1st time MBP buyer with a few questions

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by snyder17315, Dec 1, 2012.

  1. snyder17315 macrumors newbie

    Dec 1, 2012
    Hello all!

    Getting ready to move over to a new 15.4" MBP (non-retina) and I had a few questions coming from the PC side.

    1. If I buy the standard config 2.3ghz processor, am I really missing out not upgrading to the 2.6 or 2.7 i7?

    2. I'll immediately be buying 16gb of RAM for the laptop, which is the preferred brand to buy?

    3. I'll immediately be swapping out the HD for an SSD. Should I replace the optical drive to do this, or should I just replace the SATA HD and leave the optical in place?

    4. From what I've read, I also have the option of replacing the SATA HD with an SSD as well as removing the optical drive and replacing it with a different (faster) SATA HD [or a second SSD]. Is that correct?

    5. There's a refurb 2.7/8gb/1TB available for a decent price atm, would that be advised given the upgrades I wish to make or am I spending more money for nothing?

    Thanks for holding a MBP newbies hand through this!
  2. T5BRICK macrumors G3


    Aug 3, 2006
    It depends on your needs. The 2.3GHz model would probably be fine for most people.

    Corsair, Crucial and g.skill are what I usually suggest.

    I actually use my optical drive, so I just replaced my HDD. Do you need your optical drive?

    Yes. Some people will install the SSD in their HDD bay and move the HDD or another, faster and/or larger HDD into the optical drive bay using an adapter bracket.
  3. JohnDoe98 macrumors 68020

    May 1, 2009
    Welcome. I hope your enjoy move.

    Unless you have exceptional circumstances, the answer is no. The vast majority of the time your processor is idling around doing nothing, using up at most 5-10% of its processing power. The very small extra oomph isn't worth the cost. I don't know Windows anymore, but on the Mac there is a program called Activity Monitor that lets you know what your system is doing. If Windows has something similar, open it up on your typical tasks, and have a look at what your CPU is doing. If it's constantly maxed out, consider upgrading to a faster i7, otherwise, go with the cheapest option.

    Opinions are bound to vary widely on this. Do you care about build quality and reliability at all? Corsair, OWC, etc. offer very cheap prices, and typically good warranties, but you may well have higher failure rates and thus more hassles than going with the Apple brand, which is admittedly much more expensive. For my part, I'd order the upgrade from Apple since it means just less of a hassle overall. Don't have to install anything, don't have to keep track of separate warranties, etc. One stop and go (my time is worth a lot to me).

    Get rid of the optical drive and install the other HD there. Also, if you are considering installing a SSD, have you looked at the RMBP? The biggest price difference between the cMBP and RMBP is the cost of the SSD. I have the 15" RMBP and I can't praise the screen enough. I wouldn't go back to a classical screen, just too blurry in comparison, but to each their own.

    Right, you have two options. #1, swap just the HDs, the SATA for the SSD. #2, pull out the worthless optical drive, and then install the SSD in the optical bay (with a cheap adapter), meaning you now have two HDs in the computer, and thus far more storage space. Use the SSD for the OS and Apps for speed, the SATA HD for your media storage.

    Apple refurbs are a good deal, but one way or another, you will be paying for those parts, i.e. some of the cost will be paying for the 2.7 which is potentially useless to you, and as far as the 1 TB, if you're putting in a SSD, do you really need that much total space on the unit?

    I hope this helps. Just my two cents.
  4. NewishMacGuy macrumors 6502a


    Aug 2, 2007
    Were I you I'd...

    1. ...stick with the 2.3 unless you are really doing a lot of processor intensive work.

    2. ...look to the cheapest of Kingston, G.Skill, Corsair, Crucial, or PNY. I've used all of the above in various computers and only ever had a bad stick once (one G.Skill). Every manufacturer has bad sticks in the wild; every once in a while you'll get one. Run memtest (at least 2 passes) once you put it in and replace under warranty if necessary.

    3. ...put a 256GB SSD in the optical spot and a Momentus XT in the HDD spot and create a 1TB Fusion Drive for around $250 if I didn't need the optical drive.

    4. ...ignore this as the only reason to put the HDD in the optical bay is if you have a slower SATA II controller in that slot (2012 cMPBs don't), and you will get more drive noise and less protection from shock.

    5. ...go with the refurb if you feel like you need the upgraded processor, sell the 2x4GB sticks for $30 or so on CL and keep the 1TB HDD for the aforementioned Fusion drive.

    ...and start getting totally psyched for the super-sweet rig you're going to have when you're done!
  5. zackkmac macrumors 6502a

    Jul 7, 2008
    Depending on your usage, probably not. If you plan to do heavy tasks like video encoding, then yes you would be.

    Crucial :)

    If you want just an SSD, replace the SATA HD. Only replace the optical drive if you want two disks.

    Yes. You can either have two separate drives or run a Terminal command and create a Fusion Drive.

    I've been considering that one too and I think it's a great deal. Just sell the RAM and either keep or sell the 1TB HD. You still get the full 1-year warranty.
  6. benji888 macrumors 68000


    Sep 27, 2006
    United States
    2), 3) & 4): OWC (macsales.com) I've been using them for years, they are the best for anything mac online (an :apple: certified developer), and have great prices, how-to/installation videos (on their site or youtube). (They don't sell the computers, just upgrades/accessories, this makes them better at it). (laptop center page: http://eshop.macsales.com/shop/powerbook-ibook-macbook/)

    They have a kit for swapping out your optical drive for a second HD/SSD. http://eshop.macsales.com/shop/drive_bracket/datadoubler/ ...they also have kits with an enclosure to use your old drive as an extra external drive.

    I've never had any customer service issues with them. They are a USA company and you call them and it is them in the USA, not some other country.

    ...I'm regretting my recent purchase of PNY RAM at BB only because I had a gift card and sale price, my mac will not boot with that RAM, taking it back tomorrow:mad:. (I've also heard only good things about Crucial RAM).

    5) Refurb: only if it's from Apple's website, then you will get same warranty as new, and it will have a new battery in it. ALSO: if you go this route, what apple has on hand changes daily, be double sure you are ordering the model you want and not a previous model.

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