RAM and HDD advice needed

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by Keifla, May 14, 2009.

  1. Keifla macrumors newbie

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    May 14, 2009
    #1
    Hi, I've read a fair bit on these forums over the past few days and am pretty confused to be honest. Basically I'm looking for my MacBook Pro to be faster and be able to store a lot more stuff. I have a 2Ghz Intel Core Duo with 1Gb 667Mhz memory. I run PS and may run some sort of music editing/recording prog off it too in the future.

    In regards to RAM, the more the faster yes? I heard that 2x1Gb is the most my laptop will take. Is this correct? Both chips need to be identical I read. What is the best configuration/company/chips to go for?

    In terms of an HDD, I'm not sure whether to go internal or external. What are the pros/cons of using them? I first looked at WD's passport external 500Gb drives http://www.wdc.com/en/products/Products.asp?DriveID=569 but then looked at the Caviar Black http://www.wdc.com/en/products/products.asp?driveid=488 1Tb internal drive. What are the issues of going internal or external?

    I've seen RAID mentioned a lot, what is it, and is it relevant to home use? I presume not from what little I understand.

    I'd appreciate any constructive help anyone can offer, even if it's a link to somewhere I can read up more.

    Many thanks,

    a confused potential buyer...
     
  2. spinnerlys Guest

    spinnerlys

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    #2
    1. Maximum RAM depends on the model of MBP you have. Only the early models could take 2GB at maximum. In the last years, they can take up to 4GB.
    You can take a look here, if you're not sure or use the " :apple: > About This Mac > More Info" feature.

    About the thing, that you can only use matched sticks (2x1GB):
    not true, you can use RAM sticks like you want, but matched pair will give you a slight speed performance.


    2. The 1TB hard drive you're linking to is for desktop computers and is 3.5" in size. You need a 2.5" drive, and currently the biggest has 500GB.
     
  3. Keifla thread starter macrumors newbie

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    May 14, 2009
    #3


    I think I have the early model. Model Identifier : "MacBookPro1,1".

    Ah, OK. Well, there is the Scorpio Blue 500Gb
    http://www.wdc.com/en/products/products.asp?driveid=506
    and the Scorpio Black 320Gb
    http://www.wdc.com/en/products/Products.asp?DriveID=482

    What is the difference between the different interfaces? Is that the 'buffer to host'? The buffer being the place where it stores information that it thinks you'll use more frequently to decrease the seek times?

    Also, the Blue rotates at 5,400RPM whereas the Black rotates at 7,200RPM but the seek times are identical, as are the latency ones? What is the difference practically between these two drives?
     
  4. spinnerlys Guest

    spinnerlys

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    #4
    You have a MBP, that can only have 2GB of RAM at maximum (according to everymac and Apple and MacTracker).

    What do you mean about the different interfaces regarding the HDDs?

    Both have a SATA 3Gb/s interface, which is backwards compatible to SATA 1.Gb/s (the interface your MBP has for HDDs, the Superdrive uses U-ATA).

    As the 5400 RPM 500GB drive has more density on its platters as an equivalent (5400 RPM) 320GB drive, the 500GB drive may be as fast as a 7200 RPM 320GB drive, which could explain the latency.

    About the "buffer size": http://www.storagereview.com/guide2000/ref/hdd/perf/perf/spec/otherCache.html
     
  5. Keifla thread starter macrumors newbie

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    May 14, 2009
    #5
    Ah, thanks for the link, it's got a lot of interesting stuff there. It's cleared up a few things already :) What is U-ATA and how does it compare to SATA? Couldn't find anything to define it, although I found someone called Veronica Uata from UT lol!

    My main aim is to speed up my PS use (which btw, takes about 5 mins to load :confused:, it's CS2). I was originally thinking about getting an external HDD to keep the images and iTunes files etc on to save the Mac HDD for applications. I presume it would be slower when you're actually working on the files from an external drive though, which is when I started looking at internal drives.
     
  6. spinnerlys Guest

    spinnerlys

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    #6
    U-ATA is another word for P-ATA, which is the old IDE interface, so it's slow compared to S-ATA. (66Mbit/s versus 1.5Gbit/s transfer rate)

    And CS2 taking 5mins to load is quite strange, even on my old iBook G4 CS3 took less than a minute to start, and the HDD was short before dying too.
     
