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You are here: MacNN Forums > Hardware - Troubleshooting and Discussion > Mac Notebooks > Serious help on getting a new Macbook Pro

Serious help on getting a new Macbook Pro
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anonymust
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Jun 20, 2011, 09:29 PM
 
Looking at the specs of the 2011 Macbook Pro's (Intel i7 Core) got me all confused..

The 13inch has the fastest processor (2.7GHz) but its dual-core and not quad-core
Also the 13 inch (Intel i7), doesn't have that extra "AMD Radeon HD" graphics card.

My Questions are:

1)- What are the benifits/difference between dual-core and quad-core? (shouldn't a quad-core be faster than a dual-core?)

2)- What are the benifits of having the "AMD Radeon HD"? (I'm not a gamer, but I do like to watch movies in 720p or 1080p, but watching HighDef movies on a battery powered laptop might suck, [I'd rather watch it on my 42" Plasma at home.] So Is the graphics card worth it for me?) (P.s I currently watch 720p and 1080p on my MacBook 3,1 [Late 2007 model] and it all seems crisp to me)

3)- The Macbook Pro's that come with the "AMD Radeon HD", can the memeory/processor in that grapic card be used to power the laptop and make it go faster? (i forgot the term for this when u make use of the resrouces in the GPU)

4)- Can I buy my own 1TB, 2.5" Harddrive and easily replace it with what ever drive I get with my Macbook? ( I heard that I might have difficulties when installing OS X on a fresh new (unformatted) hard-drive, with the Original OSX install disc)

5)- Are you a MacBook owner? And how long have you had your MacBook for, I bought a second hand one about a year ago, I would like to know what's the average life span of a MacBook... Would like to make this purchase an 4 to 5 year investment.
( Last edited by OreoCookie; Jun 21, 2011 at 04:17 AM. )
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OreoCookie
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Jun 21, 2011, 05:02 AM
 
(1) That depends on the workload: there are workloads when a two-core cpu with higher clock speed than a four-core cpu with lower clock speed is faster and vice versa. I would make a decision on which form factor you prefer and then this questions answers by itself. Note that the slowest 13" MacBook Pro is faster than the fastest previous-gen MacBook Pro (of any size), so either way, what you get will be no slouch.
(2) If you're not a gamer, then there will be no benefits. Only a few apps such as Aperture, Final Cut Pro and Motion can make use of a faster GPU. For watching movies or doing work in Photoshop, it won't make much of a difference. For watching movies, it definitely won't make any difference.
(3) In theory, yes, but so far, it's difficult to say when average apps benefit from a stronger, discrete GPU. In any case, the built-in graphics card can be used for that as well. The current trend is to integrate the graphics processor into the cpu and use both in tandem.
(4) Yes, you can and replacing the harddrive is easy. You only need to have the proper screw drivers. The whole process takes about 10 minutes. There are detailed instructions up on ifixit. The rumors that you have problems installing OS X on a fresh hard drive are bogus. If you want to transfer the data from your old harddrive, you need an external 2.5" USB harddrive enclosure. My last one didn't even cost 8 €. This is not necessary if you use Time Machine to back up your machine.
(5) I have a MacBook Pro. In my experience, computers last about 4 years for me. The lower your expectations, the longer it lasts. My sister is on a five- or six-year old computer, for instance. For power users that can turn a faster machine into profit, the upgrade cycle may be much shorter.

In any case, I recommend you to get 8GB of RAM. Also, do you have an external drive for Time Machine backups?
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anonymust  (op)
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Jun 21, 2011, 10:45 AM
 
Originally Posted by OreoCookie View Post
In any case, I recommend you to get 8GB of RAM. Also, do you have an external drive for Time Machine backups?
Thanks for your answer OreoCookie.
I dont have a Time Machine. But I'm not that much of a person who backs up his entire system! I just keep files that I know are important in a specific folder, and back it up when ever i plug in one of my external HD's..

But since harddrives seeam to get cheaper, i might consider getting an extremal HDD for my macbook backups.
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OreoCookie
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Jun 21, 2011, 11:47 AM
 
You should definitely get an external harddrive and use Time Machine for backups. It's really painless, it's fire & forget. Just do a search in these forums and you'll find many threads by people who lost valuable data, because of no or insufficient backup strategies. Plus, it really puts your mind at ease if you can at most lose at most a few hours worth of data.
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SierraDragon
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Jun 21, 2011, 01:52 PM
 
Originally Posted by anonymust View Post

1)- What are the benifits/difference between dual-core and quad-core? (shouldn't a quad-core be faster than a dual-core?)
Double CPU capacity therefore capable of twice as much work at a similar clock speed. Requires apps that take advantage of multiple cores, and the heavy apps that need lots of power are evolving to use multiple cores. For simple apps the extra cores or faster clock speeds add little.

Questions 2 through 4 really require you to tell us what your intended usage and apps are for context. Please respond.

