Help! Need Advice on Upgrading Macbook

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by christopher187, Mar 17, 2014.

  1. christopher187 macrumors newbie

    Mar 17, 2014

    *I'm very ignorant w/ computers so pardon anything I say below that sounds off or dumb*

    Looking for some advice. I have a late 2008 Macbook Alu unibody with a 2 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo processor, 4 GB of RAM, a NVIDIA GeForce 9400M 256 MB Graphics Card (and am currently running OS X 10.8.5).

    I recently found out that since I have the right EFI and at least 10.6.6 OS X, I can actually upgrade my RAM to 8 GB.

    My question is -- if I upgrade my hard drive (160 GB SATA Disk) to an SSD (thinking 512 GB) and upgrade my RAM to 8GB, is the difference in performance worth the money, or should I just look to buy a new mac?

    I am getting into photography and videography, so I'll be primarily be using the computer for LightRoom, Premiere and possibly Logic in the future.

    I have been torn between buying a new iMac or Macbook Pro, but wanted to see how far I push the macbook I'm already using. Thanks in advance to anyone who can provide some insight/advice!!!

  2. casperes1996 macrumors 68040


    Jan 26, 2014
    Horsens, Denmark
    Ceers chap

    The upgrade you described will improve your performance greatly. Especially boot times will be greatly reduced with an SSD. Note however that if you install an SSD, you'll need to use the app TrimEnabler to enable TRIM on the disk, allowing it to clean itself up, and not degrade in speed over time.

    For photography and video, your GPU is a tad on the slow end, and especially the 256meg frame buffer could be an issue, and a faster CPU never hurt anyone.

    The upgrade to your current system will be way cheaper than going out to buy a new system though, and the speed boost you will experience is well worth it. Even if you do decide to buy an iMac, I would still suggest performing the upgrade on your laptop, even if you'll only use it once a month as a spare or something, as the speed boost is incredibly massive, especially in booting and working with big files or many simultaneous apps. In terms of speeding up executions though, you will see pretty much no speed improvement (unless your disk isn't feeding data to the CPU as fast as it can process it). Loading up apps and files will be immediate though.
    Hope this helped you!
  3. christopher187 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Mar 17, 2014

    Thank you!! Your response was very helpful and I really appreciate all of the in-depth insight. It sounds like it's worth it to upgrade for the marked difference in performance I can expect to see. I expect this to help immensely with my photo editing but probably not any heavy video editing since that graphics card is so weak.

    Do you recommend any particular brands, and is 512 GB SSD a solid choice? I'm thinking that I'll have my OS and apps run on the SSD and pretty much keep the rest of my media externally stored/backed up. Is 256 GB enough? I'm a sucker for the "more" option.

    Also, thanks for the TrimEnabler app tip -- I've never heard of it but it sounds like you know what you're talking about so I'd definitely get the app. Again, really appreciate it!
  4. Altemose macrumors G3


    Mar 26, 2013
    Elkton, Maryland
    The better question is, are you going to use it. I see people buying 1 TB HDs and putting less than 80 GB on them. Since you have a 160 GB HD now, why not go for the 250 or 256 GB SSD. SSDs are expensive compared to hard drives and this is a six year old Mac.

    The upgrade is well worth it, don't get me wrong. But I would be a little hesitant in dropping that type of money (512 GB SSD = $$$) into it especially with such a poor video card for editing.
  5. glenthompson macrumors 68000


    Apr 27, 2011
    You need to run Activity Monitor during your normal activities and see what bottlenecks you have. Most people are not CPU bound so that's the last thing they need to upgrade.

    If you're seeing memory problems (page outs) then the 8gb will be a good upgrade. A SSD always helps but is noticeably more expensive. I will never own another computer without a SSD.

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