Upgrade to new MBP or install SSD in current MBP

bigpoppamac31

macrumors 68020
Original poster
Aug 16, 2007
2,179
302
Canada
So I have an early 2011 MBP and here are the specs.

15" hi-res antiglare display (1680 x 1050)
2.0Ghz quad core i7
8GB ram
500GB HDD @ 7200rpm
256MB AMD 6490M graphics
Intel HD3000 512MB (shared)
FW800
Thunderbolt
USB2

On the Apple Canada refurbish page there now seems to be only one non-retina MBP offering (standard res screen) and all others are now retina display. I'd still prefer to upgrade to the last non-retina (yet hi-res) MBP because I can install two HDD or SSD if I so choose. With the retina I can't do that. That's the one thing that has always bothered me about it. Not having an internal optical disc drive does not bother me. If I need it I can get an external one. But the option for a second internal HDD or SSD would be nice.

Right now Apple lists refurbished retina MBP models released in June 2012 and October 2013. So what I'm wondering is the following. 8GB vs 16GB ram. Does it matter?? Nvidia GeForce 650M 1GB vs Iris Pro (or Iris Pro plus Nvidia 750M). Is Iris Pro any good? Also would it be best to get the highest capacity of SSD now or is there upgrade options available? I know it's the one thing I can change if desired. Thanks for any and all assistance.
 

yjchua95

macrumors 604
Apr 23, 2011
6,725
230
GVA, KUL, MEL (current), ZQN
So I have an early 2011 MBP and here are the specs.

15" hi-res antiglare display (1680 x 1050)
2.0Ghz quad core i7
8GB ram
500GB HDD @ 7200rpm
256MB AMD 6490M graphics
Intel HD3000 512MB (shared)
FW800
Thunderbolt
USB2

On the Apple Canada refurbish page there now seems to be only one non-retina MBP offering (standard res screen) and all others are now retina display. I'd still prefer to upgrade to the last non-retina (yet hi-res) MBP because I can install two HDD or SSD if I so choose. With the retina I can't do that. That's the one thing that has always bothered me about it. Not having an internal optical disc drive does not bother me. If I need it I can get an external one. But the option for a second internal HDD or SSD would be nice.

Right now Apple lists refurbished retina MBP models released in June 2012 and October 2013. So what I'm wondering is the following. 8GB vs 16GB ram. Does it matter?? Nvidia GeForce 650M 1GB vs Iris Pro (or Iris Pro plus Nvidia 750M). Is Iris Pro any good? Also would it be best to get the highest capacity of SSD now or is there upgrade options available? I know it's the one thing I can change if desired. Thanks for any and all assistance.
The late-2013 retina MBPs have far faster PCIe SSDs than the SATA3 ones in the mid-2012 rMBP. I'm talking about around 200-300MB/s faster.

In OpenCL tasks, the Iris Pro is better, but in other tasks like rendering and gaming, the GT650M will be better.

I wouldn't recommend staying on your 2011 MBP because it contains a manufacturing flaw that will lead it to Radeongate. All 2011 15"/17" models have this flaw that causes the Radeon card to fail (mine was affected too). So I suggest you sell it off and get a refurb late-2013 15" retina. Once you go retina, you'll never go back (although I still miss the antiglare screen of my early-2011 15" which succumbed to Radeongate).

On Radeongate, even replacement logic board contain the manufacturing flaw, so there is no permanent fix to this issue. Basically, 2011 15"/17" MBPs are doomed.

If you can wait for a refurb late-2013 15" with GT750M, go for it. You could also buy one for new in the Education store if you qualify for education discount.
 

hollandog

macrumors regular
Mar 13, 2014
190
66
If your budget is tight just get the Samsung 840 SSD and your MBP will run like a new machine.
 

bigpoppamac31

macrumors 68020
Original poster
Aug 16, 2007
2,179
302
Canada
The late-2013 retina MBPs have far faster PCIe SSDs than the SATA3 ones in the mid-2012 rMBP. I'm talking about around 200-300MB/s faster.

In OpenCL tasks, the Iris Pro is better, but in other tasks like rendering and gaming, the GT650M will be better.

