Buying 17" MBP - Need CPU/RAM/SSD help

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by z00000mer, Apr 25, 2011.

  1. z00000mer macrumors newbie

    Apr 25, 2011

    I'm new to Apple/Mac and I've already purchased and canceled my new MacBook Pro order twice. Each time I go to buy it right afterwards I find out some more information that either saves me some loot or clues me in on how I ought to configure the machine. Let me tell you my current thoughts and then perhaps you can help me out.

    I'm going for the 17" model with the the anti-glare screen. The glossy screens look great, but I don't. :) Twice I have configured with the 2.3 Ghz quad core processor, but from what I'm reading the extra $250 bucks that that costs would perhaps be better allocated to an SSD. I'm a power hog and since I'll have this machine for at least 3 years, I'm not sure if I should step down to the 2.2 Ghz CPU and save the loot or not. There doesn't seem to be that large of a kick in the pants, but on the other hand, I'm not wanting to yank a laptop processor out to swap it later on. A desktop, no problem. What CPU should I go with?

    As far as memory goes, I want 8GB. If I could buy the machine with no memory I probably would, and populate it with the fastest 8GB that will work. I've read that Apple ships with DDR3 1333 PC3 10600 memory. I've also read that DDR3 1600 PC3 12800 memory will run at 800Hz vs the 664 or so Hz that the factory memory runs at. What is the skinny on this? What software do you use on a Mac to see what speed your memory runs at?

    As far as the HDD, I'm totally beat. I want an SSD. If the internal HDD port is 6GB/sec then I'd probably want that. I have zero clue as to what Apple ships for their SSD drives, but I have heard that whatever drives they are that they use Toshiba controllers and that you need a drive with a Toshiba controller to get the TRIM, sleep, hibernate, and whatever else (I seldom use these features in Windows) and using an SSD with any other controller is risky. I want the computer to work without any problems. Will a factory SSD be the best deal? What SATA speed are the factory SSD units? What is the BEST SSD to put into one of these machines? I do not want a small capacity SSD and I believe that the minimum that I'd consider would be 240GB or so.

    I've also considered getting an ExpressCard SSD and booting from that and using a standard HDD for apps and data, but I understand that the ExpressCard SSD units are not very fast and some models are very glitchy, and I'm not looking for glitchy.

    I'd also consider a 7200RPM standard HDD and wait on the SSD, but I've already used a laptop that boots from an SSD and I'm hooked. It's like a whole new world.

    That's about all I have churning in my mind. Like I said, I'm all new to a Mac and have never used one outside of a brick and mortar store that had a crowd gathered around their small display. I liked what I saw and held in my hands a bunch.

    Thanks for your help!
  2. anonymouse99, Apr 25, 2011
    Last edited: Apr 25, 2011

    anonymouse99 macrumors regular

    Mar 29, 2011
    Last week I purchased a 17" 2.3 MBP myself -

    1. I wanted to buy the fastest processor to ensure that I stay ahead of the curve in terms of processing power

    2. I wanted to get the most amount of real estate without having to hook an external monitor. I don't find the 17" extremely heavy, having used a laptop with a heavy, super capacity battery.

    3. I prefer AG, although I do have a glossy Windows laptop which is tolerable to use.

    4. I only purchased 4GB, and purchased a stock 750GB 5400 rpm drive, even though a 7200 RPM was on the top of my list. Why? I wanted to buy the MBP locally at a store. This was mainly so that should something go bad, I could just take it to the store (I realize that I could have also have it shipped, but I chose the store option).

    5. I don't know how true but I was told and read somewhere that the 2.3 chip, in a 17" chassis, appears to run relatively cooler as compared to a 2.2. Even though it may be anecdotal, the bigger 17" chassis could logically dissipate more heat.

