College MBP Configuration Advice?

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by Ashkin1194, Sep 5, 2011.

  1. Ashkin1194 macrumors member

    Sep 5, 2011
    Hi everyone,

    I'm graduating in 2012 (so I'm a senior now) and have decided that I'd like the higher end 13" mbp. I'm debating between the RAM upgrade and the 128gb SSD or no RAM upgrade and the 256gb SSD. Here are some variables for your consideration:

    Ive heard that SSDs benefit from more ram, so would I be shooting myself in the foot by choosing the 256 and no ram over the 128 with ram?

    As far as memory usage goes I'm planning on partitioning Win7 just to have it there. So i'd like your input on what kind of memory that leaves me with.

    Right now, my entire current setup (XP OS included) is only using ~50gb, so please consider this for the space question too.

    As far as intensive programs go, I'll be coding (probably with Xcode) a lot, probably some Photoshop, and a little bit of gaming (on the Win7 partition). So factor this into the RAM question.

    Thanks so much!

    Note: I have roughly a year until I need it, so you can certainly suggest I wait if something is worth waiting for or if the price will go down on a part of it.
  2. jason221 macrumors 6502

    Jun 26, 2009
    Get the 256 GB SSD. RAM is cheap and can be added on later for less than $100 from a 3rd party vendor. Trust me; you'll want the extra space, especially if you're using Boot Camp for games.

    Edit: Uh, nevermind, just saw that the 256 GB SSD is $500 from Apple. Might want to wait for the price to come down on that one. You can get the RAM for cheap now though (as long as it's 3rd party; don't pay more for RAM from Apple).
  3. Ashkin1194 thread starter macrumors member

    Sep 5, 2011
    Do you think the price will come down soon?

    Is RAM upgrading as easy as plugging it in and rebooting?

    Lastly, how difficult would it be to install the SSD aftermarket? I've never installed anything like that before, especially on a Mac.
  4. gorskiegangsta macrumors 65816


    Mar 13, 2011
    Brooklyn, NY
    Do not get RAM upgrades from Apple. Their RAM prices are outrageous. Nowadays, you can get a 1333MHz 8GB RAM kit for $40 from sites like Newegg. SSD you'd better get from Apple. Their SSD upgrade prices aren't too far off from other retailers, and their SSDs are generally more reliable, and they'll replace it for you in case anything goes wrong.

    The industry projections are that by next fall SSDs will [or should] reach $1/GB.
    RAM is already incredibly cheap. As mentioned above, 8GB can be purchased for $50 or less, and 8GB is more than enough for 96% of users. RAM

    Yes, it is.

    An SSD isn't incredibly hard to install, but there are problems with stability from certain SATAIII SSDs on Macs. That's why I'd recommend getting an SSD upgrade from Apple, to avoid future headaches. SSDs aren't particularly cheap so I'd prioritize reliability over speed, at least until the SSD market stabilizes, which may not be for a while.
  5. swedefish macrumors 6502

    Feb 12, 2008
    Installing ram on your own is really simple. Just Google videos or search on youtube. I can't comment on changing the hard drive as I have never done that but one thing to keep in mind is that your hard drive is covered under AppleCare so it might be a good idea to get the HD you want from Apple as it will then enjoy AppleCare. It is possible that ssd drives will get cheaper in the year ahead so if you are looking to get a new computer for college, I'd probably recommend that you hold off on buying one until next summer. At that point you also might be able to pick it up with a student discount.
  6. Ashkin1194 thread starter macrumors member

    Sep 5, 2011
    Wirelessly posted (Mozilla/5.0 (iPhone; U; CPU iPhone OS 4_2_6 like Mac OS X; en-us) AppleWebKit/533.17.9 (KHTML, like Gecko) Version/5.0.2 Mobile/8E200 Safari/6533.18.5)

    Wow guys thanks so much for the info! I'll definitely act accordingly.

    As far as college discounts go, how do I go about getting that?

    Is it through my college or the Apple store, and does it include all Macs?

