SSD in MacBook or new rMBP?

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by InfiniteLoopy, Jul 8, 2015.

  1. InfiniteLoopy macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Dec 14, 2010
    #1
    I currently have a "vintage" MacBook that's a few years old. My main issues with it are:

    - Its fans are quite noisy, rotating around 2000rpm even when I'm just using a text editor, quickly getting faster and noisier.
    - In the hotter months, the keyboard area is uncomfortable to work on.
    - The platter disk spinning is annoying when it's on my lap and I can feel it when typing.

    I was therefore thinking of getting an SSD, which would solve the third problem, but I don't think that this would solve the heat or fan issues. Maybe I should get an MBP instead.

    - Will the 13 rMPB be completely silent when using a text editor? I understand that the fans need to spin up if I'm using Handbrake or editing video, but for basic day-to-day tasks, it should be silent, like a fanless machine.
    - It seems that the MBP has a different cooling system where the air goes out of the bottom vents. Even in hot summer weather, will the keyboard area remain cool?
    - I find the front edge digs into my arms, does the MBP still have sharp ones?

    I know the new MacBook may be more appropriate, but I want a machine that can edit 4K video, and can be used with my ACD (MiniDisplay).
    I know SkyLake is "just around the corner", and it would be great to have all the latest ports (USB-C) and TB3 speed, and likely a lighter machine (as I'd be traveling with it quite a bit), but who really knows when it will be out.

    Essentially, I'm looking for a writing machine that's silent, doesn't vibrate, doesn't get hot for low-power tasks, but can act as my only computer for enthusiast photo/video stuff.

    Is the 13 rMBP the right machine now for me ... or would an SSD in my MacBook solve most of my problems?
     
  2. zhenya macrumors 603

    zhenya

    Joined:
    Jan 6, 2005
    #2
    I can't see the SSD solving any of your heat or noise issues. It will use a bit less power and you will lose the noise of the spinning platter drive, but both of those are small contributors compared to the heat of the cpu and the noise of the fan.

    In theory the MBP should generally remain silent when you are doing light work, but the fans are always prone to coming on if some background process suddenly consumes a bunch of CPU power. Without a hack, there is no way for you to directly control this other than keeping your usage light. I have to say that the lack of fans is one of the (many) things that I love about my new Macbook and I would consider hard whether that ability to edit 4k video, it sounds like rather occasionally, is worth the tradeoffs of having a much heavier, louder, and larger machine for all of the other time it's in use doing less stressful work.
     
  3. SamVilde macrumors regular

    SamVilde

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    #3
  4. kohlson macrumors 6502a

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    #4
    I have had several Mac laptops over the years, and I definitely remember one of two models that were hot -- blew exhaust air out through the keys. It is unlikely that an SSD will help the fan/cooling problem, unless the drive is the source of the excessive heat. Some utilities will provide the temperature of various components in your Mac, so you may want to do some checking. But the 2011 MBP I had was pretty quiet, until the fans fired up (typically encoding), and the 2014 I have now is much quieter, still. The fans still fire up when encoding, but somehow they seem to make less of a racket than the previous model. It is otherwise completely silent.
     
  5. InfiniteLoopy thread starter macrumors 6502

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    Dec 14, 2010
    #5
    Thanks for the replies and points of view.

    I was using my iPad today, and the coolness and silence is nice just when browsing the web. I'm typing this on the MacBook and the heat of the keyboard area is not comfortable. This is with SMCFanControl displaying 58C/135F and 1800rpm.

    I know an SSD would remove some of the issues, but not all.
    The rational thing would be to buy the rMBP, but I'm unsure how quiet/hot it would be for basic tasks. I may look at the rMacBook more and return to this thread with more questions.
    Other opinions are welcome in the meantime.
     
  6. Dark Void macrumors 68030

    Dark Void

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    #6
    To put it briefly - it sounds like you are dissatisfied with your current laptop beyond what a SSD could remedy, so I would either be open to a new unit, living with some of the particular issues that you listed, or other repairs to the laptop beyond just replacing the HDD.

    If your primary concern is writing, and you want a laptop that runs OS X as opposed to other solutions like a tablet, I'd suggest the rMB. It is quiet due to its solid state based storage and fanless design, and is capable of handling your usage, but may not preform as well when editing 4k video. It can handle it, but I can't comment on how smooth of an experience it will be due to what seems to be an "underpowered" CPU for its tradeoffs in power consumption and heat generation. I will mention, however, that the keyboard of the rMB differs from the other notebook models, so before even considering it - being a writer/typist - I would head to a local store with display models to try it out if you have that available to you.

    The 13'' rMBP sounds more adequate for you, however. It won't be dead silent like the rMB but it will be relatively quiet during operation. It won't vibrate due to the lack of a moving parts drive or get hot during everyday tasks, either. I think that due to its more traditional notebook processor, it will be a much better choice for you, given that you want to edit high quality video and the like.
     
