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having trouble deciding on options for new MBP

post #1 of 16
Thread Starter 
As detailed elsewhere, I'm long overdue for a new MBP 17-inch. Last week's announcement of new MBPs seems to make this the perfect time to upgrade.

Originally, I had decided to buy the base 17-inch model and then add the $50 antiglare option and perhaps switch to the 7200 rpm HD instead of the stock 5400 rpm HD. Then, if the next-gen MBP (2012) is a major overhaul/improvement, I could sell this one and get the next model.

But now, the more I read about SSDs, I'm starting to think I might be better off buying the 17-inch and upgrading to the $500 256 GB SSD, which would make this MBP more of a long-term machine rather than a stopgap machine.

Thoughts? Are SSDs really as great as everyone says? Is Apple's $500 upgrade price reasonable, or is it way overpriced relative to third-party options?

Thanks for all feedback. I've used my current PB for almost 7 years, so I don't go through this process very often.
post #2 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by jsk173 View Post

Thoughts? Are SSDs really as great as everyone says? Is Apple's $500 upgrade price reasonable, or is it way overpriced relative to third-party options?

Don't buy RAM from Apple. Don't buy hard drives from Apple.

Get one from Newegg, et. al.

Originally Posted by Slurpy

There's just a TINY chance that Apple will also be able to figure out payments. Oh wait, they did already… …and you’re already fucked.

 

Reply

Originally Posted by Slurpy

There's just a TINY chance that Apple will also be able to figure out payments. Oh wait, they did already… …and you’re already fucked.

 

Reply
post #3 of 16
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post

Don't buy RAM from Apple. Don't buy hard drives from Apple.

Get one from Newegg, et. al.

The RAM advice I understand, but not the SSD advice. I just searched multiple sites, and the best I could find for a 256 GB SSD was only $50 less than the cost of just letting Apple install it.
post #4 of 16
I bought a BTO 15" 2.2 model. Weighing the options, I decided to buy ram elsewhere (obv) but I decided to upgrade the hard drive to the 128gb ssd. The reason being the upgrade cost from the standard 700gb hdd to the 128 ssd drive was only $100. Buying a separate similar ssd would be 2.5x the cost of that.
post #5 of 16
Thread Starter 
It seems like the people who say "don't buy from Apple!" are often regurgitating outdated advice. As I mentioned above, and as "rosh" just mentioned, the price of buying a third-party SSD is often more expensive than upgrading with Apple, and the possible $50 savings hardly seems worth voiding one's warranty.

I understand buying third-party RAM for a lower price and then selling the stock RAM can yield big savings, but installing RAM doesn't void the warranty. But as I understand it, installing a third-party hard drive DOES void the warranty, which means one must keep the stock hard drive and then swap it back into the MBP in order to get warranty service. I might do that for $300, but I'm not going to do it for $50.

Anyway, if anyone has any feedback on the SSD option in terms of actual performance and longevity, I'd appreciate it. I started out planning to get the 7200-rpm HD, then decided on the 256 GB SSD, and then I found some stories claiming that SSDs aren't as reliable or long-lasting as once thought, which has me back at square one. Thanks.
post #6 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by jsk173 View Post

But as I understand it, installing a third-party hard drive DOES void the warranty

Nope. Never has for the MacBook or MacBook Pro.

Originally Posted by Slurpy

There's just a TINY chance that Apple will also be able to figure out payments. Oh wait, they did already… …and you’re already fucked.

 

Reply

Originally Posted by Slurpy

There's just a TINY chance that Apple will also be able to figure out payments. Oh wait, they did already… …and you’re already fucked.

 

Reply
post #7 of 16
If I was buying a new MacBook Pro, I'd get the anti-glare screen with the higher pixel count. You can always put in a HD later on if needed.
post #8 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post

Don't buy RAM from Apple. Don't buy hard drives from Apple.

