Buying Very First Macbook Pro and Got lot of Questions

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by xp0z3d, Jul 29, 2012.

  1. xp0z3d macrumors regular

    Jun 18, 2012
    I am getting my first ever Macbook Pro 13"(mid June 2012) on Aug 3-5 weekend as its Tax free weekend in NC. Will also upgrade it from 4 gb to 8gb RAM. And add SSD 128gb into main bay while move HD (500gb) to OD bay.

    1. Regarding RAM I am not much concerned about Manufacturers as I think I will get either of Corsair or Crucial.Are there any other things or Manufacturers which I should consider. I know it should be 204 pins , 1600 mhz pc3 12800.

    2. When it comes to SSD I am confused, I need at least 120-128gb and can not spend much more than around $110-$120. So far of what I have read I am inclined towards Crucial M4 which is around $110.

    Is there any other which you guys might think be better around that price(different version of Crucial or different SSD), I want something really reliable and not buggy at all. Just as posting this I stumbled upon this SAMSUNG 830 Series 2.5-Inch 128GB SATA III MLC Internal Solid State Drive (SSD) for $116.99 at Amazon - link

    3. so now I am thinking m4 vs 830 ... which one is more reliable?

    4. Another question I have is , so far I was thinking was putting SSD into main HD bay and taking original HD out of there and putting in Optical drive bay. Now I have read people putting SSDs into OD bay itself and not moving the HD that came along with system.

    Which configuration would be better in terms of power consumption , heat etc?

    Lastly this is first time I m getting into Macs so no prior experience. So far from reading this forum I know whatever I know. And I am still reading on somethings more to get more understanding but still some questions that I need some spoon feeding with

    5. So when I get my Macbook should I upgrade it to ML? or not? Secondly should I upgrade it before making any upgrades to hardware or afterwards?

    6. How do I get SSD to boot OSx etc and keep Media over HDD. Should I copy entire HD over to SSD or I should just put in SSD and somehow get either Lion or ML over it? I have no clue in this. How to proceed?

    As it will be brand new Mac so nothing on it will be needed to back up before I swipe HD with SSD. But what I so far have not found out is how after putting SSD in there will I get OSx on it. And afterwards is there a option of keeping original OSx over HD just in case SSD fails me?
  2. cbb77 macrumors member

    Jul 17, 2012
    First let say that I too am a newb in the Mac space, but have been reading quite a bit of good info here. Still have a bit to learn but figured I'd share my experience as I just picked up a new Macbook Pro 13" base unit for my daughter and upgraded it similarly to what you are looking to do. Thus let me answer your questions with what I just completed.

    In regards to Tax free weekend, I too was waiting on this but decided against it. I just picked up the Macbook online from B&H photo. First, they were the cheapest I could find besides getting a educational discount, of which I don't qualify, and second they have the cheapest price on Applecare warranty. They only charge $95 for it when purchased with the Macbook. I could not locate this deal anywhere else, thus for me it was a no brainer to order from here. I did my home work and B&H are indeed an authorized dealer thus should be no issue. Ok now to your questions.

    1. Corsair and Crucial are good but I prefer Crucial. I've been using Crucial for years in Windows machines and never had a problem. I would recommend purchasing it direct as I could not find their part numbers that they recommend at any other online site. If you use this link you can save a few bucks ordering direct. I am leery to just order "similar" spec modules. I believe Crucial guarantees compatibility with the modules (part numbers they list) thus again recommend going with them.

    2. You are looking at the best 2 brands in the market right now that are cost effective - Crucial and Samsung. I like Plextor as well but it's expensive. Any way, I just upgraded with Samsung 256 GB SSD. I would strongly recommend 256 over 128 GB. The Crucial 256 was just going for $170 last week and Samsung for $190. This isn't that much more over what you want to spend for double the space. If you are truly tight on cash, I would wait a little more and pick this up later. From my research, you can't go wrong with either one but the Samsung is a littler faster than the Crucial. Sit tight as these will definitely be on sale again.

    3. Both are good, but again, from my research on the different boards / forums, the Samsung seemed to be the more reliable.

    4. I installed mine to the HD Bay. I used Carbon Copy Cloner to duplicate the stock drive. This worked like a charm. CCC seemed to even copy the Recovery HD partition so it's just like stock drive. I picked up the OWC USB 3.0 external enclosure, also from B&H for only $18, and used it to temporarily hold the SSD while CCC made the copy. After testing it I swapped it in place and put the stock drive in the enclosure. This worked great and was FAST!. USB 3.0 is much faster than 2.0. First experience with it and am truly surprised. Copy was done in 13 mins.

    In any case, I believe the use of the SSD without the HD will result in better battery life. At least that's what I read, so time will tell. This is another reason to go with 256 vs 126 GB so that you would have more space and not need the second drive internally.

