Pulling the Trigger: Final Advice

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by madonionrings, May 8, 2011.

  1. madonionrings macrumors member

    Jun 10, 2007
    So I am pulling the trigger on ordering a new 17 MBP and have a couple of questions before I finalize it. I will use this rig primarily for After Effects, Cinema 4D, Final Cut Pro, Photoshop, and illustrator. My main concern would be the performance throughout After Effects and Cinema 4D as they are the most taxing on the system.

    First of all, what is the consensus on the SSD? Order the BTO for $90 or use money after the fact?

    Is the 2.3 with the extra cache worth the upgrade? Keep in mind I intend on using a SSD so hopefully the HDD will not be the main bottleneck. Does anyone have some After Effects benchmarks between the 2.2 and the 2.3?

    If I order through Apple to get the CPU upgrade, should I just bite the bullet on the RAM upgrade? Is there another solution to sell back the 4 gigs and trade in for 8?

    Finally, does anyone have a suggestion for a tax free online store? Right now it seems my best option would be through Apples Education store but it would be nice to go a tax free route instead.

    Thanks in advance.
  2. Just "Vinnie" macrumors member

    May 5, 2011
    Can't help on the MBP17 specs... don't have one.

    If you're not from NY then B&H gives a good price, no sales tax, free shipping plus a free copy of Parallels. Keep in mind though that like most resellers their BTO options are limited to mainly RAM upgrades. (They're RAM upgrade is wrong under the accessories tab I think, you'll have to call them for 8GB but they will put it in for a small charge.)
  3. gorskiegangsta macrumors 65816


    Mar 13, 2011
    Brooklyn, NY
    Don't get the 8gb RAM upgrade from Apple, get one from Newegg for like $85. If 128gb SSD is enough for you then I would get the upgrade from Apple for $100, rather than spending $200+; if you want a higher capacity SSD, then get one from Newegg and use the stock HDD in an optibay for extra storage. As for the CPU upgrade, honestly, the relatively "minuscule" boost in performance doesn't justify the $250 price. I would save that money and opt for a higher capacity SSD.
  4. stevemiller macrumors 68000

    Oct 27, 2008
    i'm interested to hear more input as i'm in the same boat as madonionrings, looking to get one of the new mbp's primarily for animation and motion graphics, and wondering what configuration is optimal for that type of usage.

    there's lots of talk about ssd's being awesome for startup, shutdown, and launching programs, but realistically i was never spending much time doing those things in the first place. i'm interested in what hardware will actually cut down the time for rendering, or making the interface more responsive when working on a complex project. i admittedly don't know that much about ssds so maybe they do end up impacting this, although in practice you're working off fw800 drives anyway, so i can't see how the ssd would make a difference in that regard.

    anyway, always happy to learn!
  5. Zeroh macrumors member

    Apr 29, 2011
    I'm gonna be using the exact same programs and in the same sorta perdiciment but going for 15" high end
  6. Young Spade macrumors 68020

    Mar 31, 2011
    Tallahassee, Florida
    Well to comment on this, I think the higher speed the device is that actually stores your information is going to give you better results. If you opt for the SSD to store your files used for editing on, that's great and you'll get great speeds, however the size limitations might be a bother for you. If you're working on a lot of video projects at a time, the size of the collective groups of files will really eat away at the space along with the things you have on the computer that aren't for work.

    Consumption and usage wise, I guess I could say I'm somewhat of an "average" consumer and right now I only have 11.6 gigs of storage left on my computer and I have an upgraded 320gb harddrive. Of course getting an external HDD to transfer the files when you aren't using them will work but it will take some time and a little bit of extra spending to be able to house the files then transfer (and wait for the transfer) of gigs of media.

    I hear a lot of people get great results though when they use a high RPM harddrive for storage and load the OS and other things on a SSD and stick that in the optical drive space. That's definitely a road you might want to research and see if you like. Of course I don't have experience with SSDs and you are going to have to be incredibly lucky to find someone who can give you an accurate comparison from experience.