Get one from Newegg, et. al.

really
??


i would forget about 17 in and i would buy


<<well i just did buy a 15">>

>>>>Activity Location DetailsMar 4, 2011 8:34 PM
In transit
SHANGHAI CNMar 4, 2011 8:19 PMIn transitSHANGHAI CNMar 3, 2011 6:19 AMShipment information sent to FedExMar 3, 2011 7:09 PMLeft FedEx origin facilitySHANGHAI CNMar 3, 2011 7:07 PMPicked upSHANGHAI CNPackage received after FedEx cutoff
>>>>>>>>

again i would buy the highest end MBP15" in anti glare glossy hi res screen 8 g 500g 7500rpm

the major reason is that apple has split its line in 2

high fast graphic computers
and weak sloppy graphic offerings

i say go with speed

and now the 15" scen matches the 17" one


just my thoughts
i may be wrong here

9
whats in a name ? 
beatles
Reply
whats in a name ? 
beatles
Reply
post #9 of 16
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by brucep View Post

really
??


i would forget about 17 in and i would buy


<<well i just did buy a 15">>

>>>>Activity Location DetailsMar 4, 2011 8:34 PM
In transit
SHANGHAI CNMar 4, 2011 8:19 PMIn transitSHANGHAI CNMar 3, 2011 6:19 AMShipment information sent to FedExMar 3, 2011 7:09 PMLeft FedEx origin facilitySHANGHAI CNMar 3, 2011 7:07 PMPicked upSHANGHAI CNPackage received after FedEx cutoff
>>>>>>>>

again i would buy the highest end MBP15" in anti glare glossy hi res screen 8 g 500g 7500rpm

the major reason is that apple has split its line in 2

high fast graphic computers
and weak sloppy graphic offerings

i say go with speed

and now the 15" scen matches the 17" one


just my thoughts
i may be wrong here

9

I'm not sure I understand your comments. Do you actually believe the 15-inch is somehow superior to the 17-inch in a technological sense, or do you simply prefer having a 15-inch screen instead of the bigger and heavier 17-inch screen?
post #10 of 16
Thread Starter 
Barring any last-minute changes, I'll probably be going with the MBP 17-inch with the standard 2.2 GHz processor, the stock 4 GB RAM, the antiglare screen (+ $50), and a 256 GB SSD (+ $500).

Is it safe to say that the 256 GB SSD for $500 is a better idea (and value) than upgrading to the 2.3 GHz processor (+ $250) and the 8 GB RAM (+ $200)?
post #11 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by jsk173 View Post

Barring any last-minute changes, I'll probably be going with the MBP 17-inch with the standard 2.2 GHz processor, the stock 4 GB RAM, the antiglare screen (+ $50), and a 256 GB SSD (+ $500).

Is it safe to say that the 256 GB SSD for $500 is a better idea (and value) than upgrading to the 2.3 GHz processor (+ $250) and the 8 GB RAM (+ $200)?

Not safe to say if it's better or not -- it really, really does depend on what you're doing.

I'm in the same boat as you, looking at getting the 17". My current 17" (late 2006) can only recognize 3GB of ram, and I've been diving into audio/music production big time lately. With only 3GB of ram, I can limp along with most Logic projects, but I often have to quit/restart to free up memory. For me, the biggest gain would be from getting the ram up to 8GB.

Of course, a huge part of my workflow involves sample instruments, and a large sample library (1GB+) can take time to load from disk, so I would benefit from a SSD.

For now, I'm leaning toward the Seagate Momentus XT, a hybrid drive. 500GB 7200, 4GB SSD.

I don't think you'll ever regret going with the SSD. You can always add ram later. For me, 256GB SSD is too expensive and too small for my needs. I'm getting the ram now, as the SSD will (hopefully) fall more in price over time than the ram. The only issue is upgrading the processor, which probably isn't easily user upgradable after the fact.
post #12 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by jsk173 View Post

Barring any last-minute changes, I'll probably be going with the MBP 17-inch with the standard 2.2 GHz processor, the stock 4 GB RAM, the antiglare screen (+ $50), and a 256 GB SSD (+ $500).

Is it safe to say that the 256 GB SSD for $500 is a better idea (and value) than upgrading to the 2.3 GHz processor (+ $250) and the 8 GB RAM (+ $200)?

