SSD Or New Mac?

OS X Dude

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Jun 30, 2007
978
223
UK
Hi all,

I'm in a bit of an internal debate about whether I should stick a 500GB Samsung 840 EVO into my MacBook Pro (see sig) or whether I should wait and upgrade it in a couple of years.

Specifics
  • I use it mainly for audio recording and post-production across several DAWs and mastering suites.
  • I tend to upgrade every five years, so I'm only two away from finishing this system's lifecycle.
  • I don't sell my Macs on: typically, they get passed round the family.
  • The stock 5400rpm 500GB drive doesn't feel slow once it's booted up. I keep my OS X partition (and my Windows 8.1 one) as clutter-free as possible.
  • The new MacBook Pros have PCIe SSDs, which are around twice the speed of the SATA III crop. Whether I'd feel this extra benefit is debatable, but still.
  • I'd also add another 4GB of RAM to bring it's total up to 8GB (may as well, since I'm under the hood anyway). Total cost of the upgrade would be £240. It seems expensive for two-year's use, plus it's about 15% of the cost of a new machine.

What would you guys/girls advise?
 

MCAsan

macrumors 601
Jul 9, 2012
4,527
410
Atlanta
Why the "or"?

I would put in 8 or 16GB of memory and a 500GB 840 EVO SSD in a heartbeat. That gives you more valid now (greater performance) and some better resell value in the future. Then after the next major bump in rMBP specs (likely 2015) consider getting a new rMBP.

I upgraded my niece's 2010 white Macbook to 8GB with 500GB 840 EVO two months ago. It was like a new, modern machine. Boot times and app loading times dropped tremendously. The upgrade lets her hold onto the white book for 1-2 more years.
 

OS X Dude

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Jun 30, 2007
978
223
UK
Why the "or"? I would put in 8 or 16GB of memory and a 500GB 840 EVO SSD in a heartbeat. That gives you more valid now (greater performance) and some better resell value in the future.
I don't sell them on. As I posted, they get passed on to whoever in my family most needs whatever it is I'm getting rid of. This will probably go on to my sister, as she'll be heading to uni in a couple of years and this'll still be more than up to the basic usage she'll require.

I just think it's possibly an expensive upgrade for something I won't possibly keep for too much longer. My mind keeps swinging between that opinion and the 'but it'll be faster now' mentality.
 

Drachir2000

macrumors newbie
Mar 6, 2008
20
5
Orlando
Upgrade or not...

I had a Late 2011 Macbook Pro, which was a great machine..but the HD was a sticking point. I replaced it with a M500 960GB SSD, and the machine screamed after that....it breathed new life into that machine. Now, I recently replaced it with a new Retina MBP....but that machine with a SSD was awesome. I would do the upgrades...ssd and ram. its worth it.
 

r0k

macrumors 68040
Mar 3, 2008
3,612
73
Detroit
I don't sell them on. As I posted, they get passed on to whoever in my family most needs whatever it is I'm getting rid of. This will probably go on to my sister, as she'll be heading to uni in a couple of years and this'll still be more than up to the basic usage she'll require.

I just think it's possibly an expensive upgrade for something I won't possibly keep for too much longer. My mind keeps swinging between that opinion and the 'but it'll be faster now' mentality.
I just put a Samsung EVO 840 in my late 2011 15 in MBP and I love it. I'm at 8 GB of RAM running Mavericks. An SSD is the second most bang for the buck you can get for computer upgrades. RAM is the cheapest and offers the most bang for the buck. Then comes SSD. Of course the most expensive path is to get a new Mac but a 2011 machine isn't that old by Mac standards.
 

OS X Dude

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Jun 30, 2007
978
223
UK
Well I read this; so if it doesnt feel slow, why consider upgrading?
Because I would quite like instant app launching and boot-times. But it doesn't feel slow as it is, no more so than when I bought it new. Just the extra speed would be nice.
 

Tsuchiya

macrumors 68020
Jun 7, 2008
2,309
367
Hi all,

I'm in a bit of an internal debate about whether I should stick a 500GB Samsung 840 EVO into my MacBook Pro (see sig) or whether I should wait and upgrade it in a couple of years.

Specifics
  • I use it mainly for audio recording and post-production across several DAWs and mastering suites.
  • I tend to upgrade every five years, so I'm only two away from finishing this system's lifecycle.
  • I don't sell my Macs on: typically, they get passed round the family.
  • The stock 5400rpm 500GB drive doesn't feel slow once it's booted up. I keep my OS X partition (and my Windows 8.1 one) as clutter-free as possible.
  • The new MacBook Pros have PCIe SSDs, which are around twice the speed of the SATA III crop. Whether I'd feel this extra benefit is debatable, but still.
  • I'd also add another 4GB of RAM to bring it's total up to 8GB (may as well, since I'm under the hood anyway). Total cost of the upgrade would be £240. It seems expensive for two-year's use, plus it's about 15% of the cost of a new machine.

