15" rMBP CPU upgrade vs 16GB RAM?

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by smurray, Nov 11, 2012.

  1. smurray macrumors regular

    May 12, 2008
    Contemplating exchanging my 13" rMBP for the 15" version. If I do, would I be better off upgrading to the 2.6Ghz CPU or upgrading to 16GB RAM? Wondering which would give me the most noticable performance increase for normal daily tasks.
  2. T5BRICK macrumors G3


    Aug 3, 2006
    It's going to depend more on the tasks. Normal daily tasks aren't really going to benefit from either.
  3. smurray thread starter macrumors regular

    May 12, 2008
    Will be using the computer as my main computer for work (teacher) and home use. At work I use it to playback videos, use MS Office and/or iWork, and browse the web. At home I use it for about the same stuff, and also watching TV/movies using PLEX and/or XBMC. Don't do much heavy stuff like video/photo editing. I'll occassionally edit a home movie or two using iMovie, but that's about the most intense. Only reason I'm considering upgrading anything is to attempt to "futureproof" it as much as possible.
  4. leman macrumors G3

    Oct 14, 2008
    Why don't you just keep the money? ;)

    Upgrading CPU for 'future proofing' does not make much sense, as the improvement is very slight even for computationally intensive tasks. You won't notice a difference in daily tasks.

    Upgrading RAM is slightly better, but until 16Gb becomes a requirement in computers (which could take a couple of years), your whole machine will be hopelessly outdated anyway. Right now, 4Gb RAM is 'enough', 8Gb will give you lots of breathing space and 16Gb only makes sense if you work with multiple virtual machines or really big data sets.
  5. Saladinos macrumors 68000


    Feb 26, 2008

    The CPU is already incredibly fast. You've got up to four cores running in parallel at 2.3Ghz, and which can shut themselves down to save energy so the others can over-clock up to 3.3Ghz. How many cores are active and at what speeds depend on what kind of work you're doing (don't worry about it; it's all handled automatically).

    IMO, the range of CPU performance you've got there is already really good and should handle just about whatever you want. Adding an extra 300Mhz to that isn't going to make a big (any?) difference; not against doubling your RAM that's for sure.

    RAM is like short-term memory. All the stuff that you're doing right now lives in RAM. Even stuff on the hard disk gets moved to RAM before it's used (because RAM is much faster than the hard disk or even an SSD). More RAM means you can do more things at the same time, work with bigger data files, etc.
  6. yusukeaoki macrumors 68030


    Mar 22, 2011
    Tokyo, Japan
    2.3GHz and 2.6GHz have small difference.
    The 0.3GHz change wont be worth the cost.

    But RAM, from 8 to 16 is huge improvement.
    Especially if you are like me running Virtual OS like on VMWare and using heavy apps.

    I would not mind this on cMBPs but since the rMBP have the RAM soldered on to the board, go for the RAM.
  7. youyou macrumors regular

    Sep 17, 2006
    Well I opted for both.
    An extra 100$ for the CPU upgrade and 180$ for the 16GB ram.
    To me it's well worth the 280$. I know it'll constantly be on my mind.
    And I'll sell my MBPR for more when I decide to.
    I've been doing this for 10 years. So anyone who tells you it's not true , you won't get more money for it , don't know what they're talking about. Like I said. Been doing it for years.
  8. fskywalker macrumors 65816


    Nov 6, 2009
    +1 for the 16GB RAM, that is the only option in mine (the SSD upgrade to 512GB I did it later)!
  9. Woodcrest64 macrumors 65816


    Aug 14, 2006
    I got the 16gb of memory option with my retina Macbook Pro because I run VMfusion all the time for Windows 7. I allocate 4gb of ram to it and use the rest for OSX as I edit photos and have multiple browser tabs open. Well worth the cost compared to a .3 ghz speed bump IMO.
  10. yusukeaoki macrumors 68030


    Mar 22, 2011
    Tokyo, Japan
    Yeah the extra 8GB bump is huge for virtual OS users.
    When I had 8GB, it used to be 4GB 4GB shared and Win7 already used 20% of the RAM.
    But after 8GB 8GB share (sometimes Mac 4GB Win 12GB share) made VM run way more smooth.
  11. HKSSS macrumors member

    Nov 9, 2012
    Of cause you will get more money if you are to sell it in the future but how much more? If you are paying $280 more now and is only using 8 GB of RAM but sell it for $500 more than lower spec.then you are wasting money. It's all about if you will utilize the extra RAM and CPU performance.
  12. youyou macrumors regular

