Upgrade to SSD or to a whole new computer?

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by themumu, Jul 9, 2012.

  1. themumu macrumors 6502a

    themumu

    Joined:
    Feb 13, 2011
    Location:
    Sunnyvale
    #1
    I am still running my early 2008 (pre-unibody) 15" MBP. It was top of the line machine back then, maxed out RAM at 4GB, over the years upgraded the HDD space to 1TB. It seems the time may be coming to get something newer. The most intensive things I do with my MBP are viewing and editing my immense collection of photos and videos (my iPhoto library is 250GB, and while a good chunk of that is probably junk, I still have to review them all before deciding what to trash, but it seems shooting is easier than reviewing).

    Long story short, I narrowed it down to 2 possible paths:

    1. Buy a maxed out retina MBP. Estimated cost: $4000. Downside: I can never ever have more than 768GB of internal storage.
    2. Buy a 512GB SSD and stick my 1TB HDD into the optical drive slot. Estimated cost: $400. Downside: not getting the high res screen, and the SATA 1 interface is not going to let the SSD shine to the fullest either.

    Yesterday I went into an Apple store armed with a USB stick with some of my photos and unfortunately, they did look noticeably sharper and better on than damn retina screen. Fortunately, they did not have any of them in stock for sale, so I couldn't be tempted even if I wanted.

    After watching the Activity Monitor on my MBP for a while I got convinced that neither CPU nor RAM are my bottleneck - the HDD is. Even with the paltry by today's standards 4GB I typically have over 500MB free if I run my gigantic iPhoto, Safari and nothing else.

    What worries me is that the laptop is fairly old and while it's been good to me so far, I don't know how much longer it will last before expiring of natural causes. On the other hand, even the largest SSD available with the new MBP (768GB) is not quite enough for me for the next 1-2 years. Sure, I could get an external drive, but that seems like a rather clunky solution, not to mention the added expense.

    What would you do and what other considerations are the aside from what I just mentioned?
     
  2. Mr MM macrumors 65816

    Mr MM

    Joined:
    Jun 29, 2011
    #2
    Stop being a hoarder.

    The SSD wont make any difference for you, if you are in a SATA 1 connection.

    If you want to upgrade, just upgrade.

    I hardly see the 768gb a necessity, nor its price is interesting, and I do have more than 2.5TB of files. I do have a NAS, its the most sensible solution, since it keeps my files and backups
     
  3. jav6454 macrumors P6

    jav6454

    Joined:
    Nov 14, 2007
    Location:
    1 Geostationary Tower Plaza
    #3
    A SATA I connection is topped at 150 MB/s max theoretical. An SSD can already top SATA II speeds of 300 MB/s.

    At this point you will see a difference, but not as great. I would suggest you save that $ and get a new Mac sometime soon.
     
  4. pgiguere1 macrumors 68020

    pgiguere1

    Joined:
    May 28, 2009
    Location:
    Montreal, Canada
    #4
    If the Retina screen isn't that appealing to you, you could buy a new non-Retina MBP and install a 512GB SSD instead of the optical drive. That way you get as much storage as before (1TB) and half of it is super fast. You can even go the dual SSD route and get 512GB+256GB or 2x 512GB. Both drives will be easily upgreable to higher capacity ones when the prices will go down.

    A 15" cMBP with 1TB of SSD (2x512GB), the high-res screen option and 2x8GB of aftermarket DDR3-1600 RAM should set you to around 2800$, which is much less than your estimated 4000$ for the rMBP, plus you get more storage and it'll be easy to upgrade it even more in the future. If you want the CPU and GPU to be maxed as well then it's 3450$, still considerably cheaper than the maxed rMBP.
     
  5. psykick5 macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Sep 4, 2011
    #5
    Base rMBP + 1.5TB external USB 3 passport hard drive

    Damage? $2550 including tax.
     
  6. Mr MM macrumors 65816

    Mr MM

    Joined:
    Jun 29, 2011
    #6
    the main difference would be the access time for the files, that would drop, but in terms of speed a HDD is already going to top out the SATA 1. Since that 150MB/s is just theoretical, not real.
     
  7. themumu thread starter macrumors 6502a

    themumu

    Joined:
    Feb 13, 2011
    Location:
    Sunnyvale
    #7
    For things like iPhoto library and videos that I actually shot and need to edit to make them presentable, NAS is not really a solution, as it's going to be even slower than the built in HDD. I finally got the Final Cut Pro X with its ability to do edits on the fly without re-encoding the files, to take advantage of that it needs to be local.

    Oh, when I spoke of the "unfortunate" meeting with the retina screen - I mean it in an ironic way. I do like it, I don't like the implications it has for my wallet. ;) The main reason I even consider maxing out that beast is because it is the only way to get more built in storage in it. I'm quite content with the CPU and GPU of my vintage 2008 model.

