? about early 2011 model

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by AztecKing, Jan 30, 2017.

  1. AztecKing macrumors member


    Aug 22, 2007
    Southern Oregon
    I have an Early 2011 model MacBook Pro 15" with the 2GHz Intel i7 processor, 8 GB memory and a 1TB hard drive. I'm running the latest version of Sierra and have about 350 GB of free space on my hard drive and my machine is getting slower and slower. I have the normal stuff on my computer and approximately 20,000 photos. I talked to an authorized dealer and they said it's time for a new hard drive since this one has been in there for almost 3 years. They said it would probably be better for me to buy a new computer than spend the money for a new hard drive. They suggested selling this one while it's still worth a fair amount of money and upgrade.

    Since I'm not an expert I'm looking for some advice from all of you. Should I put a few hundred bucks into this unit or upgrade? Could it be something else going on that's making it run slow?

  2. ZapNZs macrumors 68020


    Jan 23, 2017
    If it runs well, I would keep it. You are looking at around a $2,000+ investment for another 2016, where as you can get an upgraded drive for a lot less.

    Your current drive is a HDD. It is much slower than a SSD. However, SSDs cost more.

    One option is purchasing one large SSD and installing it in place of your current hard drive, like this one
    (this is a reasonable quality product for the price IMO)

    Another option is installing a smaller SSD in the main bay and a HDD in the optibay. You would install your OS and Apps onto the main SSD (as it will run much faster), and store photos and other files on the HDD.

    This could go in the optibay as the drive for your files

    This could go in the main bay as the drive with the OS
    (this drive, while pricier, is arguably the golden standard of SSDs in world class speed, reliability, endurance, and longevity)
  3. Sanpete macrumors 68020

    Nov 17, 2016
    Someone wants to sell you a new computer. Discount their advice accordingly. Did the dealer test your hard drive? If not I'd get a second opinion on what's slowing your machine down before doing anything else.
  4. ZapNZs macrumors 68020


    Jan 23, 2017
    That's a good point!

    The Apple Hardware Test/Apple Diagnostics (doable oneself by holding 'D' at startup) could be a good place to start.
    Also, having a dealer perform the VST test might not be a bad idea since it is free.
    While there, the dealer can run a program to determine if the drive is slowing down due to a directory issue (fixable with DiskWarrior) or because it is failing (fixable by replacing with a new drive)
  5. tubeexperience, Jan 31, 2017
    Last edited: Jan 31, 2017

    tubeexperience macrumors 68040

    Feb 17, 2016
    You can upgrade your current laptop with a 1TB SSD for ~$200.

    Alternatively, you can buy a new MBP with 1TB SSD for $3000.

    So, let's see. Do you want to save ~$2800 ?
  6. AztecKing thread starter macrumors member


    Aug 22, 2007
    Southern Oregon
    So, let's see. Do you want to save ~$2800 ?

    Yes I do! I'll take it to somewhere else and have them check it out. The authorized dealer I was talking to said it's a 6 year old machine trying to run an operating system that it wasn't made to handle. I didn't know if that was BS or not. Thanks for the advice everybody.

  7. tubeexperience macrumors 68040

    Feb 17, 2016
    He lied to you.

    Your laptop has a quad-core Intel Sandy Bridge processor which is still very potent today.

    I also have a 2011 and it runs like the wind.
  8. jerryk macrumors 601

    Nov 3, 2011
    SF Bay Area
    tubeexperience gave you the right advice. Get the SSD. It will make all the difference in the world. Really, your machine will much better than when it was new.
  9. ZapNZs macrumors 68020


    Jan 23, 2017
    That's BS. Either the individual is incompetent or dishonest.

    Your computer has a quad core i7 CPU in it. Despite being 6 years old, your CPU is actually faster than most new dual core CPUs used on 2017 laptops. For example, compared to the base 13-inch late-2016 MacBook Pro CPU, your CPU is faster with many more resource-intensive tasks. The 2.3 GHz i7 quad core in my 2011 15-inch runs circles around the i7 dual core in my Surface Pro 3, and it is still faster than the flagship i7 dual cores used in both the highest-tier Surface Book and 13-inch MacBook Pro Touchbar (with certain Apps, such as Stata multi core, the difference is very noticeable in favor of the 6 year old computer.)

