priorities? which to upgrade first?

Discussion in 'MacBook Air, MacBook & MacBook Pro' started by enuhski, Jun 24, 2009.

  1. enuhski

    enuhski Active Member

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    hi guys,

    i'm thinking of maxing out my macbook unibody's specs, plus buying an extra battery. (i have 2.4Ghz with 250 GB mem and 2 GB of ram). i inquired about the prices of maxing out my specs (thanks Charlie!), and now i'm confused as to which upgrade is important for my needs. definitely i'm going to upgrade little by little, but i need your advice as to which should go first. :)

    my needs are fairly simple:
    - i mostly use word processing applications
    - i use sun wireless broadband
    - i use USB ports often for my ipod, sun, memory card reader, etc.
    - i surf the net several hours a day, with safari and firefox both open, and both running 1 or 2 flash games (hehe)
    - my battery is down to 92 cycles since feb of this year
    - i'm highly mobile

    here are the things i'm considering:

    1) Battery for Macbook unibody 2.4Ghz
    2) RAM upgrade from 2GB to 4GB
    3) Memory upgrade from 250 GB to either 320GB or 500GB


    i need your advice re: which should be prioritized based on my needs

    i also have a few more questions:

    1) does upgrading the RAM put less stress on the CPU for flash applications or USB devices, and consequently, less pressure on the battery?
    2) what happens to my existing 250GB in case i go for a memory upgrade? how do i back up my files, etc. if i don't have a spare hard drive?


    thanks in advance!!! :D
     
  2. bulyot

    bulyot Member

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    Definitely RAM first!! or sell it and get the new MBP with 7 hours of battery life...hehehe
     
  3. NeilJohn

    NeilJohn Active Member

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    If most of the time your batteries ran out of juice, I suggest you go for an extra battery. Otherwise, I would rather have a ram upgrade. It looks like you're not in immediate need of extra space so that would be my least.

    Ram will certainly make things faster for you if you are running multiple applications at a time. I don't think it takes away load from the CPU but I may be wrong. Having more ram may have a very slight penalty in battery life.

    If you go for a HDD upgrade, you get to keep it. Buy an enclosure and run your OS from that drive. Then transfer all your files from that drive to the hard drive installed in your laptop. After transferring the files you can turn your computer off and boot from internal drive.

    Cheers.
     
  4. ste@lth

    [email protected] Well-Known Member

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    Assessing your routines, its seems your Macbooks current specs is more than enough, if there will be no addition to your computing needs like lets say Photo Rendering, Video Editing and the likes you will not experience any major boost in your Macbooks performance, but if your always mobile and need lots of battery life, then i suggest you get the extra battery, cheers!
     
  5. Macmon

    Macmon Well-Known Member

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    I agree. Your macbook specs are quite enough for your needs. Unless you just want to upgrade your RAM or hard drive for the sake of upgrading.
    As for your battery, unless you dont have a place to recharge your macbook, then get an extra battery.
     
  6. barre05

    barre05 Well-Known Member
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    Ditto. The activities that you mentioned don't really require upgrades at the moment, but if you must:

    1. Extra Battery
    -You said that you're highly mobile (plus your cycle count is pretty high, considering you just got your Mac this Feb), so the battery has to be the priority.

    2. HDD: upgrade to 500GB
    -Since you surf a lot, this might be a good upgrade for you, since you might store a lot of downloads as you surf.

    3. RAM
    -The activities you do are hardly taxing to the RAM, so this ought to be your last upgrade, if at all. You can upgrade this in a year or two (when DDR3 gets even cheaper), so you can extend the life of your unibody, when more taxing programs require more RAM space. :)
     
  7. popmac

    popmac Member

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    I second the motion.
     
  8. nre

    nre Member

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    2GB RAM is relatively plenty. In my own experience, we got by fine just having a mere 512MB on our old PB G4 and we've used it for home movies, page layouts etc etc. Of course, the boost from having more ram would've been welcome - but if you're upgrading in steps, I guess my point is that you could allot your budget to other things that'd give a more immediate, tangible benefit. Extra battery? Savings for a rainy day?
     
