Best upgrade for Macbook SR (3,1) - RAM+Hybrid HD or SSD?

Discussion in 'MacBook' started by jalagl, Nov 10, 2010.

  1. jalagl macrumors 6502a

    jalagl

    Joined:
    Jun 5, 2003
    Location:
    Costa Rica
    #1
    Hi,

    I am thinking of upgrading my 2.2GHz Black Macbook (3,1)/4GB RAM to give it a performance boost while I wait for the i3/i5 13" notebooks (and to give me some time to save for one). I have a budget of about $250, and considering the following two options - which one do you think would be a better deal?

    Option A: Install one of the new Seagate Momentus XT hybrid drives, which will give me more room and a performance boost from the hybrid technology and faster 7200RPM speed (up from the stock 160GB 5400RPM), and upgrade the RAM from 4GB to 6GB (I know I'll loose double channel performance, but from what I've read the trade-off is worth it).
    Seagate Momentus XT 250 GB 7200RPM SATA 3Gb/s 32 MB Cache 2.5 Inch Solid State Hybrid Drive (~$100)
    +
    Crucial CT51264AC667 4GB 200-pin SODIMM DDR2 PC2-5300 Memory Module (~$136)

    Option B: Upgrade to an SSD. Will have less HD space than I have now, but I would expect a bigger performance boost.
    Kingston SSDNow V Series 128 GB SATA 3 GB/s 2.5- Inch Solid State Drive (~$230)

    I use the Macbook mostly for mail, web browsing, Word/Excel, Keynote and Aperture - the last two programs are the ones driving me nuts performance-wise. The Aperture library is on an external FW Drive, so I wouldn't be constrained by the smaller size of the SSD drive.

    Any other suggestions to boost performance are welcome. :)
     
  2. Wicked1 macrumors 68040

    Wicked1

    Joined:
    Apr 13, 2009
    Location:
    New Jersey
    #2
    I did the Seagate Hybrid 500 GB drive ($119) from Tiger Direct

    Crucial (2) 2 GB Modules 1066 speed for a total of 4 GB

    I have a mid 2009 uMB 2.4 GHZ Core 2 Duo now with 4GB Ram and 500 GB HDD, works and performs perfect for under $200 upgrade total.
     
  3. hurlees macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Nov 8, 2010
    #3
    ssd

    i say go with the ssd. I have a momentus xt and there was some performance boost. but still, not a noticeable difference. i say go with the ssd and an extra hdd for space.
     
  4. jalagl thread starter macrumors 6502a

    jalagl

    Joined:
    Jun 5, 2003
    Location:
    Costa Rica
    #4
    I think I'll go with the SSD. I already have 4GB RAM, was considering the upgrade to 6GB, but after some more research I think the SSD will definitely give me the best bang-for-the-buck, even though I'll have less HD space. The spinning beachball is driving me crazy, though, so I don't mind having less space if the computer really speeds up.

    Thanks for your replies!
     
  5. blackburn macrumors 6502a

    blackburn

    Joined:
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    Where Judas lost it's boots.
    #5
    Be careful cheap ssds tend to have crappy performance. Check a few reviews first.
     
  6. jalagl thread starter macrumors 6502a

    jalagl

    Joined:
    Jun 5, 2003
    Location:
    Costa Rica
    #6
    Thanks for the advice. It seems the new generation Kingston drives do have good performance (according to this site), and at the price point (~190 after rebate) seem like a good deal. I am also evaluating the OCZ and OWC drives, which have even better reviews and retail for $250.

    I'll post back once I decide what drive to get, and to let you all know what performance numbers I get. :)
     
  7. blackburn macrumors 6502a

    blackburn

    Joined:
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    #7
    If the review is good, looks like the 60$ that you save are worthy. Still does sandforce based drives look awesome:D
     
  8. edmondt macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Nov 16, 2010
    #8
    I have a Black Macbook and I'm in a similar position as you...I have upgraded the RAM to 6GB, 4GB Bank 0, 2GB Bank 1.

    My recommendation would be to buy a SSD, and also buy a PATA Optical Drive Caddy for MacBook from eBay, which is what I'm doing...

    Next you can install your SSD as your OS drive, and get a 500GB or 1TB drive into your Caddy and install.... Since 100% of the time I'm not using the SuperDrive, replacing it with a Hard Drive to store Pictures, Downloads, MP3s, Movies etc. Makes more sense.

