Upgrade Old Early '11 or Brand New?

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by McEntireFan93, Apr 5, 2018.

  1. McEntireFan93 macrumors newbie

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    #1
    I am currently debating about whether or not to upgrade the HD, and Ram in my Early 2011 MBP or save up and purchase a new MBP down the road.

    My MBP currently is a 2.3GHz, with 4GB of Ram, and 320GB Hard Drive. I'm considering putting in a 850 Evo SSD, and upgrading the ram to 8GB. My concern is that when I go into the System Information the current HD it says Link Speed is 6GB but it says Negotiated Link Speed is only 3GB so I don't want to put new hardware into it if the machine will not be able to handle it.

    Any advice or feedback would be greatly appreciated.
     
  2. Glmnet1 macrumors 6502a

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    #2
    What do you use it for?

    For day to day usage, adding an SSD to your MBP will do wonders! I did it on mine a while ago and it's still running great.

    If you need it for more CPU or GPU intensive tasks then it's a good idea to start saving for a new one but even then it might be worth to install the SSD anyway. If you upgrade you can resell the MBP with the SSD or even use it as an external drive.
     
  3. robvas macrumors 68030

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    #3
    Those old laptop drives are only sata 3gb/s, not 6gb/s
     
  4. McEntireFan93 thread starter macrumors newbie

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    #4
    I use it for pretty much day to day tasks; word, excel, emails, I do also use it from time to time to do work on Photoshop and Illustrator.

    So if I was to upgrade the drive the computer itself should be able to handle something more than the 3gb/s it currently is doing?
     
  5. tpivette89 macrumors 6502

    tpivette89

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    #5
    I have a late 2011 MBP that I did exactly what you are thinking of doing... upgraded the hard drive to a Samsung 850 SSD, and boosted the RAM to 8GB. It's a totally different machine! As long as your not doing anything intensive with it (which it sounds like you're not), spending about $200 to update it is definitely worth it.

    Don't know if there is a difference in the SATA speed between the early and late 2011s, but for reference my MBP after installing the EVO has both a link speed and negotiated link speed of 6GB/sec
     
  6. maflynn Moderator

    maflynn

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    #6
    Personally, I wouldn't sink too much more money into the 7 year old laptop (posted by someone who just got a new battery for their 2012 MBP).
     
  7. Fishrrman macrumors P6

    Fishrrman

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    #7
    I agree with maflynn above.
    It's not worth it to put much money into a 2011 MBP.

    Having said that, it -might be- worth putting a -little- money into it while you're waiting for the 2018 MacBook Pros.

    My advice:
    Buy the CHEAPEST SSD YOU CAN FIND (not large capacity, 250gb at the most).
    Put that into the 2011.
    It will give you a very nice speed boost for the time being.
    Leave the memory alone. If you feel that you must "bump up" the RAM, just buy ONE 8gb DIMM, and change it out with the 2gb DIMM in the "uppermost slot" when the back is off. That will give you 10gb, all you should need until a new MBP finds its way into your life.

    When the time comes for you to buy a new MBP, you can then take the SSD back OUT OF the old 2011, and re-purpose it to be an additional drive at your disposal. Or -- if the 2011 is still doing ok, just keep the whole computer "as your backup".

    I WOULD NOT recommend a 2017 MacBook Pro.
    Too many reports of failed keyboards.
    MAYBE they'll fix this in 2018 -- no way to know as of yet.
     
  8. macagain macrumors regular

    macagain

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    #8
    I would agree about getting the cheapest SSD you can find... caveat is get a new'ish model, i.e not much more than 1-2 years old... SSD's have gotten faster and cheaper. How much capacity will purely depend on how much space you need :) If your current 320 is pretty full, I'd say it's not worth the sweat to squeeze down to 250; the $ diff between 250 and 500 is only like $30 these days.

    Also, negotiated speed of 3 or 6 really doesn't translate into any noticeable difference. My early 2011 came with one that ran at 3, and I replaced it with one that ran at the full 6, and I didn't notice any difference at all. That being said, pretty much close to all, if not all, the newer SSD's will run at 6.

    If you do get a 3rd party one, just remember to enable trim, which you'll have to do manually.

    The cheapest (non off brand) ones I've found are the Sandisks, and I'm put one into an iMac, and one into a Mac Pro, and they're fine... pretty much transformed the machine.

