General Question

makemo's avatar

MacBook Pro buying advice—Solid State Drive or not? + Trackpad issues?

Asked by makemo (531points) December 4th, 2008

1.) What’s the story about Solid State drives. If I go for a common 7200 rpm SATA drive, because 128 GB tops (as seems to be the current solid state maximum) is a bit too far on the low end for me. Will I be able to replace the 7200 rpm SATA with a better Solid State, once they get beefier storage capacity?

2.) A second question, about buying a Late 2008 MacBook Pro. I am in a situation where I simply can’t wait for a purchase of a later one, as I’ve just been employed at a company where I really need this computer. So I’m concerned about the trackpad (even though I plan to mainly use a mouse). What’s the latest story on that issue? Is it finally being pinned down to either being a software/firmware related issue, or hardware ditto? Should I buy one of those horribly Apple Care Plans? I never understood why one would have to get those, but I don’t want to take any risk in the work situation I’m going to be, having to wait for weeks for a replacement unit, should the purchased one have a faulty trackpad or anything else.

3.) Last question, on the trackpad issue: Is there any reported user, really, who has NOT had any problems whatsoever, with the glitchy trackpad, that you can read about all over the Interweb? What’s my chances of getting a fully functional one?

Any advice would help. Thanks!

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8 Answers

jtvoar16's avatar

I have never had a problem with any of my trackpads on a single one of my macbook’s, but I have not used one of the brand new “earth friendly” macbook’s, so if you are talking about those, then I am not sure.

As for SSHD, they are ridiculously overpriced. The only advantage, if you drop your computer, your hard drive won’t brake, just your screen. They really offer no other advantage (other then you can brag about it.)

TheKitchenSink's avatar

jtvoar: There’s no H. It’s just SSD.

The trackpad is absolutely awful on the new MacBook Pros. I would advise against getting one.

I have an older MacBook Pro and I am thoroughly disappointed, anyway.

StellarAirman's avatar

I haven’t used one of the new solid-aluminum MBPs but after working as a technician at an Apple store for several years I can say that any story you hear about on the internet is going to be grossly blown out of proportion. You heard similar claims about “every” battery blowing up and “every” MacBook being discolored and it simply wasn’t true. People are the most vocal when stuff doesn’t work correctly. You don’t see that many posts of “OMG my computer is working great!” on the internet. Once people have heard of a few other people having the same issue they have, they assume that it is “all” computers of that model that have the problem and it’s just plain wrong.

If there is something actually defective about the trackpads then they will be fixed for free during the first year of Applecare, or for 3 years if you buy the extended Applecare plan. Of course you can also just plug a mouse into the computer if something about the trackpad bugs you and you can’t get it fixed.

It looks like it’s a software issue anyway, so it won’t require a hardware repair.

I would strongly advise getting the 3 year Applecare though. Not only does it give you unlimited phone support for 3 years but covers against any manufacturer’s defects as well. So as long as you don’t drop it or spill a soda on it, any repair would be covered. And considering the cheapest repair level at any Apple store is $329 or so, if you have even one problem during those three years it will pay for itself. I saw a lot of people leave the store in tears when I couldn’t cover their repair for free because they didn’t buy Applecare. Of course a lot of those people had also shattered their screen by dropping it or spilled wine on it or something, at which point I could not have covered their repair anyway.

Oh and I wouldn’t spend the money on the SSD, it is simply too expensive for the benefit now. Supposedly it provides better battery life and faster transfer times in some tests, but I don’t think it’s a big enough difference to justify the large increase in price in my opinion. MBPs already have a sensor in them that will stop the hard drive if you drop it to reduce damage to the drive, so I don’t think durability is a huge reason for the difference, other than the SSD not having any moving parts and therefore having less pieces to break.

andrew's avatar

I’ve used the new Macbook Pro’s for about a week, and find the trackpad completely unremarkable.

Which is wonderful.

Definitely get applecare.

jtvoar16's avatar

Agreed with andrew. Get Applecare!

sumul's avatar

I’ve hated every trackpad I’ve ever used except for the trackpad on my new MacBook Pro. I mostly use my computer with a Wacom tablet, but I still use the trackpad for the gestures. When I’m without my tablet, I find the trackpad to be perfectly usable, and I rarely miss having a mouse.

And if you don’t specifically need the solid state drive, don’t waste your money on one.

aesop1's avatar

No one really answered makemo’s question: “Will I be able to replace the 7200 rpm SATA with a better Solid State, once they get beefier storage capacity?”

To that I would like to add a question: If you can switch to SSD will AppleCare support a MB Pro with a user-replaced drive?


StellarAirman's avatar

Yes you can switch the drive out if you want. Apple will not work on the computer unless you replace the original drive that it came with first. It would be considered a user modification. And if something happened while you had the machine open and the new hard drive caused a problem, it would void the warranty.

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