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  1. #1


    Member Since
    Jun 11, 2012
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    3
    Macbook Pro i5 - 8gb RaM or SSD?
    I have a 2011 Macbook pro running Lion with 2.3 i5 processor, 4gb RAM and 320GB 5400rpm hard drive. Even though I am mostly just using iTunes, word, mail and safari, i keep getting the 'wheel of death' regularly, especially while browsing YouTube and flash sites in Safari. I have decided that this is getting too annoying to just ignore, but I don't know what is the best course of action. Would it be better to increase my RAM to 8GB , or to splash out on an SSD? I know that an SSD is much more expensive than RAM at 165 rather than 30, so I'll only go for that option if I'm sure that RAM isn't going to make a big difference to my system.

    An alternative would be to invest in a 7200rpm hard drive for 70, if that would make much of a difference without majorly impacting battery life.

    This is a screenshot of my memory usage on activity monitor if that helps - the mac has been on for 2 days since the last restart. Thanks for the help!

    PS - I can only afford one of these options, before anyone suggests two!
    Attached Images Attached Images

  2. #2

    Stretch's Avatar
    Member Since
    Jan 13, 2007
    Location
    Central New York
    Posts
    4,773
    Specs:
    15in i7 MacBook Pro, 8GB RAM, 120GB SSD, 500GB HD
    How much free space do you have on the hard drive?
    Blog and Photo Gallery: http://philolin.me/

    Currently running OS X 10.10

  3. #3


    Member Since
    Jun 11, 2012
    Posts
    3
    About 30gb but I could easily make more space if I wanted to e.g by moving movies to my portable hd. if I went for an ssd I'd go to 256gb if I can afford it.

  4. #4

    pigoo3's Avatar
    Member Since
    May 20, 2008
    Location
    U.S.
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    35,391
    Specs:
    2011 13" MBP 2.3ghz, 8gig ram, OS 10.8.5
    From what I see/read so far...there are two issues:

    1. With only 30gig free on a 320gig HD...you should really free up some additional space (no need for a new HD, just free up some space).

    2. More importantly (looking at the chart you included above)...you need to restart your computer more often...and probably not open so many apps. simultaneously.

    Besides restarting your computer more often, not opening so many apps. simultaneously...you should also repair permissions every so often (Disk Utility).

    Lastly...you probably would benefit from a ram upgrade to 8gig...but you should still follow the maintenance & operational procedures mentioned above.

    - Nick
    - Too many "beachballs", read this: Beachballs
    - Computer seems slower than it used to? Read this for some slow computer tips: Speedup
    - Almost full hard drive? Some solutions. Out of Space
    - Apple Battery Info. Battery

  5. #5


    Member Since
    Jun 11, 2012
    Posts
    3
    Thanks for the help - ill free up a bit more space then and see if that helps. Even so, surely the page outs shouldn't be this high with only the applications listen above in use? Would you say that an ssd is not worth it for me, then?

  6. #6

    Stretch's Avatar
    Member Since
    Jan 13, 2007
    Location
    Central New York
    Posts
    4,773
    Specs:
    15in i7 MacBook Pro, 8GB RAM, 120GB SSD, 500GB HD
    Based on your info, you'd probably get the most benefit from the RAM upgrade.
    Blog and Photo Gallery: http://philolin.me/

    Currently running OS X 10.10

  7. #7

    pigoo3's Avatar
    Member Since
    May 20, 2008
    Location
    U.S.
    Posts
    35,391
    Specs:
    2011 13" MBP 2.3ghz, 8gig ram, OS 10.8.5
    Quote Originally Posted by fishydiver123 View Post
    Thanks for the help - ill free up a bit more space then and see if that helps. Even so, surely the page outs shouldn't be this high with only the applications listen above in use? Would you say that an ssd is not worth it for me, then?
    The high page-outs & swap file are due to a combination of:

    - the # of simultaneous apps. you have open
    - the amount of installed ram
    - the frequency of restarting the computer (instead of putting it to sleep all the time when not using it).

    I think you will most benefit from an 8 gig ram upgrade. If you follow what I mentioned above...you won't get nearly as many "beach-balls"...thus the beach-ball related slowdowns won't be an issue.

    An SSD would be nice...but I don't really think you need one as much as the ram upgrade. Besides...you currently have a 320gig HD (which is 90% full)...given this good or bad HD management...can you really afford an SSD larger than 320gig??

    Just get the ram...or better yet...just follow the suggestions I already mentioned...and you'll be fine with 4gig of ram.

    - Nick
    - Too many "beachballs", read this: Beachballs
    - Computer seems slower than it used to? Read this for some slow computer tips: Speedup
    - Almost full hard drive? Some solutions. Out of Space
    - Apple Battery Info. Battery

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