    And is the discount substantial?
  7. swedefish macrumors 6502

    Feb 12, 2008
    There is a general discount for all students (given you can show proof of ID or matriculation), but Apple also partners with some institutions and will have university branded versions of the Apple Store online. If you have any questions you should be able to contact the Apple Store in your country to ask since there might be regional variations (I am mainly familiar with how it works in the UK).
  8. tonywang.xmpt macrumors member

    Jul 26, 2010
    I recommend getting the SSD. The performance increase is very very noticeable. But if you're not using the computer for college and have a lot of "personal/extensive" usage, then the SSD wouldn't be the best option if you're on a budget. They're quite expensive and after awhile, the SSD does lose its initial "speed" + they are more expensive for less space. They tend to slow down after awhile (not a lot and still faster than a HDD, but it's sorta noticeable if you're sensitive about those type of things).
    RAM is always nice, but I believe the stock is 4GB? That's enough for most people to use. It's actually more than enough, but for those who have intensive RAM usage, like video rendering ect. they'll require a bit more RAM.

    Remember though, if you're getting a MBP, I recommend doing EVERYTHING by yourself. Getting the parts (SSD, RAM, ect.) is cheaper than having it "customize" by Apple. The newer MBP is made so it's easily openable and customizable by common consumers. I would recommend the upmost care because some actions do void the warranty, but if you're tech savvy enough, I'd do it yourself.
    I did all of my upgrades by myself with extensive research and preparation. (Have 2 drives in my computer, SSD+HD and upgraded the RAM to 8GB). I'm loving my current setup.
    Goodluck and hope you make the right decision.
  9. Ashkin1194 thread starter macrumors member

    Sep 5, 2011
    Wirelessly posted (Mozilla/5.0 (iPhone; U; CPU iPhone OS 4_2_6 like Mac OS X; en-us) AppleWebKit/533.17.9 (KHTML, like Gecko) Version/5.0.2 Mobile/8E200 Safari/6533.18.5)

    Thanks so much everyone who answered.

    Mod can move to solved if that's how this forum works haha
  10. ExiledMafia macrumors regular

    Jan 26, 2011
    I would recommend the base end 13", save your money there. Then use it to buy and upgrade, via third party, the RAM and a good SSD. That should be enough for what you need.
  11. yusukeaoki macrumors 68030


    Mar 22, 2011
    Tokyo, Japan
    8GB RAM is 200 bucks from Apple but around 45 on newegg lol
  12. swedefish macrumors 6502

    Feb 12, 2008
    Happy to be of help. Do consider AppleCare though, especially if you plan to keep the same laptop through uni.
  13. SurferMan macrumors 65816

    May 14, 2010
    South FL
    Disagree, nothing wrong with 3rd party SSD's, stick with SataII and you'll be fine... you can get a larger, and better SSD 3rd party for far cheaper than Apple charges... and Apple SSD's have had plenty of glitches as well, I know two people who spec'd out with Apple SSD's and have had issues with the drives.

    To the OP, like someone mentioned if you but the base version, or with the better processors etc... keep the drives etc at base levels, and upgrade yourself. I.E. buy more RAM and a better SSD through 3rd parties and and install (very simple) and you'll save a chunk of cash and have a much better setup/faster computer.
  14. RedRallyeZ macrumors regular

    Nov 15, 2010
    I agree with this. The bump in processor speed is negligible. the extra $300 you save can pay for that SSD. Or AppleCare...

    I also agree. I like not having to worry about waiting too long for a repair if my laptop dies on me.
  15. gorskiegangsta macrumors 65816


    Mar 13, 2011
    Brooklyn, NY
    I never said there was anything wrong with 3rd party SSDs. I only cautioned the OP to be weary of SATA III models. Apple's SSD prices are almost on par with 3rd party retailers. They offer 128GB for $100, 256GB for $500 and 512GB for $1100; these prices aren't too far off from what other retailers charge and I think it will be more worth to get it from Apple because in case anything goes wrong, they'll be covered by Apple Care.
  16. Young Spade macrumors 68020

    Mar 31, 2011
    Tallahassee, Florida
    But what you're forgetting is that it is that ON TOP of the machine IN PLACE OF a hard drive. Going the alternate route, you can get something really good like the Samsung 470 AND STILL get to keep the stock internal, which you can use in a bay for an external drive (and use as a time machine) or simply throw it in the optibay if you don't use CDs.

