Upgrade RAM or storage? MBP Late 2011

ben824

macrumors regular
Original poster
Jul 12, 2012
185
7
GA
Ok so Sierra has slowed my Late 2011 MBP to where it is very irritating to use. I have cleared out my storage of anything unnecessary and done anything else commonly done to get a MBP back up to speed. Even as I type right now it randomly stop pauses and I get the rainbow wheel and then the typing fills in a catches up to where I am.

SSD is out of the question, an equal size SSD is just too pricey for my budget to allow for right now. I know hybrid drives are a nice inbetween and I can get a 1TB for half the price of an SSD with half the storage. My cousin who is in IT had one in his 2010 MBP and he liked it.

I know I can bump the RAM from 4 to 16GB and that will help.

I know the best thing to do is both but I just don't have the cash to do both right away, I have to choose. Which on would y'all spend the money on first? 16GB RAM or 1TB Hybrid drive?
 

keysofanxiety

macrumors G3
Nov 23, 2011
9,467
24,215
I wouldn't bother with a hybrid drive. And 16GB would be overkill without any real-world performance benefits. Your model has documented issues with graphics too, so I wouldn't throw the wallet at it.

Why do you have to get an equal sized SSD? Any documents/videos/photos, just keep on the old drive that you'll have to take out. You can get a 240GB SSD for less than 16GB RAM would cost you. That'd be your best bet.
 
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JTToft

macrumors 68040
Apr 27, 2010
3,405
754
Aarhus, Denmark
Hybrid drives are not a nice in-between. They're crap.

I second the motion above. Get a smaller SSD.
In addition, one stick of 8 GB RAM to add to one of your existing 2 GB sticks for 10 GB total. Cheaper than 2 x 4 GB, gets you 2 GB extra, and makes it easier and cheaper to upgrade to 16 GB later on.

If storage space is important to you, also take out the optical drive and fit your current hard drive in its place. You'll have a fast SSD and lots of storage at the same time.

If your signature is correct and you have a 13", it isn't affected by the graphics issues mentioned.

If I had to make a choice between a 1 TB hybrid drive and 16 GB RAM (and no other upgrades), I'd take the RAM without question.
 

Michael Anthony

macrumors regular
Oct 18, 2012
131
20
Australia
I have a late 2011 15" Macbook Pro, so we're in the same boat.

Upgrading from 4GB of memory to 16GB made a huge difference in performance, as did swapping out the mechanical hard drive for a SATA III SSD (got the memory and drive from macsales.com .)

I'd say not to waste your money on a stop-gap solution, just get one, then get the other when you have the money. I think you should go for the 16GB of memory first, then get a 1GB+ SSD.
 

CoastalOR

macrumors 68020
Jan 19, 2015
2,455
899
Oregon, USA
I did the 16 Gb RAM upgrade on my 2011 MBP first and did not see a BIG performance boost. I saw a much bigger improvement after installing a SSD. I would recommend the SSD first, if you can only do one of the upgrades.
 
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Decimotox

macrumors 6502a
Jul 8, 2013
596
323
Swapped in a 275 GB Crucial SSD in my 2010 MBP and it's worked wonders. I agree with folks above saying you don't need a bigger or equal sized SSD as your old HDD. I bought a USB enclosure for $4.99 and put the HDD in there. Now i have a 250 GB USB HD. Super convenient - store all your movies, pics, music on it. Leave the SSD for the OS (of course), and bigger apps or anything you use most frequently, almost like a Fusion Drive.

The Crucial SSD I got was the MX300 275 GB. It's $69.99 pretty much everywhere, give or take a few dollars.
 

curmudgeonette

macrumors 6502a
Jan 28, 2016
505
325
California
Even as I type right now it randomly stop pauses and I get the rainbow wheel and then the typing fills in a catches up to where I am.
Check the Memory pane in Activity Monitor. Look to see if your system is doing virtual memory paging. The specific item to look at is page-outs. (I don't know what Sierra will show you, it may be hiding this level of detail.)
 

TechZeke

macrumors 68020
Jul 29, 2012
2,361
1,969
Rialto, CA
If you have to ask if you need it, you don't need 16GB of RAM. I only have 8GB of RAM on my iMac, SP4, and rMBP and all of the work I do works perfectly fine. My gaming PC is 16GB only because the mods on Cities Skylines can eat f--ktons of RAM.

SSD will have the biggest jump by far. I also third the motion to avoid hybrid drives. Better to go with pure SSD.
 

andreyush

macrumors 6502
Oct 24, 2015
492
308
Don't work cheap here. I know you want storage but you also want performance. An upgrade from 4gb ram to 16gb ram is not a big jump. But a SSD will be like Thor has unchained his power over your laptop xD.

