8GB ram or 128GB SSD upgrade?

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by karupspc, Feb 25, 2010.

  1. karupspc macrumors member

    Joined:
    Feb 11, 2008
    #1
    Hello all

    13" MBP (4GB ram, 2.53 processor model)

    Question: I've been considering one of two upgrade options for my current Macbook Pro either 8GB ram or 128GB SSD upgrade.

    I currently use my MBP for general web browser, word processing, e-mail and run Vmware Fusion. I use fusion mainly for work by running two machines not always at the same time. those machines are usually Windows XP and or Windows Server 2003. They're either used for development, testing ,etc.

    I don't keep much personal or work data on the MBP. Mainly music to sync with iPhone and iPhoto otherwise that's it. I don't do any web development or use Garage band or use iDvd, etc.

    My question is: What would be the better of the two upgrades?
     
  2. sstr macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Feb 9, 2010
    #2
    SSD. Doubt you'll notice much of a difference with 8 vs 4gb ram.
     
  3. coolmacguy macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Dec 6, 2002
    #3
    Yes but it depends how you use it. If you are like me and have lots of heavy apps open at the same time like Photoshop, Parallels, Office, Safari (with lots of windows), some java apps, etc, then you will definitely notice the difference with 8GB.

    However for the OP, your usage patterns sound fairly light, so I would agree with SSD being the better choice.
     
  4. Hellishness macrumors 65816

    Hellishness

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    Jan 27, 2010
    Location:
    Bay Area, CA
    #4
    the op is not like you.
     
  5. coolmacguy macrumors regular

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    Dec 6, 2002
    #5
    yeah I clarified. didn't read the entire post at first
     
  6. kny3twalker macrumors 65816

    kny3twalker

    Joined:
    Oct 25, 2009
    #6
    Honestly the 8GB of ram is a better option, because SSD price should fall faster than prices of ram. And I might be interested in buying your OEM 4 GBs of Ram to help offset some of your cost.
    SSDs hopefully will be priced about half of what they currently cost by the end of the year. I doubt 4 GB sticks of ram will drop in price that much.
    Also for your virtual machines the ram should help, but are you close to exceeding 4 GB of ram in usage while running VMware?
     
  7. Alvi macrumors 65816

    Alvi

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    Location:
    Mars
    #7
    SSD if you don't need a lot of storage, if not better wait for bigger ones like 256GB or 512GB for lower prices and get 8GB of RAM for now
     
  8. ThrawnTHX macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jul 20, 2009
    #8
    An SSD will net you much faster boot times and programs that launch in one bounce.

    8GB of RAM will come in handy due to your VMware Fusion usage. I use this software on my 17' and I know from experience how it just gobbles up memory.

    If you run your virtual machines very often or for critical software, go the RAM route, but just realize that in basic day to day usage aside from Fusion, the SSD would be the king of upgrades.

    Just my 2 cents.
     
  9. mrsir2009 macrumors 604

    mrsir2009

    Joined:
    Sep 17, 2009
    Location:
    Melbourne, Australia
    #9
    I'd go with the SSD. I've got 4GB in my 13" MBP and its real fast... 8GB wouldn't make a difference...:rolleyes:
     
  10. ThrawnTHX macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jul 20, 2009
    #10
    Hmm, I just double checked your system specs. With 4 GB RAM, your MBP is just as likely to be bottle necked by the processor split in VMWare Fusion as it is by the RAM.

    Next time you have Fusion running, open Activity Monitor and pay attention to "Page Outs" (correct me if I'm wrong, I'm just spitting this out off the top of my head). If you see a lot of activity here, you're running out of memory and churning on the hard drive.

    Of note, Crucial 8 GB 1067 MHz DDR3 has gotten a lot cheaper on Newegg in recent months.

    Your preference for a 128 GB SSD makes me think you're contemplating OCZ possibly. Check their forums first. While it's a wealth of information, it's also obvious that it is a bit of a headache. I have a 160 GB Intel G2. I flashed the firmware and made a few system adjustments (do a search, there's a lot of info regarding SSD tweaks on these forums).

    Do your homework, monitor your system usage, and make the decision that will benefit you most. I don't think we can reasonably provide you with the best solution without knowing specifics.

    Good luck!
     
  11. Thessman macrumors regular

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    Dec 8, 2005
    Location:
    GR
    #11
    I think that in your case the 8GB will serve you better.
     
  12. mrsir2009 macrumors 604

    mrsir2009

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    #12
    Only if your doing really hardcore stuff all the time. :D
     
  13. BeachChair macrumors 6502a

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    Apr 11, 2008
    Location:
    Copenhagen, Denmark
    #13
    An SSD is like a RAM and HDD upgrade at the same time. The OS is always gonna need a page file even with 8 gb ram, with a SSD the read/access times to the page file will be blitz fast.


    SSD prices prolly wont start falling again before Q4 when Intel and Micron start putting out new tech
     
  14. Gabriel GR macrumors 6502a

    Gabriel GR

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    Athens, Greece
    #14
    I've done both (first RAM then SSD) and the SSD (Intel X-25M 160GB) made a lot of difference. I can't tell the difference between 4 and 8gb of RAM unless I am using more than one VM.

    If you had 2gb of RAM it would be a different story.
     
  15. gwsat macrumors 68000

    gwsat

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    Apr 12, 2008
    Location:
    Tulsa
    #15
    That adding RAM makes more sense than an upgrade to an SSD drive is my "2 cents," too. I run Fusion 3 and Windows 7 on my 17 inch 2.4Ghz MBP. Recently I upgraded from the factory installed 2 gig of RAM to 6 gig, which I bought from OWC for $189.99. The improvement was dramatic. When I had only 2 gig of RAM everything slowed down when Windows was loaded and Windows was often unstable. Now that I have 6 gig of RAM, though, I leave Windows 7, including a couple of Windows apps, up and running alongside Safari, Mail, iCal, Address Book, and, sometimes Office Word and Excel, too. Everything now runs with commendable speed and no instability.

    CAVEAT: The OP's current 4 gig of RAM may be enough for his purposes. I can't comment further on that, though, because, as noted I jumped from 2 to 6Gb. Two gig were clearly not enough for my apps.
     
  16. pprior macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Aug 1, 2007
    #16
    more ram makes a huge improvement when using VM. I give my parallels 2-4Gb of ram and that is then always unavailable to the os.

    Personally I have seen a big speed bump in going from 2 to 4GB of ram and less going from 4 to 8. However if you're using VMware and giving it around 2GB or so, then your 4 is really 2 to the mac os.

    thus I'd personally upgrade the ram. you can always add SSD later and they're getting faster and cheaper all the time.

    I leave parallels open all the time, I hate the time it takes to start up.
     
  17. gfiz macrumors 6502

    gfiz

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    Dec 18, 2009
    Location:
    Virginia
    #17
    while I recommend both, there's no single upgrade for everyday use that will make more of a difference than a decent SSD. (note, really crappy, cheap ssd's aren't any better than a standard HDD). The only exception I'd say is if you were using less than optimal RAM, like 1GB when the OS calls for 2GB+
     
  18. Gen macrumors 6502a

    Gen

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    Jul 15, 2008
    #18
    Depends how much you are running VM Fusion - if you do a lot, then 8gb of ram will benefit greatly. If not, the ssd is the best upgrade any computer can get.
     
  19. Jaro65 macrumors 68040

    Jaro65

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    Mar 27, 2009
    Location:
    Seattle, WA
    #19
    If you believe you have enough RAM for your VMs, then by all means the SSD will provide your machine with the most significant performance boost.
     
  20. newdeal macrumors 68020

    Joined:
    Oct 21, 2009
    #20
    ...

    if you run xp under parrallels I can't even imagine how fast it would boot on an SSD even with a regular HDD it booted fast. Running 7 or vista under parrallels is probobly a no go anyway since you would be looking at a really expensive SSD just due to the size requirements of those OSs
     
  21. tflournoy95 macrumors 6502

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    Sep 21, 2009
    #21
    i wonder if there is any way to use part of the space on a ssd as ram? because they're both flash memory.
     
  22. qnguye macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Feb 26, 2010
    #22
    Please clarify

    I am a newbie to Mac. Just bought a used MBP 2.2. Upgrade to 4gb RAM. Thinking about installing Fusion to run Window XP pro SP3 to play games. Firstly, is it possible? Secondly, allocating 2GB to Fusion is enough to play games? Sorry if I am in the wrong section. Thank you to all
     
  23. BeachChair macrumors 6502a

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    Apr 11, 2008
    Location:
    Copenhagen, Denmark
    #23
    I think thats basically what an OS is doing when its putting the most used files in a page file, so in a way the SSD is already being used as ram automatically. I dont think you could use it more like ram than it already is, but I'm no expert on this. :)
     
  24. INeedAMacBook macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Feb 8, 2010
    #24
    honestly, neither, cos the ssd's are goning to come down in price ALOT, and u'r nott gonna use 8gb ram, and in time 8gb ram wil come the new 4gb ram lol
     
  25. gwsat macrumors 68000

    gwsat

    Joined:
    Apr 12, 2008
    Location:
    Tulsa
    #25
    As noted in my earlier post, I agree that more RAM is better if you are running Windows 7 in a Fusion virtual machine. I learned the hard way that (1) the 2 gig of RAM in my MB Pro were insufficient to leave Fusion and Windows running all the time and (2) that closing Fusion after every use of Windows and reopening it for the next use was both slow and often caused problems. With the 6 gig of RAM I now have in my MB Pro I leave Fusion and Windows running all the time with no detriment to my OS X apps. This has improved my ease of using Windows apps exponentially. I should have upgraded my RAM a long time ago.
     

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