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You are here: MacNN Forums > Hardware - Troubleshooting and Discussion > Mac Notebooks > New Retina MBP Unrepairable

New Retina MBP Unrepairable (Page 2)
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SierraDragon
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Jun 23, 2012, 01:00 PM
 
Originally Posted by Eug View Post
Are you keeping your computers for 6 years, because if so, you definitely aren't using top end hardware.
First we need to define top end hardware. My definition of top end is the best of the available models in a range. A lowest-end laptop in 2009 is still lowest-end, even if it has a faster CPU than a high end 2007 laptop.

So far I have never used hardware as a primary box for six years, but the selection of top-end hardware has allowed 4-5 year life cycles, even with a heavy images workflow.

The 2006 17" C2D has EC/34 and so does the 2011 17" i7 MBP which will last until at least 2014 if I do not decide I must have retina (I "see" retina-displayed pix as looking much, much better; but upgrading to get retina only makes sense if clients perceive the same dramatic difference that I do). And OTOH I own the last 17" and clients easily see the extra screen real estate, so the 17" will likely be deployed for an artificially long life cycle.

The 2006 MBP was used in a MBP/MP workflow, but the 2011 Sandy Bridge MBP was the first box that allowed real DTR. If a cup of hot chocolate had not lamed the top-end 2006 MBP (it only works in clamshell mode, so is no longer mobile) I would still be using it and a MP/MBP workflow.

If Apple ever brings Aperture into the 20th century with the ability to synch MBP/MP Libraries I will probably buy a MP and go back to a MP/MBP workflow, in which case the MP and the Sandy Bridge MBP might indeed have 6-year life cycles.

-Allen
     
exca1ibur
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Jun 23, 2012, 01:08 PM
 
Originally Posted by amazing View Post
For the RMBP to have any credible life-cycle whatsoever, 16 GB should be the minimum.

8 GB RAM is like putting a 4-cylinder in a Porsche...
     
Eug
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Jun 23, 2012, 01:23 PM
 
Most of my professional colleagues don't drive Porsches. And yes, they can afford them. The improved specs don't help them getting from home to work. And the ones that drive for work don't drive Porsches either.

Having high e-peenus spec ratings don't help them do their work.

Fortunately, 16 GB is a comparatively inexpensive add-on for that machine, and it would actually help for some people in contrast to the Porsche. If you think you'll need the extra RAM, then just pay the extra 9%. In my case, I'd get a lot more out of USB 3 than I'd get out of 16 GB RAM, so I wouldn't bother with the extra RAM. Same goes for 802.11ac, but unfortunately that MBP doesn't include it, and never will. Even with 16 GB, it will be out of date next year for a lot of people, because of its lack of 802.11ac support. Different needs for different people.
( Last edited by Eug; Jun 23, 2012 at 02:02 PM. )
     
amazing
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Jun 23, 2012, 02:07 PM
 
Originally Posted by Eug View Post
Most of my professional colleagues don't drive Porsches. And yes, they can afford them. The improved specs don't help them getting from home to work. And the ones that drive for work don't drive Porsches either.

Having high e-peenus spec ratings don't help them do their work.

Fortunately, 16 GB is a comparatively inexpensive add-on for that machine, and it would actually help for some people in contrast to the Porsche. If you think you'll need the extra RAM, then just pay the extra 9%. In my case, I'd get a lot more out of USB 3 than I'd get out of 16 GB RAM, so I wouldn't bother with the extra RAM. Different needs for different people.
Irony is dead. I don't know anyone that drives a Porsche, either. The analogy was about the ridiculousness of a 4 cylinder in a top-end sports car--which is to say 8 GB RAM in a top laptop model (because the RAM can't be expanded one year down the road...)

Doesn't anyone remember (except exca1ibur) how Porsche got dissed for the 4 cylinder 911? No matter--this is after all the generation where a significant number of young folk don't know that the Titanic was an actual ship, not just a movie.

I still think that it's ridiculous is treating a high-end laptop as disposable: Everything's glued in, nothing's repairable, nothing's upgradable.

Need more power/space? Too bad: have to buy another disposable laptop.
     
Eug
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Jun 23, 2012, 02:14 PM
 
Originally Posted by amazing View Post
Irony is dead. I don't know anyone that drives a Porsche, either.
Actually, I know several people who drive Porsches. But they're not stupid enough to claim they need them for work.

The analogy was about the ridiculousness of a 4 cylinder in a top-end sports car--which is to say 8 GB RAM in a top laptop model (because the RAM can't be expanded one year down the road...)
8 GB is the base configuration. As mentioned umpteen times before, all it takes is another 9% to pay for the maximum 16 GB.

If there were no config-to-order 16 GB option, or if it was $500 or something, they might have a point, but in the context as laid out at the Apple Store, it just sounds like whining for no good reason.
     
SierraDragon
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Jun 23, 2012, 03:29 PM
 
Originally Posted by Eug View Post
...all it takes is another 9% to pay for the maximum 16 GB. ...If there were no config-to-order 16 GB option, or if it was $500 or something, they might have a point, but in the context as laid out at the Apple Store, it just sounds like whining for no good reason.
The bigger, even huge, issue is that Apple eliminates 32 GB RAM as an option. Ever.

