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Mac users tend to hang onto their Macs for a while, handed them down through the family or re-purpose them within the office.

At Upgradeable, we are no different. Our 2006 iMac, now lives in our upgrade centre. It has a simple function, browsing the internet, word processing, printing out receipts. It is running OS X Tiger, we have upgrade to the maximum of 2GB of RAM. However, after more RAM, the next most effective upgrade is an SSD drive.

How much improvement could an SSD have on a 7 year old Mac? (with a Intel Core Duo 1.83Ghz processor)

We were skeptical on how much difference it would make, however the results blew us away, and have really confirmed what we have been telling all our customers – upgrading to an SSD is like getting a new computer for the price of an upgrade.

We followed our guide on how to upgrade an iMac with an SSD. We did option 1, simple clone and replace.

Before we replaced the drive, we ran a few simple speed tests to get a comparison to measure the improvement.

The facts (and images) speak for themselves…

HDD

Old hard drive speed score (click image to enlarge)

SSD

New SSD speed score (click image to enlarge)

Overall the Xbench score saw a four fold increase in speed, from a ranking of 50 to over 200.

What’s more impressive is the uncached randow read write scores. This is really starting to simulate real world computing.
The random uncached write went from 1.67 mb per second to 90.91 MB per second!!
The random uncached read went from 0.24 mb per second to 14.84 MB per second!!

Statistics are one thing, but what was the real world usage like? People will be out there saying the whole Mac is a bottleneck, it can not make that much of an improvement.

Boot time is now 11 seconds.

We have comfortably installed Parallels with Windows XP and it runs fast and smooth.

It is now a pleasure to work on this computer. There are no lag in load times, software loads crisp and fast. It has a new lease on life, and everyone in the office wants to use it, especially when the customers come in, to show off how an SSD can speed up your old Mac.

Realistically, we can not install OS X Mavericks  and in many ways it is not the same as a new Mac. However, we all have old Macs lying around, with a simple SSD upgrade, they’ll become useful again.

We used a Crucial M500 120GB SSD which sells for $137. We also used a Adaptadrive bracket $49  and the USB to SATA cloning cable for $36. You can buy all that and the screwdriver kit for $110 in our cloning kit. For the performance improvement, it was worth more than the $247 cost.

Let us extend the life of your Mac. Read our simple guides, follow the SSD on our top menu, or call our upgrade team on 1800 289 726 and we can help step you through what you need and how you can do it.

 

 

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How to create Mavericks USB drive

We sell Apple compatible SSD drives that are used in Macbooks, Macbook Pro’s, iMac’s, Mac Pro’s and Mac Mini’s. There are many ways to use a SSD drive in a Mac, one of the obvious methods is to replace your current hard drive with a SSD and a fresh install of OSX.

With no optical drives (DVD) the current range of Mac’s, how is this possible?

In the past a Mac user would reach for their OSX discs that shipped with their Mac. The current range does not ship with OSX discs.

At our upgrade centre, we provide cloning and SSD installation services (interested?) , and our technical team have solutions for every problem that occurs when performing RAM and SSD upgrades. To replace you current hard drive with a SSD with a fresh version of OSX , you will need OSX Mavericks on a USB drive. Macworld have a excellent article, if you want to learn more about all the different ways it can be done.

Here is the Upgradeable way…

If you currently don’t run Mavericks, and you are using Snow Leopard or Mountain Lion then download Mavericks from the Apple website. It will be saved as an installer file. You will need an empty USB drive, minimum 8GB. Plug USB drive into your Mac. Open Disc Utility (/Applications/Utilities) and drag the Maverick’s installer file onto it. Click Restore tab. Select it from the list as the source. Drag USB drive from the list into Destination:  After clicking restore it will create a bootable version of Mavericks on the USB drive. It will take about 20 minutes.

If you already have Mavericks installed as your OSX then you need to use a free utility called Diskmaker X . You will need an empty 8GB USB drive.
Plug in your USB drive. When you launch Diskmaker it will use Spotlight to find the OS X Install program. Then, it asks to build a bootable install disk. Choose the USB drive.

Two easy ways to make a bootable version of Mavericks on a USB drive.

When you install your new SSD drive in your Mac and you want a fresh OSX installation. Plug the USB drive in to the Mac, turn on and install Mavericks.

With that new SSD, your old Mac will perform like new…without the cost of the new Mac!

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There have been a few notable chip shortages over the years, I experienced the Sumitomo shortage of 1993. In a week memory prices doubled. At one point $15 memory modules were selling wholesale for $100 a module. We are not expecting such a dramatic price rise, however it illustrates how volatile component pricing can be.

News yesterday was a fire had broken out in a Hynix fab factory in China. Initial fears were it would affect RAM production, and maybe increase prices due to a shortage.

Hynix later announced that it would resume production shortly, as the fire did not affect a major part of the factory.

Currently, most news about the subject is memory production will not be affected. It has flowed into global spot prices for memory. Our latest pricing from memory brokers has spiked 5% higher, with warnings of further price increases due to uncertainty. The Australian dollar has risen in value this week, which will offset some of the increase in costs.