I wouldn't recommend staying on your 2011 MBP because it contains a manufacturing flaw that will lead it to Radeongate. All 2011 15"/17" models have this flaw that causes the Radeon card to fail (mine was affected too). So I suggest you sell it off and get a refurb late-2013 15" retina. Once you go retina, you'll never go back (although I still miss the antiglare screen of my early-2011 15" which succumbed to Radeongate).

On Radeongate, even replacement logic board contain the manufacturing flaw, so there is no permanent fix to this issue. Basically, 2011 15"/17" MBPs are doomed.

If you can wait for a refurb late-2013 15" with GT750M, go for it. You could also buy one for new in the Education store if you qualify for education discount.
Well I have noticed on my 2011 MBP that when I load images they go all pixelated and weird. Like on the Interfacelift website when I select a specific resolution of wallpaper and it loads full screen within Safari the images goes all wonky. Once the images is fully loaded and I click on it to see its actual size it displays fine. It's very intermittent and seems really odd. I should have grabbed a screen shot to post here.

As for rendering and gaming I won't be doing any of that. I'd like to download Pixelmator as I hear it's a great app. So I'd possibly do some of that. Yeah I do love the anti-glare screen but the current retina in terms of glare doesn't seem too bad. And yes the retina is an amazing screen. But it does seem like many things like websites are not retina ready yet. Certainly still readable but not as crisp as they would be with retina compatibility.

What about FW to Thunderbolt compatibility? Is their adapters for that? I know I can use USB2 with USB3 so that should not be an issue. Also I am currently on Mountain Lion and I clone my drive as a backup. If I get a current rMBP can I just clone my external drive backup to the rMBP drive or is it not compatible with ML. Basically would I be "forced" to upgrade to Mavericks?

My plan was to sell my current MBP and put the money towards a new one.

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If your budget is tight just get the Samsung 840 SSD and your MBP will run like a new machine.
Is the Samsung 840 better than the Crucial M500?? Both seem to have excellent reviews on Amazon.
 

iamMacPerson

macrumors 68030
Jun 12, 2011
2,744
863
AZ/10.0.1.1
Well I have noticed on my 2011 MBP that when I load images they go all pixelated and weird. Like on the Interfacelift website when I select a specific resolution of wallpaper and it loads full screen within Safari the images goes all wonky. Once the images is fully loaded and I click on it to see its actual size it displays fine. It's very intermittent and seems really odd. I should have grabbed a screen shot to post here.
Thats not due to the GPU failing. My Mac Pro with an official Apple/ATI Radeon HD 5770 has the same issue on InterfaceLift. The failing GPU would display a garbled display when under any sort of load. Mine had the same issue (Early 2011, BTO 2.3GHz, 4GB of RAM, 128GB SSD) but it fell in the 1 year warranty and had 5+ LoBo replacements. Apple later replaced the computer with a 2012 Retina since it was the only comparable model in stock.

I'm still not sure if half of those repairs were due to a bad LoBo or a lazy Genius. I remember after one replacement, the machine wouldn't boot so they took it back into repair and replaced the logic board again.

As for rendering and gaming I won't be doing any of that. I'd like to download Pixelmator as I hear it's a great app. So I'd possibly do some of that. Yeah I do love the anti-glare screen but the current retina in terms of glare doesn't seem too bad. And yes the retina is an amazing screen. But it does seem like many things like websites are not retina ready yet. Certainly still readable but not as crisp as they would be with retina compatibility.

What about FW to Thunderbolt compatibility? Is their adapters for that? I know I can use USB2 with USB3 so that should not be an issue. Also I am currently on Mountain Lion and I clone my drive as a backup. If I get a current rMBP can I just clone my external drive backup to the rMBP drive or is it not compatible with ML. Basically would I be "forced" to upgrade to Mavericks?

My plan was to sell my current MBP and put the money towards a new one.
Do it. Get out of the 2011's Radeongate now before the machine starts failing.

Moving from USB 2 to 3 is no challenge. All the devices I have used all work well. I can even still use a 1.1 hub on my Retina (just for testing)!

If you need FW800 or Ethernet, Apple makes Thunderbolt adapters that can be purchased for $29 from the Apple Online Store.

All sites that are mostly text based already look good. I also really do like the anti-glare properties on my Retina because it reduces glare and gives the clarity of a glossy display.

