Early 2011 MBP: hardware upgrade worth it?

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by Naudin, Jan 11, 2016.

  1. Naudin macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jan 11, 2016
    #1
    Hi all,

    I own an early 2011, 17 inch MacBook Pro with stock hardware (2.2 GHz i7, 4 GB RAM and standard hard disk). Since lately it has been getting really slow, I'm thinking of doing a hardware upgrade. More specifically I'm thinking of replacing my hard disk with a Samsung 850 EVO SSD (500 GB) and upping my RAM to 16 GB (1600 MHz Corsair Vengeance). However, since my MBP is already quite old, I'm not sure whether I should make this investment (around €250 total). I read on some blog that if you're MacBook is more than 4 years old and too slow, it is wiser to just buy a new one. However, I see lots of people still upgrading 2011 MacBooks. There are several objections I could think of; considering the age of the MB, other parts will likely start to fail in the near future, rendering my investment useless. Also, the processor can become the bottleneck so that it does not increase performance to current standards and furthermore, Apple can stop supporting older MacBooks like mine with new OS X versions to come. I've seen this MacBook being sold for quite high prices still (€850-1000), which I'm also taking into consideration. Anyone care to give some advice?

    Thanks!

    Naudin
     
  2. CoastalOR macrumors 68000

    CoastalOR

    Joined:
    Jan 19, 2015
    Location:
    Oregon, USA
    #2
    If your 2011 MBP has the AMD Radeon HD 6750M dGPU then it is a ticking time bomb and I would not put any money into it. I would put the upgrade money towards a newer Mac.
     
  3. skiltrip macrumors 68030

    Joined:
    May 6, 2010
    Location:
    New York
    #3
    I have a 2011 15" 2GHz i7 MBP. I have put 8GB RAM in it, and a 480GB Crucial SSD. It absolutely flies. I'm still using it for moderate sized Pro Tools recording sessions. As long as it keeps working, I can see it being really fast for another couple years still. SSD drives are pretty cheap now, and make a huge difference in performance. If your computer dies, just pull the SSD drive and re-use it with your next computer.
     
  4. ron1004 macrumors 6502

    ron1004

    Joined:
    Feb 6, 2010
    Location:
    Louisville, KY
    #4
    I upgraded my RAM to 8GB, and it was a marginal improvement, and then added a Samsung 1TB SSD and that was a major performance boost.

    I also added an ExpressCard with two USB-3 ports.

    I use GFxCardStatus to keep it on the integrated graphics card just not to tempt fate with the Radeon.

    My 2011 will be with me for a lot longer.
     
  5. Naudin thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Jan 11, 2016
    #5
    Thanks for the input everyone. I have an Intel HD Graphics 3000, so I suppose I won't have to worry about that?
     
  6. CoastalOR macrumors 68000

    CoastalOR

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    Jan 19, 2015
    Location:
    Oregon, USA
    #6
    In that case, then I did add a SSD and more RAM to my 2011 MBP and it was a big improvement. I did the RAM first and there was no big noticeable change except the memory was not as close to having to swap to disk. Later I installed the SSD and it made a BIG improvement.
     
  7. fastasleep macrumors 6502

    fastasleep

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    May 21, 2010
    Location:
    Seattle, WA
    #7
    That's correct. You'll get a new life out of your machine with an SSD; 1TB drives are even affordable now (I have a Crucial M550 1TB in mine). RAM depends more on what you do with your machine, if you run Adobe CC or other apps that suck up as much RAM as possible, then 16GB is a no brainer — but if you're a lighter user than 8GB is adequate for most tasks. SSD makes everything faster either way.
     
  8. ron1004 macrumors 6502

    ron1004

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    Feb 6, 2010
    Location:
    Louisville, KY
    #8
    Is the early 2011 SATA-3 ?

    If not the performance will be improved considerably with an SSD, but no where near SATA-3 speeds.

    If I find myself using Parallels more often, I'll look at going from 8GB to 16GB RAM.
     
  9. Erdbeertorte macrumors demi-goddess

    Erdbeertorte

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    May 20, 2015
    Location:
    Castle Grayskull, Eternia
    #9
    Are you sure? Where did you look?

    Screen Shot 2016-01-12 at 04.59.19.png
    Screen Shot 2016-01-12 at 04.59.44.png
    @CoastalOR
    Is the 6770M also a "ticking time bomb"?
     
  10. CoastalOR macrumors 68000

    CoastalOR

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    Jan 19, 2015
    Location:
    Oregon, USA
    #10
    Yes it is. See MacBook Pro Repair Extension Program for Video Issues. It lists MacBook Pro (17-inch Early 2011) & MacBook Pro (17-inch Late 2011). I was very happy with my 15" Late 2011 MBP until the dGPU failed Dec. 19, 2015 (see sig). Apple replaced the logic board, but I do not trust it to not have the problem again.
     
  11. nudoru macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Feb 27, 2012
    #11
    I'd skip the fast RAM and just get typical 16gb, but go for at least 8gb so that you don't swap as much. The SSD is where you'll see all of the difference really.
     
  12. Naudin thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Jan 11, 2016
    #12
    You're right, I also have the 6750M built in. That's bad news, I suppose? So far I haven't had any problems with my graphics card. CoastalOR, do you really think the chances of failure are that large?
     
  13. CoastalOR macrumors 68000

    CoastalOR

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    Jan 19, 2015
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    Oregon, USA
    #13
  14. Samuelsan2001 macrumors 603

    Joined:
    Oct 24, 2013
    #14
    They seem to be pretty much inevitable eventuallly if something else doesn't fail first.
     

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