    5. Definitely upgrade to ML. However make a backup with CCC first, this way if you do not like it you can always go back. However I do not see anything as of yet that you will not possibly like. But again, if you have a backup you have an alternative.

    6. Again use CCC to create / clone original drive to SSD. CCC is free for first 30 days and is fully functional, not crippled in any way, so you can make an exact copy of the original drive. As mentioned I put the original drive in the external HD enclosure. I have not wiped it as of yet. I will keep it intact for about 2 weeks to ensure everything is running smooth with ML and the new SSD. If all runs well, then I will wipe the stock drive and have a spare 500GB drive to use for storage or backups.

    I hope this helps. I just completed the upgrades today, so this is still pretty fresh. A couple of more suggestions. My Macbook seemed to be a little behind in that it required quite a few updated (OS and Apps). I updated these prior to updating to ML. Not sure if that mattered but that was the order I took and all seems well. Additionally I have to put in another plug for B&H photo. Everything came in well protected packages and their prices are excellent. Did I mention I also received a free copy of Parallels with the order (this allows you to run Windows on the Mac). For me ground shipping was only 2 days as I live in Mass and B&H is in NY. I would highly recommend checking them out -; and no I am in no way affiliated with B&H photo. Just a happy customer.
  3. xp0z3d thread starter macrumors regular

    Jun 18, 2012
    Thanks a lot @cbb77 for giving those detailed answers. I won`t be able to buy from B&h because I need to use my Pitch In card (sort of gift card where one can put in some money time to time to accumulate a bigger amount) at Best Buy. So can buy only from Best Buy. Although I will be able to get Mac at $1139 without any taxes and $100 off as educational discount so it would be around $1039 including everything. But that applecare plan with $95 only sounded so tempting.

    I tried that link you gave me and tried to get some discount at Crucial but I am getting this price $59.77 including some sales tax. I am trying

    Now onto SSD. I wish I could afford around $200. Is there any other advantage other than double storage space of 256 vs 128 gb? Because right now not able to find either Samsung or Crucial under $200 but I still can wait couple of weeks before I get one. Maybe they will come down a little more. Right now 128 gb are around $98 m4 - $109 for Samsung.

    I will keep my 500gb in Optical bay because I need a lot of space. I do have a 1tb external drive already which is almost full.

    So to do as u did , I will have to get transfer kit along with SSD , right? To attach it to comp and clone the HD.

    But I was also thinking like making the switch , meaning put in SSD and switch HD to OD. Then boot from HD once and clone it to SSD. Then after thats done boot again but this time from SSD. Will this work too?

    Another thing which I like how you kept your original drive as it came in case of a SSD failure or something You can boot from your external HD. Is that the good way or can we just make a DVD/USB drive in case of failure of SSD to boot system and then make it work from HD till one gets SSD sorted out or replaced. Dunno if I make sense anymore or not.
  4. nitromac macrumors 6502

    Jul 29, 2012
    I'm just going to pitch in about the RAM here as I spent a lot of time figuring out what kind of RAM I should buy for my own MBP. Because of the 2012 refresh to Ivy Bridge, you need ram that runs at 1.35v instead of the regular 1.5v. I know that OWC and Crucial are the main MacBook RAM suppliers, but I bought a pair of "mushkin" sticks on newegg that had the same exact specs as the OWC ram and saved myself $50. So just make sure the RAM timing and voltage matches up with Crucial's or OWC's.
  5. xp0z3d, Jul 30, 2012
    Last edited: Jul 30, 2012

    xp0z3d thread starter macrumors regular

    Jun 18, 2012
    Most probably will get Crucial. I also read couple of places about Voltage thing but did not read anything substantial about it being a issue.

    Just saw a new egg deal on Samsung 830 128gb for $84.99 + FREE SHIPPING using EMCYTZT1974
  6. cbb77 macrumors member

    Jul 17, 2012
    Hi xp0z3d. Totally understand in regards to using the gift cards you have. However, I would not get the geek squad protection. At least here in MA, it was more expensive than the 3 yr Applecare. Also have not heard to many good things about the geek squad support. Again, this is for team in my area, maybe yours is better in your location. However you can still purchase Applecare online. B&H offers it for $190 vs $225 at most places. Still saves you some bucks.

    In regards to Crucial price, yeah that's what I was getting as well. About $5 more than newegg or B&H, however it's guaranteed to work. I typically order my memory from newegg but I could not match the part numbers on Crucial's site. Didn't want any issues so decided to just order direct.

    In regards to the SSD, there are no additional benefits of the 256 vs 128 except extra space. I don't recall if the 256 is faster but even if it is, you would probably never really notice the difference. Right now, as you saw, the 128 is indeed on sale. I would pick it up if you plan to get the macbook soon, however as mentioned I am sure the 256 will be on sale again soon in the $150 - 180ish range.

