Upgrading an early 2011 13 inch MacBook Pro help

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by garbonshio, Jul 6, 2013.

  1. garbonshio macrumors newbie

    Jul 6, 2013
    Alright. First time posting anything here, so lets see how it works.

    Im thinking of a few different upgrades to my early 2011, 13 inch macbook pro.

    The first is the RAM. I read here that the early 2011 couldn't handle more than 8gb RAM. But according to this it can manage 16gb RAM. Which is right?

    if 16gb RAM can actually be installed and used, then would this work?

    If 16gb cant work, and i had to stick to an 8gb RAM upgrade, then would this work?

    As far as upgrading the hard drive, and optical drive, what would you guys recommend?

    What is the difference between a solid state drive and an internal hard drive? an SSD and an SSHD? I found this and this, and was wondering which was better?

    If I wanted to beef the heck out of my mac, would you recommend an upgrade to RAM, the Hard drive, and the Optical drive?

    Thanks for any help you want to give!
  2. jjahshik32 macrumors 603

    Sep 4, 2006
    You can install 16gb of RAM into the Early 2011 Macbook Pro. Thats the model that I have. SSD is so much faster than a conventional HDD, possibly the best upgrade one can make on a computer in the last 15 years IMHO.
  3. Buckaye macrumors member

    Jul 5, 2013
    memory is tricky but as the other poster said - people have gone above the approved specs and been ok. What are you doing that you need 16 Gigs of ram?

    On the hard drive - a SSD is a bigger boost to speed than the memory IMO. You can do a couple of things.. you can just go with an SSD. OR (if your MBP has an optical drive) you can put an SSD in the main slot and put your current HD in the optical slot (you will need to purchase a caddy like this: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00724W0N2/ref=oh_details_o00_s00_i00?ie=UTF8&psc=1

    people tell me you can get them cheaper... and I am sure you can. But I got this one and it worked perfectly with my computer.

    So, what I did was get a 120 Gig SSD drive - cloned my hard drive to the SSD using carbon copy clone (CCC) which made it bootable... and then you just swap it out... once you're sure you're good to go you can install and erase your original HDD and just use it for data.

    Boot time is easily 2 - 3X as fast and opening applications is nearly instant. Couldn't be happier.

    Hope this helps
  4. garbonshio, Jul 6, 2013
    Last edited: Jul 6, 2013

    garbonshio thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jul 6, 2013
    I like the sound of the caddy. So, basically what the caddy does is allow you to run the old hard drive, in the optical drive space? Giving you two hard drives at the same time? Would you have to select a hard drive to store data everytime you make a new file?

    What ive been trying to do, is run VMware. I have trouble running windows 7 and my mac at the same time, and i might even want to run XP at the same time, or run a windows game through the virtual machine, and my two 2gb RAM cards just can't quite handle that.

    So once the optical drive is out, is there anyway i could hook that up to a USB, or continue to use it in anyway? I do like having the option to run a DVD or CD if i need to.
  5. Stetrain macrumors 68040

    Feb 6, 2009
    More RAM will definitely help with multiple VMs, but if you're wanting to play games you are much better off using Bootcamp than trying to run it inside a VM, unless maybe it's a really old game.
  6. Buckaye macrumors member

    Jul 5, 2013
    you could just buy an external CD/DVD drive - I don't know if there's a way to turn the optical drive into an external one. It's actually a pretty flimsy device.

    Yes - you end up with two hard drives... for the most part many programs would continue to select the last place you saved a file... so as soon as you save a file on the second drive - the program will generally start putting stuff there (at least that's been my experience)

    You can even set up a partition on the HDD to be your time machine backup (granted if you drop your Macbook into the pool - it won't help you much :) )


    oh wait... I just clicked on the link I sent you and it also suggests and enclosure that can turn your optical drive into a external optical drive :) LOL


    problem solved :)
  7. scbond macrumors 6502

    Oct 16, 2010
    Nottingham, UK
    If you use the optical drive then keep it...not a lot you can do in terms of upgrading for the same sort of optical drive really. If you never use it, could live without it and could do with extra disk space then fit a caddy like others have mentioned and run two drives.

    Definitely get an SSD. Best upgrade for any computer really. So many people have been falsely tricked into believing that more RAM will fix sluggish behaviour, and while it might do in some ways (ie. your computer is running slow because you're running memory intensive applications), it isn't going to be a massive difference. Look at SSD read/write speeds and capacity and get the best you can afford.

    As with the memory, I would upgrade to 8GB and go no further. Why? Well, the 2012 MBP supports up to 16GB but many have said this causes issues and even doesn't perform as smoothly as just 8GB. For VMWare, 8GB is more than enough to run Windows 7 or XP and old games through there. If you're looking to play a recent Windows game which requires some hefty specs...don't even bother trying.

    Personally, go with 8GB RAM and a fast SSD...something like a Crucial M500 480GB.
  8. Doward macrumors 6502a

    Feb 21, 2013
  9. garbonshio thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jul 6, 2013
    Perfect! you guys answered all of my questions and more! I really appreciate your help.

Share This Page