    I get what you're saying, but with what you're paying and what you can get outside of apple, buying ANYTHING from Apple that you can install yourself is just throwing money away. Plain and simple.
  17. Darius Aziz macrumors member

    Darius Aziz

    Jul 22, 2011
    I was considering their Ram out of laziness, is there a place that will sell me GOOD ram (8 gigs the max? or can I take it to 16?) and the tools to do the replacement? If so I would much rather save the money.

    Going to buy my 15" 2.2 this week.

    How hard is moving the OS and such over to the SSD once you buy it?
  18. Inopia-Vi macrumors regular

    Jul 20, 2011
    Lost in space
    There is your 16GB RAM...880$ though.... World Computing/1333DDR3S16P/

    CCC will take care of the transfert. Make sure to copy before removing drive :D
  19. Zumino, Sep 6, 2011
    Last edited: Sep 6, 2011

    Zumino macrumors member

    Jun 7, 2011
    I will agree completely with basically everything listed above.

    Get the SSD over the RAM. For most people 4gb of ram is plenty. 8gb helps, but for most people the performance difference between 4gb and 8gb is pretty minimal.

    That said, the performance difference between SSD and HDD is night and day.

    As far as ordering from Apple vs. Aftermarket and installing, that is a tradeoff.

    The Apple SSD will have TRIM enabled by default, not really needed, but nice. And will have the minimum of headache (Lion is already installed, no need to reinstall OSX) etc.

    The Aftermarket will be better bang/buck, but will require you to install the SSD, and then install Lion on the SSD. Not "hard" but time consuming, and it can be a bit annoying.

    Personally, I went aftermarket, and also moved my HDD into an optidrive. (That way I had 750gb of storage drive, combined with 128gb of SSD speed, at the cost of the DVD being external).

    With a 256gb SSD, you wouldn't really need the Optidrive/storage unless you have a boadload of music/movies, and really you should be backing them up anyways.

    But it really is a "different strokes - different folks" kind of thing. Each person is different, and so you have to make the call.

    With your exact question (i.e. 128gb SSD + 8gb Ram vs. 256gb SSD + 4gb Ram) I would choose

    256gb SSD + 4gb Ram.

    If I was in a similar position w/r/t costs/etc, I would probably do something different.

    I would probably pick one of the following two options:

    1) 13" Max MBA + External Display + Keyboard/mouse + USB Hub (DVD/External HDD/etc)
    2) 13" MBP w/ 750gb HDD/4gb Ram + Aftermarket SSD, Optidrive, and RAM upgrade.

    2) is closer to what I actually did (though I did the base 15" MBP, because I'm a "do-it-yourselfer", and wanted the extra graphics power. I didn't need a lot, but some helped.

    1) Is what I would do if I was actually starting college this year. Between keyboard/mouse/USB hub, you could setup a "desktop" that is basically plugging in the power, monitor, and 1 usb cable. Get a nice external, and you've got a Desktop that becomes ultra-portable.

    **EDITED IN**

    I should mention, if you can hold off for 6 months - 1 year. If you're buying it for college, there is reasonable agreement in the rumor mill that the MBP's are due for a redesign. It might be a wise idea to wait until Aprilish and see what happened. Either way you'll see a performance increase (probably), but you might also see a new MBP form factor, and/or a 13"-15" Quasi-MBA (faster proc/graphics w/o ODD) or similar.
  20. Young Spade macrumors 68020

    Mar 31, 2011
    Tallahassee, Florida
    Everybody has pretty much covered the RAM question; for HD, it's as simple as making a backup on a time capsule, popping the HD out, putting the SD in, and restoring with the OS X disks (if you have SL disks) and then loading up TC.

    I'm planning on getting one later on this year along with 8 gigs of RAM (16 will run you a small fortune).
  21. ExiledMafia macrumors regular

    Jan 26, 2011
    I hope the OP reads this because a lot of solid tips have come through since he said to close the thread...

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