MacBook Pro Upgrade, should I?

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by waltervt, Aug 13, 2011.

  1. waltervt macrumors member

    Jun 24, 2011
    Valencia, Spain
    Hi everybody and thank you for reading!

    I bought a brand new MacBook Pro 13.3 (4GB RAM, 250GB HD, 2.53GHz Dual Core Processor) from an iStore on December 2009. It was a Xmas present from me to myself. :D I use it mainly for music-video recording and editing so I need the space, and also have music and movies and other stuff.


    I've already run out of space (only 10GB left) and I'm thinking about getting a larger one and use my current one for backup. OWC ( has Do-It-Yourself Laptop Drive Upgrades, so that's perfect for me. The questions are: which size, speed, cache, interface and brand should I get.

    Size: I know the more the merrier, but also I don't want 600GB of empty space for nothing, 'coz that's 600GB of money laying around. Is 500GB enough? Is 1TB too much? Should I double, triple, quadruple my current disc size?

    Speed: I know the disk is at idle speed most of the time, and the full rotational speed is only reached when moving large amounts of data. So, should I reach for 7200RPM or settle for 5400RPM? A SSD would be better but is out of the cards now. :(

    Cache: I really don't know what this is for, so any explanations would be appreciated. :) Should I get a 8MB, 16MB or Hybrid? I just found out today about the hydrid HDs.

    Interface: USB 2.0 has 480Mbps and FireWire 800 has 800Mbps. I think the only difference is time and copying the whole 250GB will never happen, except for the one time that I move everything from the small drive to the big one, it will be filled little by little most of the time. Anyway, copying 250GB would take 71min with USB 2.0 and 42min with FireWire 800. Is FireWire worth the extra money? Personally, and not technically important, the USB has a small aluminum case and the FireWire has a bigger transparent plastic case which I do not like.

    Brand: Besides the price difference and the warranty time, they are all the same for me. So, Hitachi, Other World Computing, Samsung, Toshiba or Western Digital?

    According to OWC, it's Top Selling Kit is a 500GB Seagate 7200RPM 16MB cache USB 2.0 at $87.99

    It's FireWire equivalent costs $129.99 which is about 50% more

    With that money I could get a 1TB Westerd Digital 5200RPM 8MB cache USB 2.0 Digital/YWD10TPVT/

    or a 750GB 7200RPM 16MB cache USB 2.0 Digital/YWD7500BPKT/

    or even a 500GB Seagate 7200RPM Hybrid USB 2.0


    I'm doing fine with 4GB of RAM, and also an upgrade to 8GB costed around $400 at that time. Now you can get from OWC 8GB for $71.99 World Computing/8566DDR3S8GP/ which I think is more than alright. So, upgrading RAM would be worth the money? Would it be really much faster? Would they get any cheaper or more expensive in the future? Will it help me edit and process faster? I remember when I upgraded my Windows XP PC from 256MB to 512MB, I was amazed at how faster it got. Would it be like that, as I'm doubling the memory?

    Thank you for reading and I hope you can help me!


  2. h00ligan, Aug 13, 2011
    Last edited: Aug 13, 2011

    h00ligan macrumors 68030

    Apr 10, 2003
    A hot desert
    You don't need an 'upgrade kit' from owc.. the hard drive is very easy to replace - you can just buy one anywhere. The only reason to buy a kit i if you want the external drive enclosure - which you can also buy elsewhere. Or i suppose if you don't have tools.. The price isn't outrageous, but it is more expensive than just buying a drive. For the additional money I would also be cautious about the quality of the external enclosure that comes with the 'kit'

    To make this really simple - get the seagate momentus xt 500gb 7200 rpm drive (the hybrid drive you linked to). You can get a bare drive for $99.

    It will help you boot and launch apps faster, it will give you double the space you currently have.

    You can see how easy it is to install any hard drive in that machine here.

    To check if you need more ram.. restart your machine and then use your computer for a while as you normally would.

    Open the activity monitor (search in spotlight) and look for the 'page outs' number. If it is above 0 - you could probably benefit from more ram. If you are not paging out - you will not notice much difference.

    Both upgrades would be less than $200 - the former tangibly increases the responsiveness of the machine
  3. takeshi74 macrumors 601

    Feb 9, 2011
    Totally subjective. There's never such as thing as too much storage space. You need to decide where you're willing to draw the line. This isn't a question with a one-size-fits-all answer. I generally look at the price/benefit curve and purchase where the curve starts to get steep. That said, I went with the largest stock SSD when I bought my MBP. You need to figure out where you're comfortable for yourself.
  4. waltervt thread starter macrumors member

    Jun 24, 2011
    Valencia, Spain
    Thanks a lot h00ligan! I was thinking that 500GB should be enough and I'll check the RAM usage as well.

    I chose the OWC kit because I wan't the disk, the enclosure and tool. Do you know any other kits that could give me all three things?

    Thanks again
  5. BAC5.2 macrumors regular

    May 16, 2011
    600GB of "money" lying around is old lingo. Data is so cheap now, it's archaic to think of it like money lying around.

    The cost differential between drives is marginal. Get the biggest one you can afford that fits your needs and wants.

    It's like horsepower in a car. You may not "need" it, but it sure is nice to know it's there.

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