MBP storage/memory advice

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by Tbone17, Mar 8, 2016.

  1. Tbone17 macrumors member

    Jan 6, 2010
    I've got a 2010(?)13" MBP and would like to increase the storage and memory.

    I've currently got 4gb RAM(2x2GB). I was planning to upgrade to 8GB(2x4GB) but was on the OWC site last night and saw that they have a 16GB(2x8GB) option for my model. Any opinions or advice on this? I think that OWC is a pretty good, trusted site and am now considering that option. It's not cheap but if it'll make a big difference I feel it could be worth it.


    I've currently got a 750GB HDD installed but it's full. Main reason it's so full is that I keep all my pics on there.
    I am considering a few options:

    1. As I rarely use the optical drive, remove it and install another HDD in it's place. I've got the 250GB drive that was originally in my MBP or I could get a bigger one, either way I would have a dedicated onboard drive for my iPhoto library.
    My concerns with this option are added power consumption/shorter battery life that could come with powering two HDDs instead of just one. If I add the second HDD will it get backed up automatically with time machine or will I have to back it up separately on it's own?
    Will the second drive(in place of the optical drive) always run and if so will it slow the computer down?
    It has also occurred to me that I could possibly put an SSD in as the main drive and use the 750GB in place of the optical as extra storage which should increase the computers performance

    2. Upgrade the existing 750GB HDD to an even bigger one, I have seen 1TB and even 2TB HDD. This would probably be the easiest to just clone the existing drive to a bigger one and carry on as is keeping the optical drive in place.

    3. Move my iPhoto library off of the computer. I suppose I don't really need all my pics, especially those from long ago on the computer at all times but it makes looking for pics more time consuming and I find that searching through an external drive via USB slower than searching through the internal drive.

    I'm going to look into the options some more but am not sure what's the best route to go here. I like the idea of just upgrading to a bigger drive for the simplicity of it right now. Having said that I thought the 750GB would be more than I'd ever need yet here I am with it full. Lots of photos combined with a dslr(bigger file sizes as well as .raw copies) have really taken up the storage space.

    Thanks for reading and any advice or opinions would be greatly appreciated.
  2. kschendel macrumors 6502a

    Dec 9, 2014
    OWC is a known quantity, but I'd shop around. I've had good results from Data Memory Systems, and there are others.

    4->8 will probably make a significant difference especially running recent OSX versions like El Cap. 8 -> 16 is a harder call. If you were buying new I'd definitely say go for 16 since the new models aren't upgradeable, but for the older upgradeable laptops it really depends on what you are doing and what your budget will handle.

    I'll let others handle the storage question as I have no knowledge of the issues involved with replacing the optical drive with a second HDD. Simply upgrading the 750 drive to 1 Tb doesn't sound like a win but if you can get 2 Tb in there, maybe. My personal choice would be to move photos you don't care about to an external drive, but if you have to search your entire photo library with any regularity that might not work for you.
  3. chipchen macrumors 6502

    Oct 30, 2002
    If OWC says it will work, it will work. But please check the model of your MacBook to make sure.

    As for the Hard Drive... I'd recommend an SSD. And you could go two ways:

    1. Smaller SSD and HDD in the optical bay. This will be cheaper since you already have a 750GB. Power consumption according to more people who have done this (I've always just gone option 2) is that it is negligible in terms of battery life.

    2. Large SSD. 1TB. I've purchased a few of these for people and it is awesome. The speed and the storage size. Highly recommended. Now, you'd be throwing more money into this older computer though, so that's a point of contention. But in my opinion, going SSD, with the upgraded RAM, will make you feel like you have a new computer. At least for a while.
  4. applemac-repairs macrumors newbie


    Jan 2, 2016
    Usually no matter what any website says, I would recommend checking the Apple website for memory upgrades.
    If they say it can be done then you have no problem whatsoever.
  5. Tbone17 thread starter macrumors member

    Jan 6, 2010
    I can't find it on apples site but seem to remember that they said 8GB max for ram. But OWC has tested and it seems people are having no problems running 16GB ram.

    Easiest solution for storage would be a bigger HDD, OWC has 1TB and 2TB drives. Is there any downside to a big HDD? I know SSD is faster but also have to think about cost.

    I also realized that I still need an optical drive for the occasional use. External optical drives are about $30-50
  6. chipchen macrumors 6502

    Oct 30, 2002
    Apple doesn't list the 16GB because it wasn't available when the computer was released. OWC has tested it. I forget the model year, but there was at least one model year it didn't work with because of the motherboard.
  7. Tbone17 thread starter macrumors member

    Jan 6, 2010
    I checked the model on mine and it's on the list of units it will work with at OWC.