  7. macsmurf macrumors 65816

    macsmurf

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    #7
    Why not try to reinstall OS X first? OS X can actually benefit from being reinstalled once in a while. Your problems could be caused by your laptop working harder than it should.
     
  8. Arachnophobia macrumors newbie

    Arachnophobia

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    Mar 28, 2012
    #8
    I have a 2010 17" MacBook Pro that I was thinking about replacing but I just decided to try putting one of those Samsung 850 Pro SSD drives in it. I reinstalled the OS, reinstalled all applications, then transferred all my data. Now I wouldn't trade that laptop for anything; best money ever spent.
     
  9. InfiniteLoopy thread starter macrumors 6502

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    #9
    To be honest, I have had problems for a few years (and the past few OS X releases), especially in hot weather. I also tend to (try) to keep my Mac clean, only installing what I need.
     
  10. Weaselboy Moderator

    Weaselboy

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    #10
    For text editing and web browsing and that sort of thing it will be dead quiet. If you use a utility, you can see that the fans are running, but you cannot hear them. I am on a mid-2014 13" rMBP right now and am web browsing, sending emails, reading RSS news etc. jumping back and forth at the same time and I just put my ear right down next to the Mac and I cannot hear a thing. It is just slightly warmer than room temp. on the bottom but not hot by any means.

    If noise and heat is your concern, don't worry about it. If you like the new rMB for the size/weight, I get that, but I would not let heat/noise push you that direction. It is just not an issue. If I do something that sucks up CPU cycles like watch a 1080p YT video, I can hear the fans ramp up a little for that, but other day to day usage I never hear a thing.
     
  11. InfiniteLoopy thread starter macrumors 6502

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    Dec 14, 2010
    #11
    Thanks. What about the keyboard area. Do you ever feel heat there? I switch between the Macbook's and a bluetooth keyboard, and I find the heat of the former annoying.
     
  12. Weaselboy Moderator

    Weaselboy

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    #12
    I can't feel anything above room temp. at all at the keyboard.
     
  13. eddiejensen macrumors newbie

    eddiejensen

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    Aug 1, 2011
    #13
    This is complete anecdotal evidence here but I think it's worth noting... I had an early 2011 MacBook Pro 13-inch and I noticed tremendous performance improvement with an SSD upgrade. With the old spinning disk, the CPU and fan would kick in because accessing data was a bit of a chore. But with the SSD, things did fly along much faster without excess CPU heat or fan speed. I would echo some of the suggestions about reinstalling the OS because that does, oddly, help. Obviously, there's nothing to lose (except your data if you don't have a complete backup) with trying this and the SSD is reusable in other devices should you upgrade to a new Mac. Cheers.
     
  14. SamVilde macrumors regular

    SamVilde

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    #14
    Also an anecdotal report-back: I did install the SSD yesterday, as mentioned. My computer is still running hot (hot on the bottom), but it's not ramping up and amping up and threatening to explode anymore. It feels cooler. For my $85, a good experiment.
     
  15. pjfan macrumors regular

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    May 24, 2009
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    Columbus OH
    #15
    Terrific! Are you going to try a fresh install in the near future to see if those results help?

    My MBA 2010 was huffing pretty bad -- doing much better after fresh install, but also installed El Capitan.
     
  16. InfiniteLoopy thread starter macrumors 6502

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    Dec 14, 2010
    #16
    If I did get an SSD, I'd reinstall the OS anyway as I'd be moving to an "SSD and external drive" setup as opposed to "everything on platter drive" like I have now.

    Thanks for the comments on quiet MBPs. I just wish the MBP was lighter and had the latest ports, and that a major redesign wasn't around the corner.

    My issues with the MacBook at present are that it can't (easily) be connected to my Apple Cinema Display, and that future 4K screens would only be at 30hz.

    I guess I need to decide whether I want one computer for everything, in which case the MacBook – unfortunately – doesn't seem to be that, or whether it could maybe be paired with an iMac. On the one hand, that would give me the most portability and most power. On the other, for my fairly light usage, it's probably too much, and an iMac purchase would be at least quite a while away.

    I know the MBP does everything I want, but when you add that, plus external drives, plus power supplies, it starts to get heavier and heavier.

    Is there any chance we would see redesigned MBPs this year? If so, maybe the SSD is the answer until then...
     
  17. throAU macrumors 601

    throAU

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    Feb 13, 2012
    Location:
    Perth, Western Australia
    #17
    I recently stepped from 2011 15" MBP to a 2015 13" rMBP.

    Yes, on light load the fan doesn't even turn on. I can listen to iTunes, browse the web, play videos, etc. and the fan still won't come on. When it does during semi-normal use, it's generally 1300 rpm or so and virtually inaudible.

