13" 2012 MBP Upgrade RAM or SSD?

adamtj11

macrumors 6502
Original poster
Feb 26, 2011
408
17
Belfast
I have a the 2012 13" pro, this years version, and I am entering my last year of college. I am currently developing a 3D educational game for iPad for my thesis, however my Pro feel unbearably slow when running Xcode and Maya(for 3d Modeling) on the 4gb of ram that it came with. I am on quite a tight budget so I am wondering would I see a bigger performance increase from 8gb of Ram or a SSD? Ideally I will be able to get both pretty soon, but if I am to order one right now which will make it zip along faster?

Thanks for reading.
 

GGJstudios

macrumors Westmere
May 16, 2008
44,419
767
I have a the 2012 13" pro, this years version, and I am entering my last year of college. I am currently developing a 3D educational game for iPad for my thesis, however my Pro feel unbearably slow when running Xcode and Maya(for 3d Modeling) on the 4gb of ram that it came with. I am on quite a tight budget so I am wondering would I see a bigger performance increase from 8gb of Ram or a SSD? Ideally I will be able to get both pretty soon, but if I am to order one right now which will make it zip along faster?
To determine if you can benefit from more RAM, launch Activity Monitor and click the System Memory tab at the bottom to check your page outs. Page outs are cumulative since your last restart, so the best way to check is to restart your computer and track page outs under your normal workload (the apps, browser pages and documents you normally would have open). If your page outs are significant (say 1GB or more) under normal use, you may benefit from more RAM. If your page outs are zero or very low during normal use, you probably won't see any performance improvement from adding RAM.

Mac OS X: Reading system memory usage in Activity Monitor
 
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gngan

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Jan 1, 2009
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I have a the 2012 13" pro, this years version, and I am entering my last year of college. I am currently developing a 3D educational game for iPad for my thesis, however my Pro feel unbearably slow when running Xcode and Maya(for 3d Modeling) on the 4gb of ram that it came with. I am on quite a tight budget so I am wondering would I see a bigger performance increase from 8gb of Ram or a SSD? Ideally I will be able to get both pretty soon, but if I am to order one right now which will make it zip along faster?

Thanks for reading.
RAM and SSD are two different thing and serve different purpose. You need to check if you are running out of RAM when you are running Xcode and Maya. Open Activity Monitor and choose "All process" at the top. Check if those apps are using lots of CPU then look at the bottom and check the RAM.

I have 8gb RAM but i always have 4gb free. I also have a M4 SSD and it just makes the computer snappier. Photoshop would open within 5 seconds.
 
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adamtj11

macrumors 6502
Original poster
Feb 26, 2011
408
17
Belfast
To determine if you can benefit from more RAM, launch Activity Monitor and click the System Memory tab at the bottom to check your page outs. Page outs are cumulative since your last restart, so the best way to check is to restart your computer and track page outs under your normal workload (the apps, browser pages and documents you normally would have open). If your page outs are significant (say 1GB or more) under normal use, you may benefit from more RAM. If your page outs are zero or very low during normal use, you probably won't see any performance improvement from adding RAM.

Mac OS X: Reading system memory usage in Activity Monitor
So this is what my Activity Monitor looks like right now, I have used 3.97GB gigs. I get a lot of beach balls when running Xcode which made me thing that upgrading the Ram would help , or upgrading to an SSD would make page ins faster when I do hit 4gb of Ram?
 

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cube

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RAM + 7200RPM hybrid drive.

If you run virtual machines, then take a serious look at an SSD.
 
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adamtj11

macrumors 6502
Original poster
Feb 26, 2011
408
17
Belfast
RAM and SSD are two different thing and serve different purpose. You need to check if you are running out of RAM when you are running Xcode and Maya. Open Activity Monitor and choose "All process" at the top. Check if those apps are using lots of CPU then look at the bottom and check the RAM.

I have 8gb RAM but i always have 4gb free. I also have a M4 SSD and it just makes the computer snappier. Photoshop would open within 5 seconds.
That's why I'm wondering if I would benefit from either more memory or faster storage , CPU is not the issue at all, 80% is idle.
 

