Best SSD/ RAM for Mid 2010 Macbook Pro

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by JCL1991, Apr 22, 2017.

  1. JCL1991 macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Apr 22, 2017
    #1
    Hey guys I am looking to upgrade my macbook in order to avoid buying a new computer this year.
    I found a thread that basically answered my questions about SSD and RAM upgrades but i want to know if these are still the best options since it is an old machine, or if there is something new to consider for upgrading it?
    link to old threat:
    https://forums.macrumors.com/threads/best-ssd-for-a-13-macbook-pro-mid-2010.1536786/
     
  2. Fishrrman macrumors G3

    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2009
    #2
    ANY SSD will do.
    The 2010 MBPro has a "SATA 2" bus, and virtually all SSD's will "max it out".
    So… don't spend extra for "the fastest" SSD -- it will make NO difference.

    I prefer either Crucial or Sandisk.

    For RAM:
    I like datamem.com.

    Be sure to use THE RIGHT TOOLS.
    You need a Phillips #00 driver and a TORX T-6.

    Go to ifixit.com to see how to do it.
    It's a 15 minute job.

    Consider buying an external USB3 2.5" enclosure.
    Use this to "prep and test" the new SSD BEFORE you put it into the MacBook. This way if you run into any problems you still have a working Macbook.

    After you do the drive swap, use the external enclosure for the old drive.
    It can serve as a backup, extra storage, etc.
     
  3. Weaselboy Moderator

    Weaselboy

    Staff Member

    Joined:
    Jan 23, 2005
    Location:
    California
    #3
    The SSD's mentioned in that thread are mostly out of production and old. IMO the current Samsung EVO 850 or the Crucial MX300 are now about the best bang for the buck. Just grab whichever is cheapest. These are SATA III drives, but are backwards compatible and will work with your MacBook.

    For RAM, just grab any known brand name as long as it meets the specs. Beyond that, just grab whatever you can find for the best price.
     
  4. theluggage macrumors 68020

    Joined:
    Jul 29, 2011
    #4
    SSD is still the best bet for giving your machine a new lease of life. As others have said, though, its not worth paying a fortune for a super-fast model for an old machine (although you don't need to hunt down an old SATA-2 drive).

    I've used both a Crucial MX100 and Sandisk Ultra II in my "backup" Mid 2010 13" MBP (Whenever I need the "backup" Mac, I panic-buy a SSD to make it usable - then after a few months I steal the SSD for another project and put the old HD back in...)

    Fitting is an absolute doddle, but I second the motion to make sure you have the right screwdrivers.

    With RAM, its worth checking if you need it - MacOS will always grab 3/4 of your free RAM for caching, so you need to look at "memory pressure" and "swap used" in Activity Monitor to see if low memory really is a problem.

    The other thing to consider - if you don't use the optical drive much - is a Data Doubler https://eshop.macsales.com/shop/internal_storage/Data_Doubler (or similar) that will let you install a SSD and keep the old HD (for bulky/rarely used/non speed-critical files). Won't speed things up per se but might mean you can get away with just a 256 or even 128GB SSD - most of the speed-up comes from having the system and apps on the SSD. Fitting that is a bit harder than the HD, but not bad.

    ...enjoy the last days of laptops with user-servicable parts :-(
     
  5. MSastre, Apr 23, 2017
    Last edited: Apr 23, 2017

    MSastre macrumors member

    MSastre

    Joined:
    Aug 18, 2014
    #5
    I put 8 GB of Crucial ram in my 2009 MPB when I first got it. I've been running a Crucial MX200 SSD in it for well over a year now and after replacing the battery, it still has plenty of life.
     
  6. MrAverigeUser macrumors 6502a

    MrAverigeUser

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    May 20, 2015
    Location:
    europe
    #6
    I join in saying a SSD and upgrading to 8 GB RAM will make your system run. It is worth it...

    AND you can (and should) use your old HDD for a bootable backup of the SSD using CCC as well.
     
  7. ExcelTronic macrumors newbie

    ExcelTronic

    Joined:
    Dec 31, 2015
    Location:
    Chicago
    #7
    I use a 2010 MacBook, and if you want speed, get and SSD first. A SATA III SSD will work with the SATA II on the MacBook. If you have a lot of programs running, getting RAM first is best (to avoid paging to the hard drive). But seriously get both! On an external UltraWide monitor, I create applications using a bunch of languages, edit video with FCX, and light game (overwatch...), and those two upgrades have helped me keep this machine running for years.
     