1.I recommend to upgrade to SSD first. 2. Wait- upgrade from 4gb ram to 8gb ram. 3. Wait- If you don't use the dvd-drive, replace it with a 1TB HDD. ( OR you can swap option 2 with 3). Boom. A very powerfull machine :).
 

TomH TX

macrumors regular
Oct 18, 2010
231
72
Since I have essentially given up hope on Apple ever releasing the next generation of MBP, I installed the CAX chip and used CAT in my early 2011 15" MBP to get the handoff and continuity features about 18 months ago, then about a month ago I installed a 1TB Mushkin MLC SSD, and upgraded RAM to 16gb. Unbelievable improvement. The memory was only like $70, and you can get a smaller SSD for relatively modest dollars. Nothing is free, but the money will be worth it.
 

Michael Anthony

macrumors regular
Oct 18, 2012
131
20
Australia
I'd say that going from 4GB to 16GB of RAM will still give a better immediate result, with the exception of the first boot; because the RAM can hold a whole lot of recently used memory in stasis, that said, there are circumstances you need the fast action of the SSD, I just happened to get my two a week apart so didn't get to do too much testing, but regardless of anything, and SSD will do wonders for you before anything else, it made even a 1.8GHz Dual tower feel like it was challenging a lot of Intel Macs (at the time), unless you have a special need to a full 16GB of RAM first, either way, I still say that you should get both of them, I did both to a 2011 MBP and it rungs rings above any current Apple laptop except the top like retina MBP with dedicated graphics.
 

ben824

macrumors regular
Original poster
Jul 12, 2012
185
7
GA
Hybrid drives are not a nice in-between. They're crap.

I second the motion above. Get a smaller SSD.
In addition, one stick of 8 GB RAM to add to one of your existing 2 GB sticks for 10 GB total. Cheaper than 2 x 4 GB, gets you 2 GB extra, and makes it easier and cheaper to upgrade to 16 GB later on.

If storage space is important to you, also take out the optical drive and fit your current hard drive in its place. You'll have a fast SSD and lots of storage at the same time.

If your signature is correct and you have a 13", it isn't affected by the graphics issues mentioned.

If I had to make a choice between a 1 TB hybrid drive and 16 GB RAM (and no other upgrades), I'd take the RAM without question.
I thought both sticks had to be the same size? Like 2 x 8 or 2 x 4 or 2 x 2? If I can get one 8 right now that would be a good improvement and then I can get to the storage upgrade quicker.
 

Fishrrman

macrumors P6
Feb 20, 2009
17,160
5,521
Adding RAM (of any size) isn't going to help all that much.

Adding an SSD -WILL- make a -HUGE- improvement in performance.

It's really that simple.
 

Tarek

macrumors 6502
Jun 25, 2009
391
76
Liverpool, UK
Get a smaller SSD and the difference will be night and day. Sure, the extra RAM is nice, but you won't get the same improvement you will with a SSD.
 

Michael Anthony

macrumors regular
Oct 18, 2012
131
20
Australia
Adding RAM (of any size) isn't going to help all that much.

Adding an SSD -WILL- make a -HUGE- improvement in performance.

It's really that simple.
Adding an SSD I agree with, but I also think going from 4GB of RAM to 16GB - depending on use - will also make things noticeably snappier, especially if you don't get the SSD first. I know this because I've done the same with a late 2011 MBP.
 

California

macrumors 68040
Aug 21, 2004
3,766
40
Adding an SSD I agree with, but I also think going from 4GB of RAM to 16GB - depending on use - will also make things noticeably snappier, especially if you don't get the SSD first. I know this because I've done the same with a late 2011 MBP.[/QUOTE
Ok so Sierra has slowed my Late 2011 MBP to where it is very irritating to use. I have cleared out my storage of anything unnecessary and done anything else commonly done to get a MBP back up to speed. Even as I type right now it randomly stop pauses and I get the rainbow wheel and then the typing fills in a catches up to where I am.

SSD is out of the question, an equal size SSD is just too pricey for my budget to allow for right now. I know hybrid drives are a nice inbetween and I can get a 1TB for half the price of an SSD with half the storage. My cousin who is in IT had one in his 2010 MBP and he liked it.

I know I can bump the RAM from 4 to 16GB and that will help.

I know the best thing to do is both but I just don't have the cash to do both right away, I have to choose. Which on would y'all spend the money on first? 16GB RAM or 1TB Hybrid drive?
Bump up the graphics and add the full amount of ram. I'm running v ram at 512mb but you can apparently bump it up to 1gig in Sierra.
 