    The cause of the slowdown, if not hardware failure, is the spinning disk hard drive in your computer. It is probably reading/writing data at 50-75 MB/s, and has to deal with latency. The Samsung 850 Pro, and comparable SSDs, will read and write at a consistent 500 MB/s+ with virtually no latency. Indeed, the current version of OS X is largely designed with SSDs in mind. However, upgrading to a SSD on your existing machine is a simple process, and does not require an investment in a new machine.

    Depending on what you do, you may also want to upgrade the RAM to 16GB, as its relatively affordable.
  10. AztecKing thread starter macrumors member


    Aug 22, 2007
    Southern Oregon
    I dropped it off today at another place and he said to stay away from the dealer I went to that lied to me. They are checking the hard drive first and if it's that then I'll have them put an SSD in it. I'm using about 3/4 of the 1TB drive in the machine now so I'm assuming I'll replace it with the same size SSD? I have approximately 20,000 photos and some video on the machine so I assume editing them will be faster with the new SSD? I'll also check and see about putting 16g of new ram while they have it opened up.
  11. ZapNZs macrumors 68020


    Jan 23, 2017
    Regarding SSDs, if you go for the 1tb size, it will be a bit pricy. If you have a lot of files you do not often access, instead of storing them on the internal SSD, you could always store them on an external hard drive and then be able to buy a smaller sized main drive. If you want major flexibility, you could buy a smaller SSD and set up a NAS system in the home using a NAS enclosure and two 3.5-inch HDDs. This way you could access all your files from anywhere in the world on any device using an internet connection, and when at home use either a wired connection or a wireless connection via Wifi. This option also is great for data integrity because it can provide redundancy (ex: you could save one copy of every file to each of the two drives, giving you two backups simultaneously should one ever fail.) This system could compliment or replace your existing Time Machine (or other backup solution) hardware/methods. It's reasonably affordable, as even high-reliability 3.5-inch enterprise Hard Disk Drives (like the HGST UltraStar) are relatively inexpensive to purchase.

    Many consumer level SSDs today use TLC NAND (the flash inside the drive that holds data in the form of electronic currents.) Drives made with TLC NAND are usually inferior to drives made with MLC NAND, because TLC is usually slower in write speeds, wears out faster, doesn't have the same write endurance, and often isn't as robust in terms of error correction. There are some exceptions.

    With that said, there are good TLC SSDs on the market...they just are not as good as MLC. The Samsung 850 EVO line uses TLC NAND, and it's proven to be a great drive. The Samsung 850 PRO line uses MLC: it's better. The Crucial MX-300 uses TLC, where as the MX-200 used MLC. The Sandisk Extreme PRO uses MLC where as the Sandisk Ultra II uses TLC. The Intel 740 uses MLC where as many of the 3xx series use TLC. So many makers have both TLC and MLC SSD options, with the MLC drives usually being pricier (with Transcend's 370 being an exception, as it uses MLC but is priced around the same as many TLC drives.) If you upgrade to a SSD, it's worth considering how much you want to invest and whether or not you want a MLC or TLC drive. My personal bias is strongly for MLC: I use Samsung 850 Pro, Crucial MX-200, Transcend 370, and various Intel MLC drives extensively, and I personally feel the price premium is justifiable.
  12. Fancuku macrumors 65816


    Oct 8, 2015
    PA, USA
  13. Sanpete, Jan 31, 2017
    Last edited: Jan 31, 2017

    Sanpete macrumors 68020

    Nov 17, 2016
    Yes, some parts of the editing process will be a lot faster with an SSD. If the cost isn't too bad, the 1 TB drive should work fine. If it's too much, ZapNZs' suggesting about putting some stuff on an external drive is a good idea. You could even put another drive inside your optical drive space if you aren't using it anymore.
  14. tubeexperience macrumors 68040

    Feb 17, 2016
  15. eyeseeyou macrumors 68030

    Feb 4, 2011
    You could replace the optical drive with a 2nd hard drive.

