Ram & SSD upgrades. MB Pro 5.5

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by skylinez, May 21, 2013.

  1. skylinez macrumors newbie

    May 21, 2013
    Hey, this is my first post here - I have been using a MacBook Pro since 2010ish, I have the 5.5 model. I have Intel Core 2 Duo Processor, with 2 gigs of ram. I have 160gb of storage.

    I use my computer on a daily basis, for Web Design/Development, DJing, and Schoolwork (college).

    I do not have the money to upgrade to a better, more powerful macbook. I do have the money to make some upgrades to my Mac:

    - In terms of upgrading memory, 8gb is my capacity - is this overkill? or is 4gb enough?

    -I have almost 80gb on my hard drive as music. If I move this to an external drive, will it increase performance? For DJing, will it operate the same when playing music off an external drive instead of on the internal drive

    -What are your thoughts on Solid State Drives?

    The final question I will ask the good people here: If you were in my position, what is the best way of upgrading my MacBook Pro - that I will be able to work efficiently without problems for the next couple years. I can spend about $150 every other month on upgrades.
  2. Pearl Wisdom macrumors member

    Sep 25, 2009
    I've recently done similar upgrades. If you have been encountering spinning beach balls and other such pauses that indicate you are swapping memory to and from disk, then I would do the upgrade to 8 GB RAM first. In my usage pattern, particularly having many multi-tabbed Safari windows open, I find that I needed the 8 GB. I think it is better to just go to the 8 GB rather than 4 GB which might not be quite enough. Of course, you should also use the Activity Monitor to check how much free memory you have and how much swap you are using - that should give you a good indication of how useful the memory upgrade will be.

    Moving the music to an external HD would not make much performance difference unless you have less than 10 GB of free disk space on a spinning disk drive (wouldn't make a difference for an SSD where fragmentation is not an issue). Again, the Activity Monitor can also tell you about free disk space.

    Getting an SSD will make your laptop run snappier and smoother, but probably you should upgrade the RAM first. The SSD will be more reliable too.

    If you make these upgrades, you will probably be happy with your MacBook Pro for another year or two at least.
  3. erikjorg macrumors newbie

    Feb 19, 2013
    SSD and Ram upgrades

    I fully support "Pearl Wisdom's" Reply.
    Having just done an upgrade to my Mac with an SSD and maxing the Ram, I can't believe the improvement in speed (superfast startup) and performance.
    I have always used the maximum ram I could fit (ram is cheap) and now that SSD's are getting less expensive I firmly believe that an upgrade like this will make both you and your wallet very happy.
  4. designs216 macrumors 65816


    Oct 26, 2009
    Down the rabbit hole
    I have the C2D from '09 and the RAM + SSD upgrade was cheaper than replacing the machine and will make my MBP snappy again for the next several years. Seems like a worthy investment.

    Interestingly enough, both upgrades are Crucial. The Memory Advisor on the home page is awesome, and the SSD is the 245GB m4.
  5. jg321 macrumors 6502

    Aug 29, 2012
    Agreed with everything here. 8GB RAM and an SSD will make it much more usable. Once you go SSD you'll never want to go back.

    I don't like external drives for day-to-day use. Mine is used as a TM backup, and an archive for old media that I don't mind losing if the drive fails. External drive would maybe sit better with me if I had USB3 I guess, and didn't have the option of moving the machine from my desk, but I just like all my data being in one place, especially for ease of backups.
  6. glenthompson macrumors 68000


    Apr 27, 2011
    I agree with this. Much better idea to upgrade your internal drive than use an external for day to day use. The only thing I store externally is backups and media files (I converted all my CDs and DVDs to digital and it's over 1 TB.)

    Upgrade memory first as it's cheaper and usually the main bottleneck. When you can afford it, get an SSD - you don't need a high end model.
  7. LaunchpadBS macrumors 6502a

    Nov 11, 2008
    If I were you, and this is just my opinion cause you asked, I would save that $150 pm for the next 5-6 months, sell my MBP and buy a refurbished MBP, no upgrades needed and you'll get a few more years use without the need to upgrade.

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