Upgrade or buy new?

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by Abroad, May 20, 2014.

  1. Abroad macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    May 20, 2014
    #1
    Hey everyone,

    So here is the situation

    I currently have a mid 2010 Macbook Pro 13" 250GB with 8GB 1067 MHz memory. I have recently started doing more work using Photoshop, Lightroom, Final Cut, etc…. dealing with large rendering files and downloading sometimes 2000 pictures at a time and this machine is having a hard time keeping up with this software and multitasking with everyday browsing, email…. From what I've been reading I'm trying to figure out what is a better option.

    Is it worth and will it get the speed I want if I upgrade to 16GB of ram (that I'm still not clear from mixed threads if I can do or not?) and upgrade to an SSD drive. And I'm not sure if I should upgrading the CPU? Or should I save my money and invest in a second computer dedicated for work?

    This is new territory for me and there seems to be a lot of knowledge on this site, so I'm asking here before spending a dime.

    Cheers!
     
  2. meson macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Apr 29, 2014
    #2
    My wife uses her quad core iMac of a similar vintage in much the same way. Even with 16GB of ram, she is still taxing the system. Pageouts are still going to happen when working with large photo sets. I strongly suspect that the HDD is the limiting factor in her work though. When a TB class SSD comes within our budget, I'm sure it will breathe new life into the machine.

    With a dual core system, you are likely to run into bottlenecks with both the cpu and the HDD.

    If a portable is the way you want to go, it might be best to save for a quad core MBP, either new or refurb. As a stop gap, the cost of a good 240GB SSD (~$120) would likely be a good investment that will return most of its value if you choose to sell the machine. As far as the ram, if you are running Mavericks, check your ram pressure in Activity Monitor while you are working. If it is yellow or red, then you may/will benefit from more ram. If green, then don't worry about it. Should you need to choose between the two, pick up an SSD as you will get the most performance increase for the price.
     
  3. Barney63 macrumors 6502a

    Barney63

    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2014
    Location:
    Bolton, UK.
    #3
    You can't upgrade the CPU.
    If that was needed it is a new/refurb MacBook that is the solution.

    Barney
     
  4. saturnotaku macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Mar 4, 2013
    #4
    About the only thing you can do at this point is upgrade to a solid-state drive (SSD). You're already maxed out on RAM, as the 2010 15- and 17-inch models could only support up to 8 GB. The SSD will help some, but make sure you buy it from some place that will give you a refund if it's still not getting the job done - Amazon is great in this regard; Newegg only does like-for-like exchanges.

    Other than that, you're looking at having to upgrade the whole works. Refurbished is the way to go here. If you're working with programs that use OpenCL, one of the Iris Pro 2014 MacBook Pro models would be the way to go. They're available refurbished for a significant discount over the price of a new machine, and they come with the same warranty coverage, including the ability to add AppleCare later.
     
  5. Trvlngnrs macrumors 6502

    Trvlngnrs

    Joined:
    Jun 8, 2010
    #5
    A lot depends on your finances. Will it be a tax deductible purchase?

    If you don't need portability, another option is to get the quad core i7 Mac Mini with a 1 TB fusion drive or 256GG SSD for $999 (or wait for them to show up on the refurb site to save a couple hundred dollars). Get it with the 4 GB RAM as it is super easy to swap out the RAM for 16GB on a Mac Mini. You would still need to purchase a display, mouse and keyboard but you could get what you want, with a monitor designed for what your doing.

    Many people think the Mac Mini is due for a refresh, so something even better may be coming soon!
     
  6. Abroad thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    May 20, 2014
    #6
    Good tip on the activity monitor… I was running lightroom today and exporting files and it read 7.86 GB being used, but also read 3.40GB inactive…?

    So what 8GB x2 ram can I use to free this up? And I think giving the price of an SSD from Crucial wouldn't hurt to just do anyways…

    Thanks Meson

    ----------

    Thanks Barney, I didn't find any solid information on if that was even an option. Good to know

    ----------

    So I can't run 16GB of Ram? There seems to be conflicting information from what I read. Not saying your wrong I just don't know what to believe.

    I'll look into the Iris Pro and see if thats might be a better option budget wise. Thanks for the tip!