    If most of what is being stored on your hard drive is photos I'd suggest migrating your photo library to an external drive or pay for a cloud service to store your images there.

    After that upgrade your main hard drive to an ssd drive. Your 2011 macbook wil seem like a brand new machine
  16. AztecKing thread starter macrumors member


    Aug 22, 2007
    Southern Oregon
    If I put my photos on an external drive or cloud what happens when I open Photos from my MacBook or my iPad? Sorry I'm so ignorant about this stuff.

  17. DanDilla macrumors member


    Nov 15, 2016
    Lüneburg, Germany
    I had a 2011 too, but you should consider they do still have a good resale value and what are your needs.

    I've put it on ebay "kleinanzeigen" (like craigslist) and decided to go for a new machine if i sell it for a good price (bought it 2013, for a price too nice to be true :D)

    In the end I got 1200€ for my early 2011 15 2,3 16 with a ssd and a hdd so I went for a new one.

    I'm using it for audio work and with a ssd the performance was no problem, but since I'm carrying it around all day the new 15" feels like half the weight (with a 29w charger instead of the 87w).

    But if the weight is not a problem, think about a hdd in the optical drive slot and a ssd in the normal space.

    Will be super fast and you get a lot of storage, on the other side it will become even heavier...
  18. ZapNZs, Feb 1, 2017
    Last edited: Feb 1, 2017

    ZapNZs macrumors 68020


    Jan 23, 2017

    If it is just a wired external, you would need to have it plugged in to access. If you use Photos, you could create a second library of the photos you use the least and store them on the external. When opening a different library, you would hold down the ALT key when clicking on the iPhoto icon, and then a window would open where you click on whichever library you wish to open.

    This may be of reading interest because this might better suit your needs in terms of accessibility AND data protection. It briefly explains what NAS is, the benefits, the flexibility, and the basic concept in how it works.

    If you wanted to set up a NAS, this is what would work well for many users in that it would be not terribly expensive and yet provide tremendous reliability & data protection. These hard drives will provide a usable service life of at least 5 years and likely much longer (I've got some that are 8 and still healthy), so even when you replace your computer, you would not need to make any changes to this setup.

    https://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/985495-REG/hgst_0s03593_2tb_ultrastar_internal_hd.html x2

    If you are not already, you should have at least two (preferably 3) copies of your photos on different hard drives. The above NAS solution would do this if you are not already doing it.
  19. dotdotdot macrumors 68020

    Jan 23, 2005
    I have the 2011 MacBook Pro and bought a 2016 MacBook Pro.
    The 2016 MacBook Pro has had a number of issues, and I'm currently waiting for my 3rd replacement model to arrive.

    The 2011 MacBook Pro has been rock solid. However, this model is prone to graphics failure, which renders it useless. I'm using my 2011 temporarily again while I wait for the 2016 replacement, and I am occasionally getting graphics glitches. The laptop is too old to replace.

    I'd say that at this point, its not worth investing at all in the 2011 Model. You are better off either buying a new 2016 or buying a refurb 2015 from Apple or B&H.
  20. eyeseeyou macrumors 68030

    Feb 4, 2011
    My 2011 macbook has this issue and was completely gutted and refurbished for free by apple right before I sold it.

    IF the user decides to keep it I would suggest moving your photo library to an external drive. You'd have to manually tell your photos app to use the photos library store on an external drive and would have to have it connected through USB when accessed.

    Might be the most cost efficient way even if they upgraded to a newer model. 1 TB ssd's are expensive.
  21. capricorn71 macrumors newbie

    Mar 26, 2014
    Bavaria, Germany
    I do have a 2011 MBP 17" and it is slow as hell since I updated to Sierra.
    It´s beachballing only when entering characters in Spotlight or Safari.

    What is going on here? I ran an EtreCheck diagnostics, maybe someone sees the reason for the bad performance.

    EtreCheck version: 3.1.5 (343)

    Report generated 2017-01-31 21:26:56

    Download EtreCheck from https://etrecheck.com

    Runtime 5:02

    Performance: Below Average

    Click the [Support] links for help with non-Apple products.