    Good luck :)
  7. TenderBranson macrumors member

    Aug 9, 2003
    Supposedly the OWC SSD's are in some cases 2x as fast as Apples.
  8. Uffish Thought macrumors member

    Apr 10, 2011
    2.2GHz vs 2.3GHz Quad core i7

    During Handbrake encoding of the same movie, I saw about a 3% increase in performance, as measured by fps and total time, compared to a 2.2GHz processor.

    Probably not worth the expense for most people.
  9. madonionrings thread starter macrumors member

    Jun 10, 2007
    So it sounds like the 2.3 upgrade is out. Even though it might help speed up my overall rendering in AE from say 2 hours to 1 hour and 45 min for a given project, unless the extra 2MB of cache is going to help speed up scrubbing / preview render then its not worth it IMHO. Anyone have thoughts on this assessment or experience in AE with both?

    Given that fact, the best bet might be to use the funds saved from processor upgrade for half of the Vertex 3 256 gig SSD from another reseller. Would splurging for this specific drive really be necessary or is there another recommended drive which would be comparable and around the $250 range?
  10. SpitUK macrumors 6502


    Mar 5, 2010
    East Yorkshire, UK
    I have the 17" Matte, 2.3GHz MBP and I upgraded it myself with 8Gb Kingston 1600MHz RAM and a 240Gb Vertex 3.

    If you have the money and can use the speed then this configuration will not let you down. Very fast and very quiet.
  11. djrobsd macrumors 6502a

    May 2, 2008

    I think SSD is your best bet for performance gains. Most of a computer's bottleneck lies in the disk i/o, not in the CPU. Platter based hard drives maxed out on their possible performance years ago and have not seen any improvements sense.

    The new thunderbolt hard drives that come out will mainly be SSD because most hard drive companies are smart and realize they will have to field thousands of support requests asking them "why is my new thunderbolt external hard drive not much faster then my old usb 2.0 one was??" Answer? Because it's on a spindle drive, not an ssd and USB 2.0 already can use almost the max of a spindle drive.

    With regards to buying the more expensive CPU, I think it's a waste of money. Check out the Geek Bench results:


    The sweet spot comes with the 15 inch Macbook Pro with the core i5 2.0ghz... 8800...

    Moving to the 2.3 only ups you to 9600.

    And on the 17 inch model... the 2.2 gives you 10026 and the 2.3 gives you 10164. Definitely not worth the extra $$$$ on the 17 inch model.. Debatable on the 15 inch. ;)
  12. QuarterSwede macrumors G3


    Oct 1, 2005
    Colorado Springs, CO
    SSD will easily give you the biggest speed boost. It's amazing how much faster the system is with them even on older hardware.
  13. stevemiller macrumors 68000

    Oct 27, 2008
    don't get me wrong, i'm very tempted by the whole ssd thing, but realistically i'm only ever going to be able to get one large enough to fit my system and applications.

    at work, we can easily fill a 1tb hard drive with footage from a shoot (and thats just one of potentially several projects that might be worked on at a given time), so the actual data will always live on fw800 externals. so my concern is that many of the testimonials about ssd performance are assuming you can store all your data on that drive as well, which in practice people doing lots of media heavy work probably can't do. having after effects launch immediately vs. 5 bounces in the dock isn't a large part of my day, but scrubbing timelines and waiting for renders are, and my intuition is that those things are always going to be constrained by the slowest link in the chain, which will still be accessing media from externals.

    does anyone with experience in those types of workflows have advice on ssds? (i imagine heavy photographers would also be in a similar boat)

    oh one other question, i'm rocking a first gen unibody mbp right now, and i'm quite comfortable swapping ram, but i've never had to do anything to the hard drive. how savvy must one be to slip in an 3rd party ssd in the 2011 mbps? (read: i wouldn't trust myself to reapply any thermal paste or install an optibay or any of that type of stuff)

  14. iSavant macrumors regular

    Mar 31, 2007
    Easy, Peasy... Srsly!

    Even the little paper "Everything Mac" booklet that comes with the MacBook Pro covers it step by step.... not many steps.

    Watching the videos at Macsales/OWC would help alleviate any doubt about your ability to make the upgrade.

    Good luck with your decision!

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