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#1 ErolE

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Posted 16 June 2012 - 12:01 PM

My old MBP (2.36Ghz Mid 2009 13.3'') is dying a slow beach balling death and to be honest has never had the processor grunt to do what I need. Being in the US I thought I take advantage of the prices to possibly get a replacement. This coincides with the release of the MacBook Pro retina which complicates my choices.

Now I normally like to get around 5 years out of a laptop so I want to be the best performance reasonable (I am not made of money :lol:

I reckon I have three choices:

1) I could go the cheap short-term option and try and get a couple more years out of my current unit by trying to upgrade the logic board to a more powerful chip set (although this would require new RAM etc). Has anyone done this? Is it possible?

OR for around the same money I could

2) Go a 2.6 GHz MacBook Pro 15'' with 8GB of RAM (which is listed as the maximum although the MBP-R can have 16GB on the same chipset. Any ideas?) With an SSD installed instead of an optical drive, this would give performance matching the MBP-R.

3) A 2.3 GHz MBP retina looks like a high performance machine, but there are limitations. It only comes with 256 SSD internal storage and has limited hardware ports. Gone are the FireWire 800 port that I use a lot on my current MBP, this is replaced by a thunderbolt display, which whilst faster does mean upgrading ancillary gear. The upside is a 0.5 kgs weight saving and an incredible resolution screen.

So questions does anyone have any experience with the MBP-R? Is the weight saving and screen enough to offset its lack of flexibility (it can t be upgraded in any way).


Thanks Erol
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#2 TheRealDrew

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Posted 16 June 2012 - 12:35 PM

How much RAM do you have in the computer? What type of HD (speed and/or SSD)

Throwing as much RAM in is probably the easiest and cost effective upgrade if you have not done so. The SSD drive can also help, but RAM is going to be the big one. (Also not sure what apps you are running.) I would not bother upgrading the processor, if that is an option.

On the MacBook Pro (non-Retina) only 8 Gigs is officially supported, though place like OWC have tested up to 16 Gigs. (In fact I am upgrading my machine to 16 Gigs and an SSD). The Retina is beautiful, just got done playing with one. Fast, responsive, just great. The base model is nice, but 256 SSD is a non-starter for me. (And at this time, neither the RAM nor HD are upgradable.) The mid-level one would be the least I would consider. It seems to be the sweet spot of size, weight etc in the Mac Line-Up as of now.

#3 ErolE

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Posted 16 June 2012 - 01:06 PM

Drew,

Already thrown max RAM into the machine (8GB) and it is still sluggish.
HD is only 5400rpm so I have considered upping to 7200rpm or SSD. But I think I am getting to the point of limited returns. At this stage my current unit has some re-sell value, give it another 12months and it won t be worth anything. So I think long term, the best bet might be to get a new unit.

256GB is limiting, I think you have to accept that most of your work will be to external thunderbolt and USB3 drive. This I suppose, is the crux of the matter. Does anyone know what the data transfer rates are across the BUS? If they are matched by USB3/Thunderbolt (5GBs/10Gbs) then all good and well. If not then much of the upped performance will be limited by I/O speeds anyway.
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#4 adamhanlon

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Posted 16 June 2012 - 01:11 PM

Hey Drew,

16GB in a MacBook Pro? How do you do that?

@Erol- I don't know if there is space, but if you can add another hard drive into the MBP-R that may be the answer. My "old" 15" has a 256GB SSD and a ITB spinning drive (both internal), using a bracket made by OWC. It is a fairly cheap addition, and will give you the best of both worlds. I think failing that, I would still go for the higher spec new machine (MBP-R).

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#5 ErolE

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Posted 16 June 2012 - 01:25 PM

Hey Adam,

I think the space freed up by not including an optical drive is taken up by batteries to power the high res screen. So nothing internal is possible. Indeed reading the ifixit tear down the screw head are Pentalobe heads, which are pretty hard to get hold off. In addition the RAM is soldered to the logic board and the battery is glued into the case, so there are very few easily replaceable parts.

Given that OWC have a 16Gb upgrade, you d probably get similar performance as the MBP-R so I guess the question is whether you are happy to trade a lighter unit and a retina screen for more ports (audio in, FW800) and more upgrade flexibility....

Hmmm I ll have to mull that one over, but I am guessing that only by seeing them side by side will you get a definitive answer.

Edited by ErolE, 16 June 2012 - 01:27 PM.

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#6 TheRealDrew

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Posted 16 June 2012 - 01:31 PM

16GB in a MacBook Pro? How do you do that?



On the 2011 and 2012 laptops you can put 16 Gigs in OWC Some interesting numbers Here on benchmarks.


