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Is it better to use APFS or HFS+ on a SATA SSD?

Assuming this MBP works, I just bought a i7-3520M 13” Mid 2012 MBP 13” on eBay for $76 ($65+shipping) since it wasn’t tested and needs a hard drive :-). I know I’m taking a chance on this, but I won’t feel bad if this doesn’t work out. From what I can tell, the one I bought is a factory 8GB RAM system.

Since I need to purchase a drive from the start, I might as well start out with an SSD since they’re cheap. I know the HD cables are a wildcard on the 13” so I plan to replace it with the SSD installation so I don’t need to worry about the original cable being broken but in regards to the SSD I’m not sure which filesystem is better.

When I set the MBP up, should I format it as an HFS+ system, or use APFS? I’m torn between running HS due to the age of it, or at least Mojave if I don’t install Catalina. As far as the SSD goes on this I'm looking into Samsung.

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  • APFS is a very chatty protocol Vs HFS+
  • SATA interface does not offer that many buffers, PCIe offer more buffers

What do you think is the better match up?

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I know for SSDs APFS is reportedly better. When I had my 2011 before the board burned in a area beyond repair, I used HFS+ due to the drive at the time.

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@nick - The SATA interface running HFS+ is the better setup. APFS is better under PCIe. Forget the drive type HDD or SSD this is a limitation of the interface.

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@danj Yeah if I put HS on this one, the plan is to use HFS+ but I know with Mojave-present, APFS isn't optional.

For the SSD, I'm looking into the 860 EVO. Sadly Best Buy ran out of the GeekSquad certified ones because I checked for the MBP again - they're $35 from the normal $45 open box price vs. $69 for a new one. I know where to get the cable; I'd just transfer over the IR part that screws into the computer.

Admittedly I would have liked a 13" '15 16GB, but for $75 this was cheap enough I could roll the dice on this being a total gamble. Seller says 4GB of RAM, but the spec says 8GB; I'll have to see but hopefully I get 8GB so I don't need to worry about upgrading the RAM for HS to run well. I know 4GB was bordering on too little at that point. I can get 8GB cheap enough if I can find some used 1600 worst case scenario.

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@nick - Thats why I recommend sticking with Sierra, or using a modified installer script with High Sierra on SATA based systems.

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@danj Yeah I'm taking HS w/ APFS opt-out. Gives me some SW compatibility breathing room.

Is the 860 make sense for these or can I get away with a cheaper SSD like the WD EasyStore 240GB? I don't need a large drive for this.

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Nick sera éternellement reconnaissant.
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