    If you are keen in putting the HD in the optical bay, then you will not need an transfer kit. I always planned on using the stock drive externally so I just picked up an external case and put the SSD in there temporarily. You can do the same and put the SSD in the optical bay initially to clone and test. Once you verified clone is good, then you can move it to the standard HD location. Note, you will need a optical tray to hold the HD/SSD. You can find one here Going to run you an extra $60 or so to do this.

    If you really need that much storage you may want to start looking at an external unit that is expandable. There are quite a few out there, not cheap, but they let you easily expand as you need more space. A few are available without drives, thus cheaper, and allow you to add as needed. Another option is a NAS but also not cheap. Neither is an option if you really need the space with you at all times. Just figured I'd mention it. For me, still use the Optical drive so couldn't get rid of it at this time. Also I have a NAS so don't currently need more space locally to machine.

    In regards to booting from external drive, yes I can boot directly into working copy of OS X. Nice thing on the external drive is that I can refresh the image so to speak by simply cloning the SSD again to the drive. If you do this periodically, say monthly, then you always have a backup that you can instantly boot to and get up an working. Negative is that you need to dedicate a drive to do so. Alternatively you can just make a regular backup and then restore but would need to install OS X first. This is what you could copy to USB, the OS X installer. This would allow you to install fresh and then restore with TimeMachine, assuming enabled, or other backup software that you may use. Just would need some location to store you images / backups.
  7. xp0z3d thread starter macrumors regular

    Jun 18, 2012
    Thanks again cbb77

    I am not getting anything other than laptop from Best Buy , did not even think of Geek squad etc and not tempted at all. Will get Apple care later on before expiration of 1st year and then compare prices and see who is offering at cheapest.

    I will get Crucial directly from there website. I dun mind a small difference in price if it gives one peace of mind.

    I bought Samsung 830 last night with that deal from New Egg. I also wish I could have had 256 but had to go with 128gb. If 256 is also on a stellar deal in next few weeks then I can ask New Egg to replace 128 for 256 , no? Otherwise will be content with 128gb :(

    Btw how you plan on keeping Firmware updated on Samsung , I read somewhere its not easy on Mac.Another thing can you direct me or tell me how is best to maintain SSD. I mean tweaks or tips to keep it functioning in best shape?

    So far from reading what I have decided is , I will put in SSD and then get to download OS from Network and clean install it. Then I am not sure about where to put which drive. Either follow your advice about having SSD in OD and letting HD stay where it comes in. or otherway around. will decide on it later.

    About Optibay I have found one on Amazon for $12 which some people have used and gave good reviews.

    I wish I could afford a NAS. but I can not so decided I will try to convert my Windows laptop into a NAS server. So far trying to read abt it on Internet but will only know if it works once I start actually converting it and see how it goes.

    If it happens then I will be glad and can use it for backup etc also otherwise will have to think abt getting backup on External drive using USB.
  8. cbb77 macrumors member

    Jul 17, 2012
    You can't go wrong with the Samsung SSD at that price. Unfortunately you will not be able to return it to Newegg once opened. Thus I am afraid you will have to make due with it. In regards to firmware, I believe you can make a bootable CD / USB stick to perform the update. From what I saw, there were no new updates to the 256GB so figured I was all set for now. Will worry about it more if need to actually update it later. Seems to be working fine thus no worries. The only other thing you want to do is enable TRIM once installed. There is a 3rd party app to do this There's mixed reviews as to whether or not it's needed but since Apple enables this by default with their SSD installs it's worth doing. I have it enabled on mine with no issues. Note, the macbook comes by default set to only install apps from App Store and trusted sources. Thus you will need to temporarily change this in security settings in order to install the app. You can switch it back one the app is installed.

    Any reason you want to install OS from scratch? Since the Macbook is new, you won't really have any junk/bloat on the hard drive. Cloning it will be as if it was fresh. I can see if you are upgrading an existing system that has seen many app installs / uninstalls but with fresh drive the clone is quick and easy. You can get Carbon Copy Cloner to do all the work and it's free for 30 days. This was truly easy. I recommend this.

    As far as Nas, take a look at It provides free NAS software. Not sure what the supported hardware is but this should get you started with little to no cost.

    Good luck
  9. xp0z3d thread starter macrumors regular

    Jun 18, 2012
    Will follow ur advice and enable TRIM. You are right about cloning most probably will follow that too. I was thinking abt starting from scratch because just wanted it to be fresh but as u say it will be fresh already so no need to start from scratch.

    I was already thinking of going with either Free Nas or some sort of Ubuntu distro for making a NAS. Will only know once I get comfortable with Mac and knowing that won`t be need windows laptop then will experiment with it.

    Thanks for replying again!

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