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You are here: MacNN Forums > Hardware - Troubleshooting and Discussion > Mac Notebooks > 2008 macbook worth an upgrade?

2008 macbook worth an upgrade?
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TheMGilroy
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May 30, 2012, 06:26 PM
 
I have a late 2008 2.4 GHz core 2 duo macbook. I was looking into upgrading the ram to 4gb and buying a 128gb SSD for it to prolong it's life. I can get the RAM and SSD from amazon for about $150. Now, I don't really need the machine to perform any really strenuous tasks. Just mostly video streaming and web surfing.

So my question is would the investment be worth the upgrade? Or should I just save my money? I'll be getting a new iMac when they come out, but I thought it'd be nice to have another option to view media away from my computer desk. So should I pull the trigger to keep my laptop alive, or just let it ride off in to the sunset?
     
gooser
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May 30, 2012, 07:26 PM
 
get the imac first and see how much you like the newest operating system and then decide. does the macbook currently do what you want done? any signs that your drive is wearing out?
imac g3 600
imac g4 800 superdrive
ibook 466
     
Eug
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May 30, 2012, 08:03 PM
 
If you plan on using the laptop more than just occasionally, definitely do the RAM and SSD upgrade.

I have a 2.26 GHz C2D MBP with SSD and it's awesome. Blistering fast for the usage you describe. I'd take a C2D with SSD than an i5 with platter drive any day.
     
SierraDragon
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May 30, 2012, 08:15 PM
 
Originally Posted by TheMGilroy View Post
...would the investment be worth the upgrade?
For $150? Hell yes!
     
Bluebomber21XX
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May 30, 2012, 10:35 PM
 
Originally Posted by SierraDragon View Post
For $150? Hell yes!
Actually, that price is a rip-off if you only get the RAM. These computers unofficially support 6 GB RAM, and it's only 120 from OWC. I have this same upgrade in my 2.4 C2D MBP and it's a noticeable improvement.

OWC 5300DDR2S6GP 6.0GB Kit (2.0GB+4.0GB) PC2-5300... in stock at OWC
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TheMGilroy  (op)
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May 31, 2012, 12:59 AM
 
Originally Posted by Bluebomber21XX View Post
Actually, that price is a rip-off if you only get the RAM. These computers unofficially support 6 GB RAM, and it's only 120 from OWC. I have this same upgrade in my 2.4 C2D MBP and it's a noticeable improvement.

OWC 5300DDR2S6GP 6.0GB Kit (2.0GB+4.0GB) PC2-5300... in stock at OWC
Well the $150 price would be the RAM plus SSD. $150 for just the ram would indeed be a rip off. Haha. Thanks everyone for your help! I think I'll go with just the extra ram for now and see where that gets me!
     
Eug
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May 31, 2012, 09:46 AM
 
If I were you I'd go for the SSD before the RAM, but ideally, both together would be best.
     
SierraDragon
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May 31, 2012, 10:51 AM
 
Originally Posted by TheMGilroy View Post
So my question is would the investment be worth the upgrade? Or should I just save my money? I'll be getting a new iMac when they come out...
If you are intent on an iMac + laptop solution do the upgrade, unequivocally. However do note that another choice is to sell the 2008 MBP and get a 2011/2012 SSD MBP plus an external display, IMO a superior solution for the following reasons:

• Best value.

• Working files are seamlessly mobile. A substantial benefit over a laptop box plus desktop box solution for most folks who do not need full Mac Pro desktop power. I went from MBP+MP to 2011 SSD MBP+display and the improved ease-of-use is a big deal.

• Two displays when on the desktop provide substantial added productivity.

• Large range of better-value-than-Apple displays are available, including anti-glare displays not available from Apple.

• The top end of 2011 and later MBPs are certainly powerful enough for most folks' desktop needs. E.g. http://browse.geekbench.ca/mac-benchmarks

Just my 02.

-Allen
( Last edited by SierraDragon; May 31, 2012 at 11:09 AM. )
     
Waragainstsleep
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May 31, 2012, 02:24 PM
 
On the other hand the iMac is cheaper and faster than the MBP with more storage, a bigger display, more connectivity and you can use it as a thunderbolt display when it becomes less useful in the future.
I have plenty of more important things to do, if only I could bring myself to do them....
     
SierraDragon
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May 31, 2012, 03:28 PM
 
Originally Posted by Waragainstsleep View Post
On the other hand the iMac is cheaper and faster than the MBP with more storage, a bigger display, more connectivity and you can use it as a thunderbolt display when it becomes less useful in the future.
a) With Geekbench scores above 10,000 for regular usages both MBPs and iMacs are very powerful, far above the described needs of the OP. "Faster" is moot, as is "more storage."

b) No one was comparing MBP against iMac. There would be no comparison because iMacs fail on portability.

c) The OP comparison was MBP + display against MBP + iMac. The iMac solution most likely will be overall more expensive.