Question 5: Yes I own MBPs; Oct 2006 top 17" just recently replaced with Jan 2011 top 17." But as to life cycle again it depends on apps and what configuration you purchase, as well as what other computers are in your life.

Whatever laptop you choose, order it with an SSD. IMO using hard drives for boot drives is obsolete. SSDs improve operation of all apps, by a lot.

Agreed 8 GB RAM, retrofitted third-party RAM.

Also please note that cpu speed although an interesting measure is becoming less and less relevant. Real operational speed is dependent on apps. We do not yet have real-world tests but IMO new 13' MBPs will not prove out faster than the last generation top 17" in real work on heavy apps. Many apps perform best with real graphics support that the 13" MBP does NOT provide.

HTH

-Allen
( Last edited by SierraDragon; Jun 21, 2011 at 02:13 PM. )
     
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Jun 21, 2011, 07:38 PM
 
Note too that not only are heavy apps evolving to take advantage of RAM, multiple cores and strong graphics GPU, so is the OS. IMO to maximize life cycle of a laptop one generally should go for:

• SSD as a boot drive; benefits all apps.

• Medium strength CPU. No need to pay the premium for the fastest CPU. All today's Sandy Bridge CPUs are very strong, even the low end.

• An evolutionary plan for mass storage. SSDs have huge favorable impact but costs are high so sizes are small, meaning we will likely outgrow them during the life of a new box. For many of us that means planning atypical configurations: e.g. when I bought my 2011 17" MBP I planned to replace the optical drive with a fast hard drive or a second SSD in the 6 months to one year time frame.

• RAM. 8 GB now and a plan to maybe upgrade to 4-GB size DIMMs in the future if needed and if RAM prices fall low enough.

• Medium to strong GPU. For apps like Aperture the strongest available GPU is most appropriate.

However like I posted earlier, it is all about the apps. If one runs nothing but undemanding apps like Office and web browsers, optimizing may mean buying a less expensive MBP and just enjoying it until one needs a new one. Caveat: 13" MBPs only come in glossy, so for many of us they are unacceptable at any price.

There is no real value in buying upgraded power if the apps you use are well satisfied by baseline hardware. If one does not run demanding applications it is often most cost-effective to just spend less and upgrade sooner.

OTOH if one does run demanding apps it makes no sense to own anything other than strong boxes. With the great computer values available today there is no reason to suffer through less than ideal hardware.
     
Waragainstsleep
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Jun 21, 2011, 07:50 PM
 
Don't forget the quad core chips can ramp up one or two cores when they aren't using all four. This can make them faster than the duals under various circumstances.
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JMan09
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Jun 22, 2011, 03:49 PM
 
I don't want to hijack the thread but since I have a similar question I thought it would be best to ask in this thread.

I plan to upgrade my MacBook to either the 13" 2.7 Dual-Core i7 or the 15" 2.0 Quad-Core i7. I plan to use either with basic email, word processing and possible a bootcamp partition with Windows 7.
And I also want to get either Aperture or Lightroom for photo editing.
My question is which machine will run the photo apps better, or would I notice a big enough improvement with going with the 2.0 quad-core? I also have a 23" HD monitor I will be plugging it into on my desk, so screen size isn't a big issue. I like the portability of the MacBook I have now. And I know either machine will be leaps ahead of what I'm using now.
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Jun 22, 2011, 03:57 PM
 
You will see a definite difference with Aperture and Lightroom -- but also in terms of weight. I have a last-gen 15" MacBook Pro, and my decision 13" vs. 15" would have been a lot harder if the 13" had a Core i5 back then. Just like with cameras: the best computer is the one you have with you, and I travel quite a bit.
( Last edited by OreoCookie; Jun 22, 2011 at 04:04 PM. )
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OreoCookie
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Jun 22, 2011, 04:23 PM
 
Originally Posted by SierraDragon View Post
We do not yet have real-world tests but IMO new 13' MBPs will not prove out faster than the last generation top 17" in real work on heavy apps.
I don't base this on feelings, I base this on numbers. Actually, I've linked to benchmarks. The 13" beats the previous-gen 2.66 GHz Core i7 (of the mid-2010 models)* in each and every application benchmark they give except for gaming benchmarks. But even there, it's still mostly quite ok compared to the discrete graphics of the previous-gen MacBook Pro. Sadly, I haven't found benchmarks of the 2.3 GHz Sandybridge Core i5-based 13" MacBook Pro.

Overall, this is not really surprising given the fact that the Sandy Bridge architecture is about ~20 % faster per clock than the Nehalem architecture.

* Note that even though they give numbers for the mid-2010 15" MacBook Pro, this is the same cpu as in the mid-2010 top-of-the-line 17" MacBook Pro.
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Spheric Harlot
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Jun 22, 2011, 04:28 PM
 
Originally Posted by SierraDragon View Post
Note too that not only are heavy apps evolving to take advantage of RAM, multiple cores and strong graphics GPU, so is the OS. IMO to maximize life cycle of a laptop one generally should go for:

• SSD as a boot drive; benefits all apps.
I would wait.
     
SierraDragon
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Jun 22, 2011, 08:52 PM
 
Originally Posted by Spheric Harlot View Post
I would wait.
Why?

Yes they will get cheaper, but the overall performance improvement provided right now by SSD usage is very, very significant. And only a $100 add. IMO it makes no sense to forego the benefits of such a readily available performance boost except in rare instances. Like AnandTech stated in Oreo's link: "In order to truly bridge the mobile/desktop gap you definitely need an SSD; a 2.5" hard drive just isn't going to cut it..."

Now that I have been using mine for a while I will never again build a laptop system with a mechanical boot drive. I do images work and need mass storage more than most, so that part of SSD usage is a PITA, but the performance improvements are so nice I am more than happy to configure workarounds (like large HD replacing the optical drive) as needed to deal with the limitations of SSD cost/capacity.

-Allen
( Last edited by SierraDragon; Jun 22, 2011 at 09:04 PM. )
     
SierraDragon
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Jun 22, 2011, 09:26 PM
 
Originally Posted by OreoCookie View Post
I don't base this on feelings, I base this on numbers...
Agreed for most tested apps the 13" is stronger than any 2010 MBP. However IMO we just do not have the tests yet on real graphics-using apps like Aperture. The 13" MBP performs poorly on games (2011 MacBook Pro GPUs - weak vs strong) and my expectation is that other GPU-using apps like Aperture will respond similarly. The 13" is a much weaker graphics box than its other 2011 brethren.

Like BareFeats stated:
"INSIGHTS
1. The 2011 2.2GHz and 2.3GHz MacBook Pro with Radeon 6750M graphics (1GB GDDR5) is a 'different animal' from the 2011 2.0GHz MacBook Pro with the Radeon 6490M graphics (256MB GDDR5). Is it worth $300 more (comparably equipped). Yes, when you consider you are getting a faster CPU and much faster GPU.

2. The 2011 2.7GHz MacBook Pro with Intel HD 3000 integrated graphics does little or nothing to improve the 3D graphics performance compared to the GeForce 320M integrated graphics in the 2010 MacBook Air and 13" MacBook Pro."


The AnandTech comments you linked to are right on:

"...for the first time since I've been reviewing Apple hardware we have portable Macs that can truly hang with their desktop brethren (with some caveats of course). In order to truly bridge the mobile/desktop gap you definitely need an SSD; a 2.5" hard drive just isn't going to cut it...

...I suspect that for even desktop users a 15-inch MacBook Pro paired with an external display may be near perfect. I believe this is a big reason for pushing Thunderbolt in this generation. While the standard may not really take off until next year, the new 15-inch MBP is definitely built for desktop replacement usage models and for that to work without sacrifice you need high speed external storage."


However, casual readers should take care not to interpret AnandTech's "Aperture 2 RAW Import Performance" chart as necessarily implying some relationship to real overall Aperture performance.

• Aperture Version 2 was tested. Version 3 made substantial speed changes and has been out for more than a year.

• How Masters and Previews are handled are not specified, and will have significant impact on performance.

• The RAW import rate reported by itself is a fairly unimportant measure and appears to be highly dependent on drive performance (RAW import rates may or may not correlate well with overall performance; that would be an interesting correlation to investigate) and varies based on Aperture settings. AnandTech did not specify which hard drives they used, but my 2.2 GHz 17" MBP with SSD imports straight RAW 12 MB NEFs at about 5 images per second as compared to the 2-3 images per second in the AnandTech graph; OTOH if I import RAW+JPEG using the camera JPEGs for Previews the rate is better than 10 images per second. Full import processing with my workflow takes a bit under a second per image.

In my case Aperture (3.1.2) on the 2011 17" MBP (OS 10.6.7, 8 GB RAM) with Apple's SSD imports 3 GB of RAW+JPEG images in much less than a minute and has those images fully processed in about 5 minutes. IMO hella fast. And edits (with both the Aperture Library and referenced Masters on the SSD) are essentially instant.

-Allen
     
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Jun 23, 2011, 04:13 AM
 
Originally Posted by SierraDragon View Post
Agreed for most tested apps the 13" is stronger than any 2010 MBP. However IMO we just do not have the tests yet on real graphics-using apps like Aperture.
Most graphics apps are cpu-bound, not gpu-bound, and given the architectural differences between the previous-gen Core cpus and Sandybridge-based Core cpus, the statement won't change.
Originally Posted by SierraDragon View Post
However, casual readers should take care not to interpret AnandTech's "Aperture 2 RAW Import Performance" chart as necessarily implying some relationship to real overall Aperture performance.
No benchmark captures every aspect of what the end-user sees as performance, and comparisons become difficult when different benchmarks see one or the other on top. This is not the case here: the Sandybridge-based 13" MacBook Pro outperforms every last-gen MacBook Pro with the exception of games -- not to speak of the quad-core MacBook Pros.

Trust me, it hurts me, too, I'm writing this on a mid-2010 Core i5 15" MacBook Pro. The equivalent model imports images 50 % faster
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Spheric Harlot
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Jun 23, 2011, 05:11 AM
 
Originally Posted by SierraDragon View Post
Why?

Yes they will get cheaper, but the overall performance improvement provided right now by SSD usage is very, very significant. And only a $100 add.
My opinion is that the tech is simply not less than cutting(bleeding)-edge yet.

Firmware issues, questions about longevity, TRIM, SATA-III compatibility in the new MacBook Pros (there are issues with certain drives), as well as absolutely silly price per capacity (compared to mechanical drives) mean that I would wait.
     
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Jun 23, 2011, 06:00 AM
 
Originally Posted by Waragainstsleep View Post
Don't forget the quad core chips can ramp up one or two cores when they aren't using all four. This can make them faster than the duals under various circumstances.
A better way to put it is that Turbo Boost will ensure that a quad is faster than a dual on 99% of workloads. There are exceptions - mainly the dual i7-2620M which can turbo up to speeds higher than the lower quads, and thus will still be faster on some singlethreaded code - but the general rule is that the quads are faster on multithreaded code and use Turbo Boost to not fall behind the duals on singlethreaded stuff.
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.
     
SierraDragon
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Jun 24, 2011, 02:07 AM
 
Originally Posted by Spheric Harlot View Post
My opinion is that the tech is simply not less than cutting(bleeding)-edge yet.
I disagree. (A) Apple has had SSDs mainstream, fully supported in MBAs, a low end box, for a long time now without serious problems. (B) Reports from respected early adopters have been uniformly positive. (C) My personal experience after carefully evaluating A & B and making the jump is that SSDs absolutely rock.

Just get two otherwise identical boxes side-by-side, one with SSD, and run your daily workflow for a bit. NO WAY you will stick with HD. IMO.

Firmware issues...
Apple SSDs are Apple supported and there is no significant history proving substantive firmware problems.

...questions about longevity...
Concerns about longevity are totally legitimate, albeit outdated. 2011 SSDs from Apple IMO have beaten that issue, but if one is in doubt buy (IMO cost-ineffective) AppleCare.

...TRIM...
Yawn.

...SATA-III compatibility in the new MacBook Pros (there are issues with certain drives)...
I do not understand this issue. Why should I care, beyond the spectacular right-now performance of ordering a fully-warranted new MBP with Apple SSD for +$100?

...absolutely silly price per capacity...
Generally agreed IF looked at from a simple mass storage standpoint. However (IMO) the point is to see SSD as an architectural component rather than as just mass storage like a DVD or hard drive. IMO functionally SSDs behave more like $10/GB RAM than like $0.10/GB hard drives.

-Allen
     
Spheric Harlot
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Jun 24, 2011, 03:33 AM
 
Originally Posted by SierraDragon View Post
I disagree. (A) Apple has had SSDs mainstream, fully supported in MBAs, a low end box, for a long time now without serious problems. (B) Reports from respected early adopters have been uniformly positive. (C) My personal experience after carefully evaluating A & B and making the jump is that SSDs absolutely rock.

Just get two otherwise identical boxes side-by-side, one with SSD, and run your daily workflow for a bit. NO WAY you will stick with HD. IMO.
I am quite aware of the difference.

I'm sticking with HD for a year or two.


Originally Posted by SierraDragon View Post
Apple SSDs are Apple supported and there is no significant history proving substantive firmware problems.
They haven't been available for long enough to provide a "significant history" proving anything.


Originally Posted by SierraDragon View Post
[re: TRIM] Yawn.
Why "Yawn"? Is TRIM support now activated for non-Apple drives?

At the moment, you even have to RE-enable it for Apple-supplied SSDs after a system reinstall.

Or do you just not care that your drive performance will drop to LESS than a fast mechanical hard drive once you've filled it up?

Yeah, yeah, just buy a BTO custom Apple-installed drive. Now, I'm not sure about right now, but in the past, Apple hasn't exactly built a reputation for supplying FAST SSDs. In fact, the MacBook Airs shipped with slower SSDs and only recently got a component upgrade.

If you actually want to upgrade to an SSD that's NOT from Apple, you have to wait for TRIM support to be enabled by default - in Lion.

Notice the word "wait" up there.

Originally Posted by SierraDragon View Post
I do not understand this issue. Why should I care, beyond the spectacular right-now performance of ordering a fully-warranted new MBP with Apple SSD for +$100?
On the 15" MacBook Pro, SSD options start at 200 dollars extra over the stock drive - for 128 GB.

A 256 GB drive is SIX HUNDRED dollars premium, while a 512 GB SSD is TWELVE HUNDRED DOLLARS.

Just the sample and loop collection that's part of a standard install of Logic is 42 GB on its own.

