SSD versus RAM upgrade

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by DDaemon, May 14, 2010.

  1. DDaemon macrumors newbie

    May 14, 2010
    As I will be graduating soon from highschool, I was considering purchasing a new macbook pro. The 15" 2.66 i7 with 330M 512 GPU really appealed to me, but I was just wondering whether to get an extra 4 gb of ram, or to better invest my money in a 256 SSD drive. I'm looking to install bootcamp on it, and be able to play some basic games like moder warfare 2 in bootcamp. Further more my laptop will really only be used for browsing and doing uni related work (word processing and ppts etc.) My question is whether anyone has a good idea which one of the two will get me the best performance: the SSD or the extra RAM? (if i were to get the extra ram i would buy the 7200 RPM drive, not the slower 5400 RPM one). Anyone got any idea?
  2. iamrawr macrumors 6502


    Apr 16, 2010
    New Jersey
    RAM will help you multitask with many apps faster and more efficiently.

    SSD will load apps faster significantly.

    if you don't like to wait, get the ssd and it will save you time. if you're workload has to do with many apps running at the same time, get the RAM.

    EDIT: extra RAM will not boost gaming performance. maybe minimally
  3. Jaro65 macrumors 68040


    Mar 27, 2009
    Seattle, WA
    For what you're planning to do, you should be fine with 4GB of RAM. The SSD is going to speed up your MBP much more than extra RAM.
  4. DDaemon thread starter macrumors newbie

    May 14, 2010
    Then the only thing to consider is whether stuff like VMWare fusion and parallels 5 will run smoothly with 4gb of ram. My university has (surprise surprise) all networks and network applications set up to work on windows only, so i will probably need to have either parallels or wmware running constantly, this should still be fine with 4gb ram i presume?
  5. Rodimus Prime macrumors G4

    Rodimus Prime

    Oct 9, 2006
    Personally I would go with the extra Ram. I do not feel SSD are fully ready yet. They have still not solved that pesky limited write problem of them.

    It was discovered when look at that areas holding Pagefiling/Virtual memory will go over tthe write limits d start destroying the drive .
    The solution to this problem was to spread out the damage as much as possible and keep moving around were it keeps the Pagefiles on the SSD.

    I say hold off getting a SSD for you system drive of you main computer until that problem is solved.
  6. ptsube macrumors 6502

    Oct 12, 2008
  7. jav6454 macrumors P6


    Nov 14, 2007
    1 Geostationary Tower Plaza
    This is true if and only if, the game never reaches the RAM limit of your computer.
  8. BobK macrumors member

    Nov 16, 2009
    I believe that the SSD wins hands down. I have a 3 year old MBP that I replaced the HDD with an Intel 160GB SSD about a year ago. It has 4 gb of ram. I also have a new 27 inch iMac i7 with the stock 7200rpm HDD and 8 gb of ram. Both computers have the same programs loaded. When the MBP gets loaded with a bunch of photos or home movies, I transfer this to an external raid drive. Which is faster? The MBP kills the iMac in every function I have tried. It is 35 to 50 percent faster. If you want speed get the SSD. Plus it is safer to store all you documents on a raid drive.
  9. DDaemon thread starter macrumors newbie

    May 14, 2010
    Thanks for the quick replies guys! Anyone have any suggestions for any good SSD drives with more than 200GB memory? I looked into some OCZ ones, but does anyone have any other ideas (i checked and for as far as i know the intel ones only go up to 160 gb) and does anyone have a good tutorial on how to change the hard drive in a new 2010 unibody? I found some tutorials but they all seem to be for the 2009 ones, which seem to be slightly different, or not?
  10. wirelessmacuser macrumors 68000


