Little T in the Cog apple

Archive for October 2012

SSD Upgrade Complete!


Well that was a mission! I can honestly say that this little laptop has to be the most complex I've ever needed to work on. When I finally had all the screws out and the hard drive sitting in front of me I had to take a hacksaw to the end of the IDE cable to make room for master/slave jumper to fit on the new SSD (I've read that if you don't have the drive set to master it creates problems when waking from sleep, the old drive was a master with no jumper whereas the new SSD needs a jumper fitted). I've never in all my computer wrangling days needed to take a hacksaw to the insides of one!

Anyway, I got there in the end and I've just installed and updated a fresh copy of Leopard and copied all my old apps across (with my music on an external drive symlinked to my home directory to save space on the SSD). The change has been truly amazing - this little laptop now has a second wind. Firefox now launches with only two bounces in the dock (used to take ages), Word fires up in several seconds (used to take nearly half a minute!) and the dashboard widgets load almost instantly on the first run. Strangely though boot time hasn't shortened as much as I thought it would, but I'm not too worried as I normally don't shut the machine down, simply put it to sleep.

All in all I highly recommend this upgrade, it really has bought this machine a second life (though it won't speed up things like flash on websites...) but only if you're happy doing the fiddly work of getting the hard disk out.

SSD Upgrade


I've been trying to eke out a bit more life from my now seven-year-old PowerBook, figuring I'll shout myself a new laptop next year after the expense of my looming wedding is out of the way. I was super impressed by simply upgrading to an SSD here at work in my workstation - it boots like lightning now and apps open instantly, so wanted to see if I could do the same upgrade to my PowerBook.

The biggest problem is that the PowerBook uses an IDE interface for its hard drive and finding an SSD version in 2.5" size is not exactly cheap. I came across this review of an SSD IDE drive made by a company called KingSpec which looks to be a really good upgrade, especially in seek times, and as luck would have it they are available on ebay rather cheaply with free shipping (I paid around NZ $88 for a 64GB drive). From reading of other people buying these drives off ebay it takes around two~three weeks for them to turn up, so I've got a bit of a wait until I can install it (which looks like a mission in its own right) so until then I'll run some "real world" benchmarks, such as boot and shutdown time, how quickly I can open Firefox, how quickly a level in Call of Duty loads, if battery life is improved etc. Then once the new drive turns up I can compare to see if its worth the $88 (considering the laptop is probably only worth $200 now).

Who knows, maybe I'll run it for another year or two :-)

13" Retina? Yes Please!


The web is awash with articles talking about a rumoured 13" MacBook Pro with Retina Display. According to "those in the know" (I love those guys!) the laptop is already in production and is due to be announced this month. This is one rumour I'd love to come true - if Apple ship a 13" Retina I think that will be the thing that pushes me to buy a new laptop - I don't want a 15" model as I find it a tad too large (not to mention pricey here in NZ), and though the Air is a great small package I want something with a better graphics card (a faster proc wouldn't hurt either).

Or the whole thing could be untrue (all those reporting the rumour probably got their info from the same dodgy source), but I hope not :-)