How to best upgrade an MBP

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by afuturestrader, Jun 6, 2010.

  1. afuturestrader macrumors member

    Feb 29, 2008
    Can you please make a suggestion on the best steps to take in order to upgrade my MBP?

    I currently have a stock MacBookPro3,1 with 2 GB ram and 100 GB hard drive. Of late I find my consistently tapping out the ram and my hard drive is becoming full.

    My goal is to upgrade the ram to 6 GB (not officially supported) upgrade the hard drive and upgrade to Snow Leopard. I would then plan to use this currently 2+ year old MBP for a few more years and then go new.

    If it matters, I plan to add VMware Fusion and Windows XP to run a few Windows apps. I currently have zero back up plan (or equipment) in place - I know, not good.

    What sequence of steps wold you recommend for the upgrade?

    Thanks in advance.
  2. Bill Gates macrumors 68020

    Bill Gates

    Jun 21, 2006
    If you're not strapped for cash, I would upgrade to 4GB of RAM (2x2GB) and a 500GB Hitachi TravelStar 7K500 hard drive. A 500GB+ (1TB preferred) external FW400/800 (800 preferred) hard drive would also be nice for backups. If I had to prioritize things, I would start with an external hard drive, and then go for either more RAM or a larger HDD depending on how dire your need for space is.
  3. afuturestrader thread starter macrumors member

    Feb 29, 2008

    Thank you for the advice on my MBP Mr. Gates :) I am not strapped for cash.

    To clarify my question, I am not certain about the best sequence of steps to take - in particular regarding the upgrade of the hard drive and Snow Leopard.

    For example, should I upgrade Leopard to Snow Leopard on my current hard drive, make a disk image and then move the image onto the new hard drive?

    Or would it be better to start with a fresh install of Snow Leopard on the new drive? But then how would I move my current files from to old drive to the new drive?

    How would you proceed?

  4. Eddyisgreat macrumors 601

    Oct 24, 2007
    1) GET A BACKUP SYSTEM IN PLACE NOW via external hard disk and software package of your choice (TM, Super Duper, CCC)
    2) Upgrade Ram
    3) Get an SSD. Intel x25-'x' would be my first choice, even if it's just the -v(alue) (the -m(ainstream) is what most people get). Uninstall/deactivate apps from your current installation, delete whatever junk and copy essentials, then install a fresh snow leopard install and patch up your applications.
    4)If space is an issue and you don't mind being tethered, an external disk for dedicated media would be great.
  5. Siriosys macrumors regular


    Dec 24, 2007
    New Zealand

    The short answer:

    1) Backup Drive (External enclosure with FW/USB
    2) RAM
    3) Internal Drive

    The long answer:

    As other posters have suggested, GET A BACKUP DEVICE AND PLAN sorted first. If you can manage a FW800 external drive then all the better from a speed perspective. There's some very nice enclosures around, giving you the choice of whatever drive you want to put in there. I'm currently using a Macpower FW800/USB/eSata enclosure so I've got lots of connectivity options should I need to connect my drive up to other computers.

    If you get an external drive, I'd suggest creating 2 partitions on it so you can keep your backups on one partition and some storage space on the other, especially if using TM. With the spare capacity on the external drive, you could possibly relieve the load on your current internal drive. Although not ideal, you can run a VMWare VM from an external FW800 drive.

    Time Machine is excellent, HOWEVER, I strongly suggest either ensuring your backup drive is stored away from your MBP when not in use, or instead, you could make use of one of the cloud-based solutions to store your important files etc etc offsite - Either MobileMe or Dropbox - I'm sure there's plenty of others, but I haven't used them. Dropbox is free for 2Gb IIRC and a tidy solution for smaller amounts of data. Can also be upgraded for a fee.

    To use a VMWare Fusion XP VM (as I do), you will need 4Gb RAM - especially if you're using it for long periods as it just makes the VM perform better. 4Gb will be enough if you're only running one VM at a time, even if you assign 2Gb to the VM (Remember that 32bit Windows can only address a maximum of 4Gb RAM). I use my VM all day for work (Lotus Notes, Office, Citrix, VPN, McAfee etc etc etc) and it performs flawlessly.

    Lastly, the internal drive - As has been said in prior posts, the Hitachi drive would do just nicely, although there's plenty of options around if you search these forums you'll get a feel for the 'crowd favourites'.

    Even after all that, you can still 'push the envelope' with performance with the addition of an SSD preferably with a Sandforce chipset such as the latest SSD's appearing on the market. They're expensive, but your MBP will SCREAM with speed..........and you'll probably scream with delight!


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