-Allen
     
Eug
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May 31, 2012, 03:34 PM
 
Originally Posted by Waragainstsleep View Post
On the other hand the iMac is cheaper and faster than the MBP with more storage, a bigger display, more connectivity and you can use it as a thunderbolt display when it becomes less useful in the future.
Yep. Plus I use dual display on my iMac. Going to my laptop with a secondary display would be a huge compromise.
     
SierraDragon
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May 31, 2012, 07:21 PM
 
Originally Posted by Eug View Post
Yep. Plus I use dual display on my iMac. Going to my laptop with a secondary display would be a huge compromise.
Not true. Any higher end 2011/2012 MBP can drive two external displays using a Matrox expansion module. But the iMac will never be portable.

-Allen
     
Waragainstsleep
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May 31, 2012, 07:50 PM
 
Originally Posted by SierraDragon View Post
a) With Geekbench scores above 10,000 for regular usages both MBPs and iMacs are very powerful, far above the described needs of the OP. "Faster" is moot, as is "more storage."

b) No one was comparing MBP against iMac. There would be no comparison because iMacs fail on portability.

c) The OP comparison was MBP + display against MBP + iMac. The iMac solution most likely will be overall more expensive.

-Allen
No, the OP was asking if he should bother upgrading a MacBook for the convenience of being able to watch videos and send emails from a laptop even though he plans to buy an iMac when they are updated. You decided to tell him that he should copy your setup like you always tell everyone they should. I brought up the external display since it is a handy feature to extend the useful life of the iMacs.

He already has portability with enough power for his needs, the iMac will be cheaper than a MacBook Pro and is more powerful. Power might not be an issue now, but it will be later. Storage will also come in handy, I don't know why you'd say its moot. The iMac will stay useful for longer than the MBP for less money than an MBP. Also gives the OP the benefit of having a spare computer if needed.
I have plenty of more important things to do, if only I could bring myself to do them....
     
SierraDragon
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May 31, 2012, 08:37 PM
 
Originally Posted by Waragainstsleep View Post
You decided to tell him that he should copy your setup like you always tell everyone they should.
I did not "tell him to," what I said was If you are intent on an iMac + laptop solution do the upgrade, unequivocally. However do note that another choice is...

...the iMac will be cheaper than a MacBook Pro and is more powerful.
False, wrong comparison. The comparison is (existing MBP + $150 upgrade + new iMac) versus (credit from sale of existing MBP + new MBP + display).

There obviously are variables in that comparison but in general I would expect the comparison to be about a push cost-wise, hence "another choice is..."

Either solution has strong desktop and also provides mobility. The real difference IMO is in workflow. If one never shares work between the desktop/laptop then the solutions are equal from that regard; however if one does ever share work between the desktop/laptop then using just a single strong MBP is much nicer.


Power might not be an issue now, but it will be later.
You present like top MBPs are underpowered; they are not, as clearly evidenced by the previously referenced Geekbench results. If one is focused on those few apps that address the GPU differences between MBPs and iMacs then we would be having a different discussion.

Storage will also come in handy, I don't know why you'd say its moot. The iMac will stay useful for longer than the MBP for less money than an MBP.
Storage is moot because with non-mobile desktop setups like iMacs any amount of fast external mass storage is exactly equally available to MBPs and iMacs alike.

-Allen
( Last edited by SierraDragon; May 31, 2012 at 11:04 PM. )
     
jmiddel
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May 31, 2012, 08:56 PM
 
SD, your solution is appealing because of simplicity/elegance. On the other hand, redundancy is the engineer's best friend, so I'd prefer to keep the souped up MBP and get the iMac so that for aprox the same price I'd have a backup machine.
     
Waragainstsleep
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May 31, 2012, 10:30 PM
 
Originally Posted by SierraDragon View Post
You present like top MBPs are underpowered; they are not, as clearly evidenced by the previously referenced Geekbench results. If one is focused on those few apps that address the GPU differences between MBPs and iMacs then we would be having a different discussion.
No, I present like top MBPS are comparable performance wise to entry level iMacs but cost substantially more and still come with much smaller screens. The only way your setup costs the same is if you are matching entry level MBP to entry level iMac and buying another display with whatever cash you get for a 2008 MacBook.

That MBP has 2 fewer cores than the iMac and an inferior GPU and that external display isn't going to be as good as the Apple panel in the iMac.

The 15" MBP is a big price jump over the 13" or the 21.5" iMac and the iMac is still more powerful (and has much cheaper Applecare)

The OP's stated workflow involved watching videos and sending emails on the MacBook which does not require syncing files between machines so that benefit is moot.
I have plenty of more important things to do, if only I could bring myself to do them....
     
SierraDragon
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May 31, 2012, 11:10 PM
 
How many times do I need to point out that this was not a straight iMac v. MBP comparison? Of course iMacs are cheaper and have bigger (glossy-only) displays, traded off against mobility.

Originally Posted by Waragainstsleep View Post
No, I present like top MBPS are comparable performance wise to entry level iMacs...
Since 2011 the top MBPs have been comparable to the top iMacs, not to the entry level. Check the Geekbench stats previously linked. Top iMacs do have 2x stronger GPUs however, not tested by Geekbench or in most apps.