    ----------

    It will be a tax deduction, and I would like to stay portable as much as possible but not ruling out most of my editing is done at home anyways. 1 TB would be awesome to have!
     
  7. velkr macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Aug 26, 2011
    #7
    If you're running Mavericks, it handles memory a little differently than previous OSX versions. Take a look at the Swap used and Compressed values and use that to determine if you really need more ram (less means you don't really need more ram). Here is a good article explaining how it works: http://arstechnica.com/apple/2013/10/os-x-10-9/17/#compressed-memory

    http://support.apple.com/kb/sp583 -- Looks like 8GB is max for the C2D Macbooks. If you end up sticking with your current machine, a SSD will definitely feel like a world of difference compared to hard drive.
     
  8. GhettoMrBob macrumors regular

    Joined:
    May 21, 2014
    #8
    The C2D mid-2010 WILL support 16GB. It's not officially supported by Apple but it will work.

    As for the memory monitor in Activity Monitor - don't go by what it says as being used. Go by what the pressure gauge is at. I've currently got 8GB installed in mine and it's almost constantly at 7.99 used but the pressure is often very low.

    I'd keep an eye on your CPU usage when doing your workflow. If it's consistently high then it may be worth going the refurb route. If not, it's most likely the HD that's causing the bottleneck. An SSD will also give better boot times, better app launch times, file transfer, etc.
     
  9. iizmoo macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jan 8, 2014
    #9
    I had the same 2010, except I upgrade to SSD several times over the years and I had the original 4GB RAM. By 2013 the CPU could no longer support some of the tasks I was doing, it was still great for surfing the web, watching video and basic office productivity, but not heavy programming, or running the IOS simulator.

    From your workload it sound like you're doing quite a bit of processing there. At this point, if I were you I would consider a new machine. I upgraded mine to the i7 Macbook Air and the CPU and SSD were vast improvement. CPU has around 2X as much processing power with hyper-threading and much more powerful cores. The old 2010 are also SATA II, even if you were putting in an SSD (the biggest upgrade you can make), it would still run around 250MBps compared to the new SSD that run 700+ MBps
     
  10. yjchua95 macrumors 604

    Joined:
    Apr 23, 2011
    Location:
    GVA, KUL, MEL (current), ZQN
    #10
    For 2010 models:

    13": 16GB
    15" and 17": 8GB

    It's strange, but true.

    ----------

    The mid-2010 15" and 17" use the Arrandale i5 and i7, and these only support 8GB.
     
  11. GhettoMrBob macrumors regular

    Joined:
    May 21, 2014
    #11
    Ahh, forgot to point out that I was referring to the 13", same as the OP.
     
  12. l.a.rossmann macrumors 65816

    l.a.rossmann

    Joined:
    May 15, 2009
    Location:
    Brooklyn
    #12
    mid 2010 is not a core i processor if it's a 13.3" model, they use 820-2879 or 820-2530 boards which are old, corny core 2 duo CPUs.

    Which might as well be a pentium 2 if you want to perform CPU intensive tasks.

    If it's a core i5 or i7, upgrade.

    if it's core 2 duo, delegate it to being used as a word processor or an iptables router.

    Putting money into updating a core 2 duo machine is kinda throwin' it away, IMO.
     
  13. TacticalDesire macrumors 68020

    TacticalDesire

    Joined:
    Mar 19, 2012
    Location:
    Michigan
    #13
    What are you talking about? C2D is still more than adequate for 90% of what average computer users do. For heavy multitasking, video rendering no, its not ideal. But far from trash and much more capable than just word processing. Obviously a Core i series machine would be better.
     
  14. Abroad thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    May 20, 2014
    #14
    So I went ahead and ordered an SSD from Crucial and ordered the 16gb (8x2) Ram from OWC.

    So far only the Ram had come in and I installed it saturday. Just to confirm for those that don't know, it will work on a mid-2010. Unfortunately I didn't really notice any improvements at all.

    Hopefully when the SSD arrives it will help speed things up.

    In doing this I realize I probably just need to build a separate unit to help speed up my workflow.

    So, depending how the SSD functions, I'll probably return the 16gb ram and either try and sell my mid-2010, or just keep it for home use.
     