And $200 is a lot when added to any already-overly-expensive MBP that we have to pay Apple $2800 just to start configuring a box with more than 256 GB SSD.

$3000 entry price is seriously overpriced in 2012 but we are forced to that due to Apple's new soldered policy. With RAM and SSD prices falling (SSDs down by 50% in less than a year), Apple's policy sucks big time.

-Allen
     
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Jun 23, 2012, 03:33 PM
 
You guys are wimps. 128GB should be the minimum RAM, with 2TB of SSD, and the machine should cost no more than $1499.
     
jmiddel
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Jun 23, 2012, 04:22 PM
 
If Apple charged the $80 that it would cost us to buy the RAM, rather than $200, would we be having this discussion? I know that I resent paying a ridiculously inflated amount when I'm used to buying the lowest config and upgrading it myself.
     
amazing
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Jun 23, 2012, 06:06 PM
 
Yep, the strategy used to be, buy what you need at this moment, upgrade later, for a lot less money than Apple charges.

Now, the strategy is: Apple knows best.
     
SierraDragon
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Jun 23, 2012, 06:13 PM
 
++1

And forces pro users to pay 25% extra on day zero, all to Apple at Apple's prices. No chance to increase mass storage in the future or to add true maximum RAM, ever.

This new Apple policy is a very, very bad deal. Way worse than "just 9%."
( Last edited by SierraDragon; Jun 23, 2012 at 08:39 PM. )
     
Waragainstsleep
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Jun 23, 2012, 08:58 PM
 
It should be possible to increase the mass storage before too long, though it will be no thanks to Apple.
I have plenty of more important things to do, if only I could bring myself to do them....
     
besson3c  (op)
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Jun 23, 2012, 09:09 PM
 
Originally Posted by SierraDragon View Post
++1

And forces pro users to pay 25% extra on day zero, all to Apple at Apple's prices. No chance to increase mass storage in the future or to add true maximum RAM, ever.

This new Apple policy is a very, very bad deal. Way worse than "just 9%."

That being said, even if they invented a 32GB chip, the motherboard would still need to support this, right?
     
amazing
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Jun 23, 2012, 09:17 PM
 
What I hate about it the most is that it's treating the high-end laptop like a disposable razor...
     
SierraDragon
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Jun 23, 2012, 09:31 PM
 
Originally Posted by besson3c View Post
That being said, even if they invented a 32GB chip, the motherboard would still need to support this, right?

Two slots, so two 16 GB-sized DIMMs. Yes the Intel chip design would need to support 32 GB and I believe it does. Others here will know.

-Allen
     
SierraDragon
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Jun 23, 2012, 09:36 PM
 
Originally Posted by Waragainstsleep View Post
It should be possible to increase the mass storage before too long, though it will be no thanks to Apple.
Really? The SSDs are user replaceable? Cool.

-Allen
     
besson3c  (op)
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Jun 23, 2012, 09:54 PM
 
Originally Posted by SierraDragon View Post
Two slots, so two 16 GB-sized DIMMs. Yes the Intel chip design would need to support 32 GB and I believe it does. Others here will know.

-Allen
I'm aware that they only make 8 GB chips right now, but that wasn't really my point. My point was that the motherboard itself would have to support these chips. Whether motherboards can be designed to be forwards compatible with chips that don't even exist yet, I don't know.
     
Waragainstsleep
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Jun 23, 2012, 10:57 PM
 
Originally Posted by SierraDragon View Post
Really? The SSDs are user replaceable? Cool.

-Allen
They are socketed, like the Airs. OWC does upgrades for those.
I have plenty of more important things to do, if only I could bring myself to do them....
     
chabig
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Jun 24, 2012, 12:31 AM
 
Originally Posted by jmiddel View Post
If Apple charged the $80 that it would cost us to buy the RAM, rather than $200, would we be having this discussion?
Please post a link to 16GB of laptop RAM for $80. Even OWC charges $170.
     
besson3c  (op)
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Jun 24, 2012, 12:59 AM
 
Originally Posted by chabig View Post
Please post a link to 16GB of laptop RAM for $80. Even OWC charges $170.
Newegg.com - CORSAIR 16GB (2 x 8G) 204-Pin DDR3 SO-DIMM DDR3 1333 Laptop Memory Model CMSO16GX3M2A1333C9
     
chabig
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Jun 24, 2012, 01:13 AM
 
That's $95, which isn't $80 and it's not as high spec'd as Apple's RAM, since it's only DDR3 1333 instead of DDR3 1600. Newegg does have 16GB of DDR3 1600 RAM for $120.
     
besson3c  (op)
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Jun 24, 2012, 01:35 AM
 
Originally Posted by chabig View Post
That's $95, which isn't $80 and it's not as high spec'd as Apple's RAM, since it's only DDR3 1333 instead of DDR3 1600. Newegg does have 16GB of DDR3 1600 RAM for $120.

Fair enough, although that is still $80 cheaper, maintaining the historical precedent of Apple overcharging for RAM.

I'm not sure why you dudes seem to default to looking for stuff at the OWC site, NewEgg has always been cheaper in my experience.
     
CharlesS
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Jun 24, 2012, 01:50 AM
 
Originally Posted by Waragainstsleep View Post
They are socketed, like the Airs. OWC does upgrades for those.
They sure do, usually for twice, or more, of what the same size SSDs cost in standard 2.5" form on Newegg, using the same controller (SandForce) and everything.