    And, I'd definitely go with at least 8Gb of RAM... Fishrrman's rec of 1x8 Gb chip to get you to 10 is definitely the best way to go. Personally, I like to get the ones that say "for Mac". Mac's seem to be more finicky with RAM than PC's. While I've gotten non "Mac certified" to run fine, I've also had some not work. Just worth the hassle of returns for me... If you want to save a few $$, you can find lots of them on eBay, many new.

    I use my early 2011 as a spare, and once in a while when I have to pull it out, I'm pretty impressed with how well a 7 year old machine still runs.
     
  9. prisstratton macrumors 6502a

    prisstratton

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    #9
    Do the upgrade and put in the 850 EVO and more RAM, you will not regret it.

    You WILL get SATA 3 (6Gb/sec) rates in the main drive bay.

    Too many people on these boards are very quick to run down older equipment. I have maxed out my MBP (see my sig.) and it is still a great machine.
     
  10. AustinIllini macrumors demi-goddess

    AustinIllini

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    #10
    It's a little late in the game to update a 2011 MBP, but the current models are so expensive, it makes a lot of sense you might consider upgrading your 2011. I have done the SSD swap and a RAM upgrade and it's super easy.

    Have you considered upgrading to like a 2015 MBP?
     
  11. KGB7 Suspended

    KGB7

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    #11
    If you have Microcenter near you, they have the new 860Evo 250GB for $80 right now.
     
  12. old-wiz macrumors G3

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    #12
    If you can find a new or refurb 2015 MBPr they are a good deal now. If your 2011 is a 15" with separate GPU, don't even try to upgrade it - the GPU on that model is a pig.
     
  13. LarryJoe33 macrumors 65816

    LarryJoe33

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    #13
    See my specs in my signature. I did all the upgrades. I disagree that it’s not worth it. At the very least you will have a very fast and capable second machine.

    Get the cheapest SSD you can afford by a brand name manufacturer like Sandisk or Crucail. EVO is overkill and you won’t see the better performance because of your SATA limitations.

    I thought the memory had to be installed in pairs?? If so, evaluate whether two 4s is that much cheaper than two 8’s.

    Do it!
     
  14. groove-agent macrumors 6502a

    groove-agent

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    #14
    I have a 2012 cMBP and just put in an SSD plus doubled the memory from 8 to 16 GB RAM. I also pulled out the superdrive and put in a second hard drive. It runs like a new computer now.

    This is the value of user-replaceable parts. You don't get this kind of value with Macs these days.
     
  15. LarryJoe33 macrumors 65816

    LarryJoe33

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    #15
    I’m thinking about doing the SuperDrive purely because it’s really the only upgrade left to do and I enjoy it. That said, can I ask what you or others use it for besides more internal storage? I have a 525GB internal and I only use 100GB of that. Curious if you use it to clone or something? I would mind using CCC5 on the go vs plugging in the external FW800 drive I have.

    I just need a reason!
     
  16. groove-agent macrumors 6502a

    groove-agent

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    #16
    I use it as drive separate from my main drive to manipulate video and audio. For example i'll have my virtual instruments, loops etc on my main drive and record the audio to the second drive for better performance. With SSD the performance gains are less, but back in the day of 5400 RPM drives, having two spindles was quite advantageous.

     
  17. TC_GoldRush macrumors 6502

    TC_GoldRush

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    #17
    No... Don't even waste your time with that please.
    SSD really only will noticeably improve the boot times of the laptop and a few system functions. The laptop will still be rather slow, considering it's ancient hardware is already pushed to it's limits with the latest versions of MacOS. I'd start saving up if I were you, best of luck!
     
  18. duervo macrumors 68020

    duervo

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    #18
    I was curious myself, so I checked on Mactracker, and the only early 2011 MBP that Apple sold with a 320GB HDD was the 13” model. The 15” one sold with a 500GB or 750GB HDD (plus various sizes of SSDs.)

    Mactracker is kinda handy. I like it.
     
  19. LarryJoe33, Apr 14, 2018
    Last edited: Apr 14, 2018

    LarryJoe33 macrumors 65816

    LarryJoe33

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    #19
    This is simply false and frankly not a helpful post. Do you have any experience with the topic or are you just shooting from the hip?

