Posts for Tag: macbook pro

Forget RAM, CPU, etc. The most cost effective way to speed up your Mac is with an SSD

Someone asked me the other day about upgrading to a new laptop.  Specifically they wanted to grab a new MacBook Pro (non-retina) to upgrade from their 2011 MacBook Pro which seemed to be getting slower for them.  Applications loaded slower, startup seemed to take forever, etc.  As I am a current user of a 2011 MacBook Pro, I was a little confused as to what they meant by slower since my machine is still very snappy for a 2 year old machine.  When I showed them what I meant by cold booting my machine from off to login screen in less than 15 seconds, they were floored.  Even when their machine was brand new, it never booted that quickly.  Opening up applications was even faster.  The difference between our machines?  I have an SSD and they have the stock 5400RPM hard drive.  My recommendation to them was to keep their still pristine looking laptop and simply swap out the hard drive for an SSD.  The one I run in my MacBook is a Crucial M4 512GB.  They're relatively cheap - Amazon has this particular model for less than $400 - and it truly is like upgrading to a brand new MacBook.  It's no wonder Apple is starting to move all of their products over to SSD. 

The great thing about the non-retina MacBooks is that it's still relatively easy to do upgrades yourself.  Check out the tutorial from the iFixIt guys.  Remember to back up all of your data before doing any hard drive swap out.  To me, CPU and RAM upgrades haven't provided nearly the same punch as going from a standard hard drive to SSD.  Once you've experienced it, you'll never go back and you can keep that old trusty laptop even longer before needing to upgrade.

Once you go solid state, you'll never have to wait

My hard drive died about a week ago and I've been in limbo. For all that the iPad can do, it is NOT a laptop replacement. It can do about 80% of the things a laptop can do but that other 20% is pretty darn important.

So if you're counting, this is the 2nd hard drive failure I've had in the last 3 months. Each time I was visited by the infamous click of death (hear below). I decided that the aggravation and loss of productivity was not worth the price-to-storage ratio of the standard platter hard drive. I vowed to never again hear the dreaded clicking of my hard drive failing so I upgraded to an solid state drive. Though these things aren't cheap ($400 versus $100 for 500GB of storage), I figured that it was worth it for a more reliable and faster storage solution. Well I can't speak to the reliability since I've only had the drive running for a few hours but the speed is unbelievable. From pressing the power button to being on the desktop took less than 10 seconds. Mac OS X opens all the previous programs I had open before shut down, so that means I'll have anywhere from 6-9 separate programs that need to open before I can really start working. This process usually took about 3 minutes but with this new drive, I'm ready to go in under 30 seconds. Opening Excel or Word would take 20-30 seconds each but now take less than 5 seconds. There is no way I can ever go back and would actually trade off CPU or RAM upgrades in place of an SSD.

So next time you think your computer is slow, the best thing you can do to speed things up is just get an SSD. The performance improvement is dramatic.

To MacBook Pro Retina or not to MacBook Pro Retina… That is the question...

Now that the WWDC Keynote has come and gone, the question I have to ask myself is whether to get the new MacBook Pro 15" with Retina Display. I was hoping that they would release a 13" version but alas, no. Judging by how the internals of the device are a big departure from the "regular" MacBook Pro, I'm thinking a smaller version won't be out any time soon. Plus, Apple is probably trying to differentiate their product lines to basically three classes of laptops - ultra portable, consumer and professional. Looking at the price/specs, there is virtually no reason anyone would buy the non-Retina Display 15" MacBook Pro. For $400 more, you're getting double the memory (+$100), SSD (+$500) and that before mentioned gorgeous Retina Display (besides the fact that it is thinner and lighter, plus has those "hidden" design improvements - quieter fan, stronger construction, etc). But hey, you do get a nice DVD drive on the old MBP that you'll use a handful of times a year.

The bigger question is whether I should upgrade from a 13" to a 15" MacBook Pro, at all. I like the portability of the 13" model but the new MBP is actually slightly less heavy even though it's 15". I'd have to probably get a new bag because the Brenthaven one I have is specifically designed for 13" laptops. Still, $2,199 is more money than I've ever spent on a laptop and I'm having a hard time justifying the cost. If it were $200-$300 less, it would be a no brainer but that psychological $2K number just makes me cringe. Perhaps I should go demo it at the Apple Store first.....................

New MacBook Pro design should focus on bigger, better, faster - not thinner...

Apple's choice of processors may depend on how dramatically it redesigns the MacBook Pro next year. Rumors have persisted that Apple is working on ultra-thin models that may represent a complete overhaul of some of the MacBook Pro models, making them more Air-like in design.

There are lots of rumblings that Apple will kill the optical drive in its 13" and 15" MacBook Pro line. It seems the 17" will still keep the drive to satisfy the few hardcore production people who for some reason still work with DVDs (not Bluray, mind you). The question becomes, well what do you do with all that real estate now that an optical drive is no longer there. There have been rumors of an ultra-thin Air-like 15" MacBook (Pro or Air?).

If it were up to me, I'd stay away from thinner. Maybe a little thinner is ok but don't try to create a 15" MacBook Air. As a previous Air owner, I loved the sleek design and super light machine. However, I found myself growing tired of how under-powered it was and the constant high whirring of the fan when I did more CPU intensive activities. I eventually switched to a 13" MacBook Pro and thought it was a great compromise between power, performance and size. So I would hate for them to kill the 13" MacBook Pro in favor of sleeker underpowered (relatively speaking) machines. Instead, take the empty real estate and either add more storage, RAM, or better yet more batteries. At the very least, just take out the drive so it's slightly lighter but don't trade sleek for power when the 13" MacBook Pro is already pretty sleek.

Why are PC people so angry?

I'm bitching about how stupid people are to pay for a machine that has so many drawbacks. So stop being Apples bitch and paying out the ass for their products.

Are you one of the non-technologically inclined idiots that Apple has gotten to? Thats what it sounds like to me.

The above is a comment from a TechCrunch posting by the famously pro-Apple MG Siegler. It's always funny how the spectrum of Apple lovers/haters plays out. People either REALLY love them or REALLY hate them.

The posting itself brings up some good points about Apple's eventual killing of the optical drive in most of their laptops. I can count the number of times I've used the optical drive on my laptop in the last two years on one hand yet it's persistently there taking up valuable space and weight. When I owned a MacBook Air, I bought the external superdrive and probably used it 3-4 times, as well. Would I buy a laptop without a built-in optical drive but have an external one handy? Absolutely and that's what I think Apple will do in its next refresh of the MacBook Pro line.

Speaking of new MacBooks, I just ordered the latest 13" MacBook Pro via Amazon. Arrives on Monday - no tax and free shipping via Amazon Prime. Early benchmarks show that the lowest end MacBook Pro 13" released on Thursday performs as fast as the highest end MacBook Pro 17" released last year. Crazy!