  8. dollystereo macrumors 6502a

    dollystereo

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    France
  9. iShater macrumors 604

    iShater

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    Aug 13, 2002
    Location:
    Chicagoland
    #9
    When I added an SSD to my 2008 MBP, it extended its life for almost two more years, so the SSD is absolutely the way to go first before the RAM.

    I chose the Samsung 840 EVO at the time after doing a lot of research, and I would recommend the current evo as a good balance between price and performance. Keep the old drive around for backups :)
     
  10. throAU macrumors 601

    throAU

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    Feb 13, 2012
    Location:
    Perth, Western Australia
    #10
    Not all SSDs are equal - and it isn't just peak, ideal conditions brand new drive throughput that matters.

    Best bang for buck is IMHO something like an 850 evo. Yes, any SSD today will saturate the SATA bus in your macbook pro (when new) but the better ones (including the samsungs) will perform better over time due to better wear levelling and more intelligent controllers.

    Budget garbage SSDs, not so much, and the EVOs (in particular) aren't that expensive.

    RAM? Crucial, Corsair, just make sure its the right spec and has a warranty. intel based macs aren't too fussy; if it doesn't work and is the correct DDR spec and speed rating, its probably faulty DOA RAM.
     
  11. JGRE macrumors 6502a

    JGRE

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    Oct 10, 2011
    Location:
    Dutch Mountains
    #11
    I you have a SSD paging is no longer a problem, So go first for SSD.
    My early 2011 MBP feels young again :).
     
  12. throAU macrumors 601

    throAU

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    Feb 13, 2012
    Location:
    Perth, Western Australia
    #12
    You say that, but yeah. If you're going to go SSD and not upgrade RAM, just make sure you get something decent. Not all SSDs are equal and whilst peak throughput numbers may all saturate the SATA bus, cheaper ones don't handle large numbers of outstanding IOs or many smaller IOs as well. If you do go down that path and decide to get SSD only to start, try and get the best SSD you can. It WILL make a difference, even though you're SATA bus limited - that limit is only going to be a thing under ideal conditions.
     
  13. MrAverigeUser, May 18, 2017
    Last edited: May 18, 2017

    MrAverigeUser macrumors 6502a

    MrAverigeUser

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    europe
    #13
    I got several 840, a 840 pro, and a 2TB 850 Evo.

    They are still fast as hell after Years (for the 840) and I think there isnreqlly no need for the pro versin of the 850. the Evo was performing even a little bit (but not really significantly) more performant than the pro.

    It is not the CPU, it is the Storage speed which counts (and Upgrading RAM up to 8 GB). I uprdaded ma RAM to 16GB as this is now very cheap, but I never ever needed more than 6GB.... Altough I looked often in activity monitor ....
    Storage speed is the only important bottle neck. From HD to SSD is like buying a new machine... Even Sata II is sufficient, for daily use you'll never feel the difference between Sata Ii and Sata III - only if you copy 1 TB from one partition to another one... Which will be never or rarely be the case...
     
  14. kohlson macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Apr 23, 2010
    #14
    Just to clarify, what enables SSDs to improve performance is their ability to reduce seek latency to essential zero - no waiting for a disk and head to line up to read/write the next sector/block. As many have highlighted here, the speed of the interface, SATA II in MBP 2010, is essentially fixed. Still, the overall improvement is startling - you'll wonder why you waited so long.
     
  15. throAU macrumors 601

    throAU

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    Feb 13, 2012
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    Perth, Western Australia
    #15
    Yeah, this is the thing about storage and comparing SSD vs HDD.

    You can't just look at the peak throughput numbers, because in the real world, a hard drive just won't hit those numbers whereas an SSD will get much closer.

    The peak numbers are streaming large continuous file reads or writes or LARGE IO sizes. Real world things just don't happen that way. Some basic simplified scenario maths to illustrate...

    Much of the IO workload on your mac will be small 4k to 64k sort of size IOs, and randomly accessed across the disk.

    Due to the physical movement required to reach random parts of the hard disk, hard drives SUCK at this.

    They can only do maybe 70-100 totally random IOs per second (this is due to the rotational latency for one side of the disc to reach the read/write head, based on 7200pm drives). at 4k each IO (worst case scenario - an app is doing lots of small IO operations), that's say 400 kilobytes per second. A bit faster if they're larger IOs.

    Due to no moving parts, SSDs can do upwards of 5,000-10,000 totally random IOs per second (some, many many times that under certain inflated number circumstances). at 4k each (again, worst case, for comparison to illustrate the point vs. HD) that's 20-40 megabytes per second.