    I have considered it in principle, but over the years of using computers I have found that there are few things I hate using more than external drives. I move my laptop around from the dining table, to the couch, to the desk, to the bed - dangling things don't work well with that.
     
  8. pgiguere1 macrumors 68020

    pgiguere1

    Joined:
    May 28, 2009
    Location:
    Montreal, Canada
    #8
    Oh, sorry, I read your post too fast. But did you compare your current screen to the high-res cMBP one? While it won't be as good as a Retina display, it may still be a pretty good upgrade from your current screen.

    One thing to consider as well is that the rMBP has non-soldered SSD and while there's no aftermarket solution at the moment, OWC said they had the intention of releasing some. It's likely that they will at some point release models that go over 768GB, although it will probably be more expensive than a comparable 2.5" SSD. Last year they released blade SSD for the 2011 MBA that went up to 480GB, while Apple only offered up to 256GB in their BTO options, so something similar could happen with the rMBP.

    From OWC:
     
  9. jav6454 macrumors P6

    jav6454

    Joined:
    Nov 14, 2007
    Location:
    1 Geostationary Tower Plaza
    #9
    True. However, at this point buying an SSD for such a bottleneck is pointless.
     
  10. Hellhammer Moderator

    Hellhammer

    Staff Member

    Joined:
    Dec 10, 2008
    Location:
    Finland
    #10
    No, it's not. Typical consumer workloads mainly consist of 4KB reads and writes. You only see 500MB/s figures when dealing with big sequential transfers but in real world only a minority of IOs are like that. Even the fastest SATA 6Gb/s SSDs achieve around 95MB/s in 4KB random reads at low queue depths (consumer workloads rarely go above QD of 5 anyway). SATA 1.5Gb/s can provide that just fine. Sure, you will not get the full power out of the SSD, but the difference between it and an HD will still be like day and night.

    Also, OP, are you sure that your next computer will be rMBP? Because if you bought the regular MBP, you could use the SSD in that machine as well. Or alternatively you could put it in a USB 3.0 case and use it as external storage if you go for the rMBP.
     
  11. jav6454 macrumors P6

    jav6454

    Joined:
    Nov 14, 2007
    Location:
    1 Geostationary Tower Plaza
    #11
    This is very true, but we all know newbies don't look at Random figures just sequential and think those are the true speeds.

    However, at this point, OP has stated he wants a rMBP, so in the spirit of "future-proofing", OP would be much wiser to use that $ for the SSD and spend in upgrades for the rMBP.
     
  12. Krazy Bill macrumors 68030

    Krazy Bill

    Joined:
    Dec 21, 2011
    #12
    Didn't read all the responses...

    I'll just say I think it's foolish to fork over the dough for an SSD that will be used in a 2008 machine. There was a time it made sense because you could always take that SSD and put it in a new MBP when the time came to retire the old machine and buy the newest MBP model.

    With the new "sealed" approach by Apple these days it can't be done. (It's just a matter of time for the MBP13).
     
  13. themumu thread starter macrumors 6502a

    themumu

    Joined:
    Feb 13, 2011
    Location:
    Sunnyvale
    #13
    That's what I'm thinking, compared to my current 5200RPM hdd even with the old interface it should still get snappier.

    As for the retina or not, I'm quite torn at the moment. On one hand it seems like the way of the future, but just how near is that future? Quite a few new retina owners on this board are a bit disappointed, with the high price come high expectations, I guess. Other than the hi-res screen, I'm not that tempted by the new lineup, assuming I get my old one an SSD.

    The SSD upgrade would cost me only 10% of the new rMBP. If I wait even half a year before getting a new machine, I think it would be worth while to have the old one with SSD in the meantime.

    The sealed approach is one of the things that keeps me from pulling the trigger on it. I have seen someone post here that they got an SSD in the same generation MBP as mine and they are not regretting it - considering putting it into a 2006 MBP too!

    I guess I'll go the SSD route and take it from there. A week ago I almost scored two 512GB Crucial SSDs for only $335 each (got a friend on the SSD idea too), but due to a mess up the store ran out of stock before shipping my order (they coughed up a $75 gift card as an apology :)). All things point to more sales soon, so I'll be on the look out, and maybe will reconsider when retina screens become more mainstream.
     
  14. jcpb macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jun 5, 2012
    #14
    Vendor lock-in. Others could have done the exact same thing with their laptops, they just don't have the guts to do it because their customers will get angry and leave.

    Apple? People get mad at whoever's running 1 Infinite Loop at this moment and still keep buying Apple. It's a wet dream for every other company to have customers behaving like that.
     
  15. P0stalTek macrumors 6502

    P0stalTek

    Joined:
    Feb 25, 2011
    #15
    Those other companies should spend as much time and effort catering to what the customer wants instead of building in fault points ;) And this is coming from a 20-year PC tech. :apple:
     

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