Standard 2.5" 240 GB SandForce SSD: $180. OWC 240 GB SandForce SSD: $358 or $378.

Standard 2.5" 480 GB SandForce SSD: $350 OWC 480 GB SandForce SSD: $795 or $815

Sigh.

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Eug
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Jun 24, 2012, 01:52 AM
 
Corsair doesn't count. Neither does Patriot, Mushkin, G.Skill, etc. These are the 2nd tier RAM brands that I was talking about that Apple doesn't want in their machines. And as mentioned, DDR3 1333 doesn't count either.

Micron, Samsung, I'll accept. Crucial (Micron) sells 16 GB of DDR3-12800 for $173.98.


Originally Posted by CharlesS View Post
They sure do, usually for twice, or more, of what the same size SSDs cost in standard 2.5" form on Newegg, using the same controller (SandForce) and everything.

Standard 2.5" 240 GB SandForce SSD: $180. OWC 240 GB SandForce SSD: $358 or $378.

Standard 2.5" 480 GB SandForce SSD: $350 OWC 480 GB SandForce SSD: $795 or $815

Sigh.
OCZ drives are junk. They cost half as much as Intel drives with the same SandForce controllers. Interesting how OCZ has such a close relationship with SandForce, pumping out firmware updates with a vengeance, yet Intel was the first to correct a serious firmware bug.

Dunno about OWC, but I suspect they just sell SSDs with the stock firmwares, but make them in a form factor that fit the Airs, and thus can charge a lot more for them.
( Last edited by Eug; Jun 24, 2012 at 02:01 AM. )
     
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Jun 24, 2012, 02:43 AM
 
Originally Posted by SierraDragon View Post
Really? The SSDs are user replaceable? Cool.
Stuff that's hidden behind a cover screwed on with pentalobe screws isn't really user-replaceable.
     
Spheric Harlot
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Jun 24, 2012, 02:44 AM
 
Originally Posted by besson3c View Post
I'm aware that they only make 8 GB chips right now, but that wasn't really my point. My point was that the motherboard itself would have to support these chips. Whether motherboards can be designed to be forwards compatible with chips that don't even exist yet, I don't know.
It's certainly been the case for the past four or five years, AFAIK.
     
CharlesS
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Jun 24, 2012, 05:22 PM
 
Originally Posted by Eug View Post
Corsair doesn't count. Neither does Patriot, Mushkin, G.Skill, etc. These are the 2nd tier RAM brands that I was talking about that Apple doesn't want in their machines.
Just curious; what's your opinion of Hynix RAM?

And as mentioned, DDR3 1333 doesn't count either.
Why? Not everyone needs the very fastest (or would even be able to tell the difference). As long as it's reliable, that's good enough for the majority of users. When you can get Crucial (a.k.a. Micron) for $119.99 instead of $200, that's hard to scoff at.

Micron, Samsung, I'll accept. Crucial (Micron) sells 16 GB of DDR3-12800 for $173.98.
Only because that module isn't on Newegg yet. Once it is, it'll be significantly cheaper than that.

And in 1-2 years, it'll probably cost around $50.

OCZ drives are junk. They cost half as much as Intel drives with the same SandForce controllers.
That's it? They're "junk" simply because they're not ridiculously overpriced like Intel is?

They're all using the exact same controllers!
Dunno about OWC, but I suspect they just sell SSDs with the stock firmwares, but make them in a form factor that fit the Airs, and thus can charge a lot more for them.
Given that they all use the same SandForce controller, OWC, OCZ, and pretty much every other SF drive on the market are essentially the same thing. Except OWC costs over twice as much as the rest.

If you don't like SandForce-based drives, then you've got bigger problems, since there's not a single non-SandForce aftermarket SSD available for the MacBook Air — and there likely won't be for the Retina either, given that OWC seems to be the only company willing to make these things.

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besson3c  (op)
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Jun 24, 2012, 05:43 PM
 
I think my tentative conclusion is to only recommend the RMBP if it really compels you and you absolutely can't wait.

I think it's pretty clear that in probably a relatively short amount of time the screen costs will reduce as a greater volume of them are produced, the RAM costs will reduce, and SSDs will continue to come down in price and maybe become easier to swap out when/if the user wishes a larger drive. This is obviously true with technology in general, this is nothing new.

I'm not sure if Apple will ever change the battery system or the glass glued to the case thing, nor do I know if the component costs coming down in price will persuade Apple to price these particular models differently, but obviously these sorts of features will trickle down to Apple's other laptop models. The current RMBP is so bleeding edge it's almost a proof-of-concept laptop.

I also have to say that I'm with some of the others here in wishing that Apple would have made different compromises. I wouldn't have minded a slightly larger laptop if it meant that I could upgrade stuff. I'm one of those people that keeps machines for far longer than 3 years.

I just hope that laptop I want is not only available in 13" though, ultimately.
     
Spheric Harlot
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Jun 24, 2012, 05:53 PM
 
What will happen as costs come down is that the retina MacBook Pro features will trickle down the line, as the entire MacBook Pro/Air lineup gets replaced with the new MacBook.
     
besson3c  (op)
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Jun 24, 2012, 06:09 PM
 
Originally Posted by Spheric Harlot View Post
What will happen as costs come down is that the retina MacBook Pro features will trickle down the line, as the entire MacBook Pro/Air lineup gets replaced with the new MacBook.