    High Sierra can't run on 4GB of memory efficiently on any machine. You lose all credibility with your SSD comment. Seriously? it's probably the most impactful upgrade (spinner to SSD) ever performed on any platform. I won't waste my time countering your comments. It's well known the upgrade improves more than "boot time" lol.

    My machine might not be lightweight or have a retina display, but I can assure you, you could not tell the difference in speed between it and a shiny new MBP. All because of the upgrades. And my 7 year old keyboard works great.

    The OP could reasonably spend $100 and transform the user experience. Why not, even for a second machine vs. doing nothing with it and have it collect dust.
     
  20. TC_GoldRush macrumors 6502

    TC_GoldRush

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    #20
    50/50, a SSD doesn't make a huge difference if your CPU and GPU are over 7 years old!
     
  21. KGB7 Suspended

    KGB7

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    #21
    Compared to 5400rpm or 7200rpm drive, SSD makes a huge difference. Even battery life is improved.
    Not everything needs constant 100% load on CPU or GPU.
    Even with Pentium D processor, SSD would make a difference.

    You have no idea what you talking about.
     
  22. EugW, Apr 14, 2018
    Last edited: Apr 14, 2018

    EugW macrumors 603

    EugW

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    #22
    A SSD makes an ENORMOUS difference if your CPU and GPU are over 7 years ago. It's a night vs. day difference actually.

    ---

    While you don't have to get a fast SSD, I would not recommend getting the cheapest SSD available. There are a ton of cheap noname brand SSDs out there which are fine performance-wise for an old machine like this, but they have a habit of dying relatively quickly, and have rather iffy warranty support. Just spend the extra $30 or whatever for a proper name brand SSD with decent warranty support.

    If you're on a budget, I would upgrade the SSD first, and then consider upgrading the memory. If the usage is relatively light, 4 GB might be OK. 8 GB is better, but usually the SSD is the bigger upgrade for this type of usage, which you said was mostly just office type stuff. The reason I suggest this is because memory prices are not exactly cheap right now.

    OTOH, if you're willing to spend the money on RAM for your Photoshop and Illustrator use, then you may want to consider upgrading to 10 GB. Keep one of your 2 GB SoDIMMs and add another 8 GB SoDIMM for a total of 10 GB. Getting 1 x 8 GB (for a total of 10 GB, using one of your existing 2 GB SoDIMMs) is only about US$5 more than getting 2 x 4 GB (for a total of 8 GB).


    I ran High Sierra on 4 GB for a while, with similar usage to the OP's (minus the rare Illustrator). It was fine. Granted, it wasn't my main machine but nonetheless it worked OK. Like I said, 8 GB can be better, but the SSD is the bigger upgrade for this type of usage, and the main reason I upgraded this machine to 8 GB was because I found a deal on Transcend 8 GB RAM for all of US$35 (!) on Amazon. Given that the pricing was usually closer to $80, not surprisingly it sold out in less than an hour.
     
  23. TC_GoldRush macrumors 6502

    TC_GoldRush

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    #23
    Yes I do, I have personal experience with this! LOL A PENTIUM D? Maybe it would make a difference if this were 2012.. I am beginning to suspect you don't even know what a HDD or SSD is used for... They are used for storage, one can store and load things significantly faster than the other. Won't really help for day to day use though, and add on top of that all the tearing down and reassembling you have to just to replace the aging HDD, it's not worth it! A decent SSD is not exactly cheap, and the thread starter also wants to double their ram (RAM isn't cheap nowadays either)! SSD also has a significantly smaller amount of storage when compared to a HDD, it is not worth it.
     
  24. Pearl Wisdom macrumors member

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    Sep 25, 2009
    #24
    SSD speed makes a big difference to general UI responsiveness due to swapping virtual memory. I have 16GB RAM and I'm still using almost 5GB of swap space. This is just using the basic Mac apps, Safari, Chrome, various other boring apps. Latest Sierra 10.12.6.

    I've upgraded several 2011 laptops. For those models, it is easy to change the RAM when you are also putting in an SSD. I would actually recommend the 16GB RAM upgrade. The system makes use of it and the extra RAM will cut down on the swapping to SSD.

    Also, the CPU speed difference between 2011 and 2014 MacBook Pros isn't that great according to my experience (the feel of the machine for nothing real intensive). The 2011 machine is satisfactorily fast unless you are doing something really demanding. An average user probably doesn't need the latest fast CPUs.
     
  25. Scott Robinson macrumors newbie

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    #25

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