More RAM or faster hard drive to improve performance?

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by wickedking94, Mar 9, 2012.

  1. wickedking94 macrumors 6502

    Apr 27, 2010
    I'm looking to boost the performance of my mid 2010 MacBook Pro so I can render in Maya faster. My current configuration is:
    2.4Ghz Core 2 Duo
    GeForce 320M
    320GB 5400 RPM HDD
    4GB DDR3 RAM
    Mac os 10.6.8

    Would I get better performance from upgrading the RAM to 8GB or upgrading the HDD to a 7200 RPM one?

    Doing both really isn't an option, thanks!
  2. simsaladimbamba

    Nov 28, 2010
    RAM will probably more help than a 7,200 RPM HDD. Or you could get an SSD, and OptiBay adapter and more RAM.
    Btw, is your Maya version 64-bit?

    MacBook, MacBook Pro: Replacing the Hard Disk Drive, transferring data to the new HDD

    the guide includes:
    • 0. Identify your MacBook or MacBook Pro
    • 1. Getting a new HDD
    • 2. Guides to replace the internal HDD with a newer one
    • 3. Transferring data from the old HDD to the new HDD
    • 4. Using the optical disk drive (ODD) slot for placing an SSD or HDD inside the MB/P (OPTIBAY)

  3. robvas macrumors 68030

    Mar 29, 2009
    You'll get the most improvement from a quad-core i7
  4. wickedking94 thread starter macrumors 6502

    Apr 27, 2010
    I can't exactly replace the CPU in a macbook pro nor can I afford a new CPU anyway.


    Thanks for your reply. First, I can't afford an SSD, I'm trying to get the best out of a limited budget upgrade, and second as much as the OptiBay adapter looks cool I use my Optical drive a lot so I really dont want to replace it.

    My Maya version is 64-bit I checked it in activity monitor. And after looking at activity monitor I think RAM is a good idea to because when I render a frame it takes about 1GB out of 4GB so i think it might be putting a lot to virtual memory and slowing it down considerably.
  5. outz macrumors 6502

    Jul 17, 2007
    yeah, i'd def go with ram. i bumped my mbp to 8GB of crucial for around $40
  6. iRooney macrumors 6502


    Jul 14, 2011
    Charleston, SC
    I bumped my white MacBook from 2 to 4 gigs for $25. Next step is an ssd but that's a pricier upgrade.
  7. wickedking94 thread starter macrumors 6502

    Apr 27, 2010
    Funny enough I'm getting two 4GB Crucial sticks for 40$ :)
  8. Blue604 macrumors regular

    Mar 6, 2012
    RAM are so cheap right now. I just got 8GB of Crucial rams here in Canada for $40 plus tax. You made the right choice. HD now is a lot more expensive due to thai flooding.
  9. mikethebigo macrumors 68000

    May 25, 2009
    I made the jump from 4 to 8 GB RAM on my 13 MBP and the difference is large and noticeable. What will happen is you'll still have slower load times than with an SSD when opening an app the first time after a boot. After that though, I don't experience any page-outs, and every program is stored in inactive memory until called upon again. This means that I can multitask and task switch at really high speeds and it's great.

    RAM is so much cheaper than an SSD, and SSDs still have some reliability issues, and the RAM upgrade does noticeably improve performance.
  10. AdrianK macrumors 68020

    Feb 19, 2011

    More RAM is always a good idea and I'd suggest the bump to 8GB, just don't expect CPU bound tasks to improve because of it.
  11. And1ss macrumors 6502a


    Oct 20, 2009
    I think this person is implying upgrading your computer. haha
  12. wickedking94 thread starter macrumors 6502

    Apr 27, 2010
    Yeah well thats extremely out of my price range for now :)
    As soon as I can I'm going to buy a fully loaded 27" iMac for my animation stuff.
  13. Blue604, Mar 10, 2012
    Last edited: Mar 10, 2012

    Blue604 macrumors regular

    Mar 6, 2012
    Agreed. I was happy with my 2009 Macbook pro 13", except for working in aperture. I have around 27,000 photos, and it shows beachball a lot when I was just browsing my photos. I was thinking about spending a lot to get 512GB SSD, but I just did the 4GB to 8GB Ram upgrade, and no more beachball in aperture! Cost me $45 with tax for 8GB of ram. Now even in iMovie is pretty smooth too!

    Btw, I upgraded my stock 250GB 5400rpm HD to 500GB 7200rpm one a year ago due to harddrive failure. And the difference wasn't as noticeable as the Ram upgrade this time.
  14. GunsUp macrumors member

    Jan 4, 2012
    Kansas City, Missouri
    I have 8 gig (2x4gig) from my 17" 2011 i7 Macbook Pro - Will that work? If it does, can you pay shipping thats it and ill ship you the 8 gig no other charges needed, are you in the USA? and i understand not having allot of money to spend, took me while to get my mbp so i would like to help
  15. throAU macrumors 601


    Feb 13, 2012
    Perth, Western Australia
    Depends what you're doing, but if it is typical home user stuff, you won't.

    Email, web browsing, system startup, etc - the MBP in my sig is slower than the MBA in my sig.

    Depends on your workload, but order would be SSD, RAM and then CPU for performance.

    If you're running CPU heavy apps, CPU may make a heap of difference, but most people aren't. My MBP only comes into its own when video encoding and gaming.
  16. Zwhaler macrumors 604


    Jun 10, 2006
    The 4 to 8GB RAM upgrade in my 2010 2.66GHz i7 MacBook Pro helped a lot with video editing and I'm sure you'll benefit as well.
  17. robvas macrumors 68030

    Mar 29, 2009
    Did you read the first post in this thread? He's looking to speed up rendering in Maya.

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