  9. strummsteel

    strummsteel Member

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    Unfortunately upgrading RAM on unibody macbooks are hit and miss with crashes and hangs aplenty, im thinking of getting a ram upgrade too but im not rushing because of the reported crashes due to ram upgrades
     
  10. clcabatbat

    clcabatbat Member

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    ram, hard disk, apple care
     
  11. mig

    mig Active Member

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    Why are you looking to upgrade? How much free space have you got left? Does your computer feel relatively sluggish now?
     
  12. bedanmick

    bedanmick Member

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    I'll go for HDD first, then RAM then Battery.

    You can buy RAM easily since its relatively cheap anyway. Once you have a large HDD (go for 500gb) you'll have this urge to fill it with media's like movies and songs. Battery will be the last, as long as you are in place where theres an electric outlet which all places has, then youre good to go.
     
  13. bhoyetjumpay

    bhoyetjumpay Well-Known Member

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    as i read your post, i've noticed that your battery is quite high as mentioned also by barre05 because as you said you're highly mobile person. for your info, my battery cycle count as of to date (24 Jun 09) is only 29 and i bought my unibody macbook last Nov. my suggestion, get an extra battery first:)
     
  14. enuhski

    enuhski Active Member

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    hi guys!

    thanks so much for your inputs.

    1. one of the reasons i'm considering upgrading/maxing out my specs is in anticipation of snow leopard. i'm not sure how fast or how advanced existing systems have to be to be able to maximize it. another reason is that to make sure my unibody can handle the needs/requirements the "future" entails - from my almost 3 years of owning an ibook, i felt like i didn't maximize its specs so it slowed down for me and i only had 30GB to work with.

    2. as for my high battery cycle count, i honestly don't know why i always have a high cycle count (even in the case of my ibook). this time tho, the culprit is the keyboard protector i'd used since day1. my bayaw who's an apple engineer said it's because the kb protector blocks the air vents in the keyboard itself. altho the capdase i used had holes in it, these aren't enough to let the heat circulate freely, hence i experienced overheating frequently until i was advised not to use the protector. so that in part, might explain the high charge cycles. --> i didn't plug in often even when i had the chance to because i was afraid i might overcharge the battery. is this correct?

    3. as for the RAM, i usually have several windows open at a time - both safari and firefox browsers, office applications (word, ppt, etc.) and other apps. if you say the RAM can handle my activities, then maybe i won't get one just yet. i also read in an earlier post that higher ram might affect the battery slightly and tax it a little. can anyone else confirm this?

    4. i'm definitely going to get apple care! hehe :)

    i'm a longtime mac user but unfortunately i don't know enough about specific technical aspects.

    i'm looking forward to your additional inputs. thanks so much! :)
     
  15. enuhski

    enuhski Active Member

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    how'd you manage just 29 cycles???? is your macbook always plugged in? help help :O
     
  16. alikishi

    alikishi Well-Known Member

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    You don't need any of the upgrades you mentioned
     
  17. bhoyetjumpay

    bhoyetjumpay Well-Known Member

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    my secret:D

    1. always plugged in whenever there is an electrical outlet
    2. even the battery is full charged, i dont unplugged my magsafe
    3. always plugged in even on sleep mode at night only
    4. when i dont bring my macbook in the office or when im outside, i unplugged and sleep my macbook and let the battery consumes to keep the battery juices flowing, it’s important to keep the electrons in it moving occasionally

    it takes an average of 12 days to complete the battery cycle.
     
  18. mig

    mig Active Member

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    I'm guessing you plug/unplug your mac often. I made the mistake of doing that and mine was new. If you let the battery go under 50% and plug it in again, it already counts as 1 cycle. I've got 88 cycles already and I got my mac in November '08.

    I'd honestly skip the extra battery. From what I've read, you can expect a lifespan of 300 cycles from your battery. Thats FAAAAAAR away from your current number if you ease up on the charging starting now. Mind you, its always best to give it a cycle a month. Have a look at this for a rough idea:

    http://guides.macrumors.com/Laptop_Battery_Guide

    Does your mac already feel sluggish with your regular use? If your computer doesn't feel sluggish at all (which I don't think it will, given your use) then I don't think you'd need a RAM upgrade.

    How much space have you got left in your hard drive? Even if you want to stick a 320-500gb drive in there, it'd be pointless if you can't even fill your current drive yet.
     
  19. rafaelc378

    rafaelc378 Active Member

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    I concur with bhoyet & mig regarding the battery. If you carry around your MagSