A few questions about RAM vs SSD options.

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by MauriceMoss, Sep 4, 2010.

  1. MauriceMoss macrumors member

    MauriceMoss

    Joined:
    Aug 20, 2010
    #1
    Hello!

    I'm either buying a 15" or 17" core i7 HR/Anti-Glare this next week and had a few more questions.

    Im mainly using this for school (Adobe CS5, iWork, Final Cut...all that usual stuff.)

    I have never used any of the Adobe products. I have no idea how they run, eg: do they like more RAM or a faster processor?
    I am thinking about doing one of several things:

    option 1: (The most expensive/the one the wife hates the most)
    OWC RAM (8Gigs) and OWC SSD (120G) = 549.98 (before rebate)

    option 2: (Cheaper, but not sure about the SSD)
    OWC RAM (8G) and Intel X-25m (80G) = 384.98
    (What's the difference in all the model numbers with the Intel SSD)

    option 3: (This wouldn't be a bad set-up if I decide not to SSD)
    OWC RAM (8G) and Seagate Momentus XT 500G = 314.98

    option 4: (Depending on what input I get here from you guys.)
    OWC RAM (8G) = 235.98 plus 50.00 send us your old ram rebate
    OR
    OWC SSD (120G) = 314.00


    So, Obviously I would like to get both the SSD and RAM, but Im having a hard time swallowing the cost on some of this stuff, especially spending 2900 (17") or 2700 (15") on the computer and CS5 to begin with.

    My question then is this: Would I benefit more from the extra RAM, or the SSD?
    I have never had 4G of RAM in a machine before, and based on what I have seen in the Apple stores, it is pretty speedy. I have also been impressed with the SSD speeds (boot times, load times, etc...), and if I went with the SSD I wouldn't really know what to do to manage data on it. I have a 500G firewire 800 external drive and would use that for all my libraries...

    Thanks everyone.
     
  2. aeboi macrumors 65816

    aeboi

    Joined:
    Sep 20, 2009
    Location:
    Bay Area
    #2
    I run CS5, final cut and lightroom without maxing out the 4GB I have so I'm quite positive that you will find the SSD most beneficial since the processor speed isn't an issue. But of course if you dont need the fastest seek time and and you want to be more future proof, the 500GB XT+ram wouldn't be a bad idea.
     
  3. green86 macrumors 6502

    green86

    Joined:
    Sep 27, 2007
    Location:
    North Carolina
    #3
    Wow you love creating new threads that ask the same question a little differently everyday, don't you?

    Yesterday you said you were definitely going to go with the XT... weird.

    Anyways, to answer your question, you'll see the biggest improvement with an SSD (versus ram), if 120 GB is enough space for you. But remember your not tied to an HD once you buy one, you can always buy a new one down the line.
     
  4. MauriceMoss thread starter macrumors member

    MauriceMoss

    Joined:
    Aug 20, 2010
    #4
    Sorry- Three grand is a lot of money to spend and I want to make sure I am spending it in the best way possible. The more I read and research HDDs the more questions I have. I have never used CSanything, and I have never had the need for more than just the stock drive or upgraded RAM. I thought this would be a good place to ask questions and discuss the MacBook Pro. Who cares how many threads I create or contribute to? Isn't that the point of this? Do a search, cannot find an answer, create a thread. Big deal.

    Thanks for your answer by the way.

    I know I am not tied to anyone HDD, but I wanted to know if it was a good idea to upgrade it at this point. The price to storage ratio on an SSD isn't that great. I keep hearing about this Intel G3 drive, but cannot find any specifics on it. I just keep hearing faster, better, cheaper and sooner.

    Intel makes a 80G SSD. Or several, based on the model numbers and prices, but what are the differences? Intel's website doesn't really specify.

    Is it common to go with a lower Gig internal SSD and supplement it with an external drive? I have seen the optibay enclosures, but I use the drive often enough that I would hate to have to carry it around with me everywhere.
     
  5. m85476585 macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Feb 26, 2008
    #5
    How about:
    6GB RAM: $89
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820231265

    and OWC SSD (60gb):$170

    and caddy for the original hard drive on the optical bay slot: $42
    http://newmodeus.com/shop/index.php?main_page=product_info&products_id=259
    Total: $301

    In fact, this is the exact setup I have (except I have an OCZ Vertex not an OWC SSD), and it works extremely well. I almost never run out of RAM, even running VMWare, and the SSD makes the system fast.

