Upgrade options for late 2008 Unibody MacBook

Discussion in 'MacBook' started by Madvillain, Aug 29, 2010.

  1. Madvillain Guest

    Joined:
    Jan 15, 2008
    #1
    Considering adding some ram and a new HD to my MacBook.
    It's a late 2008 Unibody, 2.4 GHz.
    I currently have 4GB of Ram and a 250GB HD, which I believe spins at 5400 rpm (how do I check that?).


    My understanding is that this machine can take 6GB of ram. I'm assuming I can just buy one 4GB stick and replace the 2GB stick with it, correct? If so, where should I buy it from and what should I be looking for? Also, what performance increase can I expect - specifically in Photoshop CS5 and LR3?

    Will getting a faster spinning drive increase performance as well (for PS and LR)? If so, what should I be looking for there?


    Thanks for any/all help.
     
  2. Hellhammer Moderator

    Hellhammer

    Staff Member

    Joined:
    Dec 10, 2008
    Location:
    Finland
    #2
    Yes, it can take up to 6GB. link

    How much it will speed up is hard to say. If you're getting page outs, then more RAM will definitely help.

    If you really want to speed it up, think about an SSD. They cost pretty much but if you don't need much capacity, then they are fine.
     
  3. Madvillain thread starter Guest

    Joined:
    Jan 15, 2008
    #3
    Thanks for the response.

    I don't know what a page out is, so I'm assuming I'm not having that problem.
    Is there any concern of not having the same manufacturer for the 4gb stick as I do for the 2gb stick?

    I'm not sure if I should go the SSD route or not. I currently use external drives to hold my photos. I normally import them to the HD on my MacBook, edit them as needed, and then move them to an external drive after. I guess a SSD would improve the editing part, but I assume it wouldn't do much once they pictures were on the external drive, correct?
    I was thinking a 7200 rpm 500GB drive might speed things up, but maybe the SSD with an external drive would be better.
     
  4. Hellhammer Moderator

    Hellhammer

    Staff Member

    Joined:
    Dec 10, 2008
    Location:
    Finland
    #4
    Open Activity Monitor > System memory > Page outs

    It should work fine even though you mixed the memory

    SSD is greater than any HD upgrade so if you really want to feel the difference, go for an SSD. You could think about replacing the SuperDrive with HD to have both, SSD and HD
     
  5. Madvillain thread starter Guest

    Joined:
    Jan 15, 2008
    #5
    I checked the activity monitor and it showed 0KB for page outs. I then opened lightroom and exported a few pictures to photomatix to be merged to HDR. The page outs number went to 416KB. Is that high or low or what do you think?

    I also noticed the System Memory numbers to be Free 1.16 GB, Wired 676.7 MB, Active 1.66 GB, Inactive 527.2 MB, Used 2.84 GB.

    Is that basically saying that it is not using over 1 GB of my 4 GB? If so, why is that? Will it use more if I had 6 GB (would it use say 5 GB or the 6)?

    Thanks for all the help.
     
  6. PurpleMarmalade macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Aug 29, 2010
    #6
    The analysis of 4GB v 6GB in a late 2008 MB provided by this website seems to suggest that th extra 2GB will reap no discernible benefits at all; in fact, it may result in a performance hit, because of the loss of interleaving (which can only occur with matched memory modules.)

    I have an SSD in mine, and would definitely say it's worth upgrading (although I use an external drive for my iTunes music and photos).
     
  7. Madvillain thread starter Guest

    Joined:
    Jan 15, 2008
    #7
    Interesting. Maybe it's a waste to upgrade to 6GB.

    What type of photo work do you do with the external drive?
    I'd be using Photoshop and Lightroom a lot and wonder if it would be better to have the photos on an external drive and have a SSD, or to have them on a faster internal HD.
     
  8. circularforward macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jul 18, 2010
    #8
    Using an external as a scratch disk boosts performance in photoshop and similar programs. The ssd+external combo or ssd+internal (optibay) will give your machine a tremendous boost. Although the lack of firewire for the external may limit some of the potential bump in performance.
     

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