Seeking Recommendations: upgunning options for a 13" MBP

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by -hh, Oct 3, 2011.

  1. -hh macrumors 68020

    -hh

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2001
    Location:
    NJ Highlands, Earth
    #1
    Starting to deliberate a 13" MBP to replace a veritable 12" G4 Powerbook (honest, the Mrs. suggested it).

    Background: I already have a 2009 15" MBP (work) and have travelled with it enough to know that I want to go smaller...and the Mrs. is happy with her iPad-1. The home desktop Mac is an old G5 and will probably be upgraded "soon", so the application will mostly be a small but kick-butt personal photography machine.

    So what I'm looking for are recommendations for what cost-effective bumps should be considered for a 13" MBP.

    Here's my thoughts going in:

    • 13" MBP with the i7 CPU upgrade option ($1500 @ Apple Store)
    • 8GB RAM Upgrade ($70 @ OWC, etc)
    • SSD upgrade into the Optical Bay ($270 kit /bracket, 120GB SSD, etc)
    • external Optical drive (repackage of above or just a new one; ~$60)

    The basic configuration would be to use the SSD for 'core' stuff (OS, Apps) and the internal HDD as a bulk storage space to dumping a backup copy of my digital photos onto while I'm on the road ... as well as to do some "on the road" work on current projects. The home desktop will be the final repository for data.

    It would be 'nice to have' the entire machine on an SSD, but the above approach looks like it would keep the total price to <$2K.


    Thoughts? Other things to consider?

    -hh
     
  2. awer25 macrumors 65816

    awer25

    Joined:
    Apr 30, 2011
    #2
    1. Almost everyone agrees that the i7 isn't worth the extra money.
    2. Get an 8GB kit from Newegg - it's the same quality and $35-40
    3. SSD upgrade is a great upgrade...OWC is overpriced.
    4. Either get the MaxUpgrades.com enclosure that looks just like a Superdrive, or a new Asus drive from Newegg. Both are $25.
     
  3. Philflow macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    May 7, 2008
    #3
    I'd say Seagate Momentus XT 500GB + 8GB RAM are the most cost effective upgrades.
     
  4. danpass, Oct 3, 2011
    Last edited: Oct 3, 2011

    danpass macrumors 68020

    danpass

    Joined:
    Jun 27, 2009
    Location:
    Miami, FL
    #4
    the 8gb ram upgrade and the SSD. I went with the 2.7i7 because I also video edit but the i5 should be fine.

    Don't get the Air Superdrive, it works great for the Air but it won't work with the MBP (it didn't for me anyway). It should be called the Macbook Air ONLY* Superdrive lol

    Get a USB extension cable from monoprice.com (or throw it in with the newegg order) so you can place the external ODD anywhere you want









    *ok, ok so it says it works with the OD-less Mini but whatever

    -
     
  5. Naimfan macrumors 68040

    Naimfan

    Joined:
    Jan 15, 2003
    #5
    Just get the i5. If you're near a Microcenter they have them for $999.

    Then, upgrade RAM to 8 GB.

    Save yourself the warranty and the hassle and just get a Hitachi 7200 RPM 750 GB hard drive from Newegg for $79.99. It's the ONLY 7200 RPM drive that doesn't make a 13" MBP i5 feel like it's humming (though note I'm more sensitive to vibration, etc., than most--the Momentus XT is positively AWFUL in that regard).

    Note that you void the Apple warranty with the optibay conversion.
     
  6. Dhelsdon macrumors 65816

    Dhelsdon

    Joined:
    Feb 5, 2010
    Location:
    Canadian Eh!
    #6
    I have the same setup you are prospecting, except I don't have an Optibay. I just use a 128GB SSD. I bought my 13" i7 as a refurb so the price difference isn't too terribly bad in my regard. You can find a knock-off Optibay on eBay for MUCH MUCH cheaper, and from what I've read it's just as good as the 100$ bracket. I bought my RAM kit from new egg for 50$ so if you search around a bit more, you can find a better deal!

    I love my setup, the only complaint is the SSD size, if I could've afforded it I would've bought something with more storage. That's my only gripe with this setup.

    Let me know if you have any specific questions and I'll do my best to answer them!
     
  7. Chris2k11 macrumors member

    Chris2k11

    Joined:
    Mar 14, 2011
    #7
    I have the same setup Intel 120GB SSD i7's 8GB. I can and do run FCP and Photoshop all day long with no trouble. I would agree the lack of storage kinda sucks because I still my optical drive.
     
  8. -hh thread starter macrumors 68020

    -hh

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2001
    Location:
    NJ Highlands, Earth
    #8
    Thanks for the comments so far.

    I also appreciate the help in finding cheaper sources than OWC, even though my first priority is to identify what's the smart combination of components before seeking out the lowest prices.

    I think I'm still trying to sort out why I'd not want to spring the $300 for the i7 CPU. As per benchmarks, it appears to be worth a ~10% gain, although I also recognize that having an SSD will provide a gain too - - should I instead be asking is if I'm going to be buying an SSD anyway, is it better to buy a "$300 larger" SSD, or stay with a small SSD and put the $300 towards the i7?

    FWIW, I've been staying away from an all-SSD approach, since I want to have a healthy chunk of storage space, even if it is a bit slower, as I currently have over 150GB worth of memory cards for my dSLR ... and I'm not afraid to use them . Being able to have an "all inside one box" solution let me retire my 'digital wallet' storage devices to lighten the load.

    -hh
     
  9. danpass macrumors 68020

    danpass

    Joined:
    Jun 27, 2009
    Location:
    Miami, FL
    #9
    three years from now that i7 will be helpful (I try to buy to last 4yrs+) as software always seems to get heavier.
     
  10. awer25 macrumors 65816

    awer25

    Joined:
    Apr 30, 2011
    #10
    I'd get the SSD and Optibay route, so you have the best of both worlds (speed and storage). You won't have an optical drive, but most people rarely use them, and for $25 you can buy an external or an enclosure for your Superdrive.

    The i7 is 25%-30% of the price depending on where you buy it, and is really not worth that premium. You're better off saving the money and buying the new model that much sooner (In 2 years, you'll probably only loose around $300 if you sell your current model and buy the the 2013 one). Buying 2 Macbooks 2 years apart is much better than buying one now as a 4-year investment.
     
  11. Steve's Barber macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jul 5, 2011
    #11
    Because for photo editing CPU clock speed is not the bottleneck. It's always the drive.

    Take that extra dough and apply it to a larger SSD if you can. I don't know what kind of pic files you edit but if they're anything like mine (15-20mb RAW), you'll want those pics on the SSD along with photoshop. Things will really fly.

    Then, when you're done post editing just offload them to more conventional media.
     

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