One more thing to keep in mind -- you could get an express card ssd drive in the 17" (I think the express card slot is dropped in the 13"/15"). IIRC, express card ssd go up to 96GB.

I'm considering an express card ssd for boot and applications, and leaving the main HD for files, etc. The only issue is 96GB is really tight (for me) for /library, /system, /user and /app directories.

Google 'express card ssd macbook pro', there are a few Macworld articles. It's a compelling upgrade.
post #13 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by jsk173 View Post

Is it safe to say that the 256 GB SSD for $500 is a better idea (and value) than upgrading to the 2.3 GHz processor (+ $250) and the 8 GB RAM (+ $200)?

As mentioned, it can depend on what you're doing with the machine. Judging from everything I've heard and read, the SSD is going to make your user experience a lot snappier. I bought the 2.3ghz upgrade, but only because it was the only way to get the hi-res matte screen in-store. I've read that nets approximately 4% in speed (up to 9% in some tasks). If you're doing a BTO, I personally don't think it's worth the cost. I'd personally invest in the SSD and upgrade the memory later if you feel you need it.

One other consideration would be to go with the stock 17" with its 750gb drive for storage, and then pick up one of these or one of these. I'm very likely going to be picking up the OWC version as its 120gb SSD comes highly rated.

Keep in mind that I use my optical drive about once every ten weeks. For that I'll get an enclosure and hang on to my drive as an external option. If you're doing music production and need to be burning audio CDs (particularly if you're mobile), this may not be practical. For me it gives me the benefits of speed without the tradeoff of storage.

Also note that from what I've read, if you do this, move the internal drive into the optical bay and install the SSD using the HD interface. The optical bay uses a slower SATA 2 port, while the HD bay is SATA 3.
post #14 of 16
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the replies. I'm probably going to go with the 256 GB SSD from Apple. I suppose I could save $50 and/or get a faster SSD if I went the third-party route, but with TRIM support apparently only available to SSDs installed by Apple, I'm probably going to choose the path of least resistance.
post #15 of 16
Keep in mind too, and maybe I'm believing this because I'm fairly new to the idea of SSD, but I've also read that some of these drives (such as the OWC Mercury) come with controllers that themselves handle the garbage collection that is otherwise dependent on OS-level TRIM support. Obviously some more research is needed, but another consideration isn't just the internal GC vs TRIM that Apple's drives support, but the fact that Apple's drives perform about half as well (according to spec) as many of these non-Apple drives. Some benchmarks are showing Apple's SSD drives' performance to only be slightly above that of a 7200rpm traditional drive. No thanks, I'll take the additional storage space and cost savings over a slight performance bump.

Again, take all this with a grain of salt. I'm just doing some preliminary reading myself.
post #16 of 16
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by djames4242 View Post

Keep in mind too, and maybe I'm believing this because I'm fairly new to the idea of SSD, but I've also read that some of these drives (such as the OWC Mercury) come with controllers that themselves handle the garbage collection that is otherwise dependent on OS-level TRIM support. Obviously some more research is needed, but another consideration isn't just the internal GC vs TRIM that Apple's drives support, but the fact that Apple's drives perform about half as well (according to spec) as many of these non-Apple drives. Some benchmarks are showing Apple's SSD drives' performance to only be slightly above that of a 7200rpm traditional drive. No thanks, I'll take the additional storage space and cost savings over a slight performance bump.

Again, take all this with a grain of salt. I'm just doing some preliminary reading myself.

I'm aware that SSDs like the OWC have better performance ratings, but I've also read that the OWC has a very high failure rate -- maybe even higher than a traditional HDD. I know I could have bad luck with an Apple SSD as well, but without any real monetary savings, it doesn't seem worth the hassle.

As for the Apple vs. third-party, I've seen benchmarks that showed Apple's SSDs being outclassed by the OWC and a couple others, but those benchmarks also showed the Apple model to be at least 200 to 300 percent faster than the 5400 rpm or 7200 rpm HDDs. Where have you seen testing that showed the Apple SSD as only "slightly above" the 7200 rpm drive?
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