8GB or 16GB RAM for early-2011 MacBook Pro?

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by alexjholland, Dec 4, 2016.

  1. alexjholland, Dec 4, 2016
    Last edited: Dec 4, 2016

    alexjholland macrumors 6502

    May 3, 2011
    Hey, a friend kindly gifted me an early 2011 MacBook Pro i5, allowing me to sell my mid-2010 iMac i7, before I go travelling for a couple of years, in February 2017.

    It'll be my only machine for certainly a couple of years and used mainly for music production and recording guitars, plus some graphic design and occasional GoPro editing on Final Cut Pro X - although I'm aware I'll be rendering fairly slowly on this machine.

    Today I installed a 1TB Crucial SSD and replaced the trackpad. (£200 +£35 = £235).

    I'll also be adding 1-2TB of spinner in the optical bay for storing GoPro footage (around £100).

    Looks like the battery is on its way out, at 700+ cycles (around £45).

    Which leaves RAM as the final upgrade.

    I was planning to buy 16GB (2 x 8GB sticks) for this MacBook Pro, at £100.

    Total cost = £480 for an early-2011 MacBook Pro i5, 16GB with 1TB SSD, 1-2TB hard drive and a brand new battery.

    However, my mid-2010 iMac i7 is going up for sale in February, with a 960GB SSD, 3TB hard disk and 12GB RAM (2 x 2GB and 2 x 4GB).

    As they share the same RAM, I could simply swap the MacBook Pro's 4GB with the 8GB in the iMac, resulting in both machines have 8GB. (albeit 2 x 4GB vs 4 x 2GB).

    So, is it worth spending £100 to have 16GB in my MacBook Pro (rather than 8GB); factoring in any additional money I'll get selling the iMac with 12GB (instead of 8GB), plus any cash from selling the two 2GB sticks from my MacBook Pro?

    Or should I just save £100 and have 8GB in my MacBook Pro and 8GB in the iMac I'm selling?

  2. trueredsoxfan58 macrumors member

    Aug 5, 2013
    Not sure I agree with putting so much money in a 5 year old machine, I think your better off selling it and using the cash you would have spent and money from selling it for something newer
  3. alexjholland thread starter macrumors 6502

    May 3, 2011
    Good advice, for someone sitting at home twiddling their thumbs for the next year.

    I have a plane ticket booked to fly to the other side of the planet on February 7th; I have quite a bit of work to do to my apartment until I rent it out to a new tenant and need quite a bit of cash when I first land in Sydney, for the bond on my new property.

    Spending £2,000 on a new machine with a 1TB SSD is not going to happen in the next two months; and I need a machine with a 1TB SSD to take with me.

    £500 is around 1/4 -1/5 of what I need to buy a new machine with a 1TB SSD.

    Once I'm setup in Sydney I can look at getting a new machine, as and when this one doesn't do what I need it to do.
  4. StayPuft Suspended


    Mar 22, 2016
    Well there's no reason to upgrade if what you have does exactly what you need. And with a 1 TB SSD, you should already be noticing a night and day difference. The 1 TB SSD might've been a bit overkill though. :eek:
  5. alexjholland thread starter macrumors 6502

    May 3, 2011
    Yeah it's much, much faster already. The 1TB is because I have quite a few programs (Adobe Creative Suite), around 160GB on iTunes and a large sample library for music.. It's just nice knowing I don't have to worry about space.

    I guess I wonder how much more performance I'll get from 16GB versus 8GB?

    Also, will I harm the resale value on my iMac significantly, by selling it as an 8GB rather than 12GB configuration?

    My suspicion is the answers to both those questions is leaning towards just switching the sticks and saving £100.
  6. StayPuft Suspended


    Mar 22, 2016
    Ah, I see. Yeah I don't like having "storage anxiety" either.

    I guess that depends on how much RAM you're currently using. You probably won't notice much.

    Not really, especially not with all the other upgrades you have in there.
  7. alexjholland thread starter macrumors 6502

    May 3, 2011
    Looks like my MBP is running @ 4GB as we speak.. I guess the obvious answer is to switch them over and see how much of that 8GB the MBP uses in the next couple of weeks, before I decide?

    Another thing I like about this model is how easy it is to buy parts and upgrade it myself.

    I'll get with 2017 eventually and get a Retina touchbar option, but only when I can afford to spend £2,500+ and go all out.

    If spending £500 upgrading a five year old MacBook Pro is poor economics, then I think scraping together £1,600 in a rush to buy a machine that doesn't even have a big enough hard-drive for me - so I walk around cursing at a plugged in hard drive constantly - is incredibly poor economics!
  8. StayPuft Suspended


    Mar 22, 2016
    That'd be a smart choice, yes.

    Something we no longer get to enjoy with the newer models.

    Just remember it's absolutely unnecessary to go that route if you don't need it. It's nice to have the shiny new thing, but don't spend just because it would feel good. Use your laptop until it no longer serves its function or you have a bunch of extra money to throw about.

    Breathing new life into an old machine for a third the cost of getting a new one makes a lot more sense financially.
  9. KarmaRocket macrumors member


    Jan 4, 2009
    Brooklyn, NY
    I had a 2011 MBP. In 2013 I upgraded the RAM to 16GB and 500GB SSD. It was like night and day. I would go for the 16GB. It's a 100 upgrade but you should make up for it in a short amount of time. It will also be beneficial for video editing and whatever you throw at it within reason. You should be fine with 8GB, depends on what kind of footage you're editing. However, since your overseas and may not have easy access to parts/labor. IMHO it's better to spend the money and get the reassurance that you have everything you need.

    You'll also increase the resell value later on when you decide to sell it and upgrade to one of the newer models.

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