-Allen
( Last edited by SierraDragon; May 31, 2012 at 11:24 PM. )
     
SierraDragon
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May 31, 2012, 11:15 PM
 
Originally Posted by jmiddel View Post
SD, your solution is appealing because of simplicity/elegance. On the other hand, redundancy is the engineer's best friend, so I'd prefer to keep the souped up MBP and get the iMac so that for aprox the same price I'd have a backup machine.
Redundancy is certainly a significant value add provided by the iMac + MBP solution. I have a no-longer-mobile (only works in clamshell mode) 2006 MBP that fills that role, and it was hugely beneficial when Apple recently had my 2011 MBP in for two weeks of warranty repair.

-Allen
( Last edited by SierraDragon; Jun 1, 2012 at 10:50 AM. )
     
Waragainstsleep
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Jun 1, 2012, 09:18 AM
 
Originally Posted by SierraDragon View Post
Since 2011 the top MBPs have been comparable to the top iMacs, not to the entry level. Check the Geekbench stats previously linked. Top iMacs do have 2x stronger GPUs however, not tested by Geekbench or in most apps.
Those scores that you didn't actually link to show that the MBPs score closer to the 21.5" iMac than the 27" though there isn't a million miles between any of them.
I maintain that for many tasks the extra clock speed on the iMac will help, benchmarks are not always a good indicator of everyday use. It doesn't sound like the OP is doing the same sort of heavy lifting that you are but the extra power and the GPU will come in handy to prolong the useful life. The GPU plays a big part in the user experience these days.
I have plenty of more important things to do, if only I could bring myself to do them....
     
SierraDragon
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Jun 1, 2012, 09:52 AM
 
Sorry! Geekbench performance chart at:

Mac Benchmarks - Geekbench Browser

Originally Posted by Waragainstsleep View Post
Those scores that you didn't actually link to show that the MBPs score closer to the 21.5" iMac than the 27" though there isn't a million miles between any of them.
I maintain that for many tasks the extra clock speed on the iMac will help, benchmarks are not always a good indicator of everyday use. It doesn't sound like the OP is doing the same sort of heavy lifting that you are but the extra power and the GPU will come in handy to prolong the useful life. The GPU plays a big part in the user experience these days.
I agree, except that IMO as today's top MBP and top iMac approach obsolescence the 6% CPU difference and 2x GPU difference between the two best boxes will be functionally irrelevant.

Today's Macs are so strong I think we have entered a time when we need to look at "power" differently than we did in the past. E.g.

• My 2006 MBP maxed out at 3 GB RAM actually runs all "normal" apps like browsers, Office, Netflix just fine. It does lug on Aperture; Geekbench ~3,000.

• A midrange 2006 MP will still run almost anything; Geekbench ~6,000.

• Today's top iMac and MBP have Geekbench ~11,000 ! as well as stronger GPUs than the stock 2006 MP. For those who continue to claim top iMacs are as strong as MPs, note that the top MP Geekbench is ~22,000 - and that is before the long-overdue upgrade expected this month.

• RAM is now dirt cheap and getting cheaper. Already RAM and SSD are the go-to solutions for cost-effective workflow performance improvements.

The ramifications of the above evolution are significant but hard to quantify. My guess is that today's top iMac indeed will "last" longer than today's top MBP, but primarily because the top iMac has twice as many RAM slots rather than because of the CPU/GPU differences.

With RAM super cheap the OS and apps are bound to evolve accordingly.

-Allen
( Last edited by SierraDragon; Jun 1, 2012 at 10:57 AM. )
     
P
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Jun 1, 2012, 10:22 AM
 
Don't forget that the iMac has twice the RAM ceiling of the MBP. Every Mac I've owned since my first LCIII has been upgraded to at least the reported RAM ceiling before being replaced. If you are like me, this means that an iMac would be useful longer.
The new Mac Pro has up to 30 MB of cache inside the processor itself. That's more than the HD in my first Mac. Somehow I'm still running out of space.
     
Waragainstsleep
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Jun 1, 2012, 07:21 PM
 
Originally Posted by SierraDragon View Post
• Today's top iMac and MBP have Geekbench ~11,000 ! as well as stronger GPUs than the stock 2006 MP. For those who continue to claim top iMacs are as strong as MPs, note that the top MP Geekbench is ~22,000 - and that is before the long-overdue upgrade expected this month.
Its hardly fair to compare a top MP against an iMac. The top iMac is right up there with the entry 8 core MP though. You can get 2 3.4GHz iMacs for the price of a 12 core MP. Gives you more compute power and 2 27" displays. And $600 change.
I have plenty of more important things to do, if only I could bring myself to do them....
     
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Jun 2, 2012, 11:57 AM
 
I love it how one can be a spectator of a good friday night match of opinions. Just like playing a round of poker with friends chatting away with what is best and what not.
     
   
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