You mean literally? The Air and Pro being discontinued, leaving us with just the Macbook?

I think this would simplify things, and it's obvious to me that the Air is sort of a stopgap computer, and that all future laptops will resemble today's Air.

The whole Pro vs. regular Macbook thing has always seemed a little funny to me. At times it was about the difference in screen size, other times the other specs.

Just make the entire Macbook line retina display, offer both 13" and 15", offer different BTO configurations for different amounts of RAM, SSD, CPU speed, perhaps video card, and discontinue everything else.

This adding the Macbook Pro Retina machine, while an understandable decision, has certainly added significant complexity to the whole product matrix.
     
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Jun 24, 2012, 06:20 PM
 
I know there are people here who dislike OWC but the bottom line is they test and guarantee everything they sell with Macs. I have had other sites where I bought things that should work with Macs but didn't. You return them but they test on Windows boxes and then refuse to refund them because they work.
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, 2012, 06:27 PM
 
Originally Posted by besson3c View Post
You mean literally? The Air and Pro being discontinued, leaving us with just the Macbook?

I think this would simplify things, and it's obvious to me that the Air is sort of a stopgap computer, and that all future laptops will resemble today's Air.
Yep.
Originally Posted by besson3c View Post
This adding the Macbook Pro Retina machine, while an understandable decision, has certainly added significant complexity to the whole product matrix.
Hint: Look for the "MacBook Pro" lettering on the screen bezel, where the Apple laptops have traditionally had the name of the series.
     
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Jun 24, 2012, 08:48 PM
 
Originally Posted by CharlesS View Post
Why? Not everyone needs the very fastest (or would even be able to tell the difference). As long as it's reliable, that's good enough for the majority of users.
I agree with you. But if you're going to compare the price of generic RAM to the price of Apple RAM, you have to stick with the same specs. Otherwise, the comparison is no good.
     
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Jun 24, 2012, 09:21 PM
 
Originally Posted by CharlesS View Post
That's it? They're "junk" simply because they're not ridiculously overpriced like Intel is?
No because OCZ drives have high failure rates. The reason they are so cheap is because they have a terrible reputation.

They also have falsely advertised their flash components as well.

Consumers will surely rejoice then at the thought of cheaper NAND leading to cheaper SSDs. Well, not so fast. While prices will continue to slide over time, don't expect to see NewEgg and other retailers slashing the prices by 10% right away. With the drop in price, users will eventually see higher capacity drives for roughly what they are paying right now, but in the short term, usable capacities will actually drop.

The reason behind this is simple; 34nm MLC NAND is good for 5,000 write cycles, while 25nm MLC NAND lasts for only 3,000 write cycles. To account for this drop in individual cell lifespan, manufacturers increase the amount of reserve capacity that replaces worn sections as the drive degrades. In layman's terms, an unformatted 120GB SSD with 25nm NAND is now 115GB (107GB available in Windows) compared to 120GB (111GB available in Windows) with 34nm NAND.


OCZ made the switch to 25nm NAND last week. The only problem is they didn't make any branding or packaging changes. The net result, is consumers are getting a product with a fundamental technology change and a material change in capacity for drives under 180GB. Customers pay the same price for a smaller capacity drive and OCZ nets higher profits with the reduced cost of the smaller 25nm flash. As noted, a 120GB drive goes to 115GB, but it gets worse the smaller you get. A 60GB turns into 56GB and a 40GB into 36GB. It really hurts if you go the boot-drive SSD route, where every last megabyte is needed with an average Windows 7 install with a few applications included. You lose roughly 4-5GB for enhanced wear leveling and the smaller capacity drives see the largest percentage versus total capacity taken away. OCZ is comfortable with leaving the brand names as-is and has no plans to be more transparent to the user when it comes to usable SSD capacity. Buyers of the OCZ SSDs are rightfully displeased.

They're all using the exact same controllers!
Yes and no. They use the same controller chips, but they use different firmwares. They may also use different NAND flash. The firmware that Intel put out last year was known to be superior to all the competition at the time, and the bug fix was only available to Intel presumably because it was their own IP.

Back in October SandForce announced that it had discovered a firmware issue that resulted in unexpected BSODs on SF-2281 drives on certain platforms. Why it took SandForce several months to discover the bug that its customers had been reporting for a while is a separate issue entirely. SandForce quickly pushed out the firmware to OCZ and other partners. Our own internal testing revealed that the updated firmware seemed to have cured the infamous BSOD.

As luck would have it, our own Brian Klug happened to come across an unexpected crash with his 240GB non-Intel SF-2281 based SSD two weeks ago when he migrated it to another machine. The crash was an F4 BSOD, similar in nature to the infamous BSOD issue from last year. While two of the systems we reproduced the BSOD bug on were cured by last year's firmware update, Brian's system (an X58/Core i7 build) was BSODing regularly playing Battlefield 3. Games end up being a great way to trigger the SF-2281 BSOD issue as they frequently switch between periods of idle and load, which does a good job of stressing the power state logic in SandForce's firmware. I immediately sent Brian an Intel SSD 520 to see if the BSOD remained on Intel's drive. Switching to Cherryville caused Brian's BSODs to go away. Indeed most end user reports of SF-2281 BSODs went away with the fixed firmware, but we've still heard of isolated issues that remain unresolved. Whatever Intel has done with the 520's firmware seems to have fixed problems that still remain in the general SF-2281 firmware.

