How much is too much

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by dwhynman, Jan 25, 2011.

  1. dwhynman macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jun 23, 2010
    #1
    I am an engineering graduate student. I am looking for a new laptop. I have money to spend and I fell myself drawn to maxing out a 17" MBP. 512SSD 8GB ram 2.8 i7. I may wait a few months to see if there is an update but I would probably go for whatever the max specs are then. Even though i want the best computer will I notice any difference between a maxed out on and one that is not. What kind of difference will I see with a SSD is it just a difference when opening apps and booting. For the ram and processor let me tell you what I do. I use a lot of safari for research. I run windows 7 as well with parallels from what I have seen this can be a ram eater so would going to 8GB be worth it just because of that? I also use aperture, photoshop, and illustrator to make posters. I don't game or anything else. So I guess what I am wondering is if YOU had my needs (which are not too much) and up to $4000 to spend what would you do?
     
  2. chrmjenkins macrumors 603

    chrmjenkins

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    #2
    For the SSD, it's best to get the smallest size you can tolerate to save on money and offload the rest to external storage if you're ok with that.

    As for the computers, you'll likely not notice too much difference, but you could run into situations with your usage where the extra RAM (and video RAM) of the higher configured cards could help.
     
  3. Jaro65 macrumors 68040

    Jaro65

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    #3
    A maxed out machine is always fun. But...I'm not sure if you really have a need for an i7-based MBP. My use case is somewhat similar to yours and I'm very happy with my 17" MBP as shown in my signature. The SSD and 8GB of RAM will make your Win 7 VM fly. I would just go with an i5 CPU, unless the extra cost for i7 is of no concern.
     
  4. Verix, Jan 26, 2011
    Last edited: Jan 26, 2011

    Verix macrumors regular

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    Jul 30, 2010
    #4
    My brother has the maxed out i7 17 inch and I feel so bad that a processor as good as that is used for just normal pc usage... for what you're describing, the i5 is probably already more than good enough, making posters is perfectly doable on a core2duo. Video editing and encoding, and gaming is where the i7 shines.

    As for the SSD, since you're an engineering student PLEASE install one yourself instead of paying for the Apple SSDs: they are overpriced and.. kinda SUCK.
    Either get an Intel, OWC or OCZ SSD. I recommend OWC for Macs.. they ship around the world for a reasonable price and you can get a kit with the necessary tools to install the SSD + a video on how to do so on the website. I was reluctant to do this myself but really, changing HDs is a BREEZE.

    8 GB would be nice to have when combined with parallels.. but it still isn't necessary. What would be perfect is leaving it at stock RAM and buying a kit of 8GB modules yourself. 100$ or something right now (newegg, macsales dot com, ...), they're terribly easy to replace and you save a whopping 200$. You could even get 20-50$ refunded for sending in the old modules!

    Finally, do you really want the 17 inch? It's pretty damn big. Heavy.
    I'd take a 15 inch over a 17er anyday. In fact I'd take a 13 inch over anything, but if you like bigger screen+resolution and processing power the 15 should be fine.

    P.S.: the matte screen is something worth considering, the default screens are VERY glossy, I recommend testing them in the apple store to see whether or not you find this very annoying (try to look at the screen at an angle with sunlight present..), the matte screen comes with white bars around the screen though which I personally also hate. Apparently you can't have the best of both worlds :p.
     
  5. dwhynman thread starter macrumors regular

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    Jun 23, 2010
    #5
    I thought that SSD would be cheaper if I bought it seperate. I have been looking and 500+ drives all cost more than the 1300 that apple charges to upgrade. Maybe I should just go with a HDD like the 750 gb Scorpio black. A lot of people say that is the best notebook HDD. What do you think?
     
  6. chrmjenkins macrumors 603

    chrmjenkins

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    #6
    SSD will give a very noticeable performance boost and is cheaper when purchased by yourself. You just have to ask yourself if it is worth the cost and sacrificing the space.
     
