Minor upgrades - SSD or RAM?

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by Damers, Jul 7, 2011.

  1. Damers macrumors regular

    Jun 2, 2010
    Here's my little dilemma, I've got a 13" MBP 7,1 (mid 2010) all stock (250GB HDD 4GB RAM) that I'm completely happy with as is. For some reason, possibly due to boredom or just being a geek, I feel compelled to perform a little upgrade on my laptop.

    I've been eying SSD's for a while now but weary about buying one because of their price/GB and whole TRIM debate with SL and Lion. I still have plenty of room on my HDD, I also have an external that I keep most of my data on, so I could get away with a 120GB or even a 80GB SSD. I was also considering a memory upgrade from 4GB to 8GB since ram is cheap (?) at the moment and more ram is always a good idea.

    I'm a senior in college majoring in physics so I tend to use my mac for programming, analysis, papers, some games (steam!), heavy multi-tasking, internet...etc. Not so heavy on the media editing however. The near future looks to be grad school so my usage won't change too much in the coming years. Mostly likely won't upgrade my laptop for another 2 years at the earliest.

    So, SSD, RAM or pay a little extra off my student loan :eek:.

  2. 03jcrhr macrumors member

    Jun 8, 2011
    I am in pretty much the same condition (same MBP 13' 2010).

    I think I am going with Crucial for the RAM (unless anyone knows somewhere cheaper) but am undecided for the SSD. I think it will either be an Intel 320 series 160 GB or a Crucial, not sure which one...

    Does anyone have any tips, the more I look into it the more confused I get.
  3. blackhand1001 macrumors 68030


    Jan 6, 2009
    SKip the ram, going from 4gb to 8gb does nothing, I have done this on pc's and macs. Installing an ssd will however give you a GIGANTIC performance boost.
  4. Panch0 macrumors 6502a

    Feb 23, 2010
    SSD all the way. It's a night and day difference going from a mechanical drive to an SSD. I have an Intel 160GB X25-M (Second gen) SSD, which has always worked great.

    I did the 4GB -> 8GB RAM upgrade as well, but I use Virtual Machines pretty often. When not running a VM, there is no discernible change from 4GB RAM.
  5. soLoredd macrumors 6502a

    Mar 12, 2007
    I have a question regarding power consumption for SSD: on it's own, the SSD has less power usage (critical for laptops). However, what happens if you do the optibay mod and stick a HDD in there? Is the HDD only powered when needed (read/write) or is it always on?

    I'm wanting to go SSD also but I'd like to have all the info I can before I do it. I'm debating whether to go SSD for the OS and then HDD for the data or just shelling out for the biggest SSD I can afford.
  6. rmb7984 macrumors regular


    Apr 1, 2008
    Tampa, FL
    I agree with all the other replies. I went SSD about 2 months ago and will never look back. It's by far the best upgrade you can do on a computer for improving day to day computing. Everything is ridiculously fast.
  7. Orlandoech macrumors 68040


    Jun 2, 2011
    Salt Lake City, UT
    Definitely SSD over RAM if having to chose just one over the other.
  8. lukekarts macrumors regular

    Mar 16, 2009
    Another vote for the SSD from me. They're awesome.
  9. 03jcrhr macrumors member

    Jun 8, 2011
    Can anyone recommend an SSD for a 2010 MacBookPro - I am currently looking at either Intel or Crucial
  10. Damers thread starter macrumors regular

    Jun 2, 2010
    Alright, thanks guys, the consensus seems to be SSD. I'm with 03jcrhr though, the more I read up on SSD's the more mixed up I get. While I was on anandtech.com I had read that SSD's for mac's ideally should have a sandforce controller due to OS X lack of TRIM support. Supposedly since sandforce does some garbage collection in place of TRIM. Can anyone confirm this?

    I suppose what I don't understand is that most/all of the linux distro's like ubuntu or fedora support TRIM since it's been included in the latest kernal release. OS X is built on a unix platform so I'd assume that TRIM support would be included. I'm guessing it's a case of Apple choosing not to support non apple SSD's? Tbh this is what makes me a bit weary of SSD's.
  11. jschmitt macrumors member


    Jul 8, 2011
    I recently installed a SSD in a mid-2010 17inch MBP;
    I ended up researching quite a bit for this purchase; while the Intels are viewed by many as the top of the line, I kept coming back to the OCZs.