I just need to get the chips in to my machine. Will report back and let you know how it goes :lol:

#7 TheRealDrew

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Posted 16 June 2012 - 01:36 PM

Drew,

Already thrown max RAM into the machine (8GB) and it is still sluggish.
HD is only 5400rpm so I have considered upping to 7200rpm or SSD. But I think I am getting to the point of limited returns. At this stage my current unit has some re-sell value, give it another 12months and it won t be worth anything. So I think long term, the best bet might be to get a new unit.

256GB is limiting, I think you have to accept that most of your work will be to external thunderbolt and USB3 drive. This I suppose, is the crux of the matter. Does anyone know what the data transfer rates are across the BUS? If they are matched by USB3/Thunderbolt (5GBs/10Gbs) then all good and well. If not then much of the upped performance will be limited by I/O speeds anyway.


Which transfer speeds/BUS are you talking about? The new internal drives on the laptop are 6G eSATA

Something to consider is perhaps selling yours and then getting a refurbed unit from Apple. (Not sure though if that is an option where you are though.)

But to give you an example for $1359 in the U.S. refurbed store.

Refurbished MacBook Pro 2.2GHz Quad-core Intel i7
Originally released October 2011
15.4-inch (diagonal) LED-backlit glossy widescreen display, 1440-by-900 resolution
4GB (2 x 2GB) of 1333MHz DDR3 SDRAM
500GB Serial ATA @ 5400 rpm
8x double-layer SuperDrive (DVD±R DL/DVD±RW/CD-RW)
Intel HD Graphics 3000 and AMD Radeon HD 6750M

#8 ErolE

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Posted 16 June 2012 - 01:40 PM

Actually here is an interesting article about an upgradable versus closed laptop system

http://ifixit.org/27...able/#more-2763

It raises a valid point. I don t think I have owned a single MBP that I haven t been into to replace something. So the as the article states if you want something that is economically repairable after AppleCare expires then you only have one option, the MBP.
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#9 TheRealDrew

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Posted 16 June 2012 - 01:44 PM

Given that OWC have a 16Gb upgrade, you d probably get similar performance as the MBP-R so I guess the question is whether you are happy to trade a lighter unit and a retina screen for more ports (audio in, FW800) and more upgrade flexibility....

Hmmm I ll have to mull that one over, but I am guessing that only by seeing them side by side will you get a definitive answer.



Depends. If I am not quite concerned about portability/weight and the rest. The 17" with the slot. Has the connections, good working room even without another monitor, etc. Got a 6G eSata card and a 6G enclosure when I need speed. I have taken this even on trips when I know I am going to be someplace for a bit, a couple of weeks at a time or so. Curse a tad when getting it in and out at the airport. Happy when I get to where I am going. The Retina hits the spot for travel for me. Good screen, real spunky.

But a lot of this depends on what you do when at home and when you travel with the computer.

#10 ErolE

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Posted 16 June 2012 - 01:46 PM

Which transfer speeds/BUS are you talking about? The new internal drives on the laptop are 6G eSATA


Sorry was talking about the Serial ATA speeds, which seem to be close or matched by Thunderbolt/USB3.

But a lot of this depends on what you do when at home and when you travel with the computer.


I seem to be away more than I at home, so portability is an issue, which is why the 17'' is just too big (impossible to work on planes). I think all told the 15'' MBP is really the way to go with a SSD and 16GB upgrade. That should be a great compromise between, portability, performance and serviceability. The idea of owning something that I can t tear apart, is just not too comfortable.

I ll also have a look at some of those re-furbed units.

Thanks guys

Edited by ErolE, 16 June 2012 - 01:51 PM.

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#11 RWBrooks

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Posted 16 June 2012 - 02:47 PM

Hi all, I'm in a similar position where my MBP even though it has just been upgraded to 8GB RAM is still sluggish, maybe even worse than when it was running on 4GB. What could be causing this? Dodgy RAM chip? everything in system profiler is saying they are ok.
Repaired permissions and followed many online tips but wondering if there is any way to test the RAM boards?
Also any other tips to de-clog it?
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#12 ErolE

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Posted 17 June 2012 - 03:18 AM

Hi all, I'm in a similar position where my MBP even though it has just been upgraded to 8GB RAM is still sluggish, maybe even worse than when it was running on 4GB. What could be causing this? Dodgy RAM chip? everything in system profiler is saying they are ok.
Repaired permissions and followed many online tips but wondering if there is any way to test the RAM boards?
Also any other tips to de-clog it?
Cheers



Try re starting and holding down CMD + Opt +P + R. That resets the ram cache.

I had the same issue max out the Ram made no difference. I am too the point where applications take over as min to open (firefox, thunderbird) and there is even some delay in typing..

Again all the activity on the system shows that the CPU isn t overloaded so I am guess a software rather than hardware issue.

I am going try and clean install of Lion, but it that doesn t bring significant results, I have to rather unhappily, take my wallet to the Apple shop.
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#13 TheRealDrew

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Posted 17 June 2012 - 06:31 AM

I am going try and clean install of Lion, but it that doesn t bring significant results, I have to rather unhappily, take my wallet to the Apple shop.


