Upgrades for Late 2008 MacBook Pro

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by McGiord, May 2, 2011.

  1. McGiord macrumors 601

    McGiord

    Joined:
    Oct 5, 2003
    Location:
    Dark Castle
    #1
    I am looking into doing some upgrades to my 15" MBP 2.8Ghz (5,1 late 2008).

    It currently has:
    4GB RAM
    500GB 7200 rpm
    Original SuperDrive

    I really appreciate your suggestions regarding:
    1- Increasing RAM to 8 GB. Planning to buy from OWC.
    2- Replacing internal Hard Disk Drive to 1 TB or 750 GB. Undecided about brand and details, would prefer 7200rpm, but not sure if something is out there yet, or how the battery consumption will change.
    3- Installing a SSD for OS and some Apps. I don't have an unlimited budget, so I am willing to pay up to 200-300 for this. What size is recommended for SnowLeopard -> Lion.
    4- Removing the SuperDrive for either points 2 or 3.
    5- External BluRay player/burner.
    6- What is the best way to install the internal HDD and the SSD, for booting from the SSD.

    Thanks for your time.
     
  2. simsaladimbamba

    Joined:
    Nov 28, 2010
    Location:
    located
    #2
    1. 3. I have a 60GB SSD in my 2009 MBP and am okay with that, even with lots of big applications. I just use several external mobile HDDs when needed, as I have my tasks divided onto those (photography, video editing & manipulation, 3D, ...) and backed up to other HDDs as well. If you use external 2.5" HDDs (as I do), be sure to use the Firewire 800 interface, as it offers faster speeds. But USB 2.0 might suffice for yours though.

    6.
     
  3. y0zza macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Mar 10, 2005
    Location:
    UK
    #3
    My 15" Late 2008 MBP was significantly faster after upgrading from 4GB RAM and 5400 RPM HDD to 8GB RAM and 128GB Crucial C300 SSD.

    8GB RAM helped enormously with multitasking (I would constantly swap to disk with 4GB and got many frustrating beach balls...).

    Responsiveness improved significantly again with the SSD, particularly when launching or accessing data-intensive applications or swapping to disk (still happened occasionally with 8GB RAM for my workload).

    I put the OS, applications, and user profile on the SSD, leaving only iTunes/iPhoto libraries and other media/document files on the HDD (moved to the optical drive bay).

    Don't bother with 7200 RPM hard disks - just get a SSD and use a slow, large 5400 RPM HDD for mass storage. The incremental benefit of 7200 RPM is small.

    A 128GB SSD should be within your budget and comfortably hold OS, apps, and user profile. Use a symlink in your home directory to the HDD for iTunes and iPhoto libraries.

    Buy a cheap optical bay adaptor from eBay (10-20 USD) for the internal SSD+HDD combo, and a cheap external optical SATA to USB caddy (5-15 USD) to re-use your SuperDrive.

    Best configuration would be SSD in the optical bay, HDD in the HDD bay. Booting from SSD is fine and this config also:
    • maintains SMS capability for the HDD,
    • damps HDD vibration thanks to rubber mounts in the HDD bay, and
    • allows installation of 12.5mm HDDs in the bay.
    You do lose safe sleep capability (system initialises the HDD bay SATA first on resume from sleep image), but IMO this is minor vs the benefits above.
     
  4. McGiord thread starter macrumors 601

    McGiord

    Joined:
    Oct 5, 2003
    Location:
    Dark Castle
    #4
    Thanks y0zza! Great reply.

    I have some questions

    What do you mean by:
    - Swap to disk?
    - Symlink? I was thinking of simply mapping the libraries location within the iTunes and iPhoto? Is symlink better or different?

    And about loosing the safe sleep capability, do you know if the Apple provided SSD also loose this? I wonder if there is workaround..
     
  5. y0zza macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Mar 10, 2005
    Location:
    UK
    #5
    This is where the OS uses a paging file on the disk as 'virtual memory' once real physical RAM is exhausted... obviously disk is many orders of magnitude slower than RAM so once you start swapping memory pages to disk the machine slows to a crawl (beachballs). SSD is orders of magnitude faster than HDDs at accessing typical 4k blocks that would be swapped out to disk, though still much slower than physical RAM.

    This would work too. No real difference either way, although if you have an existing library it might be easier to use a symlink so that the path appears the same to iTunes or iPhoto and/or other apps that expect the default path (i.e., symlink /Volumes/[your HDD]/iTunes Library to ~/Music/iTunes Library).

    No workaround AFAIK. When the system wakes from safe sleep, it initialises the HDD SATA interface first and expects the sleep image to be on that device. Moving the location of the sleep image doesn't work - it has to be on the boot volume. Suspend to RAM still works fine though.
     

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