    To manage all your data, install OS X on the SSD then replace folders that have large files (documents, music, pictures) in your user folder with sym links to folders on the old drive in the optical bay slot. Programs won't know that different folders are on different drives, and everything works seamlessly as it should. The old drive will even power down if the computer is running on battery to save power.
    Here's more info about how I set it up:
    http://forums.macrumors.com/showthread.php?t=914821
     
  6. TopHatPlus macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Aug 1, 2010
    Location:
    Southern Ontario
    #6
    i would recommend the 15" with the i7, the rest can be upgraded at later dates, i bought a 15" 2.66 ghz high res glossy mbp las week and this thing is amazing, i will upgrade the ram in about 2 months, and get an ssd when the prices are about 1/8 of what they are now. If you get the fastest processors and stuff now then you can not look back later when you have everything else upgraded and wish you had, and the only time the processor is really working on editing programs is open importing or rendering the image/video/music but for actual working it mostly relies on the ram so it is very important, but you can start with 4 watch your consumption, if its not enough you can buy 8 GB for like $250 and then sell your old ram for like $100 making it much cheaper then an apple upgrade.
     
  7. MauriceMoss thread starter macrumors member

    MauriceMoss

    Joined:
    Aug 20, 2010
    #7
    If I choose to locate the applications' files on an external drive, will the application freak out if I open it to work on something from a flash drive? (when the external drive isn't plugged in) Will it want to know where the libraries have gone?

    If you do the optibay mod, does that void your warrantee?

    I have never done any of this stuff to a computer before, so tearing apart the cd drive and installing another HDD is kind of daunting.
     
  8. CW Jones macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Nov 24, 2009
    Location:
    CT
    #8
    Why OWC exclusively? You can get 8GB of RAM for $179 on Newegg....
     
  9. MauriceMoss thread starter macrumors member

    MauriceMoss

    Joined:
    Aug 20, 2010
    #9
    Well I have read/heard/seen that OWC SSDs are pretty decent, and figured I would just get the RAM from there as well. Their ram is practically the same price as the Newegg RAM. (235 upfront with a 50 "Rebate" for sending them your old RAM. = 185) Thats really the only reason.
     
  10. green86 macrumors 6502

    green86

    Joined:
    Sep 27, 2007
    Location:
    North Carolina
    #10
    60 GB is extremely small.. so 80 GB for that matter. I never liked the idea of replacing the SuperDrive for a HDD.. it just seems to be a hassle if you want to burn a CD or install software. If you go with 6 GB you lose dual channel, which I know people will instant cry who cares, but I'm just saying. Thats why I decided not to go with 6 GB and just wait until I can afford 8 GB.

    The application won't "freak out" but it might pause (or crash) if the application goes looking for a file thats not connected to the computer.

    Honestly, I'd still go with the XT, especially since your saying you want to use Final Cut and edit videos. It really is the least amount of hassle and really is quite speedy. The benefits of an SSD are reduced application load and boot time... and with the XT you get 75% of the performance. At this point your counting 1-2 second differences. My i7 with the XT boots in 20 seconds or less, and every program (except any office program, of course :rolleyes:) loads within 2 seconds.

    Unless your doing really heavy duty stuff in Adobe, neither a SSD nor Ram will "make" the programs run faster. Its really more dependent on the processor. Unless your running out, adding ram wont apply filters any quicker, and an SSD won't make your computer encode video any quicker.
     
  11. MauriceMoss thread starter macrumors member

    MauriceMoss

    Joined:
    Aug 20, 2010
    #11
    Thanks, thats the kind of information I was looking for. I was under the impression that not only would the load and boot times be quicker, but that it would read and write data on that same level of speed.

    I have no problem going with the XT, I was just looking for the maximum amount of speed for the price.

    Now, in terms of convenience, not speed - does anyone back up online rather than on an external drive? I have mobile me. I don't need to back up huge amounts of data, just projects from school. I have a networked 1TB drive at home, so I could upload from school to the cloud and bring it back down to my network drive at home. Anyone doing anything like this? How does it work out for you?
     
