When buying a new laptop

DEE9299

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Oct 3, 2009
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Boston Mass.
I am considering a macbook pro and have a questions......when it comes to speed of the laptop what plays a more important role the ghz,ram or hd sizes?
 

psingh01

macrumors 65816
Apr 19, 2004
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HD size only matters that once your drive fills up things can slow down because files that you access can be spread out over the drive and the computer has to wait for the HDD to read it.

Ram size can impact speed because too few ram will cause the pc to swap files between ram and the HDD. So you are slowed down by the HDD.

The CPU is the most important. If the CPU is slow it doesn't matter about the other stuff.

In the end you have to find the right balance with what you want to do and your budget. If money is no object then just get the highest spec on everything and you don't have to worry about it.

Otherwise you're making compromises. I usually get the fastest cpu available since I can upgraded the ram and hdd later unless the premium is excessive. For HDD I prefer the larger capacity over speed. 5400RPM is fast enough for me.
 

zhenya

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Jan 6, 2005
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Given that all of the CPU's available in any Mac for sale today are faster than the vast majority of people need, my philosophy is to spend as little as possible on the CPU, and to spend the money instead on RAM and the hard drive where the average user will really notice the difference. Get as much RAM as you can reasonably afford (2GB minimum) and, if you really want to make a difference in how fast your computer is, buy it with the cheapest hard drive option, and replace it with an Intel solid state drive. A SSD is the biggest upgrade you can make to most modern computers today. It will have a far bigger impact that a faster processor or even more RAM (provided you have enough RAM in the first place - once you exceed the level you are actually using, more RAM will make no further difference.)
 

DEE9299

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Oct 3, 2009
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Boston Mass.
me to never mind that statement ......in what way does internal ram play a part in the speed of the laptop?
 

zhenya

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Jan 6, 2005
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RAM is temporary storage location used by programs to store data, which can be accessed very quickly. When the computer runs low on RAM it creates virtual RAM on the hard disk where it can store that additional data programs need to run. The problem is that your hard disk is orders of magnitude slower than RAM, so when the computer runs low on RAM and has to start using the hard disk, the computer slows down immensely. However, as long as you have enough RAM to avoid having to use that virtual memory, adding more won't bring any benefit.

I would really consider buying the 2.26 ghz model and spending the money you save on a SSD, which will do far more for how fast the computer 'feels' than the faster processor.
 

DEE9299

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Oct 3, 2009
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Boston Mass.
ok 1 more question a have a macbook black 2.2 , 2gb with a 160 hdd should I just keep this one and upgrade the mem to 4gb and up the hard drive or is this one pretty much out dated and should be replaced....i have not had any problems with it except it runs around 60-65c and the fans always kick on and thats with smcfancontrol and my memory usage is always around 40-50% when browsing
 

Badger^2

macrumors 68000
Oct 29, 2009
1,962
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Sacramento
Certainly couldnt hurt to throw a small bit of cash at your current MB.

Although you missed the boat on really cheap ram for it, going to 4 gigs will only run you about $100.

Jumping into a 320 or 500 gig 7200 rpm drive should be $80 or so.

Snow Leopard can also make it run slightly quicker, $29.

Id do the drive first over the ram.
 

zhenya

macrumors 603
Jan 6, 2005
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Yeah, the new Macbook Pro is not going to be appreciably faster than your current model, and your current model could be significantly snappier than a stock new one with a clean Snow Leopard install, some additional RAM, and a ssd.
 

DEE9299

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Original poster
Oct 3, 2009
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Boston Mass.
Yeah, the new Macbook Pro is not going to be appreciably faster than your current model, and your current model could be significantly snappier than a stock new one with a clean Snow Leopard install, some additional RAM, and a ssd.
I am running snow leopard 10.6.2 any suggestions on ram and HDD
 

zhenya

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Jan 6, 2005
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This is the HDD you want unless you absolutely must have more space than that. If you don't already have a good backup, buy something like this to put your old hard disk in.
 