We are warning customers to expect higher memory prices next week on our website as the new stock filters into our market.

 

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We had a customer today using our Livechat software ask us about PC3-10666 memory. There is nothing more confusing than trying to navigate the numbering system of a technology standard.

JEDEC has had a few names over its 50 year history and the current one is JEDEC Solid State Technology Association. Basically they set standards for components. In this case memory modules.

For the Toshiba Portege R830 it takes DDR3 notebook modules.  The JEDEC standard is DDR3-1333. However there is a JEDEC module number that most manufacturers quote and that is PC3-10600.

Somewhere in Toshiba’s documentation or online reference the number used is PC3-10666. It freaks out a lot of customers, everyone’s worse fear is buying an incompatible module.

So why the different number?

The 10666 number quoted has to do with the peak transfer rate. The peak transfer rate of the module is 10666 mb/s (megabytes per second).

Everyone wants to have the biggest, baddest, fastest speed, so they have called it PC3-10666. I know, are they over compensating? Anyway, a PC3-10600 is the same as a PC3-10666.

As Shakespeare poetically put it:

What’s in a name? that which we call a rose
By any other name would smell as sweet;
Romeo & Juliet Act II Scene II

As I explain to customers every day, we sell compatible memory for specific models. We have taken the hard work out of upgrading. The memory we list for the R830 is guaranteed to be compatible.

I guarantee it will work by offering free shipping. If you are unhappy in anyway, send it back and you will get a full refund. If it is Upgradeable’s fault, I’ll pay for the return shipping!

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Are SSDs hard to install?

At Upgradeable, we use what we sell. That really is the test of the quality: a personal recommendation.

My workhorse desktop that sits under my desk at work is a Dell Vostro. It is getting a bit old, I’ve had it for three years. We have tested all sorts of memory combinations in it, and it just not keeping up with the endless Thunderbird updates that seem to arrive each week.

I don’t need a new computer, I need an SSD.  I’m the boss, I can order an new computer if I want, but I really want to play with the new Crucial SSDs that have arrived.

What is an SSD I hear you say.

Solid state drives, or SSDs, are a hard drive made from flash memory. Basically it is a hard drive that is faster and runs cooler than a normal hard drive. If you want to know more, see our page on the benefits of a SSD.

This is how I installed my new drive, and yes it is this simple. I surprised myself how easy it was, and I got that satisfaction that I did it myself, geeked out and did a major upgrade!

If you are cloning (copying) your current drive to the new SSD, then you want an installation kit. I used the desktop installation kit. If you are upgrading a notebook, then use the notebook version.

In the kit there is a SATA to USB cable. Use this to plug into your new SSD and the USB end does into the computer’s USB. Insert the supplied CD into your CD/DVD drive and started the software. Follow the onscreen guide, which is what drive you are cloning and the target drive (the new SSD).

Once the process starts, time to go make a cup of tea. Actually, it will take a lot longer than that, depending on the size of the drive, it could take hours. Make sure you have plenty of time for the install, the computer will be unusable while it is cloning.

Once the drive has been cloned, shut down your computer. Open the case up, so the hard drive is accessible (see your manual).

There will be room for a new drive, use the supplied caddy to insert and attache the new drive. Unplug your old drive, and use the same connector to plug into the new drive. At this stage I left the existing drive in its bay, just not plugging it in. Make sure you swap over power cable as well.

Restart the computer, it should boot and operate from the new SSD. You should notice an immediate speed increase, the computer will start a lot quicker.

I left the old hard drive in its place for a week, ran the SSD to make sure everything was operating correctly. I’ll write in another blog post soon, ideas of what you can do with the old hard drive.

I have a new SSD in my computer, and it feels like I have a brand new computer. It took a small amount of work and about half an afternoon of disk cloning. It feels twice as fast, and it is like I have a new computer, and I didn’t have to go through the hassle of installing all new software!!

Hope this helps anyone considering a SSD. Do it, it is not that hard. I had the confidence of the tech support in my office, but if you buy a SSD from Upgradeable, you can rely on their support as well.

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It’s been a week of Appsumo and Noah Kagan at Upgradeable.

On Tuesday, not only did I meet Noah, the Chief Sumo, we drank beers, ate tacos and talked about the virtues of tattoos.

What is the best $25 I’ve spent on Appsumo?

It was a deal in November last year for Backblaze. A sweet yearly account for $25, and I bought a few for the office, not just for my computer. It is an online back up system. One of those products that you set and forget, but if you ever have to rely on it, bam, it is the best product you ever bought.

Alex was updating our website information on SSD drives locally on his computer. Doing the usual thing, working on the CSS and the graphics, then upload to the live site. At the end of a long day, you do stupid things, like delete local files by mistake through the FTP program. It happened. A days work trashed and gone forever. Will you remember all the changes? All the awesome words used to describe the Crucial drives. Light bulb. We use Backblaze. Maybe the files have been back up …please, please please. There they were, backed up on the Backblaze system. It was as simple as selecting the files we needed, it was zipped and ready for download.