    6. I like the idea of having an extra USB port, and the Expresscard slot.

    7. I did order 8GB memory from an online vendor - should have it this week.

    8. I'm learning more about SSD's, right now they're too expensive. I'd want something that is at least 128GB, once prices drop. I would prefer to not mess with my laptop and make too many changes, I don't want to accidently break anything :)

    I must admit .... I did wrestle between this one and a 13" mainly due to cost and portability issues - I don't game, and don't intend to on such an expensive unit :D

    The 15" was considered early on, but I realized that a 17" size would be much better than having a high res 15" (since a 17" already has the highest resolution available). It is not that much more heavier.

    I also did have cold feet a few times, but then I believe that I shall put this unit to good use ... earn and learn. In the end, you only live once. I intend to have this serving my needs for the next 3, 4 - 5 years. I did also get Applecare. Hopefully my Amex card will cover the 4th year of warranty if something untoward may occur :)

    Good luck with your decision making ... you've asked good questions. I'm sure a good decision will follow :D
  3. JayMBP macrumors regular

    Apr 25, 2011
    Surrey, BC
    I am a new guy here too, and got here after looking up for optibay for my new 17" MBP.

    What I did was purchase the stock version (2.2Ghz/4GB/750GB@5400) then installed the following thing afterwards:

    2x4GB memory PC1333 from Kingston (it was no brainer consider the premium you pay at apple)

    1x120GB OCZ Vertex 3 SSD and moved the stock 750GB into optibay (I ordered from MaxUpgrades. Although they had no instruction, but it wasn't really hard to figure out everything. Comparing to my co-workers' apple OEM SSD, it blows it away and full SATAIII too!)

    3M Premium AG protector on my glossy screen. The reason of doing this is that I really wanted an AG screen, but the silver hinge just wasn't what I was looking forward to. While on a trip to Taipei, I had the local film application shop did it for me after seen the result on their glossy MBP. It was around $50 for everything (film, installation and 3M protective film on the palm rest+trackpad too) and I think it worth every penny. You can hardly tell that it wasn't a factory AG panel and none of the annoying glare!
  4. z00000mer thread starter macrumors newbie

    Apr 25, 2011
    Thank you!

    My wife and I had the day off today so we drove 35 miles to an Apple Store to take a look at the 17" MBP. I much prefer the anti-glare screen and having seen one in person I also prefer the silver screen bezel on the anti-glare screen, so that's a win-win.

    They did not have any machines with an SSD to sell and told me that I would have to buy it online if I wanted an SSD. They also told me that it would void the warranty if I opened the unit to install my own SSD or memory.

    So, I just bought a fully loaded 17" MBP online. I got the fast processor, 8GB of factory ram, the anti-glare screen, and a 256 GB SSD. I'm done. No need to open it up at all.

    Now I have to go order some software. :)

    Thanks again for helping me make my decision.
  5. Queen of Spades macrumors 68030

    Queen of Spades

    May 9, 2008
    The Iron Throne
    This drives me insane.
  6. z00000mer thread starter macrumors newbie

    Apr 25, 2011
    It's all good.

    Me too - sort of. I told the folks at the Apple Store that people swapping ram and drives is so very common that it was odd to hear that the warranty is voided, but they checked twice for me.

    Since my wife was with me and she hates me peeling computers open, that pretty much sealed me just buying it with everything, including the platinum plated rifle rack.

    I'm actually happy about it all. I get my SSD now instead of having to wait and when I take it in for service I don't have to take all of my hotrod parts out beforehand. I have a record of a build with the full complement onboard at Apple. I paid their prices and I don't have to sweat anything or deal with outside hardware manufacturers or vendors at all.

    Computers have been my main hobby since 1984 or so. I bought this one for another interest that I want to be my main hobby and I need the computer to just sit there and work quickly for me, not being the focus of attention as the other interest is what I want to be the focus of attention.

    So, it's all good.
  7. Eddyisgreat macrumors 601

    Oct 24, 2007
    The 17" BeastBook is truly a powerful machine. Enjoy.

Share This Page