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  1. #1


    Member Since
    Dec 27, 2011
    Posts
    7
    advice on hotrodding entry level macbook pro
    ok perhaps "hotrodding" is too strong a word for it, but I am talking about hard drive and ram upgrade.

    I have the early 2011 "low end" 15" with a 2.0 quad i7, 4MB RAM and 500 GB hard drive.

    I already bought the 8MB RAM because it was so cheap and easy to install and I love the big green slice of pie on my dock.

    But now I'm wondering whether to buy a solid state hard drive. I read somewhere that your processor is the limiting factor when it comes to performance, and I won't ever change this processor I don't think.

    I am not a multi-media pro user or heavy gamer. I may however have a need for serious data crunching and powerpoint presentations in my profession, and I like music photos and movies as much as the next guy. I like to web surf quite a bit but I live in the boonies with only modest internet speed.

    Will I realize value if I buy say a 256GB solid state drive (or would that even be an upgrade from a 500GB disc drive?).

    I just want to be sensible with my money. For this machine and my usage, would a SSD upgrade make sense and how big does it need to be to add real value?

    I just remember when I bought it the sales guy said "I'd upgrade the hard drive" but I'm kind of skeptical whether I would realize value from it.

    Thanks for the advice.

  2. #2

    RavingMac's Avatar
    Member Since
    Jan 07, 2008
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    7,950
    Specs:
    4GB Mac Mini 2012, 13" MBA, 15" MacBook Pro OSX 10.7, 32 GB iPhone 3GS, iPad2 64gb 3G
    Realizing value is such a nebulous statement!

    If you mean will I increase my resale value and get a sizeable ROI? I would probably say not.

    If you mean I have to have the fastest gun and have the bucks to spend? Then by all means go for the SSD.

    If you are talking real world performance (saving you valuable time)? I would have to say that depends. An SSD would most definitely give you a substantial speed boost, but unless you spend a significant amount of time waiting on your MBP to catch up you may not actually save that much time.

    For my money though,I would go with the SSD upgrade and use a Data Doubler from OWC to swap my HD into my Optical bay. But, my choice would depend on me having cash to spend on my toys, not necessarily a value analysis.
    I've always wanted to be smart, handsome and modest. But, I guess I'll have to be satisfied with two out of three . . .

  3. #3


    Member Since
    Dec 27, 2011
    Posts
    7
    Not resale value or bragging rights, but real world better results. To me, no beach balls or bouncing icons on the dock is real performance that I'd enjoy. But theoretical micro-measured speed increases I would not enjoy - you made a good comment "are you waiting for the MBP to catch up". Well when it is beachballing or bouncing dock icons then yes.

    If you do the data doubler thing, does that mean you can't play or rip CD/DVDs anymore? What do you give up when you put your old HD in the optical bay? That idea interests me, but i want to be able to slide a CD in my MBP and rip it to my iTunes library with iTunes match.

    And if I DO put my old drive in the optical bay does that mean I can get away with a 128GB SSD?

  4. #4

    chscag's Avatar
    Member Since
    Jan 23, 2008
    Location
    Keller, Texas
    Posts
    50,235
    Specs:
    Late 2013 27" iMac, iPad 3, iPhone 6s+, iPhone 6+, 3 iPods, Sierra
    If you do the data doubler thing, does that mean you can't play or rip CD/DVDs anymore? What do you give up when you put your old HD in the optical bay? That idea interests me, but i want to be able to slide a CD in my MBP and rip it to my iTunes library with iTunes match.

    And if I DO put my old drive in the optical bay does that mean I can get away with a 128GB SSD?
    The data doubler kit comes with an external carrier to place the removed optical drive in. You would still have the drive but it would now be external.

    One caveat about doing this though... If you plan on installing Windows via Boot Camp, you won't be able to do so without an internal optical drive.

    If you decide to go that route, the 128 GB SSD should suffice for OS X and some other applications. Your iTunes library, photos, movies, etc can be placed on the hard drive which is mounted in the optical bay.

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