Time to upgrade my Macbook Pro! Need answers please!

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by adamvk, Mar 31, 2010.

  1. adamvk macrumors 65816

    adamvk

    Joined:
    Oct 29, 2008
    Location:
    Phoenix, AZ
    #1
    So, I want to upgrade my MBP, which was the first generation unibody Macbook Pro 15".

    I want to upgrade both ram (at least 4GB), and HDD (at least 500GB)

    So my questions are these:

    1) Does my MBP support 6 or 8GB of ram, or is 4GB the maximum?

    2) Are ram prices going to decrease anytime soon? I'm aware of the fact that the ram prices are very high right now.

    3) Would I notice a difference from 5400RPM to 7200RPM? I do mostly CAD, and gaming. Would that be a lot faster? I'm asking because for about the same price I can get either a 5400RPM 750GB HDD, or a 7200RPM 500GB HDD.

    4) Is Hitachi a good brand for HDDs?

    Thank you very much for answers.
     
  2. alphaod macrumors Core

    alphaod

    Joined:
    Feb 9, 2008
    Location:
    NYC
    #2
    1) 6GB in the 2GB+4GB configuration is the maximum.
    2) RAM prices are actually going up right now and expect to increase.
    3) You load times will be faster, and anything that requires saving and writing to disk will be faster. However for normal day-to-day usage, you may be better off with the bigger drive with the slower spindle as the higher platter density may offset a bit of the disadvantage given by the slow spindle speed.
    4) Yes they are pretty good.
     
  3. adamvk thread starter macrumors 65816

    adamvk

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    #3
    Ok, thanks.

    2 followup questions:

    1) Why exactly are RAM prices increasing? Do you know?

    2) I'm still confused...why would you recommend the slower HDD?
     
  4. MagicMouse macrumors regular

    MagicMouse

    Joined:
    Feb 8, 2010
    #4

    1. Not sure

    2. I think what he meant was if you are not a power user and will mostly use it for day to day activities it will not matter to much on speed, so spend more on storage space. If you are a power user, get faster with less space. Hopefully that makes sense a bit. :D
     
  5. adamvk thread starter macrumors 65816

    adamvk

    Joined:
    Oct 29, 2008
    Location:
    Phoenix, AZ
    #5
    Ok, that does make more sense, thank you. :)

    I'm still torn though...:(

    The extra space would be nice, plus it would help resale value...but on the other hand the faster HDD would be nice for gaming, moving files around, etc...
     
  6. Labaguette macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Feb 21, 2010
    Location:
    Good ol' Germany
    #6
    the 750GB should compare favorably to the 500GB 7200, because the 500GB got two 250GB platter whereas the 750GB got two 375GB platters.

    Assume that 1/3 of capacity is so far on the outside of platter that it could be written and read quickly, the 500GB got 166,66 GB in this zone, the 750 GB got 250GB in there. so: the more data you have on the disk, the better the 750GB will compare to the 500GB disk.

    (my WD10TPVT 1TB HDD with Advanced Format (and 3 platters) beats the hell out of my ol' Seagate Momentus 7200.4 500GB)...
     
  7. alphaod macrumors Core

    alphaod

    Joined:
    Feb 9, 2008
    Location:
    NYC
    #7
    I should clarify, that the sequential access of the 750GB 5400RPM drive may be comparable to the 500GB 7200RPM drive, but when it comes to random access, the 7200RPM will still beat the 5400RPM drive. So you'll to weigh what you do. If it's transfering a lot of big files and writing those to disk, then the 5400RPM drive with more capacity will be good, but it's day-to-day computing with a lot of smaller files such as word documents, etc, then the faster spindle will prove useful.
     
  8. Streethawk macrumors 6502

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    Feb 25, 2010
    Location:
    Manchester, UK
    #8
    RAM prices always fluctuate, longterm they always come down, but short term they often rise a little. I've seen prices double in the past, i seem to recall it was due to a fire at a major manufacturer.
     
