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Should a Mac-User Upgrade to an Intel 520 SSD

Esteemed Contributor III

Hello All,

I have been contemplating putting the new Intel 520 series 240gb ssd into my early 2011 13" MacBook Pro. However, I do have some serious concerns and would really appreciate some advice.

I know that Apple can be very stubborn in supporting third party hardware where they are not benefiting financially. After reading a number of forums that have reported problems with Macs and Intel ssd's my main concerns are:

1. Getting the beep that tells me the ssd is incompatible.

2. That there is no tool box for OSX.

3. There is no trim support (Snow Leopard)

4. Getting the OSX to recognise the 6gb/s sata interface.

I would love to hear that all of these problems have been resolved and that I'm being paranoid about getting this new drive. Any comforting words or sound advice from people who have successfully installed and intel 520 series ssd into an early 2011 13" Macbook Pro (Snow Leopard) would be gratefully appreciated.

I plan on performing a clean install with the SSD rather than migrarting my existing software from my 5400rpm hdd.


Rodney Ferguson

Ps. Please do not suggest upgrading to Lion. Unfortunately, I find it truly awful.


Esteemed Contributor III

I am also interested in this. Please see my post: /thread/27774?tstart=0

All I can tell you is that the Intel 320 ssd worked for me without problems - without one exception, I used to run win 7 64 bit in bootcamp (native) and it wasn't as fast as it should have been. Getting the ssd to work in AHCI mode under win 7 required some hacking as well which I found on the internet.

But I didn't have any problems so far under SnowLeopard or Lion. The intel 320 retail box comes with a 5 years warranty and I also do backups regularly. I stopped worrying about the trimming and all the other details. I didn't see any degradation in performance, so, if something happens I will send it back.

About the 6Gb speed I thought Apple released some EFI patch a while ago the get these puppies running at 6Gb. Mine runs at 3Gb.


Esteemed Contributor III

Given the quirks and realities of Mac's, as you said, unless someone used a 520 with an identical platform as yours, how can someone predict what the result will be?

Where the responsibility lies for fixing or changing things to allow a 520 to work well with your Mac cannot, IMO, be assigned only to the 520 or any SSD. Some of those things are beyond the control of the SSD itself. It's well known that Apple PCs are much more "locked down" regarding what third party hardware they will work with, relative to other PCs. That is not the fault of the third party hardware sources.

Hopefully someone may have tried a 520 on a Mac that is similar to yours, since the only way to truly know is to actually try it and see what happens. In your case, a random, untested opinion is worthless.

Esteemed Contributor III


I agree with you, but my problem is this. Intel has, let's say, more than 10k employees. They boast that everybody uses SSDs (I assume intel ssds). Are you telling me that nobody there uses a macbook pro? Why is so damn hard to get this information from Intel?? We pay premium money for these SSDs. About the quirks of Macs, the guts of a MBP is probably made mostly of components made (or designed or however you want to say it) by Intel.


You should check the performance intel 520 tests done by Anandtech and tomshardware. I think one of them reported slower speeds on macs (mbps I think) for 4k reads/writes.

Esteemed Contributor III

costab, You have a good point. The best place to get official Intel support is not in this forum, but here:

I suggest you go from there directly to their phone support, unless you get lucky in the Live Chat option. The compatibility guide is worthless, and the FAQ question about using Intel SSDs with Mac's refers you to Apple.

All PC component manufactures seem to pass the buck back to the manufacture that uses their products, as you'll see right away on that page above. For example, the chip manufacture Marvell provides zero support to retail customers, not even drivers for their SATA chipsets, it's all provided by the mother board manufactures (if they can or will that is.)

You could try searching on the compatibility of your Mac with SSDs using the SandForce 2281 controller, for a general idea (I don't own a Mac.)

IMO, if you bought a 520 at retail, you deserve support from Intel. Good luck.