  15. Barney63 macrumors 6502a

    Barney63

    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2014
    Location:
    Bolton, UK.
    #15
    It will take a short while to see the full benefit of the SSD, once it has finished it's indexing you should see it though.


    Barney
     
  16. brdeveloper macrumors 68020

    brdeveloper

    Joined:
    Apr 21, 2010
    Location:
    Brasil
    #16
    The problem can be the GPU... since these image/video editing tools take benefit of CUDA/OpenCL, you're stuck into the 256MB from your Geforce 320M. Your filters will have to swap between RAM and VRAM in 256MB chunks, so this can be a bottleneck, I guess. Anyway, it's better swaping between RAM and VRAM than between HDD/SSD and RAM. If you do a more careful benchmark, you'll probably see a benefit.
     
  17. Abroad thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    May 20, 2014
    #17
     
  18. thekev macrumors 604

    thekev

    Joined:
    Aug 5, 2010
    #18
    SSDs just allow it faster scratch space. I disagree with him on the GPU. Those filters were all cpu bound prior to a generation or so ago. Some of them still are, and there are only a couple that are painfully slow without the use of OpenCL (iris blur comes to mind). Barefeats did a test on that, but some of their results were strange. I've never seen liquify take more than a few seconds to render unless you intentionally create a weird overlapping mesh. To give you an idea, Lightroom doesn't touch the gpu for anything, photoshop does in limited amounts, and FCPX does for some things. Photoshop won't support many of those filters on that gpu due to the vram thing, but it shouldn't affect your overall workflow. If you were applying the same filter to a massive number of images, it would probably be in Lightroom. Lightroom doesn't use OpenCL at all, so there would be no gpu benefit. Ask someone else about FCPX. I've only used Premiere. 16GB should work, but it's not officially supported.

    Those 2010 machines do have their problems, so at some point you're likely to hit the 320M problems. You might also consider that batteries do eventually wear out. I should also mention that CUDA is meaningless for the applications you mentioned there. None of them use it in any way, so it shouldn't affect your purchasing decisions. Going by activity monitor, you can obviously use whatever ram is available either way.
     
  19. brdeveloper macrumors 68020

    brdeveloper

    Joined:
    Apr 21, 2010
    Location:
    Brasil
    #19
    No... the 320M GPU from the 2010-Macbooks shares memory from the main RAM. However, since the GPU is stuck inside a 256MB space, it has to swap if it needs processing something larger than this size. If it could use a larger amount of memory, it could process more data at once without merging and swapping.
     
  20. Abroad thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    May 20, 2014
    #20
    Yeah I didn't think so. We will see here shortly how the SSD works...

    ----------

    What am I missing to install the SSD? It just came in the mail today and I bought the installation kit to go with it. But the directions from the Crucial website list instructions on how to clone for windows… is it the same for MBP?

    What order am I supposed to clone, initialize and install?
     
  21. brdeveloper macrumors 68020

    brdeveloper

    Joined:
    Apr 21, 2010
    Location:
    Brasil
    #21
    Don't know. In my case, I did a clean OSX install when I upgraded and kept the original HDD as an external unit.
     
  22. Abroad thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    May 20, 2014
    #22
    Did you install the SSD blank first, then install OSX and transfer all info from your old hard drive after the install or before?

    I'm kinda confused from the not so clear instructions online if I should partition the SSD before I install or after… And what do I use the Acronis CD for, to clone?

    Or do I just swap the drive, install OSX and use time machine to transfer data?

    I just don't want to F this thing up…. And just want to be clear before I swap these
     
  23. brdeveloper macrumors 68020

    brdeveloper

    Joined:
    Apr 21, 2010
    Location:
    Brasil
    #23
    I don't remember if I formatted the SSD first... I suspect that the installation DVD will format the drive to install OSX or maybe the recovery mode (Command + R at startup) has a disk utility app built-in. Sorry... if I said more than this, it would be mere speculation.
     
  24. Abroad thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    May 20, 2014
    #24
    Yeah no worries. Thanks for the input though. The CD/DVD that came with the kit is blank and the only info I find on it is catered towards windows…
     

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