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  1. #1
    Green Austerity Upgrade

    Member Since
    Apr 27, 2011
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    21
    Green Austerity Upgrade
    First of all, apologies if this shd be in another category, but it covers several matters at once: I need to upgrade both Mac software and hardware asap whilst keeping things as economical and eco-friendly as poss (not buy all new stuff if current stuff can feasibly be given new life instead)

    Am currently using OS 10.4.11 and Adobe CS2 as main software running on a 1.25 GHz PowerPC G4 (3.3) desktop, 1MB L3 cache, memory of 2GB DDR SDRAM - OK, call me a dinosaur. I also have a 15" Macbook Pro with a 2.2 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo processor, memory of 2GB 667 MHz DDR2 SDRAM and same software as the G4 desktop. I've heard about solid state hard drives (SSDs) which I understand have advantages of no moving parts, hence cooler running, much faster operation, and longer life - but more expensive, have less memory available and shorter time running on the battery - I think. Happy to be corrected.

    My question is, in order to be more mobile for my work, would it be poss to put the desktop out to grass, upgrade the laptop - instead of buying a new one - with one of these solid state hard drives, have a backup external HD, and load the latest Mac OS and Adobe Creative Suite? When working back at base I'd also like to continue using my 20" flatscreen Formac monitor, Epson Perfection 3200 scanner, Canon ix4000 A3+ printer and other accessories such as a Wacom tablet, all running off the laptop. What are the pros and cons re my thoughts? Would the laptop hard-drive transplant be DIY possible? Which SSD recommended? Advice v welcome (non-tekky as poss if you can). Thanks All!

  2. #2
    Green Austerity Upgrade
    geraint84's Avatar
    Member Since
    Jun 01, 2011
    Posts
    36
    Specs:
    macbook pro 2011 17 sandybridge
    Hi, I was in a similar situation 'nursing along a PPC' a wile back. In my opinion, SSD drives are great IF you don't need a huge amount of hard drive space, and you're willing to spend the money for a good quality drive. There have been some people having some bad experiences with the cheeper SSD drives.

    I manage fine with 128 on my air, i currently have the os and some every day apps, some itunes content, a 16 gig iphoto collection and some DJ apps. I still have 50 gig free if that helps put it in perspective.

    What i then do is keep my large music collection, a larger photo collection and films ect on a network drive at home.

    I use a usb hub and external monitor to keep my desk tidy with all my peripherals and just need to connect two leads (usb and monitor) so it is relatively painless coming and going although i do miss the convenience of a dedicated desktop.

    Swapping drives on your MBP will be easy enough. To make the process simple, get a copy of superduper and clone your drive with the new one. You will need to mount the new one via usb or fire wire first though. Once this is done, open your machine swap the drives and when you power up you should have your machine back! keep the other drive for a while incase you need to revert back for any reason.

    The performance increase is very noticeable from ssd however your current mbp shouldn't be bad as it is, so if you can hold off a little while until you get more gigs for your money then all the better.

    Good luck!

  3. #3
    Green Austerity Upgrade

    Member Since
    Apr 27, 2011
    Posts
    21
    Thanks very much, Geraint. This really helpful - and reassuring. Not heard of superduper for the changeover process so will look into it. One thing, what do you mean by "however, your current mbp shouldn't be bad as it is"? It's in excellent condition but quite old (bought Sep 2007), so am a bit out of touch with what's bad or good re specifications these days! Should I think of getting a new MBP after all, but with a solid state hard drive? I've discovered that the 80GB Intel X25-M drive was highly rated in 2009. Is that the one Apple has for its SSD MPBs? Can't find any later reviews.

  4. #4
    Green Austerity Upgrade
    geraint84's Avatar
    Member Since
    Jun 01, 2011
    Posts
    36
    Specs:
    macbook pro 2011 17 sandybridge
    Hi, sorry i wasn't very clear, i mean although your machine is from 2007, it is just as fast as my 2011 macbook air, with exception of the ddr3 ram and ssd. So i would try and squeeze a bit of life out of it again. Apple in general use slower ssd drives, and the ssd's they use have changed over time. I think at the moment they are using toshiba ones. I would have a look at OWC 'otherworldcomputing' online. They do lots of different ssd options for the mac, and you may want to pick up some additional ram while your there as its a fairly cheep way to get a boost in performance and seeing that your going in to swap drives its another 20 seconds work.

    However if you are thinking of upgrading, it isn't a bad time. Apple have fairly recently updated their line to include quod core sandy bridge intel chips which are very appealing. You would also have the newer unibody form factor. But i still maintain you can get more life out of your current machine. And you can look forward to the new form factor model of the macbook pro in 2012. Maybe wait until then before spending to much.

    Hope this is useful.

    Regards

    Geraint

  5. #5
    Green Austerity Upgrade

    Member Since
    Apr 27, 2011
    Posts
    21
    I'll look at OWC when I have a moment. Sounds a useful site. You're a mine of good advice! Ummm... no idea what 'quod core sandy bridge intel chips' are, though, or 'unibody form factor'. Do I need to know or am I OK going down the OWC road for a solid state hard drive (what's considered the best one, by the way?) and perhaps more RAM to put in my existing laptop?

  6. #6
    Green Austerity Upgrade
    geraint84's Avatar
    Member Since
    Jun 01, 2011
    Posts
    36
    Specs:
    macbook pro 2011 17 sandybridge
    No Problem. sandy bridge is just the name for intel's latest processor, and quod just means it has 4 cores, instead of your 2 at the moment. But don't worry, for the software your using your current machine is fine for a while. The 'unibody' is just the name they gave to the new mac book pros as they are made from one block of metal. The best place to learn about this is to go to the apple site and take a look at the uni body video. Its difficult to say what the 'best' ssd's are as they are still relatively new. If i was in the market for one i would go with a intel one. If you want to put more ram in your machine id go for 4gig (2 x 2gig sticks) kingston or crucial would be fine. If you look up your model macbook on the OWC website they will give you the best options for ram upgrades there. Also OWC do ssd upgrade packages tailored to your machine, these include the necessary tools and external caddy to mount your new drive via usb to duplicate it. You can then use the caddy to house your old 80 gig drive and use it as a external hard drive.

    Cheers

    Geraint

  7. #7
    Green Austerity Upgrade

    Member Since
    Apr 27, 2011
    Posts
    21
    Brilliant! This so helpful. Soon as I get my paperwork out of the way I'll get straight onto this. Hope it's been as educational for anyone else following this thread as it has been for me. Thankyou again for all your excellent advice, Geraint. All best

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