Looking at refurb MBP, anyone have trouble living inside 512GB?

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by kepardue, Dec 9, 2014.

  1. kepardue macrumors 6502

    Oct 28, 2006
    I'm looking to replace a 2009 iMac with a 2TB drive in it. Looking at the Apple refurbs, I'm impressed with a ~$2000 rMBP that has a 512GB SSD on it. Now, my iMac would still stay at home and basically be a server for my Apple TV + local photos, but I'm wondering how difficult it would be to transition to a 512GB drive.

    Given that iTunes in the Cloud would let me access my purchased movies and music without local storage, and as of next year iCloud Photo Library will allow me access to my photos and home movies without eating up storage, I'm cautiously thinking that I might be able to do it. I could always get an external drive if I need to, but I'm no fan of carrying those things around with me.

    Also, am I correct in thinking that I could use my 2009 iMac (which has Mini Display Port but not Thunderbolt) in target display mode as an external monitor for the rMBP?

    Thanks all!
  2. rdlink macrumors 68040


    Nov 10, 2007
    Out of the Reach of the FBI

    I've carried a 2011 MBA with a 256GB drive for three and a half years. I, also have had an iMac at home acting as my "server" for media content, mostly movies I've ripped.

    I battled space issues from time to time on the MBA, so a few months ago I finally updated to an aftermarket 512GB SSD. Between that, and the advances in cloud services I am nowhere near filling up my 512. Of course, YMMV. But one thing to consider is that, while memory cannot be upgraded in the rMBP, you can upgrade the drive later on if you find yourself running low on space. And the SSDs are getting cheaper all the time.

    As far as Target Display mode is concerned, hate break the bad news to you, but in order for TD mode to on a Thunderbolt enabled device all of the devices concerned have to be Thunderbolt. Can't mix mini DVI or mini DP with Thunderbolt.
  3. octothorpe8 macrumors 6502

    Feb 27, 2014
    I have a similar setup in that I have a main Mac at home (a Mini with lots of external storage) that is the home for all my photos and media. I find that even the 128GB storage of my MacBook Air is sufficient for writing, web use, email, things like that. I would guess that 512GB would allow you enough space to keep some music and still have plenty of room for incidental storage. Unless you're doing HUGE photo shoot on the road or editing big video projects, I'd imagine 512 would be enough.
  4. kepardue thread starter macrumors 6502

    Oct 28, 2006
    It will occasionally be used for Final Cut, but the bulk of that will be done either on a different system or connected to a Drobo for external storage.

    Not being able to use the older iMac as an external display is a bummer, but ultimately not a critical issue.

    I appreciate your real world usage testimonies. As I'm thinking through it, I'm more convinced 512 will work. And if not, it's good to hear that I might be able to DIY an upgrade. I didn't actually realize the drives were upgradable.
  5. mjfutures macrumors member


    Jun 17, 2014
    B&H has $300 off on the latest 15" RMBP $2199.00 but you get 512GB, and the latest model/GPU ... I just purchased it today actually. I currently have been using a 15" RMBP Mid 2012 with 256GB SSD .. that space I made work but can't wait to have 512. http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/1072689-REG/apple_mgxc2ll_a_15_4_macbook_pro_notebook.html
  6. Garsun macrumors regular


    Oct 20, 2009
    I believe this to be incorrect. I have a Mac mini with a DP monitor and a Thunderbolt disk array daisy chained to it's single Thunderbolt port without any issues. The DP monitor must be the last thing on the chain. As long as the old mac can pretend to be a DP monitor it should work :cool:
  7. kepardue thread starter macrumors 6502

    Oct 28, 2006
    From what Ive read, the original poster was right that the 2009 iMac won't support Target Display Mode. It's not so much an issue with the generic Thunderbolt or DisplayPort standards so much as how Apple implemented them. When they shifted from MiniDP to Thunderbolt they had to change up enough of the underlying architecture to make them incompatible.

    But I'll let you guys know for sure in a few days. :-D. I decided to go ahead and pull the trigger on the 512GB model. I don't think I'll have any issues with the drive size in the more cloud-centric age in which we live.
  8. theluggage macrumors 68040

    Jul 29, 2011
    Not total solutions, but:

    There's an app called ScreenRecycler which lets you use any old Mac with a screen as a second display via the network. Refresh is slow, so you get a bit of tearing when you move/scroll windows - its no good for games or video and you wouldn't want to use the "recycled" screen as your main one, but it gives you extra space to park reference material, online manuals etc.

    Also, there's Synergy which doesn't share screens but lets you share one keyboard and mouse/trackpad between two computers - just mouse between them to seamlessly "switch". You can do limited copy & paste, too. Again, its not a patch on a proper dual-screen setup, but it lets you browse a website, play a video, read a document on the second computer while working on the first.
  9. tdhurst macrumors 601


    Dec 27, 2003
    Phoenix, AZ

    Even with iTunes Match and multiple external drives, the 128SSD in my 11" MBA was a daily issue, though not unmanageable.

    My current 256SSD has been just fine, can't imagine you'd have troubles with 512 provided most of your video is stored on far cheaper, 3.5"HDs (like mine are).
  10. kepardue thread starter macrumors 6502

    Oct 28, 2006
    Just to let you guys know, I've got the 512GB rMBP in yesterday. I forgot to grab a Thunderbolt cable to confirm that the 2009 iMac wouldn't work in target display mode, but I have had a chance to download all of my apps and data onto the device. I've got to say, you guys were right. Excluding iTunes media and my iPhoto library, everything I need on here amounts to a little over 125GB. I couldn't be more pleased. I have some 386GB free.

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