Given that they all use the same SandForce controller, OWC, OCZ, and pretty much every other SF drive on the market are essentially the same thing.
See above. Same controller, different results, because of different firmwares.

Except OWC costs over twice as much as the rest.
You're paying for a custom form factor, from a small outfit. It's no surprise it costs a lot more.
     
besson3c  (op)
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Jun 25, 2012, 12:31 AM
 
Originally Posted by Waragainstsleep View Post
I know there are people here who dislike OWC but the bottom line is they test and guarantee everything they sell with Macs. I have had other sites where I bought things that should work with Macs but didn't. You return them but they test on Windows boxes and then refuse to refund them because they work.

I kind of find the whole Mac-friendly shop thing as a little manipulative. It's cool when there are people that can recommend Mac friendly software, but as far as selling hardware online goes, I don't like the idea of feeding the myth that there are Mac friendly hard drives, RAM, and stuff like that, while of course charging a premium for these same products that you can get anywhere.

I've never bought Mac stuff from any place but NewEgg, and I can't really think of a reason why I should shop anywhere else?
     
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Jun 25, 2012, 12:44 AM
 
OWC has some custom products specifically for Macs, and knows what parts that your Macs will accept. At places like Newegg, you're pretty much on your own. If you know what you are doing then fine, but a lot of people don't. Mind you, I've only very rarely shopped at OWC. In Canada I usually buy at Canada Computers or NCIX, because their prices are comparable to Newegg.ca and I don't have to deal with shipping costs because there are physical stores nearby. Similarly, for parts, iFixit knows exactly what you need for your exact Mac model, but for other stores you're on your own. But since eBay was so much cheaper, I bought my MacBook Pro fan off eBay, after putting in the required time to do the research myself.
     
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Jun 25, 2012, 02:54 AM
 
Originally Posted by Eug View Post
OWC has some custom products specifically for Macs, and knows what parts that your Macs will accept. At places like Newegg, you're pretty much on your own. If you know what you are doing then fine, but a lot of people don't. Mind you, I've only very rarely shopped at OWC. In Canada I usually buy at Canada Computers or NCIX, because their prices are comparable to Newegg.ca and I don't have to deal with shipping costs because there are physical stores nearby. Similarly, for parts, iFixit knows exactly what you need for your exact Mac model, but for other stores you're on your own. But since eBay was so much cheaper, I bought my MacBook Pro fan off eBay, after putting in the required time to do the research myself.

NewEgg has an online chat that can help you confirm whether the parts you are looking at will work with your Mac.

I'm not against OWC at all, I just wish that people understood that they can dip into the inventories of other stories that don't claim the same sort of Mac compatibility, while often saving money in the process.

I mostly feel this way about stuff like RAM, hard drives, and monitors - less so with peripherals which rely on software.
     
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Jun 25, 2012, 04:29 AM
 
Originally Posted by Eug View Post
No because OCZ drives have high failure rates. The reason they are so cheap is because they have a terrible reputation.
Their prices are about in line with Crucial and others. It's just that OCZ is SandForce-based, which made it a better direct comparison to the OWC.

It would only be false advertising if they claimed the drives were 34 nm when they weren't.

Just about every SSD on the market today is 25 nm or smaller these days, so far as I know. The one Apple's using is actually 20 nm.

Yes and no. They use the same controller chips, but they use different firmwares. They may also use different NAND flash. The firmware that Intel put out last year was known to be superior to all the competition at the time, and the bug fix was only available to Intel presumably because it was their own IP.
But the bug is in the SandForce controller itself, which the OWC drive also has. It'll affect the OWC just as much as any other SF-based drive.

Look, if you prefer a non-SandForce SSD in your Mac, you'll get no argument from me. I'd prefer that too. I'm not any big fan of SandForce SSDs — the trouble is that there's no non-SandForce alternative, since OWC is the only third-party supplier, as a result of Apple's use of non-standard parts.

Back in October SandForce announced that it had discovered a firmware issue that resulted in unexpected BSODs on SF-2281 drives on certain platforms. Why it took SandForce several months to discover the bug that its customers had been reporting for a while is a separate issue entirely. SandForce quickly pushed out the firmware to OCZ and other partners. Our own internal testing revealed that the updated firmware seemed to have cured the infamous BSOD.
Again, that's going to apply to OWC and any other SandForce-based drive just as much as OCZ.

You're paying for a custom form factor, from a small outfit. It's no surprise it costs a lot more.
No kidding. What we probably need now, given that Apple's not likely to go back to a 2.5" form factor for the drive, is for the industry to come up with some new standard form factor for 'blade' SSDs, and then somehow to talk Apple into actually using it. Then we'd actually have choice again (as well as the ability to use things like external USB3 enclosures and such), but as it is I suppose we should feel lucky that Apple didn't solder the SSD too (sigh).