DEE9299

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Oct 3, 2009
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Boston Mass.
This is the HDD you want unless you absolutely must have more space than that. If you don't already have a good backup, buy something like this to put your old hard disk in.
that is a small HDD for the price .....why couldn't I just get a regular HDD? to me thats not worth it for that price and the ssd 160gb is over $500
 

zhenya

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Jan 6, 2005
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Well, you were presumably interested in a new machine because you wanted something faster, correct? (As per the original post) You can't compare a SSD to a traditional drive in the price per GB, you have to consider it how you'd consider any performance upgrade. The two Macbook Pro's you were looking at have a $300 price difference. That money buys you a slightly faster processor, more RAM, and a bigger hard drive - hardly worth the $300 in my opinion - especially, because as I stated before, a ssd will make FAR more difference in how fast the computer feels. Programs literally open instantly, the machine boots in under 20 seconds, etc. This is because the slowest device in a computer is the hard disk by far. A SSD rectifies this.

Again, your Blackbook with a SSD will blow away a brand new MBP with a standard drive for anything that is not processor limited (most things most people do with their computers). Go and read some reviews and watch some demonstrations on YouTube - it's mind boggling.
 

DEE9299

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Oct 3, 2009
573
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Boston Mass.
Well, you were presumably interested in a new machine because you wanted something faster, correct? (As per the original post) You can't compare a SSD to a traditional drive in the price per GB, you have to consider it how you'd consider any performance upgrade. The two Macbook Pro's you were looking at have a $300 price difference. That money buys you a slightly faster processor, more RAM, and a bigger hard drive - hardly worth the $300 in my opinion - especially, because as I stated before, a ssd will make FAR more difference in how fast the computer feels. Programs literally open instantly, the machine boots in under 20 seconds, etc. This is because the slowest device in a computer is the hard disk by far. A SSD rectifies this.

Again, your Blackbook with a SSD will blow away a brand new MBP with a standard drive for anything that is not processor limited (most things most people do with their computers). Go and read some reviews and watch some demonstrations on YouTube - it's mind boggling.
I looked at videos and I am impressed no what brand is the best? intel,samsung or corsair???
 

zhenya

macrumors 603
Jan 6, 2005
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After a really bad experience with an OCZ drive I purchased an Intel drive and couldn't be happier. I understand that OCZ has improved since then, but they basically sold me a $300 bum drive that they refused to warranty (frankly it was a design defect), so it's unlikely I'll ever buy from them again. There are huge differences between different SSD's, so don't just assume that one SSD is like the next. Personally I'd buy an Intel drive and be done with it.
 

thermodynamic

Suspended
May 3, 2009
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USA
I am considering a macbook pro and have a questions......when it comes to speed of the laptop what plays a more important role the ghz,ram or hd sizes?
The more the merrier, but with all computers, the hard drive is the slowest aspect.

Going from a 2.5 to a 2.8GHz CPU yields a 5~10% improvement - something you won't notice.

RAM, depending on what you use it for, helps. My 17"MBP has 4GB and one day I will up it to 8GB.

But the HD -- the faster the better but some on the internet like to think that higher capacity drives (e.g. 500GB) in a 2.5" form factor are more prone to data corruption. It's possible, given the raw density involved...
 

DEE9299

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Oct 3, 2009
573
0
Boston Mass.
Intel X25-M Mainstream SSDSA2M080G201 2.5" 80GB SATA II MLC Internal SSD would this SSD fit in my 3,1 macbook?? I found it for a very good price
 

zhenya

macrumors 603
Jan 6, 2005
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Should work fine, but since I wouldn't want to take a chance of leading you astray, go to the Apple Menu --> About This Mac --> More Info. Under the hardware section there should be a Serial-ATA section, and a hard drive should be listed there. Post the name and model number listed there.

What is a 'good price?' Historically there has not been a huge difference in pricing on these drives, so be sure it is legit.