What would you guys/girls advise?
The sensible choice would be to just upgrade your HDD and install more RAM. The speed difference would be noticeable and you'd get a good few years out of that setup.

That being said, if you want a new machine then just get a new machine. I went back and forth about this as well, and I even upgraded my old MBP with an SSD and more RAM. Ultimately though it became obvious that I was just looking for an excuse to upgrade. So I did :)
 

OS X Dude

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Jun 30, 2007
978
223
UK
Of course the most expensive path is to get a new Mac but a 2011 machine isn't that old by Mac standards.
True; my 2006 white MacBook is still going very strong - much better than any Windows laptop I've used. It's still pretty quick and perfectly serviceable for moderate usage, and I even still do DVD encoding via Handbrake on it.

Well, I think you guys have convinced me to go for it. My one big fear, that I should probably have put in the top, is that Pro Tools/Logic will feel terribly slow on it in a couple of years - but that's only if I upgrade to the latest versions all the time, which often there's no need to do. I know Pro Tools 11 was a huge re-coding that actually made it run faster on older hardware, amongst other things.


Thanks :)
 

sonicrobby

macrumors 68020
Apr 24, 2013
2,369
394
New Orleans
Because I would quite like instant app launching and boot-times. But it doesn't feel slow as it is, no more so than when I bought it new. Just the extra speed would be nice.
Then I would say consider upgrading the SSD and RAM, and keep it for a little more than the two years you were planning. It truly is a noticeable difference
 

OS X Dude

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Jun 30, 2007
978
223
UK
Then I would say consider upgrading the SSD and RAM, and keep it for a little more than the two years you were planning. It truly is a noticeable difference

I think it's for the best. The only errors I got with Logic upon mixing an electronic project that was peppered with software instruments related to the hard drive not being quick enough to stream the audio in real-time. An SSD would easily cope, and my i7 was barely being pushed at all.

Just waiting for the price to dip back on Amazon UK, as they rose by £15 a couple of days ago.
 

Dweez

macrumors 65816
Jun 13, 2011
1,246
9
Down by the river
I upgraded my late 2011 15" i7 MBP to 16 gig of ram and an SSD, and the machine was a completely different beast. My main use case at the time was running multiple VMs simultaneously and the before & after difference was night and day.
 

OS X Dude

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Jun 30, 2007
978
223
UK
SSD Or New Mac?

I'd like to use Windows in a hypervisor, so I may look at 16GB and weigh the price difference up. How does your i7 cope with it? Like mine, it's 3-years old.

Edit: Wow, £115 for 16GB. I'll keep it with 8GB and get 16 for my next Mac.
 

The Mercurian

macrumors 68000
Mar 17, 2012
1,825
2,054
I have a a 2011 quad core 15" also - and have upgraded to SSD and 16GB ram.

The machine is pretty much a beast to be fair. As it happens I will upgrade to new one soon but thats only cos I do crazy number crunching and need the power - for everyday stuff this one is more than adequate. With the SSD/RAM upgrades you will find it much, much improved. That said - the PCIe drives in the new machines are ridiculously fast. I used an 11" Air for a while with PCIe and even with only 4GB and i5 processor - it was noticeably faster at stuff like opening documents, booting up etc than the 15"MBP (although obviously the MBP blows the Air out of the water when it comes to number crunching).

The other thing you might consider is the other more modern tech that comes with a new machine. Retina display, USB 3, 2 thunderbolt ports, faster wifi. Does this stuff matter to you ? I actually think the USB 3 is a big deal. The 2011 machine is still USB2 - makes huge difference for external drives and backups especially if you wanted to do any video work...... - also applies to the SD card reader - if that matters to you - it may not. Edit: For example - I recently had to replace a firewire backup drive. Because this machine does not have USB3 and there was no point to buy another firewire for future proofing reasons - I had to go thunderbolt - which cost extra. I got a Black Friday deal on it, LaCie 1TB thunderbolt/USB 3 for €168 instead of €200 - but it was still more than a pure USB3 would have cost me.


Re passing on machine. I get that you usually do this. But at the same time - this one is earlier in its life than your usual gifts and thus has more value. You don't have to pass it on you know. You could sell it and give your sis a voucher for mac store/gift of cash for the half the amount you sell it for or something. Just a thought - you know best on this front.
 
Last edited:

Mr Pink57

macrumors member
Dec 5, 2011
79
2
a van down by the river
I had a 2009 Macbook White that I dumbed a SSD in with 4gb of ram and it flew, was easily faster at loading then my GFs 2011 Macbook Pro which had a 5400rpm HDD (now has a 256gb Intel 530 SSD).

Unfortunately the logic board went on the 2009, but I could have easily used that computer for another 3 years even with GIMP/Inkscape. My current 2013 rMBP should last just as long.

I'd say upgrade it or talk to your sister about it if she is going to use it at Uni. There is nothing worse then a slow computer while trying to do school work. I would put the SSD in the machine then hold off on RAM unless you upgraded to Mavericks or plan to.