KevinRightWing

macrumors regular
Jul 15, 2007
233
13
Houston TX
I have the 17in 2011 model. Recently had to have the logic board replaced. I saw a huge jump when I went from 4gb to 16gb of memory. HUGE.

Still haven't done the SSD upgrade because I want a 1 TB SSD which are expensive. Hoping to find the Samsung under $300 this black friday.
 

cube

macrumors P6
May 10, 2004
16,430
4,436
I bought every Seagate 2.5" SSHD generation since the Momentus XT and it is worth it, if you cannot afford an SSD.

For my Mac, I chose a 7200 RPM 1TB hard drive, instead of the Seagate 1TB SSHD (which spins a 5400 RPM), and I'm not sure it was the better choice.

Since then, I've had to put up with 5400 RPM hard drives, and I would buy a 2TB SSHD immediately, as I don't think it is really worth spending in a 2TB SSD as it would be almost full. The next step is 4TB, but it is overkill and too expensive.
 

snaky69

macrumors 603
Mar 14, 2008
5,903
480
Ok so Sierra has slowed my Late 2011 MBP to where it is very irritating to use. I have cleared out my storage of anything unnecessary and done anything else commonly done to get a MBP back up to speed. Even as I type right now it randomly stop pauses and I get the rainbow wheel and then the typing fills in a catches up to where I am.

SSD is out of the question, an equal size SSD is just too pricey for my budget to allow for right now. I know hybrid drives are a nice inbetween and I can get a 1TB for half the price of an SSD with half the storage. My cousin who is in IT had one in his 2010 MBP and he liked it.

I know I can bump the RAM from 4 to 16GB and that will help.

I know the best thing to do is both but I just don't have the cash to do both right away, I have to choose. Which on would y'all spend the money on first? 16GB RAM or 1TB Hybrid drive?
Your slowdowns could be the sign of a dying hard drive. I see no one's mentioned that yet. Keep a good backup handy, your hard drive is getting long in the tooth regardless, 5 years is a lot of abuse for a laptop's drive.
 

cube

macrumors P6
May 10, 2004
16,430
4,436
4 GiB RAM is very little. Can you afford 8GiB + hybrid?

Although given that the 7K1000 is $50 and the 1TB SSHD is $80, I might go for 1x 8GiB stick + 7K1000. It is not obvious to tell which of the two drives you would prefer in general.

Although if you have a 7200 RPM 750GB hard drive right now, I would probably not spend on the 7K1000, and doubt about the SSHD.

It is really lame that Seagate stopped creating new 7200 RPM laptop drives, especially SSHDs. Also that it is taking them ages to introduce any 2TB 2.5" SSHD.
 
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idoccurt

macrumors regular
Aug 25, 2006
131
15
Ok so Sierra has slowed my Late 2011 MBP to where it is very irritating to use. I have cleared out my storage of anything unnecessary and done anything else commonly done to get a MBP back up to speed. Even as I type right now it randomly stop pauses and I get the rainbow wheel and then the typing fills in a catches up to where I am.

SSD is out of the question, an equal size SSD is just too pricey for my budget to allow for right now. I know hybrid drives are a nice inbetween and I can get a 1TB for half the price of an SSD with half the storage. My celousin who is in IT had one in his 2010 MBP and he liked it.

I know I can bump the RAM from 4 to 16GB and that will help.

I know the best thing to do is both but I just don't have the cash to do both right away, I have to choose. Which on would y'all spend the money on first? 16GB RAM or 1TB Hybrid drive?
Replace with SSD...solved ALL of my problems...I have 8gb ram and runs like a champ...mid 2009 mbp. a 240gb SSD will run you $110 bucks..it will be a new machine, believe me
 

wegster

macrumors 6502
Nov 1, 2006
328
79
Check your actual memory usage.

For me, OSX is bordering on unusable at <= 4GB, so for most, a jump from 4-8GB of RAM is a worthwhile 'upgrade,' but you can check your memory usage using Activity Monitor, top (command line) or other tools. What you're looking for is 'memory pressure' or really, how much your system is swapping out to disk (may be called as page outs) under normal usage. If you're swapping to disk, especially on a platter drive, it's impacting performance.

You can probably score a RAM upgrade 'used' to 8GB for almost free from someone who moved to 16GB. Do that and save for an SSD IMO.
 

cube

macrumors P6
May 10, 2004
16,430
4,436
Yes, it is probably a good idea to upgrade to 8 or 10 GiB RAM first, and if the result is acceptable, skip mechanical and save for an SSD.