    EDIT: Also, while you're replacing the Drive Caddy.... Take out the heat sink, clean it and re-apply with 1/2 mm of Arctic Silver :) Temp drops on daily use afterwards.
     
  9. jalagl thread starter macrumors 6502a

    jalagl

    Joined:
    Jun 5, 2003
    Location:
    Costa Rica
    #9
    Thank you for this idea, it sounds very tempting - upgrade to the SSD and keep the old drive in the MB for additional storage (only 160GB though, but should be enough for the time being). Do you have a link to the drive caddy that works with the black Macbook 3,1 model? I've seen several online, but it wasn't clear if they were for the new or old Macbook.

    One last question - Did you see any noticeable difference when upgrading the RAM to 6GB?
     
  10. edmondt macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Nov 16, 2010
    #10
    Make sure you get a PATA one: http://cgi.ebay.com/2nd-HDD-caddy-M...C_Drives_Storage_Internal&hash=item483d8874c3

    ...since the Macbook Black uses PATA on the optical drive.

    ...as for the RAM upgrade, it was a trial and error: I first installed 800MHz ones and it wouldn't boot up... then I installed the 667MHz ones and they work :)

    performance difference, i'm just really used to loading lots of firefox tabs, programs and everything instantly that I couldn't tell :)
     
  11. jalagl thread starter macrumors 6502a

    jalagl

    Joined:
    Jun 5, 2003
    Location:
    Costa Rica
    #11
    Thank you for your help. I bought the optibay caddy from ebay over the weekend (should be here mid-December), and ordered an Intel X-25 SSD drive. Will post back when I get it and have time to install everything.

    I'll hold back on the 6GB upgrade for a while, hopefully with just the SSD and a fresh install of SL I'll be happy with the laptop's performance. :D

    Thanks!!
     
  12. jalagl thread starter macrumors 6502a

    jalagl

    Joined:
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    Location:
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    #12
    I installed the drive yesterday, and the performance difference, especially regarding the system's responsiveness, is great. I'm very happy with the upgrade. :D

    I attached a couple of screenshots of the x-bench before and after HD tests, if you are curious.
     

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  13. Dankex macrumors member

    Joined:
    Nov 30, 2010
    #13
    This thread is great.
    I have a 3,1" Macbook too and i want to upgrade its memory. I've never heard of that 2nd HD Caddy option and it sounds very tempting indeed. Anyway, for now i need to know one thing: can i buy any 667 Mhz 200-pin DIMM? I want 2x2Gb...
     
  14. jalagl thread starter macrumors 6502a

    jalagl

    Joined:
    Jun 5, 2003
    Location:
    Costa Rica
    #14
    When unsure, I use Crucial's Memory Finder. For the Macbook, they say the memory has the following characteristics:
    • DDR2 PC2-5300
    • CL=5
    • Unbuffered
    • NON-ECC
    • DDR2-667
    • 1.8V

    You can also load it up with 1x2GB and 1x4GB for 6GB total. I was thinking on doing that, but will hold off for now. The 4GB stick is expensive.

    Hope that helps.
     
  15. Dankex macrumors member

    Joined:
    Nov 30, 2010
    #15
    Thank you for your reply.
    I did used crucial's memory finder, and that was why i posted that. :p I just need to know if i can use ANY memory brand that has those specs. Kingston is a great brand, right? I cant buy crucial here...

    Thanks, again!
     
  16. jalagl thread starter macrumors 6502a

    jalagl

    Joined:
    Jun 5, 2003
    Location:
    Costa Rica
    #16
    Yes, what I meant to say was that you can buy any memory with those characteristics. Looks like we both doing the same thing! :D
    I've used Kingston memory before (in my G4 Powerbook), and never had a problem. I think it is a good brand and has good reviews.
     
  17. Dankex macrumors member

    Joined:
    Nov 30, 2010
    #17
    Ok, thank you very much!
    Will try to get me 2x2Gb by tommorrow :D
     
  18. topherbuckley, Oct 17, 2011
    Last edited: Oct 17, 2011

    topherbuckley macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Oct 17, 2011
    #18
    Wow! What a great help. Thanks a million for your consistent promise-posting.

    Has anyone done a direct performance comparison between the 2x2GB cards vs 1x2GB+1x4GB combo?

    Also, just to clarify, did you have the SDD installed in the optibay caddy or the original HDD in the caddy?
     

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