  7. sab165 macrumors member

    sab165

    Joined:
    May 15, 2008
    #7
    As a fellow engineering grad student, I know what you mean about wanting a maxed out MBP to work on. I have a mid-2009 15" MBP w/ the 2.8 processor and 8 gigs ram. I used it from August 09' until December 10' with the stock 500GB 5400RPM drive. With that drive I had Windows 7 on Bootcamp and Parallels, often leaving Parallels running for weeks. I'm not sure what engineering you're doing or if you are familiar with any of these programs but I ran Solidworks, MathCad, and Matlab often which are all heavy on the processor and memory. I rarely ran into problems unless I wanted to run a very detailed FEA or evaluating 50+ DE's in MathCad, then I'd swap to Bootcamp and let Windows have all available resources.

    With that said, I upgraded my HDD over winter break to a 240GB Mushkin SSD: 140 for Mac OS and 100 for Bootcamp. I also removed the superdrive and replaced it with a 500GB Seagate Momentus XT so I could have room for my music and all of my classwork. I can tell you that the SSD is certainly worth the upgrade! There is no comparison to how fast either OS starts or how fast any of my programs start. The Momentus drive is also a great drive. It can be a bit noisy when compared to my old HDD, but that's not really an issue for me as the performance far outweighs the noise.

    My suggestion would be to go with a new 15" MBP (wait for the refresh of course) and purchase a cheaper version that has a HDD and 4GB of ram so that you can uprgrade the parts yourself and save $$$. The 17" is alot to lug around, and if you're attending presentations or conferences often you'll find the 15" will be much more accommodating for those situations and while on the road.
     
  8. ExiledMafia macrumors regular

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    Jan 26, 2011
    #8
    My take

    As an engineer (depending on which field) you must realize that there are some programs that are windows based. So if you get a mac will need some parallel software, as you stated, that allows you to boot into windows just in case. Just remember that that will require a larger hard drive, but I definitely recommend waiting for the refresh and using SSD. I would definitely recommend getting the 15" because the larger space will definitely be necessary. As stated earlier 17" is too much. I would recommend staying low on the specs and doing the upgrading yourself, you can save a lot of money and get better quality hardware. Either way $4000 is a lot and there is no need to spend that amount for your listed needs. Good luck.
     
  9. Mr. Chewbacca macrumors 6502a

    Mr. Chewbacca

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    Apr 27, 2010
    Location:
    Dallas TX
    #9
    Just to get this straight, if I were to get a 240 gb SSD like the one below could I move the stock harddrive to the optical drive bay and keep that for storage?

    Could I use the external superdrive they sell for the macbook air as an external? Come to think of it can you put the stock optical drive in a case? Do they make something like that?

    Thanks

    http://eshop.macsales.com/item/Other World Computing/SSDMX240/
     
  10. altecXP macrumors 65816

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    Aug 3, 2009
    #11
    Buying maxed out SSD and RAM from Apple = someone that likes to waste money.
     
  11. sab165 macrumors member

    sab165

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    May 15, 2008
    #12
    Yes you can use that SSD as your primary drive and the OEM drive as extra storage space. Personally I would suggest the Mushkin 240GB SSD, but it's your money and you should get what you want.

    I'm not sure if that thread answered the macbook air superdrive question, but no you cannot use the MBA superdrive with MB's or MBP's. I couldn't tell you the reason why, but I know it to be a fact.
     
  12. dwhynman thread starter macrumors regular

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    Jun 23, 2010
    #13
    I know that is true but I can not find a large capacity ssd like apple offers for less than the 1300 that it costs from apple. Where can i find a good 500gb + SSD for less than 1300?
     
  13. chrmjenkins macrumors 603

    chrmjenkins

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    #14
    You can't. 500+ GB is huge for a SSD and they're all going to be 1000+
     
  14. dwhynman thread starter macrumors regular

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    Jun 23, 2010
    #15
    So that means that apple actually has a good deal when it comes to getting a 512gb SSD put in a notebook.
     
