Looking to upgrade specs

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by yk2366, Jan 24, 2011.

  1. yk2366 macrumors member

    Joined:
    May 5, 2010
    #1
    I currently have 4gb ram, 500GB hardrive i7 Macbook pro that I bought back in April of last year. I've been noticing that it takes a while to start up photoshop and other applications so I'm looking to upgrade everything this year. Technology constanty changes so fast that I didn't want to rely on months old information that came up when I googled and thought I'd ask here.

    What is the best 8gb ram out there currently?
    and SSD? What is the maximum SSD space available?
    Are there any other updates that I should do along with the ram and the SSD harddrive?

    Thanks!

    Btw- I have a battery that's at 95% after only 40 life cycles and it only seems to last me 2~3 hours. Do I need a new battery?
     
  2. ECUpirate44 macrumors 603

    ECUpirate44

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    #2
  3. GGJstudios macrumors Westmere

    GGJstudios

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    #3
    Before you buy RAM, check Activity Monitor to see what your Page Outs are when you're using your MBP as you usually do. It may be that you're not maxing out 4GB. If that's the case, you likely won't see much, if any, improvement with 8GB.
    How long your battery lasts depends on the current workload and configuration of your system. Screen brightness, WiFi, Bluetooth, attached devices, Flash on websites, multimedia apps, etc. all increase demands on a battery. Make sure your battery is properly calibrated (steps in link) so your health is reported accurately.

    This should answer most, if not all, of your battery questions: Apple Notebook Battery FAQ
     
  4. yk2366 thread starter macrumors member

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    May 5, 2010
    #4
    ECUpirate44: thanks for the links. Ram- A LOT cheaper than I expected. SSD Drive: A LOT more than I expected. For some reason I thought SSD prices went down a lot. I was thinking to upgrade to 1TB SSD (If avail) bc I already knew 500GB SSD and 1TB Hardrive were out, but I had no idea the prices were that high.

    GGJstudios: I actually followed the battery instructions religiously since my purchase but for some reason, my percentage went down one percent every time I caliberated the battery so I stopped doing it. I'm not sure if it's normal but I think it went down to 95% after 5 months (1% each month) and since I have stopped caliberating, it stayed at 95%. Thoughts? :confused:
     
  5. GGJstudios macrumors Westmere

    GGJstudios

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    #5
    You should calibrate every month or two. Calibration doesn't affect your battery health. It just makes the reporting accurate. Also, read the FAQ for proper use of your battery. The FAQ will also explain how your battery health will fluctuate over time.
     
  6. ECUpirate44 macrumors 603

    ECUpirate44

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    #6
    Yeah RAM prices have dropped dramatically in recent years. Its the best bang for your buck upgrade and its dead easy to do at home. You should notice an immediate difference when running photoshop.

    If your going for size, there is a 1TB HDD that can be installed in a MBP. It runs at 5400 RPM though. SSD's are not mainstream technology yet. In a few years, the prices will drop and they will become more popular.
     
  7. yk2366 thread starter macrumors member

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    May 5, 2010
    #7
    thanks for your posts.

    GGJstudios: I'll definitely look into it. I may not be doing it right but I just let the battery drain out till it is completely dead, then after five hours or so recharge it till it's full. After the battery dies it makes a small "pop" sound and when I restart it back up five hours later, it gives me a warning sign that makes me feel as though it is bad for my comp health to shut down due to low battery without properly turning it off.

    ECUpirate44: I hope soon! It seems as though a lot of people have SSD's on here. Does that mean all of them settle for less space? I can't imagine having GB space less than 500 now, even with an external harddrive. As for 1TB HHD, the extra space is nice but I don't thikn it's worth upgrading if it's not to SSD. Hopefully it'll get cheaper very soon, with 500 SSDs in around $500 range.
     
  8. GGJstudios macrumors Westmere

    GGJstudios

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    #8
    All the calibration steps are in the FAQ I posted. Follow all of them exactly and you should be fine. It's not bad for your computer health to let it shut down due to low battery. It's working as designed.
     
  9. ECUpirate44 macrumors 603

    ECUpirate44

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    #9
    Yes, a lot of people use a smaller SSD because of the price. A common purchase is the 120 or 240 GB SSD from OWC.

    As a side note, if you can't imagine having less than 500 GB, does that mean that you are cramming your HDD now? (like 475GB full) If so, that's one reason why it takes longer to load. A full HDD is slower than one that is less full. I recommend buying a large external HDD 3-4TB and keeping all of the files that you do not use on a day to day basis on that. If your feeling adventurous, you can use a data doubler kit which removes the optical drive to install a second HDD or SSD.
     
  10. yk2366 thread starter macrumors member

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    #10
    It's only half full at the moment (I do put the rest in the external HDD). Since I will hae this notebook for another 3 years, it is a must for me that it is at least 500GB
     
  11. ECUpirate44 macrumors 603

    ECUpirate44

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    Yeah just keep old files on the external and you should be good to go. As for the battery, it's fine. Just calibrate every so often and your good.
     
  12. fibrizo macrumors 6502

    fibrizo

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    Jan 23, 2009
    #12
    Well currently 500gb SSDs run about 1300$. Looking back a bit historically the intel 80gb drive debuted in 2008 at 600$. Currently you can get it for 170$... now you're not looking for that much of a drop, but given that time frame it might be 1.5years from this point, since people are willing to pay current prices for SSDs. They will obviously continue to get faster as well, negating some of the price drops. Obviously this is all theoretical, but it might be worth keeping in mind if you're not inclined to wait.
     
  13. velocityg4, Jan 24, 2011
    Last edited: Jan 24, 2011

    velocityg4 macrumors 68040

    velocityg4

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    #13
    You could always use say a 128GB or 256GB SSD for booting OS X, loading Apps and a scratch disk. Then remove the optical drive and install a bay adapter to use a 1TB 5400RPM drive or a 750GB 7200RPM drive for data files. Heck that optical bay may be tall enough to handle the 14mm high 10,000RPM drives.

    Edit: Yes, the additional drive will drain more power. But the power draw of a hard drive should be negligible compared to the draw of the CPU under load. So I doubt it would very noticeable. Going by Tom's hardware guide charts the worst 2.5" drive uses 2.1 Watts under load the best is 0.5 Watts.
     
  14. ECUpirate44 macrumors 603

    ECUpirate44

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    #14
    Wouldn't his battery life take a hit from a 10,000 RPM drive? If it could even fit....
     
  15. velocityg4 macrumors 68040

    velocityg4

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    #15
    When I spoke of low wattage (2.1 at the worst) I meant the 7,200RPM and 5,400RPM drives. The 10,000RPM drives are not meant for laptops so they would have a mild effect.

    According to Western Digital the 600GB VelociRaptor uses 6.2 Watts during read/write operations.

    So if the op is using the battery up on average of 2 1/2 hours then about 29.5 Watts an hour is being used. So adding that 6.2 Watts would knock off about 25 to 30 minutes. While the worst 7,200RPM drive will lose about 10 minutes from that 2 1/2 hours.

    This is assuming the 15 in MBP with the 77.5 Watt battery at 95% capacity and constant read/write operations. If the op is using the 17 in MBP then the impact on the 95 watt battery would be less. The idle power draw of the WD is abysmal at 4.3 Watts. But if the drive is able to spin down often then it's effect should be minimal at 0.7 Watts.

    Edit: I should also mention that some 5,400 RPM drives use more power than 7,200RPM drives. So the specs should be checked carefully. Hopefully with results from third party sources.
     

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