13'' MacBook Pro Mid 2010 (Model 7,1) RAM and SSD upgrade questions!

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by ChatonNoir, Jun 7, 2015.

  1. ChatonNoir macrumors newbie

    Jun 7, 2015
    New England, USA
    Hi, fellow MacRumors members! :)

    This is my first post. I can already say I seem to like this forum's programming a lot, seems very well made.

    I'm an owner of a unibody Mid 2010 13'' MacBook Pro (Model 7,1).
    Intel Core 2 Duo 2.4 GHz, 4GB RAM, Video: 320M.

    I'm thinking about upgrading it's RAM. Currently it has 4GB. I'm considering whether I should get a 2x4GB kit or a single 1x8GB stick. I'm leaning towards 1x8GB, since it'd be easier to upgrade it later down the road by just adding another 8GB stick and not having to sell the old 2x4GB kit to free up the two RAM slots that my MacBook has

    [1st Question]: Is there any dual channel advantage to having 2 sticks 4GB each, as opposed to just one 8Gb?

    [2nd Question]: What brand is the best?
    Crucial, Corsair, G-Skill, OWC, something else?

    Also, if I go with OWC, they offer a rebate to trade in your old RAM. $14 for my 2x2GB. What's a better way to go generally speaking - trade-ins, eBay, Craigslist?

    I actually contacted sales support at OWC.
    The support team associate advised me via chat to get a 2x4GB RAM upgrade kit instead of a single 1x8GB stick of RAM, but could not explain why, stating there is no difference performance wise and "it's just a personal preference of his". That made me feel a little confused.

    [3rd Question]: Should I get 16GB? Seems like that's be an overkill for me. Right now I typically have a 1(one)GB swap. Extra 4 GB would remove the need for swap and leave me with a spare 3GB to use, correct?

    Also, my old HDD (5400 rpm) crapped out causing my system to be very slow recently. So I purchased an entry level SSD -- SanDisk Plus 240GB (no Ultra or Extreme in the name) Model: SDSSDA-240G-G25.
    This product line came out just few months ago. Seems to have really good reviews on BestBuy page, where it was on sale for $85. So I got it, since I figured there is no point wasting money on Pro level performance SSDs for my old lappy .
    Reliability however is important to me, don't want to lose any data. I read different SSD utilize different tech, so reliability varies greatly. But I could not find any professional reviews for this model, just the press release from January.

    So, my [4th Question]: I am curious if anyone had experience with this SSD, if you guys think it's a good one, and how can I test it to make sure there's no hidden failures within it before the BestBuy return period runs out. What apps (preferably free ones) can I use to test it?

    So far I'm very happy with it. It's my 1st SSD, so I don't know any better, but everything seems to fly MUCH faster compared to my old 5400 drive (especially when it started failing -- would take 10-15 secs for the menus to open after you click on them). I just want to make sure it's a reliable SSD.

    [5th Question]: is having no memory swap file more important with SSDs since they wear out every time you write something to them? If so, it's more important to have enough RAM with SSDs , correct?

    [6th question] Do I need to run any special SSD maintenance?

    Thanks for any input in advance! :)
  2. California macrumors 68040


    Aug 21, 2004
    See related threads.

    But back in the day, only Mushkin ram seemed to work for 16gbs in the MBPro 13" and the similar spec'd 2010 Mac Mini (same video card, same speeds as the 2010 13" MBPs) It's Mushkin 1067 ram; it's on sale right now for $108. http://www.ebay.com/itm/131465370256?ru=http://www.ebay.com/sch/i.html?_from=R40&_sacat=0&_nkw=131465370256&_rdc=1

    Do some homework but TRIM could be simulated on non Apple OEM SSDs.

    Snow Leopard runs great on the 13" 2010. You need either a faster hard drive or an SSD for anything above 10.6 OSX SL, IMHO.

    I have a matched pair of Muskin ram for 16gbs in my 13" but I am not sure it matters anymore. You might as well get the set as they charge a lot more for one 8gb chip, and I am not sure about the dual channel. Just know that everything above Snow Leopard eats ram.
  3. ChatonNoir thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jun 7, 2015
    New England, USA
    Thanks for your response!

    OWC claim that specifically my model (7,1) of 13'' MacBook Pro from 2010 is compatible with their 16GB ram (if using OS X Lion or above, I think). I used to have a pretty good performance with Mavericks. My old HDD started failing around the time I upgraded to Yosemite, so Yosemite was miserable in the past, not sure how much of it attribute to the failing drive or to having a 5400 drive in general.

    With my new SSD Yosemite is fast! I was surprised with the performance gain from upgrading the SSD alone. I new the load-up times would be shorter, but even using my Mac after it loads up, like clicking menues, switching between apps seems much faster, something I though I would only achieve AFTER upgrading RAM (which I haven't done yet).

    I was looking for RAM on Amazon and NewEgg.
    NewEgg had Mushkin listed, but all out of stock, regardless of size (seemed like they discontinued carrying Mushkin for PC3-8500 DDR3-1066 altogether).