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GGJstudios

macrumors Westmere
May 16, 2008
44,419
767
So this is what my Activity Monitor looks like right now, I have used 3.97GB gigs. I get a lot of beach balls when running Xcode which made me thing that upgrading the Ram would help , or upgrading to an SSD would make page ins faster when I do hit 4gb of Ram?
You have minimal page outs. How long since your last restart? Re-read my other post for the best way to check your page outs. Remember that beachballs are not only caused by RAM issues. They can also be caused by high CPU or intensive drive activity other than paging. For the latter, a SSD would make a noticeable difference.
 
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Mojo1

macrumors 65816
Jul 26, 2011
1,236
13
Much of the problem is the integrated GPU. 3D rendering is its weak point.

Adding 4GB or more RAM will double the GPUs VRAM to 512MB. It may speed things up a bit. But I wouldn't expect a miracle...

The RAM upgrade seems to be a no brainer to me. I cannot imagine running Lion or Mountain Lion with only 4GB RAM unless you only do basic computing. You can buy 4GB for less than $50 and 16GB for around $70.

Since money is tight the SSD should be placed on the back burner. It's a luxury, not a necessity. In your case it simply doesn't pencil-out...

The bottom line: Your MBP isn't a 3D powerhouse. Upgrade the RAM if you find that you are maxing-out the 4GB or you want to bump up the VRAM. Then live with the limitations of the MBP for the time being and plan on upgrading if you intend to do more 3D work in the future.
 
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robvas

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Mar 29, 2009
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USA
You have 1.5GB RAM just 'sitting there'

I'd do the SSD first - but upgrading to 8GB is only about $35 and even going to 16GB would only be $70!

You can get a 256GB SSD for $150 these days and a 512GB for $325!
 
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NewishMacGuy

macrumors 6502a
Aug 2, 2007
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0
I just upgraded my wife's 2011 MBP13 with the Seagate Momentus XT hybrid drive. Chose to go that route b/c in addition to a near SSD speed boost for much of what you do, we could also consolidate her internal and 500GB external. It's sweet, and costs about $130 on Amazon. So for less than the cost of a 256GB SSD, you can get 13 second boots AND 750GB AND upgrade the RAM.
 
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Dark Void

macrumors 68030
Jun 1, 2011
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I would go with 8GB RAM (which will also give you a small boost in vRAM as it is shared) and then get a basic 7200 RPM drive, namely the Western Digital Scorpio Black. This way you will have money left as well.

If you can get both the RAM and a SSD eventually, get the RAM now and the SSD later in my opinion.
 
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icecoldart

macrumors member
Mar 30, 2012
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0
Europe-Poland
I also think that's important to tell it to all of those who haven't heard it yet.
Maya is a very crippled software which can drive you nuts even on a NASA supercomputer. I've worked with that crap for over a year so i have an idea. That said i'd probably go with what someone else already proposed 8GB ram + Hybrid HDD ( best of both worlds for a fair price ).


P.S I know that most schools have a maya workflow, but i'd learn 3dsMAX Softimage or even Blender if i were you.
 
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adamtj11

macrumors 6502
Original poster
Feb 26, 2011
408
17
Belfast
I have ordered 8GB of Ram now from Amazon, I'm going to see how my Pro performs with that and then pick out a big hybrid or a 120GB SSD, thanks for all the help! really appreciate it.
 
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Orlandoech

macrumors 68040
Jun 2, 2011
3,339
871
Salt Lake City, UT
RAM + 7200RPM hybrid drive.

If you run virtual machines, then take a serious look at an SSD.
This doesnt make any sense. VMs on an SSD? lol, they work fine on 7200RPM drives.

Hybrid drives are a waste.

----------

I have ordered 8GB of Ram now from Amazon, I'm going to see how my Pro performs with that and then pick out a big hybrid or a 120GB SSD, thanks for all the help! really appreciate it.
You can snag a 256GB SSD for less than $200, just save a tad longer.
 
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HelloToMe

macrumors newbie
Oct 10, 2012
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0
Toronto, Canada
Similar Position

I'm fine with my current 13" 2010 MacBook Pro, at leat somewhat. Sometimes it does slow down and I'm thinking of upgrading but I'm nowhere near the required amount for another MBP so I'm planning on upgrading to the Seagate Momentus XT and upgrading to 8GB RAM on Christmas (Not enough cash rihg tn ow). I'm a student and many other things were bought using my limited budget. If you ever need an SSD, you can always upgrade again and sell your old hybrid.
 
