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MacBook Pro Virtual Memory Recommendations

This research took considerable time, but the results are clear for virtual memory:

  • Use the 64-bit kernel, because performance is far better;
  • The MacBook Pro Core i7 is a lot faster than its predecessor, the Core 2 Duo;
  • Fast solid state drives hugely outperform the fastest laptop hard drive, even when that hard drive is nearly empty;
  • A RAID-0 stripe yields a significant boost in performance, with a 16K or 32K stripe size best;

Hard drives

Hard drives vary significantly for virtual memory performance:

  • The 5400 rpm Fujitsu beat the 7200 rpm Seagate. This is surprising, but it might be related to the fact that under sustained use, some 7200rpm laptop drives drop their performance for thermal reasons (I’ve seen that behavior in previous testing).
  • The Hitachi Travelstar 7K500 easily showed the best performance. At about $102, it’s a bargain, and with the Voyager Q Drive Dock, upgrading your system disk can be done quickly and easily.

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