Upgrade 2011 Macbook Pro to 16GB & SSD or buy new Retina - Performance Difference?

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by bsharpgrooves, Jun 25, 2014.

  1. bsharpgrooves macrumors newbie

    Jun 25, 2014
    Hi folks
    I've got an early 2011 MBP 15 2.3Ghz with 8GB RAM and a slow 5400RPM drive. Wondering if it's worth investing into 16GB RAM and upgrading to a 500GB SSD to come closer to late 2013 MBP Retinas (same CPU/RAM/SSD size spec)

    From a CPU perspective I understand Haswell is only about 10% faster than Sandy at the same frequency.

    Both can run memory at 1600Mhz

    The only real difference is the SATA 3 interface vs PCIe in late 2013 (which is a little faster).

    I don't care too much about the hi res retina screen. I have the hi res matte screen on my MBP.

    Upgrades to my 2011 MBP would cost me around $500, whereas the price difference between me selling my MBP and a slightly used Retina MBP would be around $1000.

    The difference is really $500... Am I going to see a big real world usage performance difference between the upgraded MBP and the new Retina models?

    Anybody done it before and did a comparison? Thoughts?

  2. 12dylan34 macrumors 6502a

    Sep 3, 2009
    The processor speed differences seem to be much larger than just 10%. Despite them being both 2.3GHz quad core i7s, the modern rMBP chip is around 32% faster, referencing the 64-bit multicore benchmarks found here:


    I would say 1/3 faster is enough to notice, but it's up to you and your needs as to whether that will matter or not. The SSD in the 2011 MBP will also be slower, because it relies on the slower SATA interface, rather than the PCI express that the rMBP uses. The memory speed should be the same.

    So there probably would be a slightly noticeable performance difference, but, in my opinion that doesn't take your needs into account, I would just stick with upgrading your current machine; it'll feel plenty fast.
  3. JPamplin, Jun 25, 2014
    Last edited: Jun 25, 2014

    JPamplin macrumors 6502


    Mar 12, 2009
    Nashville, TN
    I have what you're looking at...

    OK, I have the late-2011 Macbook Pro 13" with a Core i5 2.4Ghz, Intel's HD 3000, 16GB of 1600Mhz DDR3 RAM, and a SATA3 fusion drive made up with a Samsung 250GB SATA3 840 EVO and a 7200RPM SATA3 1TB HD.

    So this is as fast as it gets for this unit. My thoughts:

    - Unit is fast as ***** when it comes to launching and running apps. The i5 is silky smooth (sees 4 cores) and it has Turbo Boost, so CPU should keep up with the SATA3 Fusion.

    - HERE'S THE ISSUE - the damn video chipset. I just turned on some full screen WatchESPN and the CPU went nuts. Choppy, lower-res, not good. This is in Safari - Chrome is even worse. In sharp contrast, my iPad Air's A7 blows the crap out of it in video - liquid smooth.

    SO - if you're not wanting to use this as a video streaming unit, you're great. But if you want to watch from Flash-based HD video, then the new MBP is the way to go.

    Just my $0.02,


  4. bsharpgrooves thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jun 25, 2014
    Thx the input.
    1. is to run Windows server VM either via fusion or parallels for App development. I know VMs are memory hungry and disk a bit, but not crazy cpu.

    2. I also do multi track audio work with Logic Pro X but currenly my current config is handling it very well
  5. JPamplin macrumors 6502


    Mar 12, 2009
    Nashville, TN
    Upgrading the rig you have will do well for those needs.

  6. yjchua95 macrumors 604

    Apr 23, 2011
    GVA, KUL, MEL (current), ZQN
    I'd sell it off because all the 15"/17" early/late 2011 models have a manufacturing flaw in the logic board that causes the Radeon GPU to fail. Just for Radeongate alone, I'd sell it off.

    I had an early-2011 2.3GHz/16GB RAM/512GB 840 Pro and 1GB 6750M that succumbed to Radeongate. I really missed that matte screen, so I have to cope up with a 15" rMBP that attracts glare like a solar panel.
  7. maflynn Moderator


    Staff Member

    May 3, 2009
    I'd also sell and get a newer machine as mentioned. The issue with the GPU is such that its better to move on from that model imo.

Share This Page