Originally Posted by SierraDragon View Post
Generally agreed IF looked at from a simple mass storage standpoint. However (IMO) the point is to see SSD as an architectural component rather than as just mass storage like a DVD or hard drive. IMO functionally SSDs behave more like $10/GB RAM than like $0.10/GB hard drives.
Hybrid systems are the way to go, but we're not there yet.

I'd wait.
     
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Jun 24, 2011, 04:31 AM
 
Why wouldn't a system be fully warrantied with a third party SSD? User replaceable in an MBP. Third party drive likely to have a longer warranty than the Apple one too.
I have plenty of more important things to do, if only I could bring myself to do them....
     
Spheric Harlot
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Jun 24, 2011, 04:39 AM
 
The warranty isn't an issue.

TRIM support, firmware incompatibilities, and SATA-III issues, however, are.
     
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Jun 24, 2011, 09:21 PM
 
I have no fear of TRIM support, firmware incompatibilities, and SATA-III issues. Buying high-end MBPs from Apple I expect them to just make it work. And given that comments on these boards from users are very favorable (and we all know how the boards over-inflate problems) IMO fear of TRIM support, firmware incompatibilities, and SATA-III issues does not make sense when choosing how to CTO a MBP from Apple.

The add for SSD on my MBP was $100. Now that I am using it and see how it rocks I would pay much more. If it fills I will buy a larger SSD or shift mass storage to the optical drive slot HD.

The quickness of using an SSD is an absolute joy. Choosing not to use SSD means taking a very substantial slowdown in operation of everything.

-Allen
     
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Jun 25, 2011, 05:48 AM
 
Originally Posted by SierraDragon View Post
The add for SSD on my MBP was $100. Now that I am using it and see how it rocks I would pay much more. If it fills I will buy a larger SSD or shift mass storage to the optical drive slot HD.
If you intend to buy a bigger one from Apple you really will pay much more. It will be a service spare and they don't tend to reduce the prices on those over time. Apple will not fit an SSD part from a later generation machine into yours either. I don't even know if Apple stores will upgrade parts for you unless they run short.
I have plenty of more important things to do, if only I could bring myself to do them....
     
SierraDragon
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Jun 25, 2011, 08:31 PM
 
The simple points are:

• SSD for the boot drive provides very significant performance improvement for every application.

• One can order a MBP with SSD by paying a $100 add on the high end, $200-250 add on the low end boxes; Apple warranted. More for larger SSDs.

• Apple has been putting SSDs successfully in laptops since 2008. After 2+ years, fear of bleeding-edge tech failure is not warranted. Apple warrants the products anyway.

• Those (me) who need additional mass storage can easily replace the optical drive with a 750 GB HD. SSD does not necessarily mean lost mass storage.

• My guess is that with no spinning hard drive battery life must be improved, but I have no data.

The 2-GB DIMM to bring the RAM in my 2006 C2D MBP from 2 GB to 3 GB RAM cost me over $400 US and it was well worth it. That box is still running Aperture. The SSD in a new MBP provides much more improvement than the $400 extra 1 GB of RAM did.

My SSD has not filled yet, but (like every other boot drive of every box I have owned) it will. My only regret is that I did not have more money to spend on a larger SSD in the beginning, but even if it never exceeds 128 GB it is way, way worth having.

Hopefully Apple's sucky new policy preventing third-party boot drive upgrades in the iMacs is not expanded to other devices, but even if it is that does not change the validity of adding a boot SSD from Apple when buying a new MBP.

I repeat: IMO mechanical drives as MBP boot drives are obsolete.

-Allen
( Last edited by SierraDragon; Jun 25, 2011 at 08:37 PM. )
     
Spheric Harlot
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Jun 25, 2011, 08:46 PM
 
I'd wait.
     
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Jun 27, 2011, 09:45 AM
 
Originally Posted by Spheric Harlot View Post
At the moment, you even have to RE-enable it for Apple-supplied SSDs after a system reinstall.
How - by reinstalling the latest OS X update?

Originally Posted by Spheric Harlot View Post
Or do you just not care that your drive performance will drop to LESS than a fast mechanical hard drive once you've filled it up?
That is far from generally true. There are certain Intel drives that absolutely rely on TRIM, but you can't make generalizations from that. One of the biggest suppliers of SSD controllers is Sandforce. Their last-gen controller, of the Sandfore 1200 series, is what is used by OWC and OCZ and what created real buzz for fast SSDs. It is still a very capable drive, and if you don't have support for 6Gbps SATA, it's just as fast as their newer Sandforce 2200 series.

Sandforce 1200 was designed to work without TRIM, and even today, OCZ recommends against enabling TRIM for Sandforce 1200 drives.. For on perspective on TRIM, see this post (warning: long and highly technical) and its followups (longer). I'm not saying that he's entirely correct, but it's fairly obvious that TRIM is not always positive.
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.
     
