Upgrading an Early 2011 MBP...advice needed

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by shrewsrule11, Aug 13, 2012.

  1. shrewsrule11 macrumors newbie


    Feb 29, 2012
    Hello all.
    About 6 months ago I invested in a refurbished Early 2011 Macbook Pro running OSX Lion. I love it, it's the best computer I've owned. Now, I believe I am in need a a few upgrades. First of all, the current specs:

    2.0 ghz intel i7 processor (quad core)
    4 GB RAM
    500 GB 5400 RPM hard drive.
    AMD Radeon HD 6490M with 256 MB of vram.

    For day-to-day tasks, this easily gets the job done. But I've been doing more video editing with FCP Studio 7 as well as playing Team Fortress 2 pretty regularly. The performance of my mac dips significantly when running those programs, and I'd like to speed it up. I've been considering a few options:
    For the RAM, I think I'm going to move up to 8 GB. The jump to 16 GB does not seem to hold enough benefits for me. Is this a good idea? Where's the best place to buy RAM upgrades?
    I'm also considering putting a small (less than 120 GB) SSD in to work as my boot drive as well as storing Team Fortress 2, FCP and Firefox. There are a number of options here as well. What I'm thinking to do is move the 5400 RPM drive into the optical bay, then place the SSD where the original drive went. I have no idea how to go about this though, please advise.

    Thanks for any help.
  2. cgk.emu macrumors 6502

    May 16, 2012

    www.macsales.com for the "data doubler" system to put your HDD in the optical bay. They have instructions.

    www.crucial.com for the RAM...OR again www.macsales.com. Can't go wrong with either.
  3. RedCroissant Suspended

    Aug 13, 2011
    First of all, I would checkout out OWC.com. They are really god at modifying and updating Apple products and they have a 16GB RAM kit which has been tested and works in your model of MBP. I know that Apple says the maximum is 8GB but people have found that a lot of laptops that had a max of 4GB could actually support 6GB and even the first unibody MBP can sow support 8GB of RAM with a Boot ROM version update.
  4. aross99 macrumors 68000


    Dec 17, 2006
    East Lansing, MI
    For Otherworld Computing, I think you mean:


    I would agree though - this is the best place for SSD's and the Data doubler. I got my memory from Amazon...
  5. cgk.emu macrumors 6502

    May 16, 2012
    Lots of echoes in here.


    OWC maintains a list of the true supported memory for each machine. My 2008 claimed 4GB...I have 8 in it now. Just something to keep in mind for the OP.
  6. shrakner macrumors member

    Dec 28, 2006
    I wouldn't go any lower than 120- good 120 GB drives can be had for $100 these days, and games do take up a decent amount of room. I did a similar arrangement with my work laptop- the exact model as yours. Once you have the drive installed, symlinks are your friend.

    I got a cheaper ODD bracket from Amazon which fits fine, but doesn't really have as many retaining screws as it should have- I expect the OWC bracket will be built to higher standards.
  7. RedCroissant Suspended

    Aug 13, 2011
    Yes, that it what I meant. What do you think of the eSATA port that they can install in an iMac? I know that's not as fast as TB but it definitely beats firewire of usb(which is what I have with my 2009 iMac).

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