You can find open box deals (Microcenter) on SSDs that are reasonable.
 

OS X Dude

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Jun 30, 2007
978
223
UK
It still copes with anything audio-wise I throw at it. It can handle recording 8+ simultaneous 24-bit/48KHz tracks (live drums) which is the most I'd ever record at once. You're right, the Retina screen and USB 3 are big draws, by my USB 3 external WD drive is perfectly fast over USB 2 so I'm not tooooo worried about that just yet. My mate has an rMBP 15" and the screen is gorgeous!
 

Dweez

macrumors 65816
Jun 13, 2011
1,246
9
Down by the river
I'd like to use Windows in a hypervisor, so I may look at 16GB and weigh the price difference up. How does your i7 cope with it? Like mine, it's 3-years old.

Edit: Wow, £115 for 16GB. I'll keep it with 8GB and get 16 for my next Mac.
I run VMware Fusion and as long as you don't need game quality graphics, it's all good. I was able to run 7 VMs side by side in 16 gig and couldn't tell if I was ever swapping. Needless to say most of the VMs weren't doing a lot of work, I was using them as managed targets for server automation demos. I could perform something like windows patch analysis across multiple VMs and the system was still very responsive.

It seems that memory prices have risen again, I got my 16gig upgrade kit for under $100.
 

The Mercurian

macrumors 68000
Mar 17, 2012
1,825
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I also run Windows 7 as a VM through Parallels and find it handles well most of the time. Only occasionally when I do heavy duty modelling in one windows only software do I need to boot into windows directly because of the demands of the program/model. Most of the time doing more normal stuff you would not know it even was running as a VM. I often run Activity Monitor when windows open and rarely will it resort to swap space.
 

Marty62

macrumors 6502
Mar 11, 2010
394
0
Berlin formerly London
I think it's for the best. The only errors I got with Logic upon mixing an electronic project that was peppered with software instruments related to the hard drive not being quick enough to stream the audio in real-time. An SSD would easily cope, and my i7 was barely being pushed at all.

Just waiting for the price to dip back on Amazon UK, as they rose by £15 a couple of days ago.
That's exactly how I use my late 2011 quad ( see sig )
After fitting the EVO 750gb I can use Logic/Pro tools and Reason and it
screams along very nicely :)

I vote for the Ram / SSD upgrade.
Marty.
 

556fmjoe

macrumors 68000
Apr 19, 2014
1,604
903
I would say to either get the SSD and don't get a new computer in 2 years, or don't get an SSD and wait it out for 2 years until you buy a new laptop. It seems pointless to me to sink that much money into a machine that you are going to get rid of in 2 years, unless it made a drastic difference or you had to have it to get work done (though you said the HDD feels fine when booted up, so it probably won't).
 

OS X Dude

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Jun 30, 2007
978
223
UK
You might find my thread regarding upgrade useful also - different situation but people made some good points: http://forums.macrumors.com/showthread.php?t=1727770

Thanks :)

----------

I would say to either get the SSD and don't get a new computer in 2 years, or don't get an SSD and wait it out for 2 years until you buy a new laptop. It seems pointless to me to sink that much money into a machine that you are going to get rid of in 2 years, unless it made a drastic difference or you had to have it to get work done (though you said the HDD feels fine when booted up, so it probably won't).

If I go down the upgrade route, which I'm now very much leaning towards, then I'll keep it another 3 years. That'll make it 6 years old and properly due an upgrade.

I've just left uni, and all the Macs I've specced up are around £2,000. I spec them to last, generally, and that's now an expensive necessity with the soldered parts on the latest models. I paid £1,400 for mine (Best Buy UK staff discount at the time) knowing I could add RAM and an SSD; no-one has that choice this time :(
 

The Mercurian

macrumors 68000
Mar 17, 2012
1,825
2,054
Thanks :)

If I go down the upgrade route, which I'm now very much leaning towards, then I'll keep it another 3 years. That'll make it 6 years old and properly due an upgrade.

I've just left uni, and all the Macs I've specced up are around £2,000. I spec them to last, generally, and that's now an expensive necessity with the soldered parts on the latest models. I paid £1,400 for mine (Best Buy UK staff discount at the time) knowing I could add RAM and an SSD; no-one has that choice this time :(



You are in UK right ? Do you still have valid student card/email address ? In that case I would be more inclined to buy now - the UK student discount is better than other countries - you basically get free applecare on top of 15% discount. Not to be sneezed at. Buy now keep that for 5/6 years (and then get shocked at full prices!)


Re: RAM upgrade. I got 1333MHz RAM - should have got 1600MHz - though is a little more expensive.
 

OS X Dude

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Jun 30, 2007
978
223
UK
You are in UK right ? Do you still have valid student card/email address ? In that case I would be more inclined to buy now - the UK student discount is better than other countries - you basically get free applecare on top of 15% discount. Not to be sneezed at.
Still gonna be north of £1,500. I can't justify that, plus by the time the latest rMBPs are out, I won't be eligible for education pricing anymore :(