    I ended up getting a 160GB OCZ Agility 2;
    Available on Amazon right now for about $270

    <i thought it was a good compromise between size and price>

  12. flo.b macrumors newbie

    Jul 8, 2011

    Is ssd is still the way to go if your doing lots of graphics editing in Adobe Creative Suite and Final Cut Pro?
  13. ryanide macrumors 6502

    Jul 23, 2002
    OWC SSD for sure!

    The memory upgrade is minor in actual performance boosts compared to an SSD. I bought the Other Worlds Computing Extreme 3G SSD for my 2009 Macbook Pro and loved it so much that I just put one in my Mac Pro.

    In fact, I had previously upgraded the Mac Pro from 8GB ram to 16GB and saw almost no improvement. But the SSD is like night and day.

    Check out http://eshop.macsales.com/shop/SSD/OWC/

    They may be a little expensive, but worth the money and better than upgrading to a new machine.
  14. 03jcrhr macrumors member

    Jun 8, 2011
    I'm based in the UK and would rather not have to order from the US - at the moment an Intel 320 series is looking good (but a bit pricey), my only other option is Crucial.

    If anyone has any recommendations for me it would be extremely helpful
  15. MkNuII macrumors member

    Jul 12, 2011
    Similar Information in what concerns RAM

    Sorry to use this topic for my question but i think since it's around the same subject, i think it would be better not to create another topic about a similar subject :)

    I currently own a Macbook 13' (Late 2008) (Aluminum) with 2GB ram.

    I'm considering upgrading the ram of my mb.
    By reading topics around this MacRumors and the wiki guide it seems that probably 4GB is the best option (initially i was thinking if it 8GB was needed but it seems it's worthless to upgrade ram to 8GB and not have a SSD which is my case.)

    My objective is to work in Xcode/NetBeans/Eclipse or iPhoto/iMovie (depending on what i'm doing and ofc not all of them at the same time) and still be able to have Mail, Twitter, Adium, Skype, Safari, iCal, Preview, iTunes open at the same time and working smoothly. I occasionally use Virtualization.

    Currently every time i go from Preview (reading a PDF) to Safari opening a new tab it shows the rainbow circle (beach ball?).

    I'm also thinking in getting Lion which has 2GB minimum ram.

    But my question is:
    By upgrading my ram to 4GB will the performance of my laptop increase and i'll notice it in the tasks i perform up there?
  16. 03jcrhr macrumors member

    Jun 8, 2011
    Go with 4GB of RAM, I seem to remember thats the max that your MacBook can handle. Its cheaper than 8GB anyway and the difference from 4 to 8 is minimal.

    An a different note can anybody help me finally choose an SSD???
  17. jamisonbaines macrumors regular

    Dec 14, 2007
    If you're opening the computer to upgrade RAM you might as well go with 8 GB as it is very affordable (that is provided your computer will address 8 GB.)

    I have a 2011 MBP which replaced my old machine (which has SSD.) So I want an SSD but I'm stuck with not only the choice of Sandforce or TRIM but SATA II in optibay vs. SATA III. I'd like to do 8 GB RAM, SSD, larger HDD and optibay at the same time but there are a lot of variables to consider in finding the right combination first time around.
  18. MkNuII macrumors member

    Jul 12, 2011
    According to a EFI Firmware update, my MB now supports 8GB :p And i have a friend that has bought 8GB and it worked.

    Which place do you recommend for shipping ram (either 4GB or 8GB) ?

    I've looked into the MacRumors wiki and wander around Crucial and MacRamDirect, but most of the list seems directly at US so any good ideas for Europe? :)
  19. harrma macrumors newbie

    Jul 13, 2011
    My Intel Core Duo Mac Mini won't run Lion when it comes out and I have been seriously thinking about putting an SSD in it. There is no doubt that it would stop it being sluggish and probably make Lion go along quite nicely. The question I am asking myself though is whether I should just sell it on eBay and buy a new one. Is it really economical to upgrade? These things get good money on eBay. If you are going to open up your computer then I agree with other comments suggesting you should also upgrade the ram. For the mini you could also put a N wireless card in and even upgrade the processor. But if you add all that up you may as well just sell the thing on eBay and get a new one. I am of course assuming that a new Mac Mini is imminent and would have an SSD option which it does not at present.
  20. Scepticalscribe Contributor


    Jul 29, 2008
    The Far Horizon
    That would be my choice, too.

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