Right now, I'm basically just lamenting the somewhat frustrating state of things as they currently are. Other than the soldered components, these new machines are really nice, and I'd be able to afford one if I could just get the base unit and upgrade the other stuff later. As it is, I'm going to have to wait (and find a beta tester with a Retina machine in the meantime), because to upgrade the RAM and the SSD on day zero will bump the cost of the machine to 3 grand. Oh well, maybe something will eventually show up on the refurb store.

By the way, I'm still kind of curious about your opinion of Hynix RAM.
( Last edited by CharlesS; Jun 25, 2012 at 04:40 AM. )

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Jun 25, 2012, 04:54 AM
 
Originally Posted by Eug View Post
OCZ drives are junk. They cost half as much as Intel drives with the same SandForce controllers. Interesting how OCZ has such a close relationship with SandForce, pumping out firmware updates with a vengeance, yet Intel was the first to correct a serious firmware bug.
Intel apparently found that bug and fixed it themselves. OCZ doesn't do anything to the controller - they just ship Sandforce's firmware, same as OWC or really anyone else except Intel. The only difference is in the quality of the updater software itself, how they handle RMAs and the quality of the flash itself. There was a period where OCZ was faster than anyone at pushing updates, but that is now over. OCZ has bought Indilinx and Sandforce was bought by someone else (LSI, I think), so they are now bitter competitors.
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 25, 2012, 05:02 AM
 
Originally Posted by Eug View Post
No because OCZ drives have high failure rates. The reason they are so cheap is because they have a terrible reputation.
They have the same failure rates as any SandForce part excluding Intel.

Originally Posted by Eug View Post
They didn't advertise the flash components at all. More correctly, they changed them, which made the old tests useless, which is shady but less so than lying. They did however correct the situation by introducing different part numbers for the different flash variants and offered free replacements for anyone who wanted the older 34nm.
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 25, 2012, 07:40 AM
 
Originally Posted by P View Post
The only difference is in the quality of the updater software itself, how they handle RMAs and the quality of the flash itself.
Hmmm... All of that seems pretty important to me.

Originally Posted by P View Post
They have the same failure rates as any SandForce part excluding Intel.
I'm not sure that's true, but even if it were, that basically just proves my point that if you're going to buy Sandforce you should be buying Intel, even at a higher price.

Originally Posted by CharlesS View Post
By the way, I'm still kind of curious about your opinion of Hynix RAM.
Fine in the past, for their good quality RAM, which has been used in Macs and other large OEMs. Large Korean manufacturer.

Originally Posted by CharlesS View Post
Look, if you prefer a non-SandForce SSD in your Mac, you'll get no argument from me. I'd prefer that too. I'm not any big fan of SandForce SSDs — the trouble is that there's no non-SandForce alternative, since OWC is the only third-party supplier, as a result of Apple's use of non-standard parts.
The only Mac I have with an SSD is using a non-Sandforce SSD. It uses a Toshiba controller. I wouldn't buy an OWC Sandforce drive personally. I'd probably rather get a new Mac, so yeah, I also agree.
     
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Jun 25, 2012, 08:59 AM
 
Originally Posted by Eug View Post
Hmmm... All of that seems pretty important to me.
Sure, but the only one of those that there has been any problems with is the updater software (where they basically only support Win 7 and do not even ship a bootable update disk), and they are not alone in being weak on that point.

Originally Posted by Eug View Post
I'm not sure that's true, but even if it were, that basically just proves my point that if you're going to buy Sandforce you should be buying Intel, even at a higher price.
Sandforce 2 controllers are the new bargain segment for everyone except Intel. Those controllers are almost 2 years old now, and the company that mainly used to push them (OCZ) has moved on to other controllers in their top-of-the-line. As the market ages, more focus is put on reliability over performance, and that's sure to shake some things up. Right now, you can spend more if you don't want to fiddle with things, or save money but be expected to do some hacking - not an uncommon situation in this business.
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 25, 2012, 09:34 AM
 
Originally Posted by P View Post
Sure, but the only one of those that there has been any problems with is the updater software (where they basically only support Win 7 and do not even ship a bootable update disk), and they are not alone in being weak on that point.
I don't trust OCZ's QA capabilities.

Similarly, a lot of the smaller companies also likely have less stringest QA criteria for RAM, which is I suspect the reason for more RAM failures from some 3rd party manufacturers than Apple spec'd RAM.

People should never assume that just because the ingredients are the similar, that the final product will have the same quality even if uses the same reference design. There's more to tech manufacturing than just soldering chips to a circuit board.

Everyone cuts corners, but companies like OCZ which emphasize high performance at uber low cost are going to be cutting the most.

Sandforce 2 controllers are the new bargain segment for everyone except Intel. Those controllers are almost 2 years old now, and the company that mainly used to push them (OCZ) has moved on to other controllers in their top-of-the-line. As the market ages, more focus is put on reliability over performance, and that's sure to shake some things up. Right now, you can spend more if you don't want to fiddle with things, or save money but be expected to do some hacking - not an uncommon situation in this business.
The problem with SSDs is you cannot easily hack a new firmware to correct such bugs.

As I've said before elsewhere, essentially with SSDs the vast majority of people shouldn't be worrying about performance at all, since even slow SSDs are light years ahead of platter drives for real-world speed. The far more important characteristic here is reliability.

