Upgrade - new Macbook (Pro) or SSD for BlackBook?

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by jdavtz, Feb 9, 2010.

  1. jdavtz macrumors 6502a

    Aug 22, 2005
    What would you recommend?

    We have an approx. 2.5-year-old Black Macbook C2D 2.16GHz upgraded to 3GB RAM, running Snow Leopard.

    We use it a lot, not for anything very strenuous, but lots of multitasking (two user accounts, fast user switching, multiple tabs in Safari in each account, iPhoto, iTunes, Mail x2, Adium x2, Skype x2, iCal x2, sometimes the odd Word or Excel document).

    Processing speed seems generally okay, but fairly often it will "churn" for a few seconds, presumably when it dumps memory to the hard drive. I've never actually had Activity Monitor open when this has happened (but it's not CPU use; I have iStat Menu running) but often when I do randomly decide to look in Activity Monitor I have only about 10-50 MB free memory, which would fit with this.

    We could buy a new Macbook (+/- Pro) (although the Air would be nice really) which would have a nicer display and a glowing keyboard and potentially more RAM (would 4GB be enough? I'm kind of surprised that 3GB isn't to be honest...) ...

    or, presumably for a lot less money, we could presumably (?) replace the 160GB HDD with a 128GB SSD.

    Do you think this would be a "good" option? Do SSD drives even fit into the Blackbooks? Would this give a noticeable speed improvement?

    Or would it be better to sell this laptop on eBay and get a new model (whenever the update comes out).

    Thanks for any words of advice!

  2. zhenya macrumors 603


    Jan 6, 2005
    As far as speeding up your computer from the symptoms you describe, a SSD in your current computer will make a bigger difference than a new computer. I'm not convinced that it is a lack of RAM in your case, as the OS will use most of your RAM when multi-tasking by design - RAM that just sits idle is wasted.

    The question I guess comes down to whether you want to invest a rather sizable sum into this older model. The good news is that, yes, a SSD will fit in your Blackbook, and, if you decide to upgrade in another year or two, you can move the SSD to the new model too. I would recommend an Intel SSD over any other brand - they are reliable and ridiculously fast with good support from Intel.
  3. charlieroberts macrumors 6502a


    Feb 5, 2007

    SSD is probably gonna do you the most good.

    BUT I wouldn't necessarily recommend Intel, your MB has only SATA 1.5 Gbps which is well below the capacity of Intel drives, I think you would be wasting performance. Go for something around 300 USD and you'll have spent well below the cost of a new macbook and it'll hold you over at least a year till a new MB.


    Good luck
  4. zhenya macrumors 603


    Jan 6, 2005
    Fwiw, I have been using my intel ssd on a laptop limited by the 1.5Gbps bus for over a year now. It's still fast as all get out because the maximum sequential speeds have little to do with daily use. It's all about the access speed and how the drive firmware handles small reads and writes, and how the drive performs over time. Intel has these last issues down pat. OCZ is still behind the curve despite their benchmarks. This last issue is especially important on an os without TRIM (like OSX). My intel drive was used also without trim, and performance is still virtually as good as day 1.
  5. tkermit macrumors 68040


    Feb 20, 2004
    If you're set on spending some money, definitely buy an (Intel) SSD, instead of a new computer. Performance-wise, the newest Macbooks won't seem much different than yours - except maybe at the beginning, due to the fresh and clean system.
    If you still want to upgrade your laptop at a later point, the SSD investment won't have been for nothing, since you can just put it in the new one.

    Maxing out the laptop to 4 GB wouldn't be a bad idea either, considering RAM isn't really all that expensive right now
  6. thejadedmonkey macrumors 604


    May 28, 2005
    If I remember correctly, the max RAM on that blackbook is 3.3gbs, only attainable by purchasing 2x2gb sticks. Very expensive for 300megs of RAM.
  7. tkermit macrumors 68040


    Feb 20, 2004
    alright, didn't know that - my bad :)
  8. XxEjGxX macrumors regular

    Dec 18, 2009
    the SSD will make a huge difference, much mroe then a new mbp... definately a better idea and a lot cheaper [​IMG]
  9. macjunk(ie) macrumors 6502a

    Aug 12, 2009
    well...your macbook is almost 3 years old..not a bad time to update...I would wait for the updates to come...and then take a decision.
  10. grahamwright1 macrumors regular


    Feb 10, 2008
    North of the Border
    System information shows 4 Gigs in my 2007 black MacBook with 2x2Gigs and Activity Monitor seems to indicate all 4 gigs are in use. Is that information incorrect?
  11. brendu macrumors 68020

    Apr 23, 2009
    it would not tell you it recognizes more than it does...

    heres what otherworldcomputing.com says about it

    "***MacBook Core 2 Duo 1.83GHz and 2.16GHz (late/2006-Mid/2007) models are able to accept a matched pair of 2GB modules for 4.0GB total, but only fully utilize the first 3.0GB of installed memory. Even so, even with these systems, there is some benefit to having the matched pair of 4.0GB installed."
  12. Mal macrumors 603


    Jan 6, 2002
    I would assume you have the Late 2007 model then. Those ran at 2.0 or 2.2 GHz, and would accept 4GB of RAM (6GB unofficially, actually).

  13. radicaldog macrumors member

    Mar 1, 2010
    Similar dilemma (though my machine is a bit older and less powerful than that of the OP): upgrading to a new MacBook Pro (that would be basic 13'' for me, but with a 128GB SSD) or switching the HD to a SSD in my old BlackBook?

    I wouldn't want to bring the RAM over my current 2Gb (not worth getting two 2Gb sticks to only gain 1.3Gb), so maybe I'm better off ordering a new MBP with 4Gb Ram and 128Gb SSD?

    What's a good but reasonably priced 128Gb SSD that would fit into my BlackBook?


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