MacBook Pro 13": SSD or 16GB RAM?

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by davyvfr, Feb 2, 2013.

  1. davyvfr macrumors regular

    Sep 3, 2012

    I have the cMBP 13" 2012 model with the i5, 500GB HDD @ 7,200RPM and 4GB of RAM. However, the RAM just doesn't seem to be cutting it. And if you could only upgrade one, would you upgrade to a 128GB SSD, or 16GB RAM? I am a college student and don't want to spend a whole lot. I only have 70GB on my 500GB HDD and most of it is games (COD4, Batman Arkham, Red Crucible, Tomb Raider Underworld, Trainz, CSR Racing)
  2. mdawid macrumors regular


    Mar 14, 2011
    If I were you and money is a factor at the present, I would upgrade the memory. Do you only have 70GB left on the HD or did you only use 70GB?
    I just upgraded my 2009 macbook pro with a 256GB SSD drive with a data doubler. All together, that ran me about $250.00. I've already maxed out the memory at 8GB which at the time ran me about $40.
  3. davyvfr thread starter macrumors regular

    Sep 3, 2012
    I used up only 70GB. So I still have a lot of space on my 500GB. Did you notice and increase in speed with 8GB compared to the stock RAM? Could you have more applications open?
  4. T5BRICK, Feb 2, 2013
    Last edited: Feb 2, 2013

    T5BRICK macrumors G3


    Aug 3, 2006
    What leads you to believe you don't have enough RAM?

    Too many page outs? You can use the Activity Monitor to check for this.
  5. zuckuss00 macrumors member

    Jun 23, 2012
    You won't really notice much from the RAM upgrade. Unless you do a serious amount of multitasking. The SSD upgrade will be a night/day difference in speed. Go Samsung 840.
  6. OTACORB macrumors 65816


    Jun 21, 2009
    Central, Louisiana
    I too have a 2009 MacBook Pro. I went from 4 to 8GB of ram noticed little difference. I then upgraded my hard drive to a 256GB SSD. There was a world of difference in how quickly apps loaded and the machine rebooted. So I disagree with the previous poster. I think you will get more bang for your buck with an SSD drive.
  7. davyvfr thread starter macrumors regular

    Sep 3, 2012
    Ok, I will upgrade my hard drive. I just figured ram might be a problem of a new OS is released.
  8. takeshi74 macrumors 601

    Feb 9, 2011
    I'd find out which is the biggest bottleneck and address it first which is what I recommend that you do as well. Usage varies from person to person.
  9. ybz90 macrumors 6502a


    Jul 10, 2009
    SSD. In terms of your usage experience, there is no comparison.


    It might be, but that'll be some time from now and you can upgrade then if it is. Or maybe it won't be in your computing experience. The SSD will make your jaw drop.
  10. kensic macrumors 6502

    Jan 11, 2013
    why would RAM be problem in the new OS release? lol thats like saying the cpu could be a problem.

    well anyway, it is not that expensive....u can get a SSD 128 gb for about 80$. and just get 1 4gb stick, which is about 20-25$ youll have 6gb.

    u can manage 120$ right. just dont eat out 2-3 times with your friends.
  11. mike5065 macrumors newbie

    Jan 31, 2013
    if the apps you want to speed up include the games, take a look at your RAM usage when the game is loaded and you've been playing a while.

    as a previous poster said, if you have page outs, then you are caching RAM to disk, which will kill the overall gaming experience.

    an SSD will make the machine feel snappier, and game will load / change levels much faster. alternately, i know some people that never reboot, never close apps, so an SSD would give them less benefit than myself (i always shutdown after using my MBP 13, dual SSD, 16GBRAM).

    if games have problems with insufficient RAM, and this is what you mostly do, or is important to you, then it's a no brainer (to me).
  12. Bobby Corwen macrumors 68030

    Jul 16, 2010
    Go Samsung 840 SSD and then do 16GB the next time you have 80$.

    But 250GB is waaayyyy more comfortable than 128 and that is a thing that is a relative hassle to fix once you commit.
  13. robvas macrumors 68030

    Mar 29, 2009
    Just do 8GB - it's only about $35 maybe less if you get some used RAM
  14. A Hebrew macrumors 6502a

    A Hebrew

    Jan 7, 2012
    Get the RAM. The odds are you don't play all the games or use everything that is on the hard drive, and if you do you could always purchase an external one then save up for a SSD after purchasing the RAM.
  15. Fatt Kidd macrumors newbie

    Dec 23, 2012
    APO, Germany
  16. ansontin macrumors newbie

    Oct 23, 2008
    Get the RAM first, when you used up more space, then go to SSD. SSD still have more margin to drop the price, but RAM not much now.
  17. yusukeaoki macrumors 68030


    Mar 22, 2011
    Tokyo, Japan
    You only need RAM if you run heavy apps and/or virtual machines.

    Besides, it seems like 8GB is enough for you.

    SSD, however, will show you significant difference compared to a RAM.
    Fast boot time, fast opening apps, and faster read/write is priceless.
    Just get a Optibay and replace that unneeded ODD with your 500GB HDD.
  18. cazzette, Feb 3, 2013
    Last edited: Nov 27, 2013
  19. snailmale macrumors newbie

    Feb 23, 2010
    I have pretty much the same setup as you, but with a stock 5,400rpm 500gb drive instead.

    I just upgraded to 16gb ram about 3 days ago and genuinely feel a big difference. I'm not much of a gamer, but do run Parallels for schoolwork, and found that 4gb left my MBP grindingly slow when trying to multitask. Perhaps because I used to have 8gb on a previous system, 4gb just felt like a real squeeze. So the upgrade to 16gb has left me very happy, and has made multitasking a lot more pleasant.

    An SSD is on the cards though, just waiting for prices to drop and cash flow to neaten up (what with V day around the corner). I'm eyeing either a Samsung or Intel 240/250/256gb.
  20. Fatt Kidd macrumors newbie

    Dec 23, 2012
    APO, Germany
  21. bniu macrumors 6502a

    Mar 21, 2010
    IMO, both RAM and SSD are necessary. HDD is like driving a car with bicycle wheels. More RAM is like having a higher capacity gas tank. Both are necessary.
  22. tshrimp macrumors 6502


    Mar 30, 2012
    This question depends. The reason I upgraded to 16GB, is I was using over 4GB of ram at times due to some VLC things I have been doing. Also the price of SSDs I would think will continue to go down and not sure you will see as big of a drop with ram.

    Good luck on your choice.
  23. seveej macrumors 6502a


    Dec 14, 2009
    Helsinki, Finland
    As you can see from the answers, the tribe is divided.
    I'll give you my take as well:
    * the SSD is usually a worthwhile upgrade, although most games will not be that disk intensive. You'll probably notice the effect mostly otherwhere (boot times, application loading etc.). If you go this way, remember that:
    - prices are going down, what you today pay for a 80 gig will give you a 120 gig in 4-6 months. If you do not need it today, put it off.
    - remember that your disk usage usually grows, and you need to reserve at least 10% for free space, so if your current usage is about 70 gigs, you need to either pare that down or go at least for a 120 gig SSD.

    * memory is a good upgrade (value vise), but only if you need it. Open Activity monitor after a day (or more) of use. Check free memory, page ins and page outs (page ins/outs mean that the computer is using virtual memory, so a memory upgrade might be useful).


Share This Page