Spheric Harlot
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Jun 27, 2011, 10:07 AM
 
Originally Posted by P View Post
How - by reinstalling the latest OS X update?
E.g. Enable TRIM SSD in Mac OS X 10.6.7

Originally Posted by P View Post
That is far from generally true. There are certain Intel drives […] can't make generalizations from that. […] designed to work without TRIM, and even today, [B]OCZ recommends against enabling TRIM for Sandforce 1200 […] it's fairly obvious that TRIM is not always positive.
So it's vital, except when it's not? And if you have the older chipset, which should be used with TRIM, you're not using the 6Gbps SATA-III that the new MacBooks Pro provide? (Of course, if you do with one of the newer controllers, you'll probably get hit by this problem

Let me reiterate:

I would wait.
     
estherkim
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Jun 27, 2011, 12:00 PM
 
Originally Posted by OreoCookie View Post
You should definitely get an external harddrive and use Time Machine for backups. It's really painless, it's fire & forget. Just do a search in these forums and you'll find many threads by people who lost valuable data, because of no or insufficient backup strategies. Plus, it really puts your mind at ease if you can at most lose at most a few hours worth of data.
totally agree..
i dropped my macbook pro a while back.. thankfully i haven't lost any data yet but i'm definitely gna get on that asap
backing up on an external drive is definitely a precaution that you won't regret taking
     
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Jun 27, 2011, 12:23 PM
 
Originally Posted by Spheric Harlot View Post
Yes, but that's for third-party SSDs. Apple-supplied SSDs are supposed to work without that.

Originally Posted by Spheric Harlot View Post
So it's vital, except when it's not?
Well, yes. Sort of like how watercooling a CPU is vital, except when it's not. It depends on the CPU you get. You're basically arguing to never get a computer with a CPU of more than 2 GHz as the watercooling is so annoying to deal with and the fans get loud, because there used to be Pentium 4s and G5s that ran hot and needed one or the other.

Originally Posted by Spheric Harlot View Post
And if you have the older chipset, which should be used with TRIM, you're not using the 6Gbps SATA-III that the new MacBooks Pro provide?
Not getting you, exactly, but... I don't know if Sandforce 2200 drives work better with TRIM. Never bothered checking - my guess is no, after reading that long discussion I linked to - but it doesn't really matter. Somewhat simplified, even if it is as you say, there are three options:

1) regular HD, speed 1
2) SF1200, doesn't need TRIM, speed 100
3) SF2200, needs TRIM, speed 150.

You're saying that in this case, you'd pick 1.

Originally Posted by Spheric Harlot View Post
(Of course, if you do with one of the newer controllers, you'll probably get hit by this problem
Which would hurt your e-peen, but not (especially) your productivity. Random read performance is why SSDs rule, and SATA 6Gb/s does nothing to improve that.

Originally Posted by Spheric Harlot View Post
Let me reiterate:

I would wait.
Having recently installed one in my iMac, I would not. There are definite issues - mainly that it was tricky to get the drive in position, and the first one died one me - but the speed is awesome. For an MBP - where the speed difference is greater (2.5" versus 3.5" HD), assembly should be easier, there is the added benefit of better battery life and the ability to compensate with a massive RAM cache is smaller - I wouldn't think twice about it. Just pull the trigger.
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.
     
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Jun 27, 2011, 12:32 PM
 
Originally Posted by P View Post
Yes, but that's for third-party SSDs. Apple-supplied SSDs are supposed to work without that.
From what I've read (and wrote, above), a RE-install of Mac OS X breaks TRIM even on Apple-supplied SSDs.

Originally Posted by P View Post
Well, yes. Sort of like how watercooling a CPU is vital, except when it's not.
Pray tell, when you ever have a huge choice of CPUs that forced you to consider whether to maintain water-cooling or not? Aren't we Mac customers exactly because shit like that is supposed to work when it's necessary, and not get in the way when not?


Originally Posted by P View Post
Which would hurt your e-peen, but not (especially) your productivity. Random read performance is why SSDs rule, and SATA 6Gb/s does nothing to improve that.
Fair enough.

That still leaves the point: I currently use 400 GB on my internal (production) drive. I could pare it down to 200 or so.

Given the price of an SSD at that capacity, and what you people describe, it's like investing in being able to cruise at three times the speed limit in leather interior, while I'm an idiot for opting for cargo space rather than investing in speed and comfort beyond my needs.

I have no doubt that I'll have an SSD in this machine sooner or later, but it makes no sense right now, and the tech certainly isn't yet at a point where you can just buy it and forget it.
     
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Jun 27, 2011, 03:28 PM
 
Originally Posted by Spheric Harlot View Post
Pray tell, when you ever have a huge choice of CPUs that forced you to consider whether to maintain water-cooling or not? Aren't we Mac customers exactly because shit like that is supposed to work when it's necessary, and not get in the way when not?
Of course we are, and if we want to do it that way, we can buy SSDs from Apple - which all Just Work, by all reports. It's when buying aftermarket updates that things get tricky, and you have to consider the exact make and model that you buy. Same thing for HDs in anything but a Mac Pro.

