13" Core i7 or Core i5 + SSD & RAM

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by jamienglish, Mar 24, 2011.

  1. jamienglish macrumors newbie

    Mar 24, 2011
    Hi everyone, new here.

    My boss getting me a new a new laptop for work. I currently have this one which is playing up and is generally sluggish. I'm a web developer but also do a decent amount to design work too. My daily work entails coding, graphic editing and running instances of windows within a virtual machine.

    The 13" i7 Macbook Pro is probably at the limit of my budget. The screen size will probably force me to hook up a monitor when I'm at the office. I'm trying to weight up whether to go for the core i7 with no extras or the core i5 model but adding in the SSD and 8GB ram. For the work I do, I'm not sure if I'll really use that extra processing power, however I do believe I will get the benefits from the SSD since I will generally be using a lot of memory heavy software.

    What do you guys think? Has anyone else been in the same circumstances?

  2. Kauai macrumors 6502a

    Oct 13, 2010
    i5 over and over again.

    No one uses the 13" as a work station. You WILL NOT get your money back for the i7 on resale. If you need brute power, get a 15" or 17" otherwise the 13" i5 will fit your needs swimmingly.

    I did a bundle of research on this before getting mine. The saved money will go towards a SSD which will prove many times over a better investment. An increase in RAM, for yourself, sounds like it would be a good investment too.
  3. jamienglish thread starter macrumors newbie

    Mar 24, 2011
    Thanks Kauai, I had never though about resale value but I suppose its something to keep in mind. From what I've read the SSD really does seem to make a big difference, and storage size isn't really an issue for me.

    I've been trying to find some multi-tasking benchmarks to compare the SSD vs the standard HDD for this model but can't seem to find any. Could somebody point me in the right direction?
  4. nfl46 macrumors 604

    Oct 5, 2008
    i5 with SSD and Ram, hands down! The SSD alone is enough to get the i5.

    SSD > i7
  5. jamienglish thread starter macrumors newbie

    Mar 24, 2011
    Sounds pretty unanimous, I feel stupid for asking now!

    Would it be sensible to buy the extra RAM and SSD through Apple or would I be able to save money buying separately?
  6. Kauai macrumors 6502a

    Oct 13, 2010
    Aftermarket for sure. Apple has at times charged 400% over the average market rate for RAM. While they use to overcharge for SSDs by a similar margin, their recent offerings are a bit more competitive. The Toshiba SSDs (IIRC) are however subpar to the ones coming out soon so it would be better to wait. Plus, that way, you can get a 320gb external HDD.

    OWC is a great site for benchmarks and the SSD/RAM itself, btw.
  7. mulo macrumors 68020


    Aug 22, 2010
    Behind you
  8. brentsg macrumors 68040

    Oct 15, 2008
    The Apple 128GB SSD isn't badly priced and though performance isn't the absolute best, it's great and you won't have any compatibility issues.

    The RAM is a bit more than double the aftermarket price, so it's a matter of whether the extra $110 justifies not opening the bottom yourself.

    The only reason to buy the i7 is that it supports a couple of very specialized features that the i5 does not. This won't matter to most. Otherwise there isn't the thermal headroom here for the i7 to significantly outperform the i5 under load, given turbo.
  9. Kauai macrumors 6502a

    Oct 13, 2010
    We're talking about more than double the speed of Apple's stock SSD drives. So while we're already in 'much faster than HDD' territory either way, I wouldn't call that small. But to each their own.

    Compatibility issues are overblown. For the most part, a SSD is a SSD bought from Apple or not.
  10. jamienglish thread starter macrumors newbie

    Mar 24, 2011
    Thanks, I've just checked out their website. I think I'd rather buy everything now while the boss is feeling generous instead of waiting.

    I'm in the UK and I've had a look at Crucial's official site, 8GB ram is costing around £75 so it may be a good idea to go with that, plus my brother has a Macbook that could do with the spare ram afterwards.

    I'm comfortable adding/removing hardware but I'm new to Macs so I'm unaware of all the compatibility issues I might face. If I go with the Apple SSD and buy the RAM separately, would that sound like a good idea?
  11. Kauai macrumors 6502a

    Oct 13, 2010
    Actually, there are already some of the SSDs I was talking about out on the market (Crucial 300, Intel 510) just not from my preferred brands (OCZ, OWC) but they should work fine if you want to go with one of those.
  12. guzel macrumors newbie

    Jan 23, 2011
    i7 of course! You can always add SSD&RAM later on but you cannot change the cpu!
  13. Macsavvytech macrumors 6502a


    May 25, 2010
    Wirelessly posted (Mozilla/5.0 (iPod; U; CPU iPhone OS 4_2_1 like Mac OS X; en-us) AppleWebKit/533.17.9 (KHTML, like Gecko) Version/5.0.2 Mobile/8C148 Safari/6533.18.5)

    It's his work machine not home machine
  14. DustinT macrumors 68000


    Feb 26, 2011
    Thats a pretty safe route. Don't let the benchmark lover's trick you, the Apple SSD is a decent option. For the same money you can get a faster one from someone else but you have to support it too. They are still a tiny little bit buggy, so depending on what your time's worth you should be able to decide.
  15. Kauai macrumors 6502a

    Oct 13, 2010
  16. jamienglish thread starter macrumors newbie

    Mar 24, 2011
    I've found the Intel 510 and it's only £20 more expensive than what Apple will charge, plus I'll have the spare HDD that will come with the machine.

    That's a good point, I don't want to have any headache's that will stop or hinder me working. That's the problem I have now, I run Ubuntu on my laptop and there's all kinds off issues with the WiFi and keyboard. I just want something that will work.

    But then... I'm going to be working on this (at the very least) 8 hours a day, 5 days a week, so if there's going to be a considerable performance boost for not much hassle then I think may be worth it.
  17. almac68 macrumors member


    Oct 8, 2009
    I just installed my new OWC Mercury Extreme 120GB SSD and OWC 8GB ram on my 2011 MBP 13" i5. So far so good. The computer is zippier than before that's for sure. Love the speed of the SSD. It has the 360 firmware as I bought it on the 18th March when the new firmware was announced. Hopefully no sleep issue. Will definitely be putting in an SSD on my 2010 Imac 27" soon. Not going to go back to standard drive from now on.
  18. brentsg macrumors 68040

    Oct 15, 2008
    There is a whole thread dedicated to Intel 510 problems with the new 2011 MBPs.

    It doesn't sound like you need to be on the bleeding edge.
  19. scottgroovez macrumors regular

    May 20, 2010
    Apple SSD, purely for a hassle free life and aftermarket RAM.
  20. jamienglish thread starter macrumors newbie

    Mar 24, 2011
    Thanks for pointing that out. That's really put me off getting the SSD from elsewhere.

    That's what I'm going to do, I'll get the 13" core i5 with the 128 GB SSD and then buy this 8GB RAM from Crucial. Thanks everybody for your advice, I really appreciate it!

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