  9. gwsat macrumors 68000

    gwsat

    Joined:
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    Location:
    Tulsa
    #9
    Generally speaking, it seems to me that if you need more RAM you will know it because some of your apps aren't performing in a way that suits you. For example, I upgraded my MBP from 2 to 6Gb of RAM only after being frequently frustrated by the slowness and instability of Windows apps running on a VMware Fusion virtual machine. The upgrade to 6Gb solved my problems. I am now able to run Fusion in Unity mode and keep several Windows apps and several OS X apps open on the OS X desktop. Fusion is a well known memory hog, though, so if you don't need to run it or a similarly memory hungry app, your current 2Gb of RAM may be enough. The 2Gb of RAM I formerly had was plenty for my OS X apps.
     
  10. adamvk thread starter macrumors 65816

    adamvk

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    Oct 29, 2008
    Location:
    Phoenix, AZ
    #10
    Yes, I definitely need more ram. I've had Activity Monitor open the last few days and weeks to monitor both CPU and RAM. I typically only have around 500MB free when doing "basic" things. (This for me means Safari open with ~6 tabs, Mail open, iTunes open, MS Word open.) When I start doing gaming, CAD, photo editing, my free ram goes to 0, and my whole Mac becomes super slow.

    And thank you everyone else for the replies about the HDD. I'm thinking I'll be better off with the 750GB 5400RPM drive...

    Just to see though, would the 750GB 5400RPM be any faster than my current HDD? Its just the stock 250GB 5400RPM drive.
     
  11. gwsat macrumors 68000

    gwsat

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    #11
    I agree, that does sound like you are short of RAM. From what I understand from the posts of some of my betters here, things starting to slow down is a sign that you have run out of RAM and it is being swapped back and forth between your hard drive and the application that needs it at the moment. That's slooow.
     
  12. adamvk thread starter macrumors 65816

    adamvk

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    #12
    Yes it is. Any my HDD only has 3GB free, so I'm sure thats gotta help slow things down a bit.
     
  13. adamvk thread starter macrumors 65816

    adamvk

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    #13
  14. adamvk thread starter macrumors 65816

    adamvk

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    Phoenix, AZ
  15. caonimadebi macrumors regular

    Joined:
    May 7, 2009
    #15
    If you have a large budget, I recommend upgrading to an SSD, instead of the 7200rpm drives. The stock 5400rpm drive (by Fujitsu I believe) is very quiet and very energy efficient. I upgraded to a 320GB WD Scorpio Black on the same computer and the battery took a big hit.
    To its credit, 7200rpm drives are noticeably faster than the stock 5400. However, considering the loss of battery life, I don't think the small increase in performance is justified. SSD's, on the other hand, has the best of both worlds in terms of performance and efficiency(price/GB is its obvious weakness)
     
  16. gwsat macrumors 68000

    gwsat

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    #16
    I checked prices on SDDs today and they gave me sticker shock. I recognize the superiority of SDDs but I won't be springing for one right away.
     
  17. adamvk thread starter macrumors 65816

    adamvk

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    Oct 29, 2008
    Location:
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    #17
    I'm not getting a SSD. :)

    I want at LEAST 500GB. A 500GB SSD would cost $1500. No. I would never spend that much on a HDD when I could buy a new Macbook Pro for the cost.
     
  18. alphaod macrumors Core

    alphaod

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    Location:
    NYC
    #18
    Yes it will; and yes it will be faster than your current 250GB 5400RPM drive.
     
  19. elpmas macrumors 68000

    elpmas

    Joined:
    Sep 9, 2009
    Location:
    Where the fresh snow don't go.
    #19
    try the Hitachi 500gb 7200RPM...it's a little cheaper than the WD 640gb. I have the 640gb and I'm thinking about selling it and buying a 500gb 7200RPM...it's too slow when the hard drive starts filling up :O
     

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