Obviously a lot of people use Lion and like it. I am not the biggest fan for the reason you mentioned in terms of beach ball and all the rest. I think a clean install may be in order for me also. Seems something got messed up. On my SL partition things are fine and one base reinstall of Lion seems to be better. Got a feeling it could be software issue for me also. Just being kind of lazy in redoing it :lol:

#14 ErolE

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Posted 18 June 2012 - 06:41 AM

Okay clean install of Lion helped a lot. So the machine is now boarder line liveable.

Now mulling over whether to scrape all the performance I can of it by installing an SSD. But that is a $400-500 so basically the quarter of the price of a brand new machine, so I am not sure whether it is really worth it.

Also anyone know much about RAM? I have a Crucial RAM upgrade installed? Is this likely to perform as well as the Samsung (?) OEM RAM?

Thanks again
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#15 cor

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Posted 23 June 2012 - 12:45 AM

I just bought 16GB for my MBP. That's an 8,2, which has no problem taking 2 x 8GB SODIMMs. Cost me about 95 euros. Older systems have a max of 8GB.

ErolE, an SSD will do more to the feeling of speed than anything else. No computer enters my house without SSD anymore ;) SSD costs have come down significantly. You can get them between $250 and $350 for 256GB. That works just fine. The trick is to scrap your optical drive, and replace it with a 2nd harddrive. Ive got a 1TB 2nd drive in mine next to my 256GB SSD. You can get bays that allow a second drive here: http://www.mcetech.com/optibay.
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#16 ErolE

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Posted 23 June 2012 - 01:21 PM

Yes I think SSD is on the cards to get that finally bit of speed out of the machine.

Interestingly I think I found the culprit for slowing my Mac down, the application MacKeeper, which I used to clean uninstall applications that I didn t use. After my clean install everything was running fine and much faster. Then I installed Mackeeper again and back came the beachballs, slow down and system freezes. Looking at activity monitor there was nothing to suggest that mackeeper was hogging the CPU, but once uninstalled everything is back to normal.

Perhaps I should have done my research better. All the professional reviewer seem to rave about Mackeeper saying how good it is, yet all the forums show there are countless people experiencing issues with this application. Also seems that the marketing is very underhand with numerous sites set up to resemble independent reviewers actually affiliated with Zeobit, Mackeepers distributor. On the basis of this I would probably suggest that all the 5 star reviews in places like cnet are also guerilla marketing.

Anyway from my experience one to avoid people. AppCleaner in future.

Erol

Edited by ErolE, 23 June 2012 - 01:36 PM.

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#17 johnspierce

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Posted 23 June 2012 - 02:20 PM

I just bought 16GB for my MBP. That's an 8,2, which has no problem taking 2 x 8GB SODIMMs. Cost me about 95 euros. Older systems have a max of 8GB.

ErolE, an SSD will do more to the feeling of speed than anything else. No computer enters my house without SSD anymore ;) SSD costs have come down significantly. You can get them between $250 and $350 for 256GB. That works just fine. The trick is to scrap your optical drive, and replace it with a 2nd harddrive. Ive got a 1TB 2nd drive in mine next to my 256GB SSD. You can get bays that allow a second drive here: http://www.mcetech.com/optibay.


I'll second the SSD thingie... that's the best single upgrade you can do to any computer. I have a 256gb SSD in my 2011 MBP where the CD/DVD drive used to be and a 500gb 7200rpm conventional drive in it's usual spot along with 8gb RAM. It's a screamer. Boots in 18-20 seconds flat, Lightroom 4 launches in less than 2 seconds. I keep the OS and all the proggies on the SSD and use the 500 gigger for data only. I used the OWC kit, but the mcetech kit looks pretty much identical.

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Edited by johnspierce, 23 June 2012 - 02:20 PM.

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#18 dougdaulton

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Posted 07 July 2012 - 10:51 PM

@Erol- I don't know if there is space, but if you can add another hard drive into the MBP-R that may be the answer. My "old" 15" has a 256GB SSD and a ITB spinning drive (both internal), using a bracket made by OWC. It is a fairly cheap addition, and will give you the best of both worlds. I think failing that, I would still go for the higher spec new machine (MBP-R).

Adam

I recently refreshed my 2007 17"MBP with max ram (8GB), a 256GB SSD and a 750GB SSD/HD hybrid. I did not use the OWC bracket, but a cheaper one from Amazon, which worked fine. If you DIY, you can follow the "how to" on OWC and you'll be fine.

I did a fresh Lion Install and the machine has a serious performance boost for about $400. Is it the same as having a shiny new Retina? No, but it will get me another year (at least) out of it while any bugs in the Retina machines get worked out.

BTW, I cut and render video for live production on this machine. While it could be faster, it gets the job done.