As I briefly mentioned in my last post, I recently got a new MacBook Pro as an early graduation present to replace my old MBP. Even though it was a brand new computer, I only upgraded a few components when I purchased it – opting to upgrade the remaining items by myself after. This was mostly due to the fact that a lot of the upgrades Apple offers are insanely overpriced. For instance, going from 4 GB to 8 GB of RAM adds $200 onto the price of the computer. An 8 GB kit of RAM off of Newegg typically runs between $30 – $50, depending on the brand and speed. Additionally, when you have Apple do it for you, they keep the original 4 GB of RAM – when you do it yourself, you can reuse the 4 GB of RAM in a later project.
Anyway, the two main components I decided to leave stock were the hard drive and RAM (if you couldn’t tell already). The RAM I quickly found on Newegg for $30 – it was a G.Skill kit (which happens to be my personal go to brand for RAM) at the same speed as the stock RAM in MBP. By quickly found, I mean the 8 GB of RAM was installed within 3 hours of bringing the computer home. As for the hard drive, I thought I would be able to handle the switch from the SSD in my old MBP to a 7200 RPM drive in the new computer, but quickly came to realize that the speed difference is HUGE. Last week I found a 256 GB Samsung 830 Series on Newegg for $350 – if that sounds a little high to anyone, Apple charges $500 for the 256 GB SSD option, and, again, they keep the original hard drive. After debating if I should just get it already or wait a little longer, I ended up buying it. One interesting thing to note is that the hard drive that came in the computer was 9 mm tall, while the SSD was only 7 mm – there’s no issue using a smaller drive in the MBP, but I was definitely surprised when I placed the drives side by side. Here’s a picture of the SSD fully installed.
After upgrading the RAM and swapping out the HDD for an SSD, the computer is insanely fast. Not to say it was a slouch before – the quad core i7 is definitely a huge improvement over the Core 2 Duo that was in my old MBP – but the difference between a traditional hard drive and a solid state drive is staggering. The computer is virtually quiet during normal operation, and only audible when the fans kick on if its working a little harder than normal. Overall, I’m loving my new MBP – its amazing how much of a difference 4 years makes in the computer world.