    I think I'll go for 16GB, can't hurt and faster is always nice.

    Just can't decide on the HDD now.
    I know at least 32mb cache but what about rpm? 5400 or 7200?
    --- Post Merged, Mar 8, 2016 ---
    Somewhat narrowed it down to these drives.



  8. glenthompson macrumors 68000


    Apr 27, 2011
    Anytime you're upgrading the disk drive you should consider a SSD. 2TB drive are still pretty pricey - Samsung 850 EVO is currently $650 on Amazon. 1TB is $308 and 500gb is $150. If you need lots of portable space put a 1tb spinning drive in the superdrive slot and replace the main drive with a 500gb or 1tb SSD. Makes a huge difference in performance.

    8gb is normally sufficient memory when running typical Mac apps. If you run virtual machines or edit videos or other high memory apps then the 16gb is needed.
  9. chipchen macrumors 6502

    Oct 30, 2002
    The price difference between 8GB and 16GB is so negligible right now there's no reason not to get 16GB.

    Seriously though, get an SSD. It's is NIGHT AND DAY difference. If for some reason you want to punish yourself with another regular hard drive... don't even think about 5400rpm unless you really enjoy pain.
  10. Tbone17, Mar 8, 2016
    Last edited: Mar 8, 2016

    Tbone17 thread starter macrumors member

    Jan 6, 2010
    I have no doubt that ssd would be an improvement but with a big ssd and memory upgrade I'm near half the cost of a whole new laptop. Granted, the new one wouldn't have the storage I'm looking for but would be all new.

    For now I just need more storage without breaking the bank. An HDD upgrade is needed and the ram upgrade is an extra while I'm in there. I don't really have any complaints about the current performance though I'm sure the new ones would be faster.

    Maybe I should just upgrade the HDD and leave the rest alone, save the money for an SSD upgrade when I eventually replace the whole machine
  11. chipchen macrumors 6502

    Oct 30, 2002
    See, I would disagree with being halfway to a new laptop. You could also say you'd be all the way to a new laptop when talking about cheap Windows laptops. But you can't really compare it until it would actually make a sensible replacement for what you have. In this case, you'd be looking at a MacBook Pro 13" Retina with 1TB storage. That's $2299.

    16GB RAM and a 1TB SSD is as cheap as under $300 total (plus tax).

    If you're happy with the performance, then a $60 1TB drive would be your cheapest route. But to be honest, I think in about six months to a year you'll be thinking about needing a new machine as newer apps need more resources. In my opinion, putting that $60 towards the $300 and pushing that time out further by maybe an additional year, while giving time for prices of integrated SSDs to fall, would be a better option.
  12. Tbone17 thread starter macrumors member

    Jan 6, 2010

    You've got some valid points there. I wasn't comparing systems with as much storage as I'd have if I upgrade the one I currently have.

    I might just wait and upgrade to SSD later down the road as it is still much cheaper than a complete replacement.

    I found the cost of 16GB RAM and 1TB SSD was around $450. Do you have links to the RAM and SSD under $300?

    Looking at the SSD I see that there's 3GB/s and 6GB/s. I'm assuming that the 6GB/s would be better?
  13. robvas macrumors 68030

    Mar 29, 2009
    3Gb/s SSD's are SATA II which haven't been made in years. Go with a Samsung SSD. That year of MacBook has issues with the Sandforce-based drives.

    NewEgg has a 1TB Samsung 850 for $300 and 16GB of G.Skill RAM for $67
  14. Tbone17 thread starter macrumors member

    Jan 6, 2010
    Thanks for the info, I'll look up the Samsung
    --- Post Merged, Mar 9, 2016 ---
    I think I'll wait a while and then get a samsung 1TB SSD and the 16GB RAM rather than getting an HDD right now. Doesn't seem like it's worth it, less price difference than I originally thought.

    Thanks everyone for the advice and info.
  15. chipchen macrumors 6502

    Oct 30, 2002
  16. gngan macrumors 68000


    Jan 1, 2009
    Just go with dual HDD (look at my signature). It's best of three world (speed + storage + cost).
  17. Tbone17 thread starter macrumors member

    Jan 6, 2010
    Been dragging my heels but it's time to do this upgrade.
    Is this still the best option?
    The RAM seems like a good deal but am considering the 1TB/2TB options


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