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gngan

macrumors 68000
Jan 1, 2009
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MacWorld
I have ordered 8GB of Ram now from Amazon, I'm going to see how my Pro performs with that and then pick out a big hybrid or a 120GB SSD, thanks for all the help! really appreciate it.
If you were to get SSD with tight budget then you can consider 128GB and put the original HDD in optical drive. I have the same MBP as you but with 8gb RAM, 128 SSD and 320gb 5400rpm in the optical bay. I'm impress with it.
 
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csjo00

macrumors regular
May 17, 2010
209
1
Arkansas
This doesnt make any sense. VMs on an SSD? lol, they work fine on 7200RPM drives.

Hybrid drives are a waste.

----------



You can snag a 256GB SSD for less than $200, just save a tad longer.
I just picked up a Samsung 830 256GB for 149.99 off Newegg last week.

As a 2012" 13" MBP owner with 8GB and a 256GB SSD, the RAM made a more noticeable difference immediately. But once I through that SSD in there, the computer runs so much more quickly that I cannot possibly put it into words.
 
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Orlandoech

macrumors 68040
Jun 2, 2011
3,339
871
Salt Lake City, UT
I just picked up a Samsung 830 256GB for 149.99 off Newegg last week.

As a 2012" 13" MBP owner with 8GB and a 256GB SSD, the RAM made a more noticeable difference immediately. But once I through that SSD in there, the computer runs so much more quickly that I cannot possibly put it into words.
Exactly!
 
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Dark Void

macrumors 68030
Jun 1, 2011
2,614
478
I just picked up a Samsung 830 256GB for 149.99 off Newegg last week.

As a 2012" 13" MBP owner with 8GB and a 256GB SSD, the RAM made a more noticeable difference immediately. But once I through that SSD in there, the computer runs so much more quickly that I cannot possibly put it into words.
In a similar position myself - although mine was the opposite way around. I purchased a Crucial M4 256GB off of Newegg for $159.99, and installed that first, followed by an 8GB RAM kit that arrived later on.

In any case (SSD first/RAM second | RAM first/SSD second) it's like a completely different computer. Well worth $200 in my opinion.
 
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hackerwayne

macrumors 6502a
Feb 17, 2012
789
8
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
I have a the 2012 13" pro, this years version, and I am entering my last year of college. I am currently developing a 3D educational game for iPad for my thesis, however my Pro feel unbearably slow when running Xcode and Maya(for 3d Modeling) on the 4gb of ram that it came with. I am on quite a tight budget so I am wondering would I see a bigger performance increase from 8gb of Ram or a SSD? Ideally I will be able to get both pretty soon, but if I am to order one right now which will make it zip along faster?

Thanks for reading.
I suggest both. Buy 1 128GB SSD + 8 or 16GB RAM
 
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NewishMacGuy

macrumors 6502a
Aug 2, 2007
636
0
This doesnt make any sense. VMs on an SSD? lol, they work fine on 7200RPM drives.

Hybrid drives are a waste.

----------

You can snag a 256GB SSD for less than $200, just save a tad longer.
Clearly you've never used a hybrid drive. It's small SSDs that are are the true waste. SSD makes sense when you want to pony up for for a big one (512GB or more), but at 256GB, odds are that you'll need another drive given how big media files can get these days. Why have 1 drive for 10 second boots and then have to have another for your data when you can have one for both and still get 12-14 second boots? That makes no sense, especially when the SSD + HDD combo costs more. Until SSDs come down to $200 for 512GB or 768GB, hybrids are the better choice.
 
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robvas

macrumors 68040
Mar 29, 2009
3,044
511
USA
This doesnt make any sense. VMs on an SSD? lol, they work fine on 7200RPM drives.
VM's fly on an SSD. Especially if you have more than one, or your host system is busy while you use a VM. I agree that hybrids are a waste and SSD's are getting cheap enough where hybrids don't really have a point. Who really has > 256GB or 512GB of stuff that isn't movies/music?
 
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