With a 2013 Retina, Mavericks was installed from the factory. Restoring from a Time Machine backup from ML is no problem, but you must use Mavericks on 2013 machines. 2012 machines can run ML, but run better on Mavericks from my testing.

Is the Samsung 840 better than the Crucial M500?? Both seem to have excellent reviews on Amazon.
The 840 EVO would be the best bet. I almost bought the M500 because it offered a lot of storage for a low price, but later found out the reason for that is because it has a very low Read and Write speed.
 

thundersteele

macrumors 68030
Oct 19, 2011
2,984
7
Switzerland
I would upgrade to SSD, unless there is a particular reason why your current machine isn't sufficient anymore.

Samsung seems to be the preferred brand here (I have a 830 in my 2011 MBP, very happy with it).
 

bigpoppamac31

macrumors 68020
Original poster
Aug 16, 2007
2,179
302
Canada
Thats not due to the GPU failing. My Mac Pro with an official Apple/ATI Radeon HD 5770 has the same issue on InterfaceLift. The failing GPU would display a garbled display when under any sort of load. Mine had the same issue (Early 2011, BTO 2.3GHz, 4GB of RAM, 128GB SSD) but it fell in the 1 year warranty and had 5+ LoBo replacements. Apple later replaced the computer with a 2012 Retina since it was the only comparable model in stock.

I'm still not sure if half of those repairs were due to a bad LoBo or a lazy Genius. I remember after one replacement, the machine wouldn't boot so they took it back into repair and replaced the logic board again.



Do it. Get out of the 2011's Radeongate now before the machine starts failing.

Moving from USB 2 to 3 is no challenge. All the devices I have used all work well. I can even still use a 1.1 hub on my Retina (just for testing)!

If you need FW800 or Ethernet, Apple makes Thunderbolt adapters that can be purchased for $29 from the Apple Online Store.

All sites that are mostly text based already look good. I also really do like the anti-glare properties on my Retina because it reduces glare and gives the clarity of a glossy display.

With a 2013 Retina, Mavericks was installed from the factory. Restoring from a Time Machine backup from ML is no problem, but you must use Mavericks on 2013 machines. 2012 machines can run ML, but run better on Mavericks from my testing.



The 840 EVO would be the best bet. I almost bought the M500 because it offered a lot of storage for a low price, but later found out the reason for that is because it has a very low Read and Write speed.
Well the next update for Mavericks (10.9.3) is supposed to restore USB syncing between iPhone and Mac. I don't know why Apple removed it to begin with if only to push iCloud signup. So I'll wait for that either way.

I was looking this one (or very similar) cause I want at least 512GB SSD. If I can get a 1TB SSD that would be even better. http://store.apple.com/ca/product/FE294LL/A/refurbished-154-inch-macbook-pro-23ghz-quad-core-intel-i7-with-retina-display

On Mac2Sell my MBP 2011 is supposedly worth about $1,180. With tax (13% HST in Ontario) the rMBP mentioned above $2,521.37. So IF I got 1,180 for my Mac I'd still have to save $1,362 to match the price of the new refurb one. Right now an SSD seems much more feasible. But the longer I wait the less my MBP is going to be worth.

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I would upgrade to SSD, unless there is a particular reason why your current machine isn't sufficient anymore.

Samsung seems to be the preferred brand here (I have a 830 in my 2011 MBP, very happy with it).
Well I know I'd definitely see an upgrade in speed and responsiveness with an SSD. Would it be a sensible long term option over getting a new MBP?? As I mentioned above I do like that my non-retina can support two HDD or SSDs. Putting two in here is something I've wanted to do for a long time.
 

bigpoppamac31

macrumors 68020
Original poster
Aug 16, 2007
2,179
302
Canada
I'm also curious about the difference between Iris and Iris Pro graphics. I was at the Apple Store earlier today with my grandma cause she was looking into an iPad (which she ended up getting) and I was playing around with the 13" rMBP. I really like the size especially now that I can scale the resolution up to 1680 x 1050. It makes even the 15" retina MBP feel heavy. LOL But I'm curious about the difference in graphics to know if it's worth spending the extra to get the 15" when I can now get my current resolution of 1680 x 1050 on the 13".