Macbook Pro Upgrades-Which to buy?

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by writergirl, Jun 25, 2012.

  1. writergirl macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Nov 10, 2008
    #1
    I am a freelance writer and editor. I mainly use Word, Acrobat Standard, Photoshop Elements and InCopy.

    I am ready to upgrade my MacBook Pro. At first I was hesitant about whether or not I needed the Retina display but after reading reviews, it appears that it might be better for me. Generally I read and edit a ton of copy on my computer.

    Where my confusion comes in is all the upgrades available. I generally buy a new computer every 4 years, so I want as much power as I need to stay viable for those 4 years.

    Which upgrades do you recommend? This is what I'm looking at:
    ***I upgraded the processor from the 2.6 to the 2.7. It's an extra $250, worth it?
    * 2.7GHz Quad-core Intel Core i7, Turbo Boost up to 3.7GHz

    * 8GB 1600MHz DDR3 SDRAM - 2x4GB

    ***I didn't upgrade the hard drive. Should I upgrade it to 7200rpm for an exra $100?
    * 750GB Serial ATA Drive @ 5400 rpm
    * SuperDrive 8x (DVD±R DL/DVD±RW/CD-RW)
     
  2. throAU, Jun 25, 2012
    Last edited: Jun 25, 2012

    throAU macrumors 601

    throAU

    Joined:
    Feb 13, 2012
    Location:
    Perth, Western Australia
    #2
    If you're using it for writing stuff/editing text...


    RAM: get 8gb or more - 16 gb is possibly overkill for your usage.
    SSD: get one, 256gb or bigger
    CPU: don't care
    Video: don't care


    The biggest performance improvements you will see are from the SSD drive and the RAM, in that order. For looking at text all day i'd definitely recommend the retina display. Text is so much clearer.


    I would definitely suggest NOT going for the cpu upgrade. It is less than 10% faster, assuming your workload is flat out on CPU. Your workload won't be (thus, you won't see any gain) - if your macbook doesn't currently sound like a jet turbine all day (fan noise), it isn't running maximum CPU load all the time. CPU upgrade will make very little difference for your workload and is money far better spent on an SSD (or a larger SSD).


    edit:
    The Retina macbook pro already has SSD and 8GB of ram and spinning drives are not available. the specs you list aren't for the retina model?

    A base model retina macbook pro would be ideal for what you describe.
     
  3. writergirl thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Nov 10, 2008
    #3
    Yes, those specs were for the MacBook Pro, not Retina display. I originally discounted the retina display.

    So you think a base model Retina is powerful enough. I am currently running Mac OS X Vers. 10.5.8
    2.8 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo
    4GB 1067 MHz DDR3

    And, my fan does not run all day.

    ----------

    Should I get the USB Superdrive?

    Also, I have the Maxtor One Touch as a back up, sounds like Firewire is disappearing so I should get the Time Capsule.
     
  4. throAU, Jun 25, 2012
    Last edited: Jun 25, 2012

    throAU macrumors 601

    throAU

    Joined:
    Feb 13, 2012
    Location:
    Perth, Western Australia
    #4
    Depends - do you use optical discs?

    I'd try and go without it, if you find you DO need it, they're cheap to buy later.

    If you currently plug in to backup i'd consider a thunderbolt external disk, it will be a lot quicker than backing up over wifi to a time capsule.

    The advantage of the time capsule though is you can set it up and forget about it - nothing to plug in... or forget to plug in).


    edit:
    a Core i5 1.7ghz in a 2011 Macbook Air will smoke your Core2 duo in terms of processing speed. The current base model Macbook Pro 15" or Retina model has MUCH more CPU power. Probably in the region of 4-8x or more. But again, your workload probably isn't CPU bound.... so any current CPU should be fine.


    From your current spec, you may also want to consider say, a 13" Macbook Air with 256gb SSD and 8GB of RAM.

    It will be a lot cheaper than the Retina model, will still be MUCH faster than your current machine, and a lot more portable to boot.

    No retina.... but if you perhaps go to the store and try them both, maybe you'll find the size trade off and price may swing you towards to the Air? The new retina model has all the limelight at the moment but the new airs are still very fast machines.
     

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