About to take the plunge! Question about harddrive size

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by josta, Aug 28, 2006.

  1. josta macrumors member

    Aug 2, 2006
    Hi everyone,
    I am about to take the plunge and purchase my first mac. It will be a MBP, 15 inch as soon as the Merom processor comes out. I plan on purchasing 1gb RAM from a third party and installing it myself.

    My question is is it possible to upgrade the harddrive down the road? It looks like the baseline configuration is 80gb. I'm in grad school so will be saving all my data (mostly pictures and excel files) not to mention my thesis (really excited about Time Machine next year!).

    If I can't upgrade the harddrive on the computer, is it better to buy an external harddrive when I get to the point where mine is filling up? Or should I simply purchase the MBP with a larger harddrive now? I'm on a student stipend (thank you very much to all the tax payers who support me!) so if I can delay purchases and spread the money out it helps, but I don't want to compromise this very large purchase.

    Thanks all for your advice! I'm looking forward to saying goodby to my 5 year old windows laptop (which has had a pink screen for the past 8 months - my computer's version of internal bleeeding) and saying hello to my new MBP!
  2. macaddicted macrumors regular


    Jul 23, 2002
    Down on Copperline...
    You can take a look here and decide if you are up to the task:

    The bigger drive is nice to have, especially if you want to use windows through boot camp. For my thesis, and the notes, I am storing a backup on a thumb drive. They are relatively inexpensive. If you are especially worried you could get a couple, keep one with the system for ready backups and another in a secure location. That way if you your system (and the thumb drive) are stolen you haven't lost everything.
  3. mkrishnan Moderator emeritus


    Jan 9, 2004
    Grand Rapids, MI, USA
    Just wanted to chime in that my experience is that, if you use iLife at all (i.e. if you are not dead-set against it), you will end up being a little addicted by it and end up with more media on your computer than you thought you would. This is what happened to me. So when I estimated how much hard drive space I'd need on my laptop (this is in 2003 when I bought my iBook, my first Mac), I based it on the way I used Windows... and didn't take into account that my Music folder would be 17 gigs large (because I'd import every single CD I own), that my Photos would be about 2 gigs, that I'd have 1.5 gigs of mail, etc, etc....

    But in any event you'll love it! ;)

    P.S. It doesn't make much sense to buy a MacBook instead of an MBP based purely on hard drive upgradeability, but it is worth noting that it is much, much easier to upgrade the HD on the MacBook than pretty much any Mac ever, with the possible exception of the Mac Pro. :)
  4. miles01110 macrumors Core


    Jul 24, 2006
    The Ivory Tower (I'm not coming down)
    hard drive upgrade is a little more involved in the MBP, but I would go for an external drive. Cheaper, less hassle.

    Also- for saving your thesis you might want to investigate webspace your school gives you. Often you can ssh (Using a client like Fugu) into it from anywhere on campus. I've backed up *many* important research files that way, and have saved myself plenty of headaches. Ask your school's tech desk for more on that.
  5. josta thread starter macrumors member

    Aug 2, 2006
    Thanks for the responses guys. :)
    I checked out the video, and upgrading the harddrive is certainly more involved than I will feel comfortable with. I think if its just a matter of storage, an external hard drive down the road will be the way to go.

    However, what about speed/performance. I have been trying to read all the other threads out there regarding the 7200 drives. It looked like with the tests done on the macbooks that there isn't a huge difference in 5400 to 7200. Is that true with the MPBs as well? With regards to school, I do mostly photo editing (through Photoshop) and some Illustrator work a handfull of times a year. Are those programs and files being manipulated big enough to warrent the upgrade in speed? Also, is a harddrive update something that an apple store can do for me down the road if I decide I do want it later? Hearing the clips pop on the video had me thinking I would freak out if I heard those trying to upgrade the harddrive myself :eek:
  6. jne381 macrumors regular

    Feb 27, 2006
    Grand Rapids
    Wow, that video demonstrates what bad design that machine really has, and how the MacBook is really a work of art. They should redesign the MBP soon!
  7. tkidBOSTON macrumors 6502a


    Aug 14, 2005
    The Hub of the Universe
    I think as with any laptop, get as big a harddrive now as possible, unless you will be using applications that will really gain from the slight speed improvement of the smaller drives.
    Unless you don't plan on moving your mbp, you'll find needing an external drive for everyday use a huge annoyance.

    My $0.02.
  8. josta thread starter macrumors member

    Aug 2, 2006
    That totally makes sense. I'm not too worried about the size of the harddrive. I can burn old data to discs or go the external drive route. An external drive would stay here at work where I am most of the time and could have data I don't need every moment. You address my not so clearly worded question - are Photoshop and Illustrator they type of programs that I would see the speed improvements?
  9. NATO macrumors 68000


    Feb 14, 2005
    Northern Ireland
    Agreed. 100%

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