    If your IOs are 8k or 64k or whatever just multiply out with that instead of 4k. The SSD will be much much faster still.

    Both of those numbers (for 4k) are WAY lower than the maximum SATA2 bus speed. But note that the SSD is still 100x faster than the HDD in that scenario. thats a fairly pessimistic case, but much closer to real world than the peak throughput numbers of the HD and SSD may suggest.

    Thus: even if you're stuck on SATA2 and thus can't run the SSD at its full speed, in the real world, a solid state drive will just destroy a hard disk in most typical workloads.
     
  16. JGRE macrumors 6502a

    JGRE

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    Dutch Mountains
    #16
    Well, I am pointing out that if you have to choose, the SSD will provide you with the most benefits as the SSD will handle paging much better then a hard disk. Of course, increased RAM is good and both is even better. A rubbish SSD is a wast of time. I use a Samsung EVO 850 with only cost like 90 euro. Another factor is also the amount of RAM you have prior to any update.
     
  17. Macyourdayy, May 18, 2017
    Last edited: May 18, 2017

    Macyourdayy macrumors regular

    Macyourdayy

    Joined:
    Sep 9, 2011
    #17
    While the 2010 series are not the fastest, installing a good quality (major brand) SSD and maxing the ram (up to 16GB) make a huge difference to performance. As others have said, the SSD will make the biggest improvement, but everything helps. Before I did the upgrades, my late 2011 17" 2.4 i7 was infuriatingly slow (I think the original drive was faulty as speed tests would only result in 40-45MBs), but now the only reason I would consider a new MBP is for a retina screen and the ability to natively run a 4-5K monitor, and then only the 2013-2015 as the SSDs are still replaceable on them.
    The geekbench scores now are over 11000 with over 500MBs for the sandisk ultra II that was 2/3 the price of the Samsung, and I was lucky enough to get 16GB of 1600MHz Crucial ram for $69 last year. My memory monitor shows all the ram being used/reserved all the time (as it should be - unused ram is a waste) so while 8GB is a huge upgrade over the pathetic original supplied, 16 is not wasted, although it will consume more power if that is an issue for you.
    Another somewhat riskier improvement to performance and lifespan is cleaning and replacing the heatsink compound on the CPU, and if you're keen, polishing the CPU first to improve the heat transfer. I'm not kidding, check out youtoob.
    The Unibody MBPs are surprisingly upgradable devices and the later ones can deliver amazing performance and utility (the 17"s still had a PC express slot that will take various cards like USB3 or SD card reader, etc) and the airport/Bluetooth can be upgraded to support handoff, never mind essentially unlimited SSD storage when you swap out optical drive. Imagine ordering a new MBP with 4TB. Even though they supply super fast drives, you could do it for around $1200 and RAID them.
    Unless money is super tight, I don't think the marginal savings in getting SATA 2 over 3 are justified as they can always be reused in other devices or external drives at some stage.
     
  18. JGRE macrumors 6502a

    JGRE

    Joined:
    Oct 10, 2011
    Location:
    Dutch Mountains
    #18
    youtoob? You got to be kidding. :)
    Btw 1600Mhz RAM in a late 2011 MBP?? That was not invented back than 1333Mhz was the max.
     
  19. Macyourdayy macrumors regular

    Macyourdayy

    Joined:
    Sep 9, 2011
    #19
    Why would I waste time kidding around, and why not get the highest rated components if there's no price penalty? Crucial and OWC both list 1600Mhz as compatible and they are, unfortunately not for the 2010 which has a lowly 1066 compatibility, but will still take 16GB. Maybe the OP should consider getting any of the 2011s as they have greatly improved potential with their i series intels and SATA 3 buses.
     
  20. dacreativeguy macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Jan 27, 2007
    #20
    Those old 2009-2010 era Macs have some issues with the bus speeds. Some SSDs won't let you get past 1.5 GHz vs. 3 GHz (I might have the wrong units here). Samsung seemed to be a safe bet, so I put a Samsung EVO 850 in a 2010 mac mini and it screams at 3Ghz. I assume all other Macs of that era would have similar compatibility.
     
  21. kschendel macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Dec 9, 2014
    #21
    It's a SATA controller issue as far as I know, the MCP79 controller or perhaps its driver code is crap. Some discussion and a few data points are in this thread:
    https://forums.macrumors.com/threads/early-2009-imac-upgrade-recommendations.2016769/
     

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