    Dec 20, 2009
    I have a different suggestion. Over the last year I have used OCZ, Intel & other top of the line SSD's. Experience has taught me that the technology is not mature enough yet. Yes they are super fast when new, but as they age & you put a lot of time & data on it, they slow down dramatically. Garbage collection (TRIM) is not fully sorted out just yet. So... I say save your money & wait. In six months to a year they will be so much better & far less money than today. Don't let all the current excitement fool you. Not enough people have long term experience with these. I do & I cannot in good faith say buy one.
  11. Chupa Chupa macrumors G5

    Chupa Chupa

    Jul 16, 2002
    If you want bang for your buck it's not in the processor. The MBP i7 benchmarks are not appreciably faster than either i5 models. We are talking a few seconds in most applications. There isn't even a significant improvement in gaming unless you are using a 30" monitor. Here are the video benchmarks.

    My advice, buy the entry level i5. It's not the fastest, but it's faster than the last high end C2D MBP, so it's fast. Use the spare cash to buy a 256 SSD like the Corsair P256. If you find you need more RAM then save up for that, but in the mean time 4GB is decent.
  12. felixelgato macrumors member


    Sep 25, 2008
    I agree, my experience about what is to use a Mac has changed since I installed a SSD to a MBP. Go for the Corsair or the Intel SSD
  13. the Western zoo macrumors 6502

    the Western zoo

    May 16, 2006
    Aarhus C, Denmark
    You'll definitely easier "feel" the SSD upgrade! But I say go for both! ;)
  14. Jof macrumors regular

    Oct 2, 2008
    I run XCode, XP under Parallels, Preview (with very large images), Safari, Spotify, Skype and Illustrator. I regularly use over 6GB of ram; 4GB is completely unusable for me and an SSD would make zero difference as I only close apps or reboot about once every 2-3 days.

    So it depends on how you use it. For me, an SSD is a waste of money.
  15. adjuster macrumors member

    Nov 29, 2007
    There are good SSD's out there

    Check out the report by Barefeats, which is one of the best resources available. Barefeats has high praise for the OWC SSD.

    Furthermore, Lloyd Chambers did extensive testing to see which SSD drives had problems after extensive use. The conclusion: With an aggressive price, max read performance, and easily superior write performance, the OWC Mercury Extreme is the runaway winner.

    Question: If you have a super-fast HD such as an SSD, could you not do faster swaps of applications and therefore not need 8gb?
  16. bob5820 macrumors 6502a


    Jun 23, 2006
    35°0′36″N 80°40′45″W (35.0
    The issue of limited writes on the SSD is over stated. It was an issue early on when you might get 10,000 writes but todays SSD's use flash that is easily capable of 300,000 or more writes. The MTBF of the average SSD is between 1 and 2 million hours (over 200 years) whereas the MTBF of most HHD's is less then 300,000 hours. I wouldn't use an SSD for a scratch disc for photoshop, but as an OS/App drive, if you can justify the cost per GB, the SSD can not be beat.
  17. bluetick macrumors member

    Mar 15, 2010
    Clearly SSD will give much more improvement over RAM. HDD reading speed is the biggest bottleneck in modern computers.
  18. bob5820 macrumors 6502a


    Jun 23, 2006
    35°0′36″N 80°40′45″W (35.0
    As much as I love my 100GB OWC SSD I'd hardly call almost $4/GB an aggressive price.
  19. bob5820 macrumors 6502a


    Jun 23, 2006
    35°0′36″N 80°40′45″W (35.0
    I'd agree with Jof that which is better will be very situationally dependent. I did both, the 8GB upgrade, and the SSD as an OS/App drive, and for me the SSD has had a more noticeable effect on day to day performance.
  20. DDaemon thread starter macrumors newbie

    May 14, 2010
    Alright, by the sounds of things i think i'll spend my money on an SSD then...
    One final question, does any one have any recommendations on what drive to buy, or which ones definitely not to buy? There's a whole range out there, and i've read good and bad about all of them (but i know that usually only bad reviews get posted online) so is there anyone with any suggestions?
    Thanks again!

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