Upgrade processor or ram with $200?

matt172021

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Jan 21, 2013
12
0
Hi all pardon my question if it seems amateurish.

I'm getting a mid range macbook pro w retina 13". I'm prepared to have it configured to 2.6Ghz i5 processor. This arrangement will cost $1599.

I realised i have an additional $200 to spare. Should i then upgrade to 2.8Ghz i7 or 16gb ram?

Which would give greater value?
 

snaky69

macrumors 603
Mar 14, 2008
5,903
481
Hi all pardon my question if it seems amateurish.

I'm getting a mid range macbook pro w retina 13". I'm prepared to have it configured to 2.6Ghz i5 processor. This arrangement will cost $1599.

I realised i have an additional $200 to spare. Should i then upgrade to 2.8Ghz i7 or 16gb ram?

Which would give greater value?
That depends entirely on what you want to do with your computer.

That's somewhat like asking how big your garage should be without first stating what you'll put in it.
 

thekev

macrumors 604
Aug 5, 2010
6,841
1,766
Ram is more valuable than .2 ghz and a small amount of extra cache. Fewer pageouts typically results in less choppy behavior. Otherwise I would just save the $200. The cpu upgrade isn't that thrilling. Also note the whole i7 vs i5 is fairly trivial here. The hyperthreading enabled or disabled doesn't apply to notebooks.
 

thundersteele

macrumors 68030
Oct 19, 2011
2,985
7
Switzerland
You should also think about the 512 GB SSD. It is also in the $200 range. Of course only if you have some use for that much storage.

RAM feels like a no brainer, because you double the amount. On the other hand if you don't actually need that much RAM, you get zero benefit. The CPU bump might be less than 10%, but every time some little task requires a finite amount of CPU time, it will be faster, so you always benefit.
Of course for the long term benefits the RAM wins again, since it could make a difference in three or five years, or if you change your usage pattern - while the 10% will still be only 10%.

I would be split between the RAM and storage. I'd probably go for the RAM in the end since on a 13'' machine I wouldn't do any gaming, and without games I certainly don't need more than 256 GB.


PS: I fell that the 2.4 -> 2.6 upgrade makes more sense, given that it is cheaper and also boosts the GPU performance.
 

OldMacUser

macrumors member
Jan 10, 2011
56
1
Melbourne, Australia
Tough question.

My own experience is that moving from 4GB to 8GB is really advantageous, but moving from 8GB to 16GB ... hmm ... not so much.

My previous MBP had 8GB memory (upgraded from 4GB) and that really had a lot of benefit for running multiple apps and Virtual Machines.

My current rMBP has 16GB and I honestly cannot say that I have taxed it that much to require all the memory it has (albeit that Mavericks allocates unused memory to cache) and it really doesn't feel that the extra 8GB compared to my previous MBP makes *that* much of a difference.

For your particular case, I would opine that stretching to the next level 13-in rMBP would be much, much more worthwhile. For the $300 extra, you will get a processor speed bump and, more importantly, a 512GB SSD.
 

Qaanol

macrumors 6502a
Jun 21, 2010
569
11
I agree with everything thundersteele and OldMacUser are saying here.

The question you want to ask is whether you should get 16 GB RAM or a 512 GB SSD (or save the $200 to use for something else entirely.) The CPU upgrade is not worth it unless you’ve already maxed everything else and still want to burn money.

If you decide to get the 512 GB SSD then you’re looking at the high-end 13.3″ stock configuration, which occasionally shows up in the refurb section for a noticeable discount.

In general for most people the 2.4 / 8 / 256 mid-range model is widely considered the best bang for your buck. If I were you I would seriously consider that model, and think about whether you actually need any upgrades to it and if so why.