  7. J&JPolangin macrumors 68030

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    Thule GL @ the TOW
    #7
    ...well, the nice thing about the RAM upgrade is that 1GB or 2x1GB kits are very cheap so if you don't like the performance increase you haven't wasted much $$
     
  8. bjorn989 macrumors member

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    Aug 8, 2008
    #8
    I was under the impression that CS2 was not universal binary and therefore didn't work as well on the Intel machines as on Power PC. I think Adobe changed this in CS3/4. You might find that you will get a speed upgrade if you upgrade your software. Might sound counter-intuitive, but it is probably worth a shot if you upgrade and don't find any significant boost.
     
  9. Keifla thread starter macrumors newbie

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    May 14, 2009
    #9
    And there's no way to improve this short of getting a newer machine?

    Hmmm, I'd try it but I'm not floating in cash at the moment. Interesting. Thanks though.
     
  10. bjorn989 macrumors member

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    Aug 8, 2008
    #10
    Yeah, I don't know that much about these things, it was just something I read somewhere. Maybe one of the better informed members might be able to enlighten you.

    I would look at freeing up some space on your hard drive before doing anything like buying an expensive software suite, just to see if it has any effect. Or preferably upgrading the internal hard drive to the biggest you can afford.

    BTW, how much free space do you currently have on your hard drive? That may be a contributing factor to slowing your computer down.

    Just a thought.
     
  11. bigdaddyp macrumors regular

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    Aug 19, 2008
    #11
    Just wanted to share my experience.

    I recently upgraded a mac mini 1.8 ghz core duo's hard drive from the stock 120gb ish (don't remember exact size) with a WD 500 gb 5200 rpm drive. The difference this has made to that machine is staggering. In everyday use such as ripping a dvd, etc it is every bit as fast as my ole whitey 2.16 ghz imac. Only when doing a processor intensive task such as converting a dvd to mp4 do I see a performance drop off compared to ole whitey. I was going to get the 7200 rpm version of this drive but it was hard to find, and with data density of the 500 gb drive I am not sure if 7200 rpm is worth the extra noise and heat and vibration for the small performance boost you would get. So in conclusion with a 500 gb 2.5 inch 5200 rpm drive with 16 mb cache you should see a pretty good boost in performance imho.

    Edit: The drive I put in the mini is actually a 5200 rpm seagate momentus and has 8mb of cache the wd I used in another project.
     
  12. Keifla thread starter macrumors newbie

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    May 14, 2009
    #12
    I have around 44Gb left. Most of the space is taken up by hi-res images and mp3s.

    Thanks for your input bigdaddyp :) I hope I get a decent improvement. How much RAM did you have in your Mini? Thinking of upgrading that at the same time.
     
  13. clyde2801 macrumors 601

    clyde2801

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    #13
    1. Replace the ram with the 2 gb max it will take. DDR2 is so cheap right now, there is no reason not to.

    2. You'll also likely tell a difference between a replacement hard drive and the one you've got now. The original apple drives always seemed slow to me. Get the biggest, fastest drive you can afford.

    3. Go online and find a nice guide to maximizing performance under osx. They'll suggest things like downloading onyx and doing maintenance scripts and turning off as much of the eye candy you can to get the most out of your machine.

    Then use the machine until it no longer can do what you need it to do. If you can spend $150 or $200 to get another year or two of use out of your machine, you'll be money ahead in the long run.
     
  14. bigdaddyp macrumors regular

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    Aug 19, 2008
    #14
    I have 2 gigs of ram in it. I usually only run through all of the available ram after running transmission for 2-3 days non stop. I just reboot it twice a week to keep it running in tip top shape.
     
  15. Keifla thread starter macrumors newbie

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    May 14, 2009
    #15
    How do you find out when you run thru the available RAM? Is there an app or widget for this?
     
  16. Keifla thread starter macrumors newbie

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    May 14, 2009
    #17
  17. spinnerlys Guest

    spinnerlys

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    #18
    Seems to be the right RAM.

    200-pin PC2-5300 (667MHz) DDR2 SO-DIMM
     

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