    Click the [Details] links for more information about that line.

    Problem: Computer is too slow

    Hardware Information:

    MacBook Pro (17-inch, Early 2011)

    [Technical Specifications] - [User Guide] - [Warranty & Service]

    MacBook Pro - model: MacBookPro8,3

    1 2,2 GHz Intel Core i7 (i7-2720QM) CPU: 4-core

    4 GB RAM Upgradeable - [Instructions]

    BANK 0/DIMM0

    2 GB DDR3 1333 MHz ok

    BANK 1/DIMM0

    2 GB DDR3 1333 MHz ok

    Bluetooth: Old - Handoff/Airdrop2 not supported

    Wireless: en1: 802.11 a/b/g/n

    Battery: Health = Normal - Cycle count = 394

    Video Information:

    Intel HD Graphics 3000

    Color LCD 1680 x 1050

    AMD Radeon HD 6750M - VRAM: 1024 MB

    System Software:

    macOS Sierra 10.12.2 (16C67) - Time since boot: less than an hour

    Disk Information:

    TOSHIBA MK7559GSXF disk0 : (750,16 GB) (Rotational)

    [Show SMART report]

    EFI (disk0s1) <not mounted> : 210 MB

    Recovery HD (disk0s3) <not mounted> [Recovery]: 650 MB

    Macintosh HD (disk1) / [Startup]: 748.93 GB (325.52 GB free)

    Core Storage: disk0s2 749.30 GB Online


    USB Information:

    Apple Inc. FaceTime HD Camera (Built-in)

    Apple Inc. BRCM2070 Hub

    Apple Inc. Bluetooth USB Host Controller

    Apple Inc. Apple Internal Keyboard / Trackpad

    Apple Computer, Inc. IR Receiver

    Thunderbolt Information:

    Apple Inc. thunderbolt_bus


    Mac App Store and identified developers

    Kernel Extensions:

    /Library/Application Support/VirtualBox

    [loaded] org.virtualbox.kext.VBoxDrv (5.1.8 - 2016-11-13) [Support]

    [loaded] org.virtualbox.kext.VBoxNetAdp (5.1.8 - 2016-11-13) [Support]

    [loaded] org.virtualbox.kext.VBoxNetFlt (5.1.8 - 2016-11-13) [Support]

    [loaded] org.virtualbox.kext.VBoxUSB (5.1.8 - 2016-11-13) [Support]


    [not loaded] com.elgato.driver.DontMatchAfaTech (1.1 - 2017-01-01) [Support]

    [not loaded] com.elgato.driver.DontMatchCinergy450 (1.1 - 2017-01-01) [Support]

    [not loaded] com.elgato.driver.DontMatchCinergyXS (1.1 - 2017-01-01) [Support]

    [not loaded] com.elgato.driver.DontMatchEmpia (1.1 - 2017-01-01) [Support]

    [not loaded] com.elgato.eyetv.ClassicNotSeizeDriver (1.1.2 - 2017-01-01) [Support]

    System Launch Agents:

    [not loaded] 8 Apple tasks

    [loaded] 176 Apple tasks

    [running] 61 Apple tasks

    [killed] 35 Apple tasks

    35 processes killed due to insufficient RAM

    System Launch Daemons:

    [not loaded] 40 Apple tasks

    [loaded] 167 Apple tasks

    [running] 80 Apple tasks

    [killed] 24 Apple tasks

    24 processes killed due to insufficient RAM

    Launch Agents:

    [loaded] com.google.keystone.agent.plist (2017-01-14) [Support]

    [loaded] com.oracle.java.Java-Updater.plist (2016-08-30) [Support]

    Launch Daemons:

    [loaded] com.adobe.fpsaud.plist (2016-12-16) [Support]

    [loaded] com.google.keystone.daemon.plist (2017-01-29) [Support]

    [loaded] com.microsoft.office.licensing.helper.plist (2011-03-10) [Support]

    [loaded] com.oracle.java.Helper-Tool.plist (2016-06-22) [Support]

    [not loaded] org.virtualbox.startup.plist (2016-11-13) [Support]

