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07-24-2010, 11:16 AM   #1
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Upgrading my laptop

Hello, I have a 2.4 ghz macbook pro with 3gb of RAM

i'm looking to upgrade it and get the best bang for my buck: I do have fair knowledge of computers and upgrading (used to repair laptops a couple of years ago and have built many computers over the years)

I'm thinking that upgrading to 4gb RAM will be a good idea as i'd have physically more RAM and it'd also work in dual channel? Will I have to buy the same brand as the stick that's already in there or can I just get anything

The hard drive is a 5400 RPM drive, and I guess i'd see a fair benefit from upgrading to a 7200rpm drive? (I also do a lot of 3d modelling, and video editing)

I also bought a lacie 2big raid enclosure and am going to hook it up via firewire 800- I bought the enclosure empty with the intention of putting 2 1tb drives in, I have one drive but now i'm having second thoughts about buying a second. Would it make more sense to upgrade the drive in my laptop to 7200, or would I see more of a performance upgrade from running the lacie with 2 drives in a RAID 0 set over firewire (for scratch disks)
I can't afford both, space isn't an issue as I have an excess of hard drives


I've also just opened a 50gb account with ADRIVE (100% free may I add), so a 'true' backup is being covered by that

07-24-2010, 11:28 AM   #2
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I'd recommend something with the new i7's, as having a quad-core w/HT (or even a dual-core w/HT) really really nice.

I recently picked up this laptop: VAIO F Series PC | Sony | SonyStyle USA

Best performance I've seen from a laptop so far!

Adam
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07-24-2010, 12:24 PM   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by Adam Quote
I'd recommend something with the new i7's, as having a quad-core w/HT (or even a dual-core w/HT) really really nice.

I recently picked up this laptop: VAIO F Series PC | Sony | SonyStyle USA

Best performance I've seen from a laptop so far!
yeah i'm very tempted by those vaio's, and the price is amazing- especially in the US... but
windows, oh no- i'm far too tied into mac now to wish to change, not that i'd wish to change anyway

also, there is no way in hell I can afford a new laptop- I have like 200 left in the world, I need to get the most improvement for the least cash, while keeping with the macbook pro i've become accustomed to

btw I get decent performance out of the laptop, I think it is the hard drive that's holding it back, hence why I asked whether it would be better (when working on 2gb photoshop composites with 90+ layers) to have a faster internal drive or a blazingly fast (RAID 0) to scratch onto
07-24-2010, 01:45 PM   #4
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clark, most computers (not just laptops) start becoming 'slow' quite quickly after bringing them home because of all the added software and tasks we get them to do simultaneously. There will be only minor improvements in your laptop's performance by upgrading RAM and HDD because the major improvements are with the central processor.

Adam's suggestion is right, and there's no other way around it, so you would probably have to upgrade your existing laptop's RAM to its maximum capacity and have to accept that it won't get much faster than that.

07-24-2010, 03:52 PM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by Ash Quote
clark, most computers (not just laptops) start becoming 'slow' quite quickly after bringing them home because of all the added software and tasks we get them to do simultaneously. There will be only minor improvements in your laptop's performance by upgrading RAM and HDD because the major improvements are with the central processor.

Adam's suggestion is right, and there's no other way around it, so you would probably have to upgrade your existing laptop's RAM to its maximum capacity and have to accept that it won't get much faster than that.

thank you, I understand this (it's not so much an issue with OSX but it does make a difference)- but I don't think you're understanding my question, my laptop is quick enough, it's a 2.4ghz dual core running OSX and it works just fine, I don't need to upgrade in terms of 'speed'
the only question I ask is whether i'd see more of a difference (and i think the drive speed is the limiting factor for the kind of things I do) moving my work onto an external scratch disk, or increasing the speed of the internal drive- because the areas where i'm experiencing noticable slowdown are when writing to disk, or when the disks are being accessed
07-24-2010, 04:18 PM   #6
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Thoughts:

1. You have a very nice computer and don't need to replace it just yet, unless you have money and nothing else to do with it.

2. If you can upgrade to 4gb from 3gb for a small amount, I'd try that, although I'm not an expert on whether you'd "feel" it.

3. I think you'd notice the 7200rpm drive.

4. 50gb isn't much for backup, assuming you use raw particularly. I can't use online backup services because with about 250gb to back up and 32kbytes of upload bandwidth, it's just not happening. So I have several external drives and you might want to too.

Paul
07-24-2010, 06:04 PM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by tibbitts Quote
3. I think you'd notice the 7200rpm drive.

4. 50gb isn't much for backup, assuming you use raw particularly. I can't use online backup services because with about 250gb to back up and 32kbytes of upload bandwidth, it's just not happening. So I have several external drives and you might want to too.

Paul
thank you


I think you're right, the 7200 rpm drive is the avenue i'll go down, my plan is to upgrade to a 320gb drive and back that up onto my 400gb external. Use the 1tb drive I already have for media/stuff with the idea of getting a second in the future to run a safe 50 (mixed raid 1 and raid 0) with the lacie, to give 500gb of backed up data and 500gb of RAID 1 for non essential stuff and final cut render files/photoshop scratch/cinema 4d illumination cache

then I have like 4 or other random hard drives/bare drives i'll probably put into a couple of old computers i'm reviving and sell them


the 50gb online storage is going to be just for archival purposes of my most treasured files- i.e. my portfolio

I can get a further 25gb online storage using microsoft skydrive
If I decide I really like online backup (which is unlikely as I guess the speeds are horrendous) I might think about investing in something like Mozy, they do unlimited online storage with a desktop client for like $5 a month

I don't think I have any upload limits on my ISP, but i'm not really much of an uploader so I don't know
07-25-2010, 02:00 PM   #8
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Sorry, I meant 32kbytes/sec. - there is no up/down volume quota. We actually attain about 130kbytes/sec download, but even if we had that going up, it'd take too long. We used to have 200kbytes/sec download speed, but got downgraded and can't get our old service plan back.

Paul

07-26-2010, 02:57 PM   #9
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out current connection gives us 1.6mb/s upload, and 38.1mb/s download- so it's certainly a doable option

the online storage would only be for archiving- my laptop hard drive is backed up to an external hard drive every hour using time machine, and my 1tb drive will be set up in a split raid 1/raid 0 config so everything will be backed up
07-27-2010, 01:05 PM   #10
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If you are use to saving large 3Ds files and PSDs you will definitely notice the difference in hard drives. I had a 100gb 7200rpm in my laptop and when it went out I replaced it with a 320gb but 5400rpm and i get to watch the process bar a little more in photoshop

but if you upgrade the RAM make sure they are all compatible(ie that they are all the same speed MHz) otherwise they will only run as fast as the slowest one.
07-28-2010, 05:41 PM   #11
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I'd say save your cash and swap out your HDD with an SSD. Biggest improvement you can make.
07-28-2010, 06:29 PM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by noahpurdy Quote
I'd say save your cash and swap out your HDD with an SSD. Biggest improvement you can make.
X2

SSD is a big improvement. I installed a 256GB SSD drive in my 3 year old laptop with 2.4Ghz 2-core with 3 GB ram. Running vista 32 bit. Nice boost. Then upgraded to 4G and Win 7 64-bit. I can get another 3 years out of it and will move the SSD over to my next computer.
07-28-2010, 07:51 PM   #13
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I'm going to wager a guess and say you have a late 08 Unibody MacBook Pro (MacBookPro5,1). If that's the case it takes ESPECIALLY well to an SSD and you'd see more improvement than you would over that extra gig of RAM.

An decent SSD will give you up to 80% faster random read speeds. It's mind numbing.
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