Which is better to upgrade, RAM, SSD, Processor?

Discussion in 'MacBook Air' started by md63, Nov 3, 2010.

  1. md63 macrumors 6502

    Jun 11, 2007
    Hello. I would appreciate some advice on a potential purchase. I'm thinking about getting a 13" MBA and sell my old 15 inch 2.2Ghz MBP and possibly iPad to finance some/all of the purchase. Since getting the iPad my MBP has been collecting dust because of the size and weight. At home I have a 2.53Ghz Mac Mini which is my main computer and handles my workload fine.

    I would purchase the 13 inch and want to know what is best to upgrade (RAM, CPU, SSD). I'm trying to minimize the purchase price since cash is short at the moment. Will I see the best bang for the buck in a RAM upgrade as opposed to the CPU and SSD upgrades? Thanks for your advice.
  2. elwood58 macrumors member

    Oct 26, 2010
    RAM is the best upgrade for most users, and makes some sense due to the inability to upgrade in the future. Processor is a more subtle upgrade, while SSD has all the signs of being very upgradeable in the future.
  3. ynnoj macrumors member


    Sep 18, 2007
    The RAM is a no brainer, for my needs at least. It should be standard.

    The 64GB SSD in the base 11" is also sufficient for my needs, but probably not for others. The Air will be my second computer to my i7 iMac so I don't need a whole load of space.
  4. vaderhater245 macrumors 6502

    Mar 4, 2008
    Flagstaff, AZ
    Base 13 with 4gb. Extra $100 when your already spending that much should be a no brainer and no one should regret that. just remember nothing can be upgraded by the user with the air :(
  5. re2st macrumors regular

    May 2, 2007
    San Jose, CA
    I personally would say 128GB SSD and 4GB RAM is minimum. It would future-proof your MAB for at least until the next rev.. :p
  6. netdog macrumors 603


    Feb 6, 2006
    I'd priortize them for the 13" model in this order.

    1. 4 GB of RAM
    2. more storage
    3. processor speed bump

    That said, I think you really should up the storage, and I chose to upgrade the processor as well, though I could have done without that.
  7. darngooddesign macrumors G3

    Jul 4, 2007
    Atlanta, GA
    1. RAM

    2. Processor

    3. SSD (this is the only thing that can up upgraded after the initial purchase)
  8. ender21 macrumors 6502


    Jul 15, 2010
    Southern Cal
  9. silverblack macrumors 68030


    Nov 27, 2007
    I don't disagree that generally it makes sense to think about RAM and processor speed when it comes to upgrade. However, in my case, I decided to go for the larger FS for my 11.6" model. My reasons are:

    1. Having less RAM and slower processor will slow you down (by a little), but you can still run whatever apps you want to. It won't crash! It'll just take a little longer time (which would be fractions of a second to seconds for most apps, and minutes for longer processes like encoding movies).
    On the other hand, if you are out of FS space, you won't be able to install that app you needed, or download that movie you really wanted to watch - unless you have an external HDD with you ALL the time. Do you?

    2. Soon FS upgrade will be available, but I highly doubt that would be cheaper than what Apple offers now as the upgrade price. Also, it will surely void your warranty.
  10. hoopster macrumors member

    Apr 17, 2010
    1. RAM
    2. Processor
    3. SSD

    Unless the RAM is after market upgradable then

    1. Processor
    2. RAM
    3. SSD
  11. Caolan96 macrumors regular

    Apr 18, 2010
    Derry, Northern Ireland, UK
  12. tmoerel macrumors 6502

    Jan 24, 2008
    Wirelessly posted (Mozilla/5.0 (iPhone; U; CPU iPhone OS 4_1 like Mac OS X; en-us) AppleWebKit/532.9 (KHTML, like Gecko) Version/4.0.5 Mobile/8B117 Safari/6531.22.7)

    If you can afford it take the maximum of all!
  13. coelacanth macrumors 6502

    Jul 19, 2004
    1. RAM
    2. SSD
    3. CPU

    I personally had larger gap between 1 and 2/3.
  14. gloryunited macrumors 6502

    Oct 29, 2010
    I am planning on getting the 13"/128GB/4GB too.

    256GB of storage is of course nice to have, but it costs you an extra $300. If you are only going to spend an extra $100, I think (after I read quite a lot user comments and reviews) RAM > CPU.

    But since you've pointed out cash is short at the moment, I think you can even stick with the 13" base model. Other users have suggested that 2GB of RAM can handle most of the tasks, unless you want to run Virtual machine with Win7 on it.

    Again, I just sort of conclude what I picked up from the forum over the past few days. Please correct me if I'm wrong.
  15. Scottsdale macrumors 601


    Sep 19, 2008
    SSD will make it the fastest to upgrade for normal type tasks. Startup, app opening, file transfer, and etc. The drive and drive controller is the bottleneck with today's computers.

    The RAM is important for overall system performance, but 2 GB is probably sufficient given current apps, Snow Leopard, and etc. However, 4 GB of RAM can speedup computers for those who use a lot of apps, or run a second OS via a VM.

    The Processor is probably least important given either 1.86 or 2.13 GHz is fine by today's standards. However, in the long run, I would rather have a faster Mac.

    If you only had $100 to upgrade though, I would upgrade the RAM. The RAM cannot be upgraded later, while the SSD can be upgraded later as PhotoFast has already announced 256 GB SSD for the new MBAs. The CPU cannot be upgraded later, but 1.86 GHz isn't much slower than 2.13 GHz especially considering the throttling on the CPUs.

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