    User Launch Agents:

    [loaded] com.apple.AddressBook.ScheduledSync.PHXCardDAVSource.68E8F574-F4A7-4160-BB0F-AA58218E0610.plist (2016-12-29)

    [loaded] com.apple.AddressBook.ScheduledSync.PHXCardDAVSource.96428FF0-78A8-42E2-91F7-5635878915EA.plist (2016-12-29)

    [not loaded] org.virtualbox.vboxwebsrv.plist (2016-11-13) [Support]

    Internet Plug-ins:

    FlashPlayer-10.6: - SDK 10.9 (2017-01-10) [Support]

    QuickTime Plugin: 7.7.3 (2017-01-01)

    Flash Player: - SDK 10.9 (2017-01-10) [Support]

    OVSHelper: 1.1 (2011-07-08) [Support]

    DivXBrowserPlugin: 2.1 (2011-07-08) [Support]

    SharePointBrowserPlugin: 14.1.0 (2011-09-18) [Support]

    JavaAppletPlugin: Java 8 Update 101 build 13 (2016-08-30) Check version

    3rd Party Preference Panes:

    DivX (2011-07-08) [Support]

    Flash Player (2016-12-16) [Support]

    Java (2016-08-30) [Support]

    Time Machine:

    Skip System Files: NO

    Auto backup: YES

    Volumes being backed up:

    Macintosh HD: Disk size: 748.93 GB Disk used: 423.41 GB


    Data [Network]

    Total size: 3.00 TB

    Total number of backups: 24

    Oldest backup: 13.11.16, 11:30

    Last backup: 31.01.17, 02:15

    Size of backup disk: Excellent

    Backup size 3.00 TB > (Disk size 748.93 GB X 3)

    Top Processes by CPU:

    12% akd

    12% fontworker

    11% suggestd

    5% WindowServer

    5% syncdefaultsd

    Top Processes by Memory:

    546 MB kernel_task

    287 MB mdworker(11)

    131 MB com.apple.WebKit.WebContent

    94 MB Safari

    78 MB assistant_service

    Virtual Memory Information:

    632 MB Available RAM

    19 MB Free RAM

    3.38 GB Used RAM

    613 MB Cached files

    32 MB Swap Used

    Diagnostics Information:

    Jan 31, 2017, 08:56:23 PM Self test - passed
  22. ZapNZs macrumors 68020


    Jan 23, 2017
    Splitting this into your own thread might make it easier for Members to help troubleshoot your issues.

    There are two likely reasons:
    1 - you only have 4GB of RAM.
    2 - your hard drive is a HDD, or hard disk drive.

    The solutions would be
    1 - upgrade the RAM to 8GB or 16GB
    2 - replace the hard drive with a SSD

    Prior to investing money, you may want to perform Apple Diagnostics to check for hardware failure, and if you live near an Apple store you may want to set up an appointment for the Genius to perform the VST test (this test checks for specific types of hardware failure.) Once you rule those causes out, upgrading the SSD and the RAM will likely get you running great. Of both of those, usually the SSD will be most important, but, in your case, the RAM is as important. As it appears you run VMs, 16GB of RAM may be ideal over 8.
  23. capricorn71 macrumors newbie

    Mar 26, 2014
    Bavaria, Germany
    Thank you very much for your help.
    I already figured out that 3.5GB RAM is used w/o any program running.
    So I definitely will upgrade to 16GB.

    As my SuperDrive is defect already I think it will be best to install the old HDD in the OD bay and install a SSD as primary drive for the operating system and programs.

    Then the machine should run well for another 4 to 5 years. I don´t want to give it up as it has the 17" display.
  24. tubeexperience, Feb 1, 2017
    Last edited: Feb 1, 2017

    tubeexperience macrumors 68040

    Feb 17, 2016
    1. Slow hard drive.

    2. Not enough memory.
  25. eyeseeyou macrumors 68030

    Feb 4, 2011
    This. Shoot go for 16gb's of ram. Do this, unless you really really need a retina screen, and you'll have a more than capable macbook for at least another 2 years if not more.

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