New MBP: Solid state drive OR Processor/RAM upgrade?

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by missedertee, Dec 12, 2009.

  1. missedertee macrumors newbie

    Dec 12, 2009
    Hi, I'm getting a new macbook pro (most likely 13") and am trying to figure out whether to spend extra cash on a faster processor and more memory OR the solid state drive.

    Upgrading to the 2.53 GHz processor and 4gigs of RAM adds an extra $300, while getting the smaller (128GB) solid state drive is $400.

    Which will result in better day-to-day performance? Does the solid state drive last much longer, or is just less likely to fail?

    My computing needs are not very intense. Mainly browsing, word processing and video watching -- with occasional audio editing and DJing. I had an older, pre-unibody MBP until recently, and that suited my needs just fine.

    Thanks for your help!
  2. ucfgrad93 macrumors P6


    Aug 17, 2007
    I would go for the faster processor and more RAM. It makes the computer more future-proof and you will have a bigger harddrive as well.
  3. TuffLuffJimmy macrumors G3


    Apr 6, 2007
    Portland, OR
    I vote the SSD. I went to the Apple store yesterday and started playing with one of the Airs. I was amazed at how fast the apps launched and confused since I have the new 2.8GHz Macbook Pro and it isn't as fluid and responsive as the Air I was playing it. Then I figured out that it was because it had an SSD drive.

    So the SSD is nice IF you either don't have a lot of content (music, movies, etc.) or are willing to carry around a portable FW800 drive with you when you go anywhere. And the SSD won't fail like a regular hard disk. It will be one of the longer lasting components on your computer, where a traditional hard disk will be the first to go (maybe after the optical drive).

    The faster processor is an absolute waste of money. You will not notice the minor bump at all. At all. And RAM is cheap and prices will continue to drop, just get more RAM if you feel the need for it, which I doubt since 2GB is more than enough to all "normal" computing tasks.
  4. srs5020 macrumors newbie


    Nov 12, 2009
    do the better ram/processor. the price of ssd's will continue to fall and be a better price. while 4gb ram will run you less than $100 on crucial, the processor is not something that is consumer replaceable. buy a 500gb 7200 rpm drive from best buy for $100 and stick with that until ssd's are about the same price in a year or so.
  5. TuffLuffJimmy macrumors G3


    Apr 6, 2007
    Portland, OR
    SSDs will be no where near the same price as hard disks in a year.

    SSD prices:
    80GB ~ $300
    160GB ~ $550
    30GB ~ $130
    128GB ~ $400

    Especially considering regular hard disks can be had for nearly ten cents per gigabyte.
  6. Eraserhead macrumors G4


    Nov 3, 2005
    Is the extra speed you get on the faster processor even worthwhile?

    In everyday usage I can't tell the difference between my 2.4Ghz Core 2 Duo MacBook Rev D and the 2Ghz Core Duo MacBook Rev A it replaced.
  7. TuffLuffJimmy macrumors G3


    Apr 6, 2007
    Portland, OR
    Not at all. Processor speed bumps are somewhat expensive and not worth it. You get nearly zero bang for you buck.
  8. dwsolberg macrumors 6502a

    Dec 17, 2003

    Realize that you're starting with a very fast computer for what you want, so upgrading might not be necessary. However, upgrades in order of importance are:

    1. RAM - go to 4 GB. This is both cheap and often has a big effect.

    2. Hard Drive - upgrade to 500 GB even if you don't need the room because this makes it faster because hard drives get slower as they fill up. If you want super fast and have limited space needs, get an Intel SSD or another proven fast SSD. Don't get one that stutters because that will make things SLOWER than a regular hard drive in many cases.

    3. Processor - don't bother upgrading this. It basically makes no difference for anything you want to do because the minimum processor on MacBook Pros is already very fast, and processors rarely run at 100%.
  9. bentmywookie macrumors regular

    Nov 6, 2002
    Palo Alto
    Just to echo the sentiments above:

    1) Definitely make sure the RAM is at least 4 gigs (I think that's a pretty cheap upgrade nowadays).

    2) Doubt any processor upgrade is worth it

    3) SSD is a good upgrade but don't pay for it from Apple - order it with a the non-SSD disk and install an Intel X25-M G2 (Generation 2) - they come in 80 and 160 gigs right now for about $250 and $500 respectively. These are also bound to drop if you don't mind waiting to do this upgrade. I have one of these on order for my machine because the feedback on this upgrade seems to be so unanimous that it really makes the machines much more responsive.

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