  15. sab165 macrumors member

    sab165

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    May 15, 2008
    #16
    Well that depends on what you consider a deal...If you are only looking at cost then yes Apple does have a good deal on such a large SSD. However, if you are looking at quality as far as speed and life goes then the SSD that Apple is supplying for $1300 may not be best.

    Like I mentioned to another poster earlier, I would go with the smaller (240 or 256 gig) SSD and replace the superdrive with a larger HDD or your factory one. You can do this for less than $600 if you purchase the SSD and a new HDD and come out with more than 1TB of usable space on your MBP.
     
  16. dwhynman thread starter macrumors regular

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    Jun 23, 2010
    #17
    So if I go with a smaller SSD and then replace my optical drive with a high capacity HDD like the 750 scorpio black can I load DVD's on my macbook pro through my imac like the air?
     
  17. panzer06 macrumors 68030

    panzer06

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    Kilrath
    #18
    That should work. The only thing dislike is OS x not playing DVD movie when using external optical drives. Just plain stupid. Any PC can do this.

    Cheers,
     
  18. sab165 macrumors member

    sab165

    Joined:
    May 15, 2008
    #19
    I suppose you mean a purchased external optical drive? I put the superdrive from my MBP in an external enclosure and it works just like it did when before I removed it with the only negative being that the eject button isn't mapped for an external drive so you always have to manually eject from the desktop or finder. I can watch/rip/burn DVD's still, and I am still able to pull up the OS X disc at startup so I haven't seen any real difference.
     
  19. mark28 macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Jan 29, 2010
    #20
    At the next refresh, just get the base model of the 17" and stick a SSD in it and you'll be fine. Same for Ram, upgrade it yourself.

    In the MBA forum people say that a MBA is faster than a MBP that has a SSD in it. I tested the MBA in the Apple store and I find it awefully slow for all this hype. It's not that much faster at all in launching apps than a MBP i5 with a regular HDD. You'll only really see a big difference in booting the computer from what I have seen.

    If this is the performance you can expect from a MBP + SSD, maybe get a 1Tb or a 1.5 Tb HDD which is even alot cheaper also :p
     
  20. panzer06 macrumors 68030

    panzer06

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    #21
    Yes, a purchased drive. My iMac will read Blu-rays (not play) from the external in OS X but it won't even mount a regular DVD movie. Absolutely asinine functionality. Of course, it works fine in Windows bootcamp or on any Windows machine.

    Cheers,
     
  21. Mr. Chewbacca macrumors 6502a

    Mr. Chewbacca

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    #22
    :mad::mad: that sucks. I would have asked before I actually purchased one but I would assume that would have worked :(

    O well, I'm waiting for the refresh anyway so hopefully it will be a mute point.
     
  22. Jaro65, Jan 27, 2011
    Last edited: Jan 27, 2011

    Jaro65 macrumors 68040

    Jaro65

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    #23
    A great advice on all counts! I also removed my Superdrive and replaced it with another 1TB HD. A portion of it is dedicated to SuperDuper!, which runs every evening and holds the full image of my SSD (just in case). This provides a good drive redundancy while traveling. If I were to get a new MBP now, I may just pick up a 15" one with an HD screen. I like my 17" MBP a lot, but it is relatively large and not very usable on the plane. But...it all depends on one's needs.

    It would be good if you could share how you tested an MBA in the store to determine that it was slow. I played with them extensively and they handled everything I threw at them (at the store) with aplomb. Having purchased and used an MBA, I can say that it is an outstanding machine.
     
  23. Vice92 macrumors regular

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    Jul 13, 2009
    #24
    You'd be better off financially (and performance wise) buy getting the maxed out laptop from Apple, with everything except the RAM and SSD. Then go buy the RAM and SSD from OWC. You'll save a lot of money, get a lifetime warranty, and get a performance boost to boot.
     

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