ExpressCard SSD or 6GB RAM upgrade for MBP late 2007?

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by ViveLeCorn, Aug 5, 2010.

  1. ViveLeCorn macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Aug 5, 2010
    Location:
    BROOKLYN!
    #1
    Hello everyone!


    I've been following many threads on Mac Rumors for a while and thought I finally post something (hopefully) useful for others and in hopes that I can get a meaningful answer. So please don't flame me if this may be a newbie question... here I go:


    So I have a MacBook Pro 2.2 Ghz Late 2007 computer, equipped with a 500GB WD Scorpio Blue HD and 4Gb of RAM. What I do with this computer primarily is graphic design and editing (Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign, Final Cut Pro, etc...) and some amature music production (Reason, Garageband, Djay...)


    I've followed the 6gb/8gb RAM upgrade forum for a long while for Mac products and finally bought myself a 6GB upgrade kit from Other World Computing. My package arrived today, and I hate to admit but I'm afraid to upgrade the RAM because of the slight hit/miss ratio I heard about using it. It's usually a good thing to upgrade to something higher I know, but I read that even if I did upgrade, I would only be using about 3GB worth of memory on it and not the full 6GB. Plus, I would lose the dual channel architecture doing this... if that did make a big difference to my heavy use of RAM.

    Just today I learned about ExpressCard SSD's and how they can act like a separate HD in themselves. I'm highly interested in a very economical 64GB ExpressCard I researched. They're super fast and sound like a better alternative to RAM upgrading, especially if I can only use a max of approx. 3GB of RAM on my model computer.




    So after all of my gibbering and jabber, here's the question:


    From your experienced perspective, what's a better option for me to take...

    1) Use the 6GB RAM upgrade?
    2) Buy an ExpressCard SSD and use memory intensive programs on that?
    3) Use the 6GB RAM and buy the ExpressCard SSD together?




    Any input would be grateful! Thanks in advance Mac Rumors!
     
  2. johnnymg macrumors 65816

    johnnymg

    Joined:
    Nov 16, 2008
    #2
    Do a search on MR re the Express Card SSD. You'll find a couple of threads with at least one of them being rather long. I think you'll be able to easily make your decision after reading those posts.

    cheers
    JohnG
     
  3. alphaod macrumors Core

    alphaod

    Joined:
    Feb 9, 2008
    Location:
    NYC
    #3
    When you add 4GB+2GB RAM, it will be in "asymmetric" dual-channel mode. That's for the first 2GB of your 4GB stick, it will be in dual-channel with the other stick. Only the last 2GB will be in single-channel mode.

    That said, the RAM upgrade should help more than an ExpressCard SSD. Most ExpressCard SSDs are actually USB 2.0 based which makes them slow. If you must get a PCI Express ExpressCard SSD, those get very expensive and you might as well just replace you main secondary storage drive with a SSD.
     
  4. ViveLeCorn thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Aug 5, 2010
    Location:
    BROOKLYN!
    #4
    So upgrading to 6gb of RAM should be more useful? Interesting because from what I read on other threads here, upgrading to 6gb of RAM doesn't use up your whole 6gb capacity (unless I'm reading the threads wrong... there actually seems to be two arguments about this.)


    I found a pretty cheaply priced ExpressCard SSD which is 64GB for $189 free shipping here:
    http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=300451265566&ssPageName=STRK:MEWAX:IT

    From what I read too on these forums and through videos on youtube, the other brand most people seem to buy (Filemate) tends to self-eject itself a lot. The brand in the link above has some good reviews from what I searched on Google too if anyone is interested in buying a ExpressCard SSD.

    I was most definitely thinking of getting a SSD HD but they're really expensive especially for the GB capacity they hold at such prices. So I was thinking the ExpressCard SSD would be a decent substitute for this.



    What if a 6GB + ExpressCard SSD is installed together though? Would that cause excessive overheating especially for a old model computer like mine?
     
  5. johnnymg macrumors 65816

    johnnymg

    Joined:
    Nov 16, 2008
    #5
    Unless you're running multiple RAM hungry programs the single BIGGEST impact on system performance will be found with an SSD. Here's a relatively inexpensive and VERY fast SSD:
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820227550

    FWIW, I'm partial to Crucial SSD's (see sig) but can also say this new Vertex 2 drive is an excellent way to go. I'd recommend getting the SSD and then getting the memory upgrade.

    cheers
    JohnG
     
  6. Aboo macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jul 7, 2008
    #6
    Based on my experience, Expresscard SSDs are not that fast at all (about the same speed as USB flash drives). You are better off investing in a 2.5" SATA SSD.
     
  7. ViveLeCorn thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Aug 5, 2010
    Location:
    BROOKLYN!
    #7
    I do run a lot of RAM hungry programs, like Photoshop, Illustrator, etc all at once. So 6GB would seem the right route to go thusfar I would hope.

    That SSD HD looks good for what it's worth but it's 60GB and was hoping for something a bit more... obviously that'll be much more $$$ and they're very expensive now. I hope prices will drop soonish because unless I have about $800 to drop on a nice 500GB SSD HD, then that should indicate I have a very good paying salary (which I don't at the moment to match such a price.)




    So I installed the 6GB ram earlier in the evening... I must say I haven't noticed much difference thusfar. In fact, startup seemed a bit more sluggish than anything... my login window came up but the background image took like 5-8 seconds to load. However, after a couple restarts, booting up seemed to start up normally... not much different than having my 4GB ram installed.


    But instead of talking about how things booted up, here's some benchmark scores I accumulated using Xbench... I ain't a computer wiz to totally comprehend the scores so excuse the newbie question, but a lower score = bad?


    (Overall Result score shown)
    With 4GB: 114.06
    With 6GB: 85.31


    As far as the overall memory performance is concerned...
    With 4GB: 163.30
    With 6GB: 159.94



    Thanks in advance again for all your help folks! :D I'm just learning more and more about this sort of stuff so it's really insightful.
     

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