I find it odd that many people would swear by Crucial RAM or whatever, but have no problem sticking in an el-cheapo SSD from a low-tier manufacturer like OCZ.

P.S. I'm not actually claiming that Intel SandForce drives are excellent. IMO the jury is still out since Intel didn't design these controllers, and they're still relatively new for Intel. I'm just going by Intel's reputation with SSDs from the past. They seem to know what they're doing, and some smaller data centres swear by the older Intel SSDs for reliability.

InterServer only uses SSDs in its database servers. Specifically, it has Intel's X25-E (SSDSA2SH032G1GN) in its Xeon machines to take full advantage of high data throughput. How much performance are we talking about? InterServer tells us it is achieving an average of 4514 MySQL queries per second. On an older Xeon server equipped with IDE-based drives, it's looking at roughly 200-300 MySQL queries per second. We know these drives have been in use since 2009, and there are no reported failures thus far.

InterServer provided the following statement concerning SSD use.

Intel SSD's are night and day in failure rates when it comes to some other drives. For example the SuperTalent SSD drives have had an extremely high failure rate including model FTM32GL25H, FTM32G225H, and FTM32GX25H. I estimate about two-thirds of these drives have failed since being put into service. With these failures however, the drives were not recoverable at all. They generally disappeared completely, no longer being readable. Spinners die much more gracefully with an easier disk recovery. I cannot compare this to the Intel's SSDs yet since I have not experienced any failures.
( Last edited by Eug; Jun 25, 2012 at 09:48 AM. )
     
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Jun 25, 2012, 10:30 AM
 
Originally Posted by Eug View Post
I'm not sure that's true, but even if it were, that basically just proves my point that if you're going to buy Sandforce you should be buying Intel, even at a higher price.
And can you buy an Intel for the Retina MBP?

Originally Posted by Eug View Post
I find it odd that many people would swear by Crucial RAM or whatever, but have no problem sticking in an el-cheapo SSD from a low-tier manufacturer like OCZ.
Honestly, I feel like we're not having the same conversation.

The thread is about how the Retina MBP is unserviceable. The upshot of this is that your SSD options are:

1. Spend $3K on a laptop, and/or hope that the size of SSD you chose will be sufficient for the next 5 years (or however long you keep a $3K laptop)

2. Entry-level SandForce SSD at premium SSD prices.

Those are the only options you have. Intel is not on the table, probably never will be, and is not relevant to this conversation.

(For what it's worth, I have a Crucial SSD in my MBP, not a SandForce)
( Last edited by CharlesS; Jun 25, 2012 at 10:48 AM. )

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Jun 25, 2012, 10:47 AM
 
Hey, you were the one the bring up OCZ drives in the first place, and they don't work in the MBP:TNG either.

My point about the affordability of OWC drives (which I personally wouldn't buy actually) for the Air was that you can't compare them directly against regular SSDs because they use a custom form factor and are manufactured for a limited market segment.

---

If the unrepairability of the MBP:TNG is something that's a deal-killer for you, then fine, don't buy it. However, I think it's an OK trade off in this case because of the killer form factor in the new model, and the light weight. The memory as far as I'm concerned is a non-issue, since it ships with 8 GB minimum, with a less than 10% price increase if you want to go to 16 GB. As for 32 GB, as far as I'm concerned, for 99% of the market that's really just an e-peen complaint, but for the 1% where it would actually matter, they can get a new machine when they actually need 32 GB. By that time, there will be other good reasons to upgrade too, such as the inclusion of 802.11ac, which I think is far more important than 32 GB RAM support.
( Last edited by Eug; Jun 25, 2012 at 10:55 AM. )
     
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Jun 25, 2012, 10:54 AM
 
Originally Posted by Eug View Post
Hey, you were the one the bring up OCZ drives in the first place, and they don't work in the MBP:TNG either.
Yes, as an example of what an entry-level SandForce drive (i.e. what that OWC stick is) usually costs.

My point about OWC drives (which I personally wouldn't buy actually) for the Air was that you can't compare them directly against regular SSDs because they use a custom form factor and are manufactured for a limited market segment.
Exactly.

And being stuck with that sort of option was my point. It was a fairly simple one, and, IMO, not deserving of this much discussion. I don't actually think we even disagree with each other that much.

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Jun 25, 2012, 11:17 AM
 
OWC has been not just a good vendor but a great vendor for me for decades.

Hardware retrofit compatibility, reliability and performance have always been a challenge in the Mac world:

• Even just the Mac product i.d. has always been difficult for most consumers, let alone the internal componentry.

• Hardware and consequent retrofit issues sometimes change even within the same model over time.

• Flaky and/or substandard electronics remain readily available, and few consumers are aware of brand/tier differences.

• What works for PC does not necessarily work so well if at all on the Mac side (better now with Mac on Intel but PC/Mac still have differences).

• Many electronics vendors refuse returns.

• Small technicalities (e.g. RAM bandwidth) may affect performance.

• Mac models can be easily user-upgradable, barely user-upgradable or not user-upgradable. And user-upgradability varies by component.

OWC has always dealt with all of the above users for customers, presales and post sales customer support, reliable guarantees. They even deal with user error, no problem. My Macs have always been enterprise-critical tools, so the value add from OWC has been huge.