    It's not fanless, but doing most day to day stuff, it may as well be :) I didn't hear the fan at all for the first couple of day's use, and installed iStatMenus to see whether or not it was coming on at all. It wasn't :D

    When Skylake comes out, something else will be "just around the corner". Broadwell is low-power with awesome battery life already, and fast enough. For general use, i very much doubt skylake will make any significant difference. IF it does, sell the broadwell machine off and upgrade then, but i really don't think there will be any pressing need to get rid of a broadwell machine for at least 3 years.

    I'd get the new rMBP - i was in the same situation, but also my 15" machine has a line down the LCD, so i pulled the trigger on a new machine. No regrets so far, i'm very happy.


    edit:
    the rMBPs were just updated. I very much doubt you'll see a new design for at least 12 months, if then.
     
  18. throAU, Jul 13, 2015
    Last edited: Jul 13, 2015

    throAU macrumors 601

    throAU

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    #18
    Oh just one more things for the OP...

    During light web use, playing videos, etc....

    My real world battery life is (easily) 10+ hours. I've seen estimates of 13 hours remaining after having been on battery for an hour browsing. Right now for example i'm on 9 hrs estimated remaining with 74% charge.... it's crazy.

    Vs. an older machine (especially a 15" machine with discrete GPU), the 2015 battery life is night and day (similar use, my 2011 15" machine struggles for 5.5-6 hours with 88% battery health). The above is with volume at about 50% and brightness at about 45-50% (well bright enough for indoors).


    It's totally changed my level of concern for whether or not i'll need to charge the machine. I feel no need to carry a charger with me everywhere because the chances are i'll stop using the machine and do something else well before it's likely to run out.

    It's also nowhere near as hot as my 15" machine. Vast majority of the time, it's virtually body temperature or cooler to the touch.
     
  19. Gav2k macrumors G3

    Gav2k

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    Jul 24, 2009
    #19
    Op when was the last time you cleaned the fan and heat sink?
     
  20. bwb macrumors member

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    May 25, 2004
    #20
    I actually recently upgraded the hard drive in my mom's 'vintage' mid-2009 13" Macbook to an SSD, and also the RAM from 2GB to 8GB. It was noticeably faster than before for sure, but I didn't see much if any of a battery life improvement. I reformatted so this was a new install of Yosemite, which I then gave to my sister.

    I also received my rMB 12" (1.2GHz) yesterday and tried Photo.app w/ the iCloud Photo Library on both. I was surprised how much faster the rMB 12" is with processing the photos in the background after initial download. I'm pretty sure it runs some face detection/machine algorithm using OpenCL or something, since I think it only took around 30-60 minutes on the rMB but hours and hours (let it run overnight) on the rMBP 13". Six year difference I know, but still significantly less power for the rMB so not bad at all.

    I bring this up, since the SSD will certainly by you a lot of I/O speed but some of the parallel compute tasks will be much better on newer rMBPs, even if they don't have fantastic high-level specifications on paper. Just something to consider. As others have mentioned, battery life will be much better too (lots of processor and system-level changes that enable very low idle power levels).
     
  21. SamVilde macrumors regular

    SamVilde

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    New York City
    #21
    OH MY GOD I am not the OP, but I am following, since I have similar questions. I didn't know you could clean the fan, so my fan has been accumulating dust and smut since October 14th 2008 - that was so gross!! Thanks for the hot tip! Let's see if we run quieter or cooler now.
     
  22. MSFT macrumors member

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    Dec 14, 2013
    #22
    I was just in the same boat. Sold my new (Apple gave it to me after 3 repairs on my old MBA) MBA because I didn't want that much money tied up in a computer that I didn't fully need.

    Took my brother's 13" 2010 MBP, put an SSD (250GB=$85) and 8GB RAM ($55) (only 4 was really necessary for me), and cleaned out the entire inside with compressed air by taking out the fan, trackpad, optical drive, etc. Installed a fresh copy of OSX and the thing runs LIKE NEW.

    The upgrades cost me $100 (bought a new case too). I recommend you try the same. Likely the dust and dirt accumulated in your case/fan/vents is causing poor air circulation. Get a can of air and carefully blow out all the crap. Bonus if you feel comfortable taking components out and doing it more thoroughly. Instructions are on ifixit.com.

    Worst case, you can use the SSD as an awesome external drive for your new Macbook and return the RAM (Amazon).

    Here is my thread:
    http://forums.macrumors.com/threads/sold-mba-new-rmbp-or-upgrade-2010-mbp.1898780
     
  23. InfiniteLoopy thread starter macrumors 6502

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    Dec 14, 2010
    #23
    Thanks. I think I may see how an SSD goes. I won't lose much in trying it out, and when I do upgrade the machine, an external SSD will likely be useful.
     
  24. SamVilde macrumors regular

    SamVilde

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    #24
    While you're in there, clean the fan. I can't believe what a difference that has made. There was so much fuzz in there that I thought it had a protective felt padding. Gross.
     

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