Macbook Pro 13" Upgrade RAM or Hard Drive??

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by bdp, Jun 21, 2012.

  1. bdp macrumors newbie

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    Jun 21, 2012
    #1
    I'm about to buy my first Mac and I don't know too much about this stuff, so I thought I ask some experienced users.

    I want the 13" Macbook Pro 2.5GHz dual-core Intel Core i5. Should I upgrade the RAM to 8gb or upgrade to a solid-state-drive? Which upgrade would give me the best performance without spending more than $1500? Or would it be best to just get the 13" 2.9GHz dual-core Intel Core i7?

    I dont want to wait for the 13" Retina because I'll need it before I go to college and who knows how expensive that will be. So any help would be great.

    Thanks!
     
  2. GGJstudios macrumors Westmere

    GGJstudios

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    May 16, 2008
    #2
    It really depends a lot on what you use your Mac for. 4GB may be more than sufficient RAM for your needs. A SSD will definitely improve boot up, app launching, and other aspects of your performance. Unless you have higher demands for RAM, I'd go with the SSD first.
     
  3. bdp thread starter macrumors newbie

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    #3
    I'm on the internet a lot going through several pages really fast because I'm a web designer / blogger. Other than that just basic stuff I'll have a lot of songs and movies on iTunes (around 10gb). Then school stuff like Word and Excel. Should I not even worry about an upgrade?
     
  4. FastEddiebags macrumors 6502

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  5. 1Gold macrumors newbie

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    Jun 21, 2012
    #5
    SSD for performance

    The SSD (Consider Crucial M4) will give you the most dramatic change in performance (faster startup/shutdown, faster application opening, etc.). Try going to an Apple store and opening Powerpoint on a BMP and then on an Air (which has a slower processor) - the difference is dramatic and is almost entirely due to SSD.

    If you are using a lot of applications at the same time, particularly dreamweaver or photoshop (or maybe finalcut), since you're a web designer, you may also need more ram. Launch the programs you usually run and then launch activity monitor and click System Memory. I'm running a new 13" MBP with only Firefox and Chrome open and I'm using 3.2 out of 4G of RAM, so only 800 is available. Swap File is low, so even if I had 16 G Ram, I wouldn't notice any difference with just these two programs running. If I open Keynote and iPhoto, Ram usage only goes up 300 Mb, so still no problem. However, if you're using close to your full 4G or if you swap file is large, you need more ram. Think of RAM as the space on your desk - if you pull two files out of your filing cabinet, you probably have room to put them on your desk and read them. But if you pull out a whole bunch more, than you start having stacks and it gets harder and slower to find what you're looking for.

    Consider upgrading both - I ordered a 256G SSD and one 8Gb RAM card. I don't need 16 G of RAM right now, but 10 will be fantastic. I could get by with 6, but the price difference is small. One reason I'm doing them both at the same time is I just don't want to open the computer up and replace parts twice in one year. If you can get by with a smaller SSD, you can save a lot - especially if you can archive your completed files to a USB 3.0 external hard drive.

    If you're just going to add these at purchase time with your Mac, I'd go with the SSD upgrade. IMHO, I wouldn't upgrade RAM from apple. You can only get 8 GB, which means two 4 GB cards. If you want to upgrade again, you'll throw one or both of them in the trash, which just doesn't make sense.
     
  6. bdp thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Jun 21, 2012
    #6
    Thanks for answering guys! Upgrading to the SSD would bring the total price up to $1700 because I would get 256gb (I dont think 128gb is going to cut it), which I cant afford. What SSD would you recommended, doesnt have to be Apple, that would keep the total price under $1500 (Macbook being $1200)?

    Also, what are your thoughts on an OptiBay Drive Kit and OWC SSD's? I was reading around the net and found this article which seemed pretty helpful but expensive: Two must-have MacBook Pro upgrades: SSD and OptiBay.

    Any thoughts and advice on these brands and products?
     
  7. FastEddiebags macrumors 6502

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    Jun 1, 2012
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    NJ
    #7
    That would probably run you over budget. Expect to pay at least 200 dollars for a 256gb ssd... plus the caddy.. plus 60-110 dollars for ram depending on 8gb or 16gb.
     
  8. bdp thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Jun 21, 2012
    #8
    Ok thanks for the help!

    One last question...Can you upgrade to flash storage rather than SSD for the Macbook Pro 13" because I heard they were better and more responsive? If so, what are the average prices for a decent and durable one?
     
  9. GGJstudios macrumors Westmere

    GGJstudios

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    May 16, 2008
    #9
    Flash storage and SSD are the same thing. With the SSD, the flash memory is in a drive enclosure. With the MacBook Air or RMBP, it's installed directly on the logic board.
     
  10. bdp thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Jun 21, 2012
    #10
    Ohh ok thanks for clearing that up for me. I appreciate everyones time and patience.
     

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