Noah Kagan, what a legend. The dude bought me a beer this week, and saved our bacon with his Backblaze deal.

Today, it definitely feels like that was the best $25 I’ve spent on Appsumo.

This post aint just about Backblaze, sure it is a testimonial of their online backup service. It is also about Appsumo. You don’t have to be a wannapreneur to be a Appsumo customer. They have great deals all the time suitable for every type of businessperson. Even if you don’t buy one of their deals, they are guaranteed to eventually make you laugh.

If you missed the link, the files we recovered were about the benefits of the Crucial M500 SSD drives.

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Are SSD prices going up in price?

There has been a bit of talk this week about SSD prices going up.

ramcity-ssd

We recommend Crucial for our customers SSD upgrades for a few reasons. Crucial are owned by Micron, they are one of the largest memory manufacturers in the world. These guys dwarf Kingston, OWC and OCZ. Essentially those companies contract out their manufacturing, Micron is the manufacturer!

What is the truth on SSD pricing? Our updates from Micron indicate pricing will not be increasing. There has been no warnings that prices will increase by 40 or 50%.

Micron should know, they are the manufacturer, and they have the video to prove it!

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960GB Crucial M500 SSD – Now available for Pre-Order!

UPDATE 09/04/2013: The 960GB is now shipping with our first 960GB M500 shipment arriving this morning Stocks are limited and additional stock is being quoted from the manufacturer with a lead time of 1-2 weeks.

At this years CES event in Las Vegas, Crucial briefed us about their upcoming Crucial M500 range. Noteworthy improvements included an upgrade to the Marvel controller chip as well as reducing the Micron NAND MLC to 20nm which has allowed them to create a 960GB capacity SSD. This week, Crucial announced pre-orders for their 960GB capacity 2.5-inch SSD, with the rest of the M500 range becoming available in the first week of April.

Crucial M500 SSD

The Crucial M500 allows for read speeds of up to 500MB/s and write speeds of up to 400MB/s, with a massive  IOPS rating of 80,000 for both read and write, almost double in comparison to the Crucial m4 range. Additionally, the new M500 range includes hardware AES 256-bit encryption.

Shipments for the 960GB capacity SSD begin in the first week of April, get your pre-orders in now as supply is expected to be constrained for the first few months of production.

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Customer requests #1

When you buy ram or a SSD upgrade from Upgradeable we like to double check compatibility. If you type your model into the customer notes, our technical team checks to make sure you ordered the right product. If we think there will be an issue, we’ll contact you. We are not trying to create the world’s best customer service, just treating you, our customer, the way we would like to be treated if we were the customer.

Occasionally we get a special request in the customer notes. Today we had a request for a drawing of Nicholas Cage. That is a challenge too good not to take up!

Special request to the Upgradeable Team

John we have put a bonus in your Mac Ram upgrade we are shipping out today…

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The process of upgrading the memory on the Toshiba Qosmio F750 is quite easy as both memory slots are located under a single panel on the bottom of the notebook.

The Toshiba Qosimo F750 065/066 has the following specifications:

Memory Type: DDR3 PC3-10600 1333Mhz 204-PIN SODIMM
Maximum Memory: 8GB
Configuration: 2 Slots
Base Memory (Non-Removable): 0MB

Before Installation

Before you begin the installation it is worth considering backing up any critical files in the event of a problem occurring.

DO NOT install the memory upgrade whilst the computer is in standby or hibernation mode.

Please ensure that the system is completely powered down.

Grounding Yourself

This is simply done to remove any static you may have. While your computer is still plugged into the wall, touch a metal part of your computer. If you leave your computer you will need to ground yourself again.

Once the computer is completely shutdown, remove all plugs and the power cable from the computer. As you are upgrading a notebook it is also important to remove the battery.

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Removing the Battery

1. Turn the computer’s power off – ensure that the Power indicator is off.

2. Remove all cables and peripherals that are connected to the computer.

3. Close the display panel and turn the computer upside down.

4. Slide the battery safety lock towards the release position to make the battery release latch movable.

5. Slide and hold the battery release latch to disengage the battery pack and remove it from the computer.

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Removing The Memory Cover

1. Loosen the screw securing the memory module cover in place.

2. Slide a thin object or your fingernail under the cover and lift it off.

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Installing The Memory Module

1. Locate the memory slot once the memory cover has been removed.

2. To replace an existing memory module, spread both clips on either side of the memory slot to release it. To remove the memory module from the slot, hold it by the edges and slide it out on a 45 degree angle.

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3. To install the new memory upgrade, hold the upgrade on a 45 degree angle and align the notch on the upgrade with the notch located in the memory slot.

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4. Gently push the upgrade in then down until the clips on both sides click to lock the upgrade in place.

5. Make sure the upgrade is firmly in the slot and is not moving. Otherwise, reinstall the upgrade by repeating steps 2 to 4.

You’re Done!

Once you have closed up your computer and reattached all the accessories that were connected, it’s time to restart your computer.
No software or settings will need to be changed as the computer detects the memory upgrade automatically when you start up the computer.

Congratulations, you have installed your memory upgrade!

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