    Sep 17, 2006
    I'll easily sell it for 200$ to 250$ more then the lower spec one and ill have piece of mind while using it that I have the fastest machine.
    To me it's absolutely not a waste.
    I've been buying Macs since 2002 and have always sold them within the following year or two of buying them to upgrade.
    I get the latest and greatest all the time and it usually costs me a couple to a few hundred $ every time.
    I don't usually upgrade at every spec bump but mainly when there's a new product out or a re design.
    Like for example I sold my 24" IMac in 2009 the day the 27" was announced.
    Upgraded to the 27" and cost me about 200$ to do so.
    Now I kept my 27" up until now because A. Besides spec bumps nothing changed in terms of form factor and I had AppleCare that ends next week.
    Just sold my 27" 2.8 i7 with 8Gb ( which was a top of the line BTO then ) for 1700$ this past weekend.
    Not bad for a 3 year old computer!
    And now after all discounts ( education , store promos etc ) I will be getting the new 27" for probably around 2000$-2100$.
    Definitely worth it for me.
    I've got the whole technique pretty down packed and it's worked flawlessly for me.
    Though seeing as there's nothing I think that will excite me in the near future in the notebook line I think I'll stick with the Retina for a while.
    Unless we get a quad core Retina MacBook Air.
    Now that would be the perfect Notebook!
  13. akdj macrumors 65816


    Mar 10, 2008
    You did well! Forget the nay-sayers:). I did the same thing...and continue to sell/buy every 12-24 months as well...depending on the intrigue of whatever is on the market. Like you, I, too continue to get excellent resale on my Apple products. I continue to actually make money selling my old iPhones! Kinda cool-- and I agree...a couple hundred bucks in loss to own a cutting edge computer for that year/year and a half--well worth it. When the retina MBP was announced...after owning 'retina' iPhones and iPads I KNEW I had to have one. The all SSD tech and the High speed outputs (2x thunderbolt and USB 3) is icing on the cake. Not only is it SSD though...it's very, very FAST both reading and writing. I'm gettin 460/435 respectively. Right up there with the quickest SSDs on the market. Maybe not the fastest. But competitive. Very, very excellent computer. Congrats. You're going to love it and live without regret for an extra 'C' note:)


  14. thekev macrumors 604


    Aug 5, 2010
    Are you selling before a refreshed model appears or just searching out uneducated buyers? Assuming you're in a country with Apple stores and refurbished options, the refurbished options typically knock off more than a couple hundred once the new ones are out. The lower end ones might be an exception, but look at 2011 15" pricing once 2012s hit. i figure you must be selling at an inconvenient time to sell or waiting around until someone who didn't do their research takes the bait.
  15. youyou macrumors regular

    Sep 17, 2006
    Do the same with my iPhones and iPads and really just about every Mac product!


    95% of the population are not like us.
    They don't browse these forums so they don't really follow rumors or know about events coming up with new product releases.
    Quite honestly it varies. Sometimes I sell right before and sometimes I wait to see what is released.
    This time around I decided to sell my MacBook Air 2011 13" 1.8 i7 with 256 SSD right before the event because I was knew I wanted the 13" Retina. As much as I loved the weight and feel of the Air it just wasn't fast enough for my multitasking needs.
    After the event I was really disappointed with the 13" RMBP so decided to get the 15".
    Bought my Air last year for 1650$.
    Used it a full year. Sold it 3 weeks ago for 1500$.
    Pretty darn fantastic if you ask me.
  16. alphaod macrumors Core


    Feb 9, 2008
    Upgrades in order of preference:
    1) RAM — Most likely to be useful and cannot be upgraded by the user. Performance that will make work easier when your uses change.
    2) SSD — This is important, but you can upgrade this. The drawback is the price you end up paying for an upgrade, you might as well just get it from the start if this is the an upgrade you want. I would get RAM first, if you're choosing only one.
    3) CPU — This is non-upgradeable, but least likely to have an impact on the performance if you're workload changes. The base model processor is more than enough for most of the things you're doing (in a normal work day, I find 90%+ of my processor time is idle!)—like right now it's uses 5%. If you do decide to use your computer for something intensive, you'll find the difference in time to be small. Finally if you're really need this, the rMBP isn't the computer for the job if you're looking for best bang for the buck.

    (My recommendations are based on going from the 256GB SSD to the 512GB SSD, and the 2.3GHz processor to the 2.6GHz processor)
  17. Mac-Tech macrumors regular


    Jun 4, 2012
    Toronto, ON
    15" RMBP 2.7GHz | 16GB | 768GB

Share This Page