Best Upgrade to 13"?

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by dmbmar, Mar 7, 2011.

  1. dmbmar macrumors newbie

    Nov 21, 2010
    I am about to buy a new 13" MBP. Leaning toward the low end. I use it heavily for all Office applications, plus Photoshop, iMovie, iPhoto etc. No gaming. I'll install VM to run Win 7 on occasion.

    Where do I get the most bang for the buck to improve performance: upgrade RAM; SSD; or i7? If SSD is the best bet, what brand etc?

    Thanks for the advice.
  2. DustinT macrumors 68000


    Feb 26, 2011
    I'm running a stock 13" right now and the performance out of the box is quite good. To answer your question about which upgrade would be best is tough not knowing more about how you use it. For my uses I'm fine as is but word on the street is the SSD is a huge upgrade and probably the first for most users. Ram would be an easy second and I think I'd spring for the faster cpu last. Honestly, I'd probably get a base 15" first.
  3. 1BadMac macrumors 6502


    Jan 27, 2010
    In my opinion, in order of what you might actually notice:

    Faster CPU

    SSD I would either 1) catch a good deal on a Vertex 2 or 2) wait for the Vertex 3 to come out this month and see what price it debuts at. Hands down though, this is the most noticeable upgrade you will do. Faster boots, faster / snappier application response, etc...

    8 GB ram kits are going for anywhere as cheap as $63 (picked up a kit last week for New Egg).

    The i7 might be worthwhile if you feel you are extremely CPU bound. However, if you are majorly CPU bound in the first place, I might suggest looking at the quad core 15". If you are coming from a C2D model MBP, even with the i5 you are getting a 2x performance increase in some cases.
  4. melterx12 macrumors 6502a

    Jun 22, 2010
    I would say the SSD. The high end 13" is a total rip off compared to the low end IMO. Id recommend an OWC Mercury Extreme Pro or Crucial C300 drive.
  5. DustinT macrumors 68000


    Feb 26, 2011
    Agreed, there's very little added value with the i7 13".
  6. Pballer110 macrumors 6502

    Nov 3, 2010
    The SSD and Ram upgrade will give the most improvement.
  7. dmbmar thread starter macrumors newbie

    Nov 21, 2010
    All that makes sense. Thanks.

    The 128 Gb SSD is $225 with the education discount, and the best price I see for any of the suggested drives online is $200-$250. Why wouldn't I buy the pre-installed one? Not much (if any savings) and I have the hassle of installing and rebuilding my brand new computer.

    The RAM upgrade is a no brainer - +/- $80 at Newegg vs $180 from Steve, plus very easy to install.

  8. Pballer110 macrumors 6502

    Nov 3, 2010
    You can get the SSD from apple but most aftermarket SSD are faster then the apple ones. Also get the ram from new egg I picked up a 8gb kit for 72 shipped.
  9. dmbmar thread starter macrumors newbie

    Nov 21, 2010
    How difficult is the installation and rebuild? I've done this many times on PCs, but never a Mac, and never a laptop. I assume installing the OS is drop the disc in the DVD drive and launch?
  10. jman240 macrumors 6502a

    May 26, 2009
    Use super duper to clone the drive to the SSD and then you can just plug it in. I just did this on my 13 and the difference the SSD made was amazing. It was beating much "faster" machines in day to day tasks especially launching apps.

    You have to take the bottom cover off anyway to do the ram and it's just one additional screw for the hard drive removal.

    I used this to clone my drive

    1. Plug the drive into the usb port and boot the computer off the internal
    2. Use super duper to clone the internal to the new SSD connected via usb
    3. Test boot off the SSD (hold option while booting, will be slow off usb but at least you can test it)
    4. Open computer, remove HDD, insert SSD, done!
  11. mariannukka macrumors newbie

    Feb 6, 2009

    There you are. The best way to upgrade (internal) RAM and HDD's.

    (it is still part 1 :p)
  12. dmbmar thread starter macrumors newbie

    Nov 21, 2010
    Wirelessly posted (Mozilla/5.0 (iPhone; U; CPU iPhone OS 4_2_1 like Mac OS X; en-us) AppleWebKit/533.17.9 (KHTML, like Gecko) Version/5.0.2 Mobile/8C148 Safari/6533.18.5)

    That's very helpful. Thank you.

    Is it possible to run the HDD alongside the SSD by dumping the optical?
  13. adnoh macrumors 6502a


    Nov 14, 2010
    Get the I7 its a beast and save up for an ssd and upgrade in a few months. You get the best of both worlds that way.

    If it had to be one or the other though i would go with i7 as that can never be changed in the life of the laptop.

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