Some folks here rave newegg and similar discount sources, but newegg was a minefield for less-aware buyers for years. Great buying site if one has perfect information and buyer awareness, but most folks do not.

As internet vending has evolved the severity of some of the issues I listed above have decreased, but they all still apply.

My only relationship with OWC has been as a satisfied customer over dozens of transactions, full range of products.

-Allen
( Last edited by SierraDragon; Jun 25, 2012 at 12:32 PM. )
     
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Jun 25, 2012, 11:34 AM
 
Yeah, I don't really have a problem with OWC, although I wouldn't really buy their RAM or their SSDs (both strike me as being generic stuff with the price jacked up). I love their FireWire hard drive enclosures, although USB 3.0 is looking like a better bet these days. I dunno, basically I'm kind of nervous about being forced to go with a specialty vendor like that for something so basic — and will this option even be available in the future? Maybe Apple will solder the SSD too next rev. And the thing is, since the optical drive MBPs are obviously a stopgap, this is probably the future of the entire line. Next year, it probably won't be possible at all to buy a Mac laptop where you can upgrade anything.

Not that Apple's the only one doing this, of course — many of the Ultrabook-type PCs seem to be going this route as well, so eventually it might be impossible to buy a storage-upgradable laptop at all (then again, most of those Ultrabooks don't cost $3000!). Hopefully at some point a standard form factor and connector will eventually be settled on for this type of SSD, and my concerns will be moot.

When I bought the SSD that's in my current MBP, 256 GB seemed like more than plenty. I only had about 150 GB of stuff, leaving 100 GB free, and putting the MBP's stock 250 gig drive in an external enclosure let me offload a bunch of stuff I didn't use very often there, saving even more space on the SSD. It seemed great — but cut to a few years later, and I've got less than 28 GB free on the internal, and about 50 GB on the external. Stuff happens — sometimes your needs change. It's not always easy to predict.

Similarly, 8 or 16 GB of RAM is great today. Will it be in three years? How about five years? Will you even be able to open a TextEdit window without paging on 8/16 GB of RAM in 2017? A $2-3K machine isn't something you just throw away after a year.
( Last edited by CharlesS; Jun 25, 2012 at 11:55 AM. )

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Jun 25, 2012, 12:53 PM
 
Originally Posted by CharlesS View Post
When I bought the SSD that's in my current MBP, 256 GB seemed like more than plenty. I only had about 150 GB of stuff, leaving 100 GB free, and putting the MBP's stock 250 gig drive in an external enclosure let me offload a bunch of stuff I didn't use very often there, saving even more space on the SSD. It seemed great — but cut to a few years later, and I've got less than 28 GB free on the internal, and about 50 GB on the external. Stuff happens — sometimes your needs change. It's not always easy to predict.
No it's not. However, it's often more than just disk space or RAM.

I still have my 13" 2009 MacBook Pro, and was able to extend its life by adding an SSD to it, but I'm still itching to upgrade... for a retina screen, USB 3, and 802.11ac when it comes out. My MBP doesn't support Thunderbolt either.

Similarly, 8 or 16 GB of RAM is great today. Will it be in three years? How about five years? Will you even be able to open a TextEdit window without paging on 8/16 GB of RAM in 2017? A $2-3K machine isn't something you just throw away after a year.
No, but you can sell it for good money in 2-3 years.

I was going through some of the numbers a few years back and it actually seemed cheaper to buy a lower end model every single year, selling the previous model each year to help pay for it, than buying the highest end model and keeping it for 4-5 years.

The other issue is that I've had several Mac laptops run into reliability issues at the 1.5 - 3 year mark. For example with my MacBook Pro, I just had to install a new fan in my MacBook Pro. Usually if you sell after a year or two, these issues don't crop up, but yeah it could be a problem with SSDs and RAM if you keep it for 4 years, but then again it could just as easily be the screen or the fan or something else.

However, the main hassle with this selling early method is dealing with Craigslist, etc. I can see why someone buying for a business would rather not have to do this. In that context, and if it was my primary machine, I'd just buy 16 GB right off the bat, and depending upon the usage, would purchase accordingly for SSD size.
     
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Jun 25, 2012, 01:28 PM
 
Originally Posted by Eug View Post
...I'd just buy 16 GB right off the bat, and depending upon the usage, would purchase accordingly for SSD size.
Mass storage needs always increase dramatically over time and SSD prices are falling at 50% per year, so "purchase accordingly" at time zero is not a reasonable suggestion.

Even with RAM "purchase accordingly" at time zero is generally not a reasonable suggestion. A year ago that strategy would have had me wasting hundreds of dollars extra for 8 GB RAM in my MBP. Worse, I would be stuck at Apple's max 8 GB which already is paging out in one year.

-Allen
     
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Jun 25, 2012, 01:46 PM
 
Originally Posted by SierraDragon View Post
Even with RAM "purchase accordingly" at time zero is generally not a reasonable suggestion. A year ago that strategy would have had me wasting hundreds of dollars extra for 8 GB RAM in my MBP. Worse, I would be stuck at Apple's max 8 GB which already is paging out in one year.
We are not talking about last year. We are talking about this year's MBP:TNG which has a minimum of 8 GB, and which has a reasonably priced upgrade to 16 GB.
     
 
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