Macbook Pro upgrades worth it? Which ones? What order?

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by DynoMike3000, Dec 28, 2010.

  1. DynoMike3000 macrumors newbie

    Dec 28, 2010
    I know I want to buy a 15" macbook pro, which I will use for After Effects and Photoshop and will attach to my 30" HD Cinema Display. Which upgraded features are worth the money?

    i7 instead of i5 ($200)?
    2.8 instead of 2.66 ($200)?
    8GB ram instead of 4 ($400)?
    7200 rpm hard drive instead of 5400 ($50)
    Hi-Res Display ($100-150)

    We are talking about $1000 worth of upgrades, which will make noticeable differences?
  2. toxic macrumors 68000

    Nov 9, 2008
    an i7 is worth the cost for AE, not so much PS. 2.8 is not worth the cost over 2.66. simple math...2.8 is 5% faster than 2.66, which is a best-case scenario (your software is actually CPU-bound). you're not gonna notice a 5% difference, and paying nearly 10% more for it is simply foolish.

    8GB is worth it.

    7200rpm tells you nothing about the drive, that's why there are reviews and benchmarks to compare speeds between different models. bigger drives are also faster than smaller ones if you have a significant amount of data (1TB 5400rpm is faster than 500GB 7200rpm), so get capacity first, speed second.

    the display is up to you. some find text too small, others don't, others must have the additional work space. I'd get it just for the matte screen.

    don't buy RAM or HD upgrades from Apple. leave those at default and buy your own upgrades. also, any DDR3 1066 laptop RAM will work, no point buying marked up "Apple" RAM.
  3. Hellhammer Moderator


    Staff Member

    Dec 10, 2008
    i7, yes.
    2.8GHz, no.
    8GB of RAM, yes, from aftermarket.
    7200rpm HD, yes.
    Hi-res screen, yes.
  4. Santabean2000 macrumors 68000


    Nov 20, 2007
    i7 def (in your case) over i5, but not 2.8GHz; i7 offers extra features over i5.
    AG HiRes too

    Neither can be done aftermarket
  5. macpluslaptop macrumors 6502

    Jun 5, 2007
    More RAM is always a good idea. And the Hi-res matte screen is a thing of beauty. I vacillated about this (thought the fonts would be too small) but ended up going for it and have no regrets.
  6. geniusABBY macrumors newbie

    Dec 26, 2010
    Just wondering--why does everyone say not to upgrade RAM from Apple? I don't trust myself opening up a new computer, but heck. I don't know anything. :)
  7. Santabean2000 macrumors 68000


    Nov 20, 2007
    Why? Because it is A LOT cheaper to do it yourself.

    Man, I'm the least fixit type dude around, yet I managed to do this; upgrading RAM is stupid easy. Go to YouTube or visit OWC's website to watch instructional videos. It's just the unknown that makes this hard; these videos demystify the process and let you see just how very very easy it is.
  8. Cougarcat macrumors 604

    Sep 19, 2003
    I'd skip 'em and use the savings to buy an SSD. Upgrade RAM yourself. There's not a huge difference between an i7 and an i5, but get it if you can afford it, but the 2.8 speedbump def. isn't worth $200. HD option isn't needed in your case as you'll be using an external.
  9. mwayne85 macrumors regular

    Feb 11, 2009
    The best of those upgrades (in your case) would be the i7 instead of the i5. Don't bother with upgrading to the 2.8. It's not that much of a difference, especially for an extra 200 smacks.

    The hi-res display would be the next best option. The extra resolution is VERY helpful for applications like After Effects and Photoshop. The antiglare is also worth it if the glossy screen bugs you. HOWEVER, if you plan on using the 30" Cinema Display more often then the actual MBP display, than this might not be worth it. All depends on usage.

    IMO, 4GBs of RAM is plenty. But if you want to upgrade, don't upgrade from Apple. You can get 8GBs much cheaper elsewhere (OWC 8GB upgrade is $120). Leave the RAM at 4GBs.

    Upgrading to 7200RPM for $50 is not a bad option. But you should probably just leave it, and get a third party SSD later.

    So in my opinion, get the i7 and save the extra $800 for future upgrades. The hi-res upgrade is also another good option if you want the extra pixels.

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