Originally Posted by Spheric Harlot View Post
That still leaves the point: I currently use 400 GB on my internal (production) drive. I could pare it down to 200 or so.

Given the price of an SSD at that capacity, and what you people describe, it's like investing in being able to cruise at three times the speed limit in leather interior, while I'm an idiot for opting for cargo space rather than investing in speed and comfort beyond my needs.

I have no doubt that I'll have an SSD in this machine sooner or later, but it makes no sense right now, and the tech certainly isn't yet at a point where you can just buy it and forget it.
What I did was put the OS, Library and Applications directories on the SSD, and the Users directory minus a small number of carefully selected folders (Downloads, Desktop and the Steam cache folder). These I symlinked back in where they used to be. Total disk space usage, about 40 gigs. Everything else, especially the big Documents folder that I keep everything useful in, is on the HDD. Ideally I'd like some intelligent caching from HDD onto the SSD, but that doesn't work. Yet...
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.
     
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Jun 28, 2011, 07:39 AM
 
Regarding the usefulness for SSDs, the main reason I don't have one is Apple Care + capacity: if I wanted to augment my harddrive (which I need for capacity reasons, there are no cheap 640+ GB SSDs) with an SSD, I would have to remove my optical drive -- and that voids Apple Care warranty. I would really like to have to option to get an SSD in addition to a harddrive (and forgo the DVD drive, I just don't need it), but alas, Apple hasn't given us that option for MacBook Pros -- yet. Ideally, I'd like to see an SSD with the same form factor as in the MacBook Air.

In that sense, I think Spheric raises a very good point by saying that an SSD which costs $100 extra (actually $200 if you get the smaller MacBook Pros), you get an SSD with a fraction of the capacity.
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Jun 28, 2011, 08:01 AM
 
Using a second disk won't void Applecare as long as you put the optical back in before you take it for repair. Unless you screw up the install but it really isn't hard.
I have plenty of more important things to do, if only I could bring myself to do them....
     
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Jun 29, 2011, 04:27 PM
 
I know it's not difficult, but I still think replacing the optical drive formally voids warranty and the only question is whether or not you get caught
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Waragainstsleep
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Jun 29, 2011, 07:35 PM
 
Originally Posted by OreoCookie View Post
I know it's not difficult, but I still think replacing the optical drive formally voids warranty and the only question is whether or not you get caught
And how exactly is it you think they'll catch you?
I have plenty of more important things to do, if only I could bring myself to do them....
     
SierraDragon
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Jun 29, 2011, 07:44 PM
 
Which is why I did not immediately put a second drive in my MBP. Even after 2+ years of SSDs on MBAs I wanted to keep the warranty fully and legally intact in case there were growing pains with the new Sandy Bridge MBP SSDs. There have been no such growing pains.

Instead of growing pains there has been nothing but rock star performance. Real-world SSD operation on a new MBP is so quick it enables workflow changes. I am on battery right now, but here are a few quick very approximate tests, results in seconds:
• Restart : usually less than 20 seconds, apps sometimes extend that to ~30 seconds.
• Open Aperture : less than 3 seconds.
• Open Photoshop CS5 : less than 3 seconds.
• Open Firefox : about 4 seconds, includes opening Yahoo Mail home page.

Obviously there is more to life than opening apps. The timing above is reported mostly because it is easy to see, and when things are that quick it does change workflows. Why not do a quick image check in Aperture when Aperture opens in less than 3 seconds? Why not do a quick Photoshop edit when PS opens in less than 3 seconds? Why not routinely shut down when on battery when the MBP reopens in less than 20 seconds anyway?

So not only does an SSD (probably) extend battery life by not having to mechanically spin a hard drive, it enables workflow behaviors that definitely extend battery life. Routinely quitting apps not in immediate use, for instance. Shutting down the MBP when not in immediate use. Which in addition to saving battery power clears memory leaks, etc.

I previously never cared much about battery life, just carried the cord in the laptop bag. Now most days I do not bother. A battery charge lasts all day on most days so I just keep a spare power cord in the car that I seldom use.

Although I have no tests, the huge reduction in latency extends into the operation of probably every application. And coupled with fast GPU and CPU the effects are synergistic. Like AnandTech said: "In order to truly bridge the mobile/desktop gap you definitely need an SSD; a 2.5" hard drive just isn't going to cut it..."

128 GB is plenty large as a boot drive for 90+% of MBP users during the warranty year if not even longer. It just takes a wee bit of data management, and SSD improvements are well worth the effort. At this point the only reason that I have not yet replaced the optical drive is because HD/SSD tech is improving quickly so I will wait until the boot SSD gets full. I would really like a second SSD rather than a HD but cost/GB is still too high for a data-only drive (for me).

Mechanical drives as boot drives are obsolete for laptops.

