 2011 MBP (MC721LL/A). The 256GB is still running great, but I just needed a larger drive. I wanted to run Windows on bootcamp. I only had 20GB useable space even after I cleaned up and removed unused items.

Fortunately, my MBP is one of the models that you can still upgrade the HDD and ram. Newer models are soldered and cannot be upgraded. You just remove the screws that hold the bottom panel and you’ll have access to the ram and HDD area. Here’s a pic.

840 evo

I used Blackmagic Disk Speed Test to get the speeds of both SSDs. Here’s the benchmark for the Samsung 830.

830 benchmark

Here’s the benchmark for the Samsung 840 EVO 500GB.

840 evo benchmark

Based on the benchmark, there’s over a 30% improvement. I’m very happy with the upgrade. Not only did I get a speed improvement, I also got more space for using bootcamp.

ExpressCard Adapter for MBP 13″

One of my few gripes about my new Macbook Pro 13” is no ExpressCard slot. Coming from the first gen MBP 15”, I used it for my Verizon V740 internet card. Well I found the solution. Apiotek made a USB to ExpressCard adapter – UB-EC01. I bought mine from Macsales.com. It took only 2 days to arrive.

I had to reinstall the Verizon software before it recognized it and worked. Because it plugs in the a USB port, I lose one port and the device sticks out. I don’t mind much since I use a bluetooth mouse and I got my portable internet device working again. Verizon wanted me to sign a brand new 2 year contract if I wanted to get a new device that plugs in to the USB – hell no! Here are some pics I took.

expresscard adapter

macbook pro mb990lla

My new MBP 13″ MB990LL/A

I finally bought the new Macbook Pro 13” MB990LL/A last Saturday. It’s replacing my first gen Macbook Pro 15” MA464LL/A. It’s 3 years old and still works great but it overheats. I was able to get a free iPod Touch 8GB and a $100 towards a printer – after rebate. I thought I could pull out my old hard drive from my 15” and swap it with the 13” but I was wrong. I’m guessing because the processor is different – Core Duo and Core 2 Duo. It took half of Saturday to transfer my files over but I got it to how I had my old laptop on the new one. With the help of Migration Assistant, the task was simple. It only took longer than I thought because I had a lot of files to transfer over.

I’ve already upgraded the storage with a Seagate 500GB hard drive and I’m planning on upgrading the ram to 4GB. So far, what has impressed me is the battery life compared to my old MBP. Here’s a comparison between my old and new MBP current setup.

MB990LL/A (new) MA464LL/A (old)
Processor: 2.26GHz Intel Core 2 Duo 2.0GHz Intel Core Duo
Memory: 2GB 1066MHz DDR3 (Upgradeable to 8GB) 2GB 667MHz DDR2 PC2-5300 (max)
Hard Drive: 500GB SATA 5400rpm 100GB SATA 5400rpm
Grapics Card: Nvidia GeForce 9400m 256MB shared ATI Mobility Radeo X1600 256MB GDD3 dedicated
Display: 13.3-inch LED-backlit glossy 1280×800 resolution 15.4-inch TFT 1440×900 resolution
Expansion: One FireWire 800 port (up to 800 Mbps), two USB 2.0 ports (up to 480 Mbps), SD card slot One FireWire 400, two USB 2.0 ports, and ExpressCard/34 slot
Network: Built-in 10/100/1000BASE-T (Gigabit) Ethernet Built-in 10/100/1000BASE-T (Gigabit) Ethernet (didn’t know it had Gigabit)
Wireless: Built-in AirPort Extreme Wi-Fi (based on IEEE 802.11n draft specification); built-in Bluetooth 2.1 + EDR (Enhanced Data Rate) module Built-in 54-Mbps AirPort Extreme (802.11g standard); built-in Bluetooth 2.0+EDR
Weight: 4.5 pounds 5.6 pounds

My old MBP was a work horse so I expect nothing less with the new one. I am however, taking a big hit on the video card being shared but I won’t be doing much video editing as I thought I did in the beginning.

Here is my initial Pros and Cons on the MBP 13” compared to my old MBP 15”.

Pros:

  • Improved battery life
  • Upgrading HDD and ram is painless
  • Runs at a lower temperature
  • Trackpad gestures similar to the iPhone
  • Firewire 800
  • SD Card reader
  • Cheaper
  • Ram is expandable to 8GB
  • Core 2 Duo

Cons:

  • Shared video memory. I noticed a much lower FPS while playing WoW and visit a heavy populated area – while running other programs in the backgroun (ie: iTunes, Firefox, Quicktime, and other apps)
  • No ExpressCard slot
  • No Firewire 400 port
  • Scratches easier
  • Being a pound lighter, it doesn’t feel at all lighter

I’ll probably extend my list more as I continue to use it. So far I’m impressed. It’s a great upgrade for me.

macbook pro mb990lla

macbook pro mb990lla

macbook pro mb990lla

macbook pro mb990lla

macbook pro mb990lla

Verizon V740

I was using my Blackberry Pearl tethered to the laptop before and it uses EDGE to get internet access while away from home or work. It was horrible at best. I was lucky to get over 70kbps. On average I would get 48kbps. So I started to look for an alternative. I checked out AT&T since they started to use 3G. According to one of the sales associate, T-Mobile no longer rents towers from AT&T. Instead they sold all their old towers to them. Not sure how much truth is in that, but thought it was interesting. Basically, T-Mobile bought old technology from AT&T. Again, this is from an AT&T sales associate. There is no confirmation whether it is true or false or he’s just trying to get my business.

Then I went to Verizon and checked out what they have. To my surprise, they have a deal where all of their broadband access cards are free with a 2 year contract. I’m hesitant on getting the whole 2 year contract thing but I went with it anyway since in California you get a 30 day trial whereas 14 days elsewhere. I picked up theVerizon V740. So far it has been great. Areas where it is predominantly Verizon coverage, I’m getting over 900kbps down and 300kbps up. Otherwise I’m getting an average of 200kbps down and 100kbps up. Browsing is a lot better either way compared to what I had with T-Mobile. Playing World of Warcraft in areas where I get slower connection isn’t that great but tolerable.

The $60 monthly is a bit high but it may be worth it in the long run. Also, the V740 can only be used with the newExpress slot.

verizon v740

verizon v740

Looking at the picture above, I’m beginning to miss my Nokia N80IE and it’s 3MP camera 😦