First mac.. More ram or faster processor?

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by Joelb955, Mar 13, 2011.

  1. Joelb955 macrumors member

    Aug 4, 2010
    I am deciding on weather getting the MBP with 8GB ram and a 720Gb HD, or one with a 500GB HD,and 4GB ram, the second one has a 2.7Ghz i7 dual core, but the first one has a 2.3 Ghz i5(Dual core). I could use the extra Ram as i like to virtualize, and like playing the sims 3... So what would be better the faster processor or the 8GB ram?, this is going to be my first mac, i have used them and i love them, and i can't afford to buy a new one each few years, so i need to future-proof this one.. , and i realise that i am going to be forced to use intels "Awesome" integrated graphics.
  2. Eidorian macrumors Penryn


    Mar 23, 2005
  3. GimmeSlack12 macrumors 603


    Apr 29, 2005
    San Francisco
    You can upgrade RAM later. You cannot upgrade clock speed later. But yes, video card is a bigger player than clock speed.
  4. fluidedge macrumors 65816


    Nov 1, 2007
    I'd say go for ram - Mac OS X aggresively dishes out ram to cache, which isn't a huge problem per se as it's easily retrived to be used but still - RAM is future proofing imo.
  5. cheesygrin macrumors member

    Sep 1, 2008
    If you're a fairly heavy user and especially if you're using virtualisation, you'll find yourself needing 8GB RAM eventually anyway. However, RAM is pretty easy to upgrade. The real question is, do you want 8 GB RAM NOW, or later? If later, feel free to go for the better processor and upgrade further down the line.

    However, if this is going to be lasting you for a while, personally I would say go with BOTH. Otherwise, you might regret it later! :)

    Order the RAM from somebody like Crucial and fit it yourself to save costs. Just upped my iMac to 8GB and it only cost me something like £40. :p
  6. Jayrcee macrumors regular


    Feb 10, 2006
    I'd go for a better processor now, upgrade RAM later.
  7. Sofad macrumors member


    Jan 24, 2006
    RAM all the way

    as always: it depends...
    how many times you benefit from 0,4 Ghz faster processor speed? most of the time the average user doesen't use the full speed.

    more ram allows you to run more programs at the same time.

    go for the ram.
  8. Micjose macrumors member

    Sep 4, 2009
    Portland, OR
    As others recommended, Go with higher processor and better graphics card that you can afford now and upgrade ram later from a cheaper 3rd party vendor.
  9. ls1dreams macrumors 6502

    Aug 13, 2009
    Go with the minimum and only upgrade in the future when you need to.


    1. 3rd party upgrades are cheaper than upgrading through apple
    2. Prices drop FAST

    With the money you save by starting with a base level computer now you can get much better upgrades a year from now.

    If you really want to upgrade now though, I'd go with the RAM for virtualization purposes. With 4gb you can really only allocate 2gb or so at most to a machine.
  10. Red Defiant macrumors newbie

    Mar 15, 2011
    Faster Processor

    Since this MBP will have to last you awhile I would go with the faster processor, you can upgrade ther RAM later and probably cheaper too. You probably won't need the extra 4GB of RAM right away, and if you do find an app or program that needs the 4+ you can always run out that day and pick it up, but you're going to be pretty upset the day you find out that your CPU isn't fast enough, cause there is really nothing you can do about that.
  11. eljanitor, Mar 15, 2011
    Last edited: Mar 16, 2011

    eljanitor macrumors 6502


    Feb 10, 2011
    VRAM is what you want. A faster processor is nice too. RAM is always upgradeable.
  12. Winni macrumors 68030


    Oct 15, 2008

    There is no such thing as "future-proofing" a computer that you buy today. Hardware - especially in Apple land - becomes obsolete extremely quickly and no investment can avoid that.

    The general advice can only be to be the machine in a configuration that meets the needs that you have NOW, because for the needs that you might have tomorrow, you will need to buy tomorrow's computer.

    You pretty much sound like an average user, so my advice is rather simple:
    CPU power usually is no longer the bottle neck these days, but you can never have enough RAM and disk capacity.

    The SIMS 3 is not in the league of Crysis 2; you won't need a bleeding edge graphics card to play it.

    You mentioned virtualization. With 64-Bit guest operating systems, I think you should have at least 8 GB RAM in your host machine (and a quad core CPU, if possible). My current rig is a Quad Core iMac i5 with 8 GB RAM and I have VMWare Fusion with 64-Bit Win 7 running in a VM to which I assigned 4 GB of memory and 4 virtual cores --- this runs extraordinarily well. I wouldn't want to use that setup on a host that only has 4 GB RAM and a dual core CPU, though. Such configurations were okay for Windows XP or Linux guests, but Vista and Win7 are much more demanding - especially when you want to use them for more than just Outlook for Windows. But even for virtualization, the CPU speed itself is not that important - having enough physical CPU cores is.

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