Upgrading a ~2 yo MPB - conclusions

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by kramerica2, Mar 25, 2012.

  1. kramerica2, Mar 25, 2012
    Last edited: Mar 25, 2012

    kramerica2 macrumors regular

    Sep 15, 2009
    I just wanted to share with you guys the upgrades I've recently done with my macbook.

    I have the mid-2010 basic 13" model (2.4 Ghz, 4GB RAM). Not wisely, when I got it, I've installed an entire Time Machine backup of my iMac. It was a mistake, I should have done a clean install and just migrate my settings. It wasn't so fast from the beginning, and as time went by, and lion was installed, it just became worse. I knew I had to do a clean install, so I decided to upgrade the mac as well, and to do it in separate steps, so I'll know the impact of each step.

    The first thing I did, was to install 8GB of RAM. The installation is quite easy, and there are good instructions in Apple's website. It was also the first time I've opened my macbook, and was quite amazed to see how nice, tidy and clean it was inside.
    The performance boost was felt instantly. Apps launched a bit faster, parallels was working much better, and all around the mac just felt better and more responsive. Still, boot up time was very slow, and handling large files took a lot of time.

    Second step - clean install. Another significant performance boost. I should have done it from the beginning. Now, it felt like a mac should feel. but that wasn't enough for me. I wanted an upgrade that would put my mac at least on par with the current MBAs.

    Third step - SSD. I bought a 256GB Crucial M4, replaced the current HDD, and did a clean install again. I've also enabled TRIM for it.
    Yet another performance boost. Now, boot up time is extremely fast. launching apps, handling big files, iPhoto, iMovie are all much faster. Parallels is a joy to use. A great upgrade, no doubt.

    Conclusion - My 2 yo. macbook, is now faster than any MBA, and most MPB that are currently sold. Sure, I payed for the upgrade, but it's totally worth it. I have no doubt that it would serve me well for at least another 2 years.
  2. Joseph Farrugia macrumors regular

    Jul 31, 2011
    Malta (EU)
    Thanks for the report!

    I appreciate that you took time to write up & share this experience, a handy insight for other members.

    I look forward to some benchmarks from your new beefed up MBP,
    I would imagine that there is a considerable performance boost.

    FWIW, I use an early 2011 15" 2.0Ghz MBP with 8Gb RAM for my photographic business.

  3. NickZac macrumors 68000


    Dec 11, 2010
    I agree the RAM and SSD upgrade are critical in extending the service life of a computer substantially, and the 2010 MacBook Pro is more than capable for many users, especially with your upgrades and that it will serve you well for years to come. With that said, your MacBook Pro's CPU is a few generations older than the current Sandy Bridge architecture (which is a wickedly fast CPU) which supports hyperthreading (if you have a i7), the RAM speed is 300 MHz slower and caps at 8 GB instead of 16 GB of the newer models, and it does not support SATA3 SSDs (it runs them at a negotiated link of SATA2 which has a theoretical max of about 300 MB/s), and so it probably will not run quite as fast as the current MBP or MBA, but it is still a great machine. Have you benchmarked your M4 with Black Magic to see how it does on that machine? I put a 256 GB M4 in a C2D iMac the other day with SATA2 and it was running at about 230 MB/s Write and 275 MB/s Read.
  4. LCTN macrumors newbie

    Jul 24, 2011
    Interesting report. I've also done a similar update (my SSD is in a cheap optibay) in a identical machine and I'm very pleased with the results.

    Boot time is very short, the computer responds quickly and VM Ware works great.

    For comparison, here's my bench:


    My SSD is a 128Gb M4.
  5. NickZac macrumors 68000


    Dec 11, 2010
    Why did you put the SSD in the optibay? If it is in the main hard drive bay, that read speed would be over 500 MB/s.
  6. shardey macrumors 6502a


    Jan 28, 2010
    How do you know he has a laptop with Sata 3? He clearly says he has the same machine, and without a doubt, it has sata 2.
  7. Dangerous Theory macrumors 68000

    Jul 28, 2011
    Even though it's theoretical maximum is only 415MB/s?

    Anyway, aren't Vertex 3's better value for money?
  8. LCTN macrumors newbie

    Jul 24, 2011

    My MBP is a mid-2010, so no SATA 3 for me:p

  9. iThinkergoiMac macrumors 68030

    Jan 20, 2010
    This is the only part of your post that I disagree with. What you're saying right now is that your Core2 Duo 13" MBP is faster than at least some of the quad-core Sandy Bridge MBPs... which is just not true. It's not really even faster than some of the current Airs.

    Don't get me wrong, the upgrades you did have surely made your MBP VERY snappy and interacting with it is pretty darn quick, but as soon as you do something processor-intensive (like, say, encoding a video in iMovie) you'll find your MBP will lag behind the current ones.
  10. Acorn macrumors 68020


    Jan 2, 2009
    I believe your Mac is faster but the jump from core duo to core i5 is very significant. Almost twice as fast in many cases. At the very least if an core i5 user applied the same upgrade it would eat your duo for breakfast. I decided to skip sandybridge but will upgrade next update.
  11. lamboman macrumors 6502

    Aug 13, 2011
    It isn't. Theoretical maximum is over 500Mbps, I'm getting 508.

    Not necessarily. The m4 has lower access times and faster 4K randoms (slightly). Real life, it's difficult to say, but for most users the m4 will be slightly better. Either way, both are quick, the Sandforce drives of course had their reliability issues, the situation is far better now though. It's whether or not you are willing to take the potential risk.

    That said, with his model, Optibay is preferred for the SSD due to SMS capability with the standard HD bay.
  12. NickZac, Mar 26, 2012
    Last edited: Mar 26, 2012

    NickZac macrumors 68000


    Dec 11, 2010
    Because IIRC the optibay for the non 2011/2 MBPs is SATA1 and not SATA2, and so the speeds would not be that high. I may be wrong. I've always been advised to put the SSD in the main bay.

    Edit: it appears I am wrong about this.

    The most recent firmware update made the Crucial read over 500 MB/s. Oddly, some of their site still states that older 415 figure. My MBP will max on Black Magic at around 505 Mb/s read and 260-270 MB/s write. The Vertex 3 is much faster on some write speeds but it is really just a benchmark champ as those speeds would probably never be achieved in real world data usage by the majority of users. As far as real world usage for what I do, my 256 M4s are all just as fast as my Vertex 3...and a hell of a lot more reliable.

    This article discusses this topic more in detail.
  13. LCTN macrumors newbie

    Jul 24, 2011
    Just for the record, in my mid-2010 MBP both the main bay and the optibay are working at 3Gbps (SATA 2) :).
  14. NickZac macrumors 68000


    Dec 11, 2010
    Then I am wrong. Thanks for the heads up! :)

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