-Allen
( Last edited by SierraDragon; Jun 29, 2011 at 08:04 PM. )
     
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Jun 29, 2011, 10:36 PM
 
Originally Posted by SierraDragon View Post
I wanted to keep the warranty fully and legally intact
My warranty is still perfectly intact thanks, but then I'm still certified.

I'm starting to think you could save yourself a considerable amount of time and effort if you just changed your sig to something like:
"SSDs are the best thing ever. Glossy displays are the worst thing ever."

Of course if you really want to boot your MBP fast you should be booting from a Promise Pegasus R6 at 800MB/sec....
I have plenty of more important things to do, if only I could bring myself to do them....
     
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Jun 29, 2011, 11:03 PM
 
You are right of course about the sig.

As to warranty I did not mean to pick nits about what is technically legal. It was just that with a new chipset and an SSD for the first time I expected immediate trips to the Apple Store to deal with anomalies (which is also why I bought an Apple SSD, plus of course the good price). There have been no anomalies, a nice surprise. I will be replacing the optical drive before the warranty expires.

-Allen
     
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Jun 30, 2011, 02:19 AM
 
Originally Posted by Waragainstsleep View Post
And how exactly is it you think they'll catch you?
Screw marks perhaps? Some manufacturers also use other methods (glue, stickers) to find out whether or not someone else has tinkered with the hardware. So you're saying there are no such security measures in place?
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Jun 30, 2011, 04:04 AM
 
Originally Posted by SierraDragon View Post
128 GB is plenty large as a boot drive for 90+% of MBP users during the warranty year if not even longer.
If you cannot add a second physical harddrive, then the SSD is not only the boot drive, but the only drive in the system. And then 128 GB is not at all big. If I remember correctly, my 2006 Mac Book Pro came with a 100 GB drive.

SSDs will make a big leap forward in the notebook space as soon as Apple offers an iMac-like solution where the SSD augments a regular harddrive with spinning platters. But that's not today. Because even if some geeks are able to put another harddrive in their machines, regular users are not.
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Jun 30, 2011, 06:07 AM
 
Originally Posted by OreoCookie View Post
Screw marks perhaps? Some manufacturers also use other methods (glue, stickers) to find out whether or not someone else has tinkered with the hardware. So you're saying there are no such security measures in place?
Not really. You are allowed to remove the baseplate in order to install RAM if you so wish. There are then only 3 small screws holding the optical drive in place. Apple have in the past used blue paint on external case screws but the literature has never mentioned refusing service based on the condition of the paint. The only security measures are the liquid submersion indicators.
Apple have never used warranty void stickers on any Mac I've disassembled. That includes pretty much every model between 1999 and 2008 plus plenty older than that, a few newer than that and even iPods, iPhones and an iPod HiFi, none of which they wanted taken apart at all.
They do use a lot of glue but its always possible to soften it with a hairdryer like the ends of the old alu cinema displays or iPod Minis. Or the Titanium PowerBook G4 displays. They usually have to be able to get back in themselves.

I don't advise every trying to remove the glass from the current laptop screens unless its broken however. Never tried it, but really don't want to.
I have plenty of more important things to do, if only I could bring myself to do them....
     
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Jun 30, 2011, 07:13 AM
 
Thanks a lot, that puts my mind at ease a little when thinking of adding an SSD. I may do that in a little while, but not just yet.
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Jun 30, 2011, 09:41 AM
 
Originally Posted by OreoCookie View Post
Thanks a lot, that puts my mind at ease a little when thinking of adding an SSD. I may do that in a little while, but not just yet.
The only tricky part is that Apple optical drives seem to use a non standard top plate which has the two mounting screw holes in in at the front edge. Most caddies do not have these mounts. Easy enough to get around though.
I have plenty of more important things to do, if only I could bring myself to do them....
     
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Jun 30, 2011, 02:55 PM
 
Originally Posted by OreoCookie View Post
...even if some geeks are able to put another harddrive in their machines, regular users are not.
Not true. Anyone can send their MBP to a firm like OWC or MCE and they will add the hard drive. It is very easy, inexpensive and no geekness needed.

-Allen
     
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Jun 30, 2011, 03:17 PM
 
Originally Posted by SierraDragon View Post
Not true. Anyone can send their MBP to a firm like OWC or MCE and they will add the hard drive. It is very easy, inexpensive and no geekness needed.
You're completely ignoring the geekness necessary to even be aware that this is possible, let alone the geekiness necessary to WANT to do so.
     
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Jul 13, 2011, 07:41 AM
 
Some crap, no-name SSDs have severe problems (like capacity suddenly being limited to 8 MEGAbytes, and all data beyond that irrecoverably lost).

Hardmac.com : Le "Macbidouille" in English - There could be a bug with the 320 SSDs of Intel

Yeah okay, I lied: The crap, no-name brand is actually Intel, and the crap, no-name SSD is their 320 series (after the top-of-the-line X25 had its own — since corrected — issues).

This tech is simply not ready for general recommendation.

Apple's OEM stuff seems to be solid, though.
     
   
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