uMBP 2.4: RAM, HDD upgrades, or move on?

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by llltonic, Nov 10, 2009.

  1. llltonic macrumors newbie

    Nov 10, 2009
    I purchased my base model unibody MBP in October 2008. It's the 2.4GHz model with 250Gb HDD, 2Gb RAM, and the express card slot.

    I use OS X for Aperture and photoshop, along with web browsing, itunes, etc. I run Windows XP with BootCamp for CAD and rendering software.

    I've got two main problems:

    - The first is slowness, most notably with Aperture, and also with my CAD package on Windows. I think this is probably a RAM issue, so upgrading to 4Gb seems like a no-brainer. Unfortunately, my early unibody (5,1) can't handle 8Gb, and 6 doesn't seem worth it ($300 vs $80 for 4Gb).

    - The second is hard drive space. I already keep all my movies and most of my music on an external drive, but with lots of RAW images and CAD files, plus the two partitions, I'm now at that painful point of constantly rooting through my files to keep a gig or two free on both the windows partition and the mac partition. So, a 500Gb 7200 RPM drive seems like a no-brainer at $110.

    I've also done some reading on an SSD ExpressCard as boot drive, notably:
    It seems like a great way to get more speed out of the OS (especially Snow Leopard), and, as a bonus, it frees up 25+Gb of hard drive space.

    I was all set to jump on this, until I went to check out at NewEgg. With taxes and shipping, my bill is up to $392. My computer is worth perhaps $1300-$1400 at this point, so pumping $400 into it makes me wonder if I've got the wrong device to begin with. Why not sell the laptop and pick up a refurb iMac for less money? I can get 2.93Ghz/4Gb/640Gb for $1279.

    losing the laptop could be a painful transition, obviously. But I'm pretty well planning on getting a crunchpad, or apple tablet, or similar, once it's available. Hopefully that will smooth the loss of laptop portability.

    Can someone help me out here? Am I going to get the performance I need out of the three upgrades above, and is it really worth 400 bones? Has anyone out there already gone through with a switch to iMac, or with UMBP upgrades similar to what I've outlined?
  2. vant macrumors 65816

    Jul 1, 2009
    I see an iMac in your immediate future.

    Preferably the 27-inch.
  3. dan5.5 macrumors 6502

    Oct 26, 2008
    i would get the imac... as much as i love the MBP, the imac is more powerful, larger screen.. it will fit ur needs better...
    You can always get a netbook, or a tablet
  4. llltonic thread starter macrumors newbie

    Nov 10, 2009
    There is one serious caveat to the iMac idea:
    loss of multitouch trackpad

    I've quit using my 3 button mouse entirely, except for with Unigraphics, which uses button combos for panning/rotating/zooming. I haven't tried the Magic Mouse, but I'm loathe to lose my 3 and 4 finger gestures.
  5. harperjones99 macrumors 6502

    Nov 3, 2009
    Apple would sell a crapload of USB or Bluetooth multitouch pads for desktops if they made them. I too prefer the multitouch to any device I have ever used.

    The third party options don't have good reviews.
  6. yaroldb macrumors 6502

    Feb 21, 2007
    I have the same model you do, while I do not use bootcamp or CAD programs but I use Photoshop, Lightroom and Aperture heavily. My machine is super fast. Let me tell you what I did.

    First, I upgraded the ram to 4gb. While it made very little difference with email or surfing, it helped Photoshop and lightroom bigtime.

    Second, I installed a 60gb OCZ SSD. This makes all the difference in the world. It is night and day. I boot in 35 seconds, fly through large filters in Photoshop and move around in lightroom with ease. I can not express how fast this is.

    Third, I work with mostly RAW files and very large TIFF files. For this reason, I installed a 2nd HD (stock 250gb) in place of my superdrive. I uses this as a swap drive for Photoshop and to store all of my very large catalogs for lightroom (all of my pictures). I still have room to grow. I can put in a 500gb drive into the second slot for less than $100. The primary drive (SSD) is just the OS and programs. All of my storage is on the second drive.

    Now, I have an iMac at home. And that used to be what I used mostly. Now I hardly touch it. My wife uses it. I do burn from that machine and from time to time I move catalog to it put I find it to slow. Granted the iMac is an older 2.16ghz with 3gb of ram (white). The SSD cost me $150 after rebate (new Egg) $50 for the second drive bay and $80 for ram. So, not bad on the cost end.

    Good luck
  7. darngooddesign macrumors G3

    Jul 4, 2007
    Atlanta, GA
    Best solution is an iMac and a used MacBook.

    I still can't fathom how $80 in RAM and a $110 drive ended up close to $400. For those prices just go to MicroCenter and buy locally.

    Obviously if you can do without a laptop then the iMac makes more sense, that's why I suggested a used MB for your portable needs.

    Oh, and just accept that for your needs if you have a laptop you'll need a second drive.
  8. llltonic thread starter macrumors newbie

    Nov 10, 2009
    darngooddesign: It's the SSD Express card that really bumps the cost up. Here's the list:

    Crucial 4GB (2 x 2GB)
    Item #:N82E16820148191

    FileMate SolidGO 3FMS4D48M-WR 48GB ExpressCard 34 with Mini USB 2.0 External Solid state disk (SSD) - Retail
    Model #:3FMS4D48M-WR
    Item #:N82E16820161325

    Seagate Momentus 7200.4 ST9500420AS 500GB 7200 RPM 2.5" SATA 3.0Gb/s Internal Notebook Hard Drive -Bare Drive
    Model #:ST9500420AS
    Item #:N82E16822148374

    Subtotal: $325.67​

    yaroldb: Thanks! I've gotta look into the HDD-in-CD-bay option. This has me reconsidering how often I actually use discs anymore.

    harperjones99: there are also some iphone trackpad apps out there:

    - Snatch
    - Mobile Air Mouse
    - an iLounge review of several available options

    Sadly, none, so far as I can tell, support three and four finger gestures. I wonder why this limitation is there across the board.
  9. harperjones99 macrumors 6502

    Nov 3, 2009
    Yeah I have seen those...personally I don't use an iPhone and even then its size is a tad small for what I would want. Make one as big as the MBP pad or even flat as you can...that works as well as the MBP pad and you would have a winner. I love the MBPs bigger pad..always did think that normal sized touch pads were too small.

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