  12. TopHatPlus macrumors 6502

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    Aug 1, 2010
    Location:
    Southern Ontario
    #12
    i have an external 2 TB hard drive for back ups/files and i run time machine, one click and it updates your entire system and will keep it updated every 2 hour or so forever, tis one click and you can run a full re install as though you never had an issue
     
  13. m85476585 macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Feb 26, 2008
    #13
    Modern laptop chipsets will do hybrid dual channel, so up to twice the size of the smaller stick (4gb) will run at dual channel, and the remainder (2gb) will run single channel. You probably won't notice any difference in speed since most programs are not limited by RAM speed. I don't notice it, but the extra RAM does make a huge difference over using swap.

    The way I have my SSD set up, applications, system stuff, and program data (firefox profile, for example) are on the SSD, and everything else is on the regular disk. Programs don't even know that stuff that goes in /Users/Matt/Documents is on the regular disk and that other stuff is on the SSD. It's basically my own version of the XT, but I have control of what goes where.

    RAM is good if you want to run a lot of programs at once, or if you need to work with huge data sets (like extremely large images in photoshop or large matrices in Matlab). If you ever run out of RAM, the computer will slow to a crawl while stuff is swapped out, but if all you are doing is using one program in Adobe CS5 at a time, you should be fine. If you want to run Adobe, Firefox, Matlab, and VMWare all at the same time, you will need more RAM.
     
  14. CW Jones macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Nov 24, 2009
    Location:
    CT
    #14
    60GB is awfully small. I always went by the rule that you wanted to keep at least 25% free on a HDD. Why? I am honestly not too sure haha but I do it anyways. I would say go at least 120GB if you can afford it.
     
  15. green86 macrumors 6502

    green86

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    North Carolina
    #15
    It's because as HDDs fill up, they tend to slow down... sometimes by a lot.
     
  16. Giuly macrumors 68040

    Giuly

    #16
    My vote goes for 8GB and 120GB OWC SSD. You'll jerk off for a month or two, but hey, what ever it takes. :rolleyes:
    Cut it down to $280 for the SSD and make it 3 weeks.
     
  17. MauriceMoss thread starter macrumors member

    MauriceMoss

    Joined:
    Aug 20, 2010
    #17
    The one thing that worries me about going with an SSD is the total capacity that I could afford doing is limited to 120Gb. I have run the numbers and done some estimating and should be fine. I am only using about 88Gb on my iMac out of the 500 that are available. Most of that is my music and pictures, which wont be on my new machine.

    I'm just stuck in a weird "review loop." I'll read something really great about the XT, then something even better about the SSD. Then I'll come across some bad reviews on both of them and start the whole process over again.

    LOL! I haven't even decided on the screen size yet!
     
  18. jtus macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jul 12, 2007
    #18
    I use adobe software a lot and just replaced my MacBook pro 2.53 with a 15" i7 266 antiglare 500gig hard drive 7200 rpm and 8 gig ram it works great. Adobe takes a lot of space the ssd's are not large enough unless you have unlimited money. Adobe also likes lot's of ram.
     
  19. MauriceMoss thread starter macrumors member

    MauriceMoss

    Joined:
    Aug 20, 2010
    #19
    Well with the OS, CS5, iWork, aperture 3 or LR3, and some various random programs I was estimating about 20Gb of apps on the drive. No music, no videos, and no pictures. Just enough space to store some projects locally and I would still have the ability to up/download things to my airdisk.

    But this is all in theory of course. Sounds good on paper, but will it work like I want once it is all configured? Who knows.
     
  20. Giuly macrumors 68040

    Giuly

    #20
    You only want the OS and applications on the SSD, for the data (audio, video, spreadsheets, blah blah) just put the stock hard drive in a $20 external hard drive is fine.
     
  21. MauriceMoss thread starter macrumors member

    MauriceMoss

    Joined:
    Aug 20, 2010
    #21
    Would it work to store the data on an airdisk? Like bring the projects to and from the MBP to work on, then store permanently on the airdisk?
     
  22. CW Jones macrumors 6502

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    Nov 24, 2009
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    CT
    #22
    But that's HDD... is that also true then for SSD?
     
  23. green86 macrumors 6502

    green86

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    North Carolina
    #23
    There is an issue with SSDs that they slow down once they are filled and then files are deleted, and you try to fill that space again. They also slow over time... If you do a google search you'll see. SSD technology is still in it's infancy.
     
  24. Giuly macrumors 68040

    Giuly

    #24
    That got fixed with TRIM, but Mac OS X doesn't support it yet. Besides, only write operations go slower, the speed the data is read stays the same.
     
  25. green86 macrumors 6502

    green86

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    Sep 27, 2007
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    North Carolina
    #25
    Exactly.
     

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