8 gb ram = no need for SSD?

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by mark28, Apr 13, 2011.

  1. mark28 macrumors 68000

    Jan 29, 2010
    If I understand correctly how OS X works, OS X stores opened programs in it's memory. So if you have enough memory, the benefit of SSD gets reduced to nothing if you have your machine running 24/7?
  2. Pentad macrumors 6502a


    Nov 26, 2003

    Ram is what is used when you are working with many programs as well as what the OS (OX X) uses to keep the system running.

    SSD or a Hard Drive is where program, data and OS X is stored all the time. When you turn your computer off the information resides on either of these mediums.

    SSD VS a HD is speed. HD is the slowest device in the chain of life in your computer. HD is a mechanical device with a spinning platter and a read head/arm that reads information from the platter and sends it to the OS. The problem is that the HD is running in MS while the computer is running in NS. So the HD is very, very slow compared to the rest of the computer.

    SSD uses flash memory instead of a mechanical device to store your information. An SSD can read/write information much faster than an HD since there are no moving parts. The downside is that HDs are very cheap to make and give you much more storage space for the money.

    A 500 GB HD will be much cheaper than say a 256 GB SSD. Of course you have speed and low power with the SSD.

    If you need the storage space but don't want to fork over a lot of money then the HD is the better way to go.

    In the end, the HD will disappear as SSD becomes cheaper.

    Hope this helps!

  3. Weaselboy Moderator


    Staff Member

    Jan 23, 2005
    I would not say reduced to nothing, but I would say depending on your usage the benefit on a SSD is reduced.

    Let's say you have 8GB of system memory and your normal pattern is to launch all apps and never shut them or the computer down. You just sleep the machine and wake up with apps still launched and go to work. Also, let's say your normal work pattern involves very little data write/read to the disk drive, like reading emails and browsing web sites. In that scenario, you will not notice a big difference with an SSD.

    But take the same scenario and add to it opening large photos or videos into an app (even with the app already open), and the SSD will make a much more noticeable difference.

    It is all about read/write speeds of data to the drive.
  4. Vantage Point macrumors 65816

    Mar 1, 2010
    New Jersey
    Having more RAM is no the same as a SSD drive but it gets pretty close. Once a program is open and then closed/quit that program will reside in the Inactive RAM (blue in the attached file). It will stay there unless you need that RAm for something else but assuming you don't then after the first time you open the program it will take only a second or so. If using editing software like Photoshop the RAM will be first used as scratch and if more is needed it will use the hard drive as scratch. With an SSD that scratch space is like a RAM boost and will help.

    However, if you are reading plenty of information - like scrolling through a huge image library, the speed of access that information is related to the speed/density of the drive. So a 750GB 7200 RPM WD scorpio black (the fastest HHD laptop drive today) will be significantly faster than a stock 320gb 5400rpm drive, but also much slower than a faster SSD.

    If you need plenty of storage space on your laptop then max out RAM to 8GB (about $100) and get a large fast drive like WD. If you definitely do not need plenty of storage then a 120GB SSD might be better. The 2011 MBP can use 16GB of ram but that will cost about $1600 from OWC. A much better choice would be a 500GB OWC SSD and 8GB RAM which will cost roughly $1,000 and offer much better performance. Personally, I upgraded my 2010 MBP with 8GB ram and a large WD 750 scorpio black to hold my large photo library and those upgrade cost a little over $200.

    Attached Files:

Share This Page