    If I buy from eBay, will there be any issues with taking advantage of manufacturer's warranty, if need be?
    I know Crucial and OWC offer lifetime warranty, never had to deal with either customer service though.

    Do you find from your experience that having 16GB over 8GB is useful for day to day applications? I keep hearing from everyone that 16GB is an overkill unless you do video and graphics editing, wasn't sure if I should spend extra $$$ for something that might not even be useful to me.

    I mostly just browse web (power browse though -- it's typical for me to have like 3 windows with 30 tabs in each. Work with docs. Listening to music. Watching movies. Playing some older games like CS:GO, L4D2, Starcraft 2 -- something my 320M video card can handle.

    OWC charges $75 for 2x4GB kit, only 3 bucks more more for a single 8GB stick - $78, and finally $153 for 16GB (2x8GB).

    Crucial don't even offer 16GB or a single 8GB stick for my laptop. Seems like they are not aware it can take it. Makes me lean towards OWC, although I'd rather not pay their price premium.

    Just looked at Mushkin's website. They don't have a 16GB kit listed in their "Apple RAM" section of the website. Also, weird, they have no model selector. The list is comprised of ALL apple RAM, old and new models alike, I had to run a filter search by typing manually "PC3-8500". Found what I was looking for, but no 16GB kit there.

    Are they the same quality as OWC? If I buy it through eBay, will they honor the warranty?
    I wonder why their website has smaller selection than eBay 3rd party seller.

  4. ChatonNoir thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jun 7, 2015
    New England, USA
    Does Apple make it difficult to use TRIM with 3rd party SSDs on purpose or is it some kind of objective tech limitation?
  5. estabya macrumors 6502


    Jun 28, 2014
    TRIM isn't really necessary unless you are doing a lot of write intensive tasks. Pretty much all SSDs these days have built in garbage collection that eliminates the need for TRIM for 90% of users.

    I think 16gb of ram might be overkill for that system. I would try 8gb first along with one of your 2gb to make it 10gb, then if it doesn't quite suit your needs grab another 8gb stick. You're only missing out on less than 5% performance running in single channel vs dual.
  6. ChatonNoir thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jun 7, 2015
    New England, USA
    How do I find if my SSD has a built in garbage collection?

    Regarding the RAM found this on Apple's website:
    "For best performance, fill both memory slots, installing an equal memory module in each slot."

    Seems like Apple agrees with you, I CAN use 1 slot, but it does degrade performance. Good to know it's only a ~5% performance margin.

  7. estabya macrumors 6502


    Jun 28, 2014
    I researched the issue quite thoroughly before purchasing a Sandisk SSD for my 2011 MBP, and as far as I could find all of Sandisk's drives have built in garbage collection. The 240Gb drives actually have 256Gb of flash, but they have 16gb reserved for tasks like garbage collection. This improves write performance and increases the drive's endurance. Here's a link that talks about it.
  8. lokster macrumors 6502


    Feb 7, 2010
    I'm still using my 2010 macbook, with specs in my sig, totally worth the upgrade bro. still works fine
  9. BradHatter macrumors regular

    Oct 7, 2014
    You might want to make sure that the drive went bad and it isn't the cable. Cable's are sort of known to go bad on that system. The following article:

    http://scsc-online.com/Bad Hard Drive Signs and Symptoms.html

    lists a ton of symptoms that can be actual HD and SSD problems so it might be worth looking at.

    I have a SanDisk in one of my systems and it works great. Nice price too.

    Good luck.
  10. Dark Void macrumors 68030

    Dark Void

    Jun 1, 2011

    [1st]: I would recommend dual-channel. I see where you are coming from with a single 8GB module with thinking of the future and all, but it sounds like 8GB total will be fine for you, and certainly go 2x4GB instead of 1x8GB. Dual-channel is statistically faster, and noticeably faster within daily use in my opinion.

    [2nd]: There are many reputable brands, you have listed a good amount of them. Kingston is another one to consider as well. I usually go with Crucial, as they tend to be the cheapest. My recommendation would be to pull up a few tabs of different websites (I prefer Amazon), and just browse for kits and get whichever 2x4GB kit that is the cheapest in price. Whatever you do, even if you don't manage to find the absolute best deal, do not fall into anything that advertises as "mac-compatible." These kits are usually marked up in price exponentially when you could purchase any kit with compatible form factor and speeds (204-Pin 1067MHz [PC3-8500] in your case). Some kits may list compatibility with Mac notebooks and not have an outrageous price, but to be sure a 2x4GB kit should cost you about $50-$60 USD.

    It seems that most of your SSD based questions have been answered but just to reiterate, you should not need much, if any, maintenance on modern drives.

    Hope this helps!
  11. Samuelsan2001 macrumors 604

    Oct 24, 2013
    Just a quick note about the OWC guys preference for 2x4gb, I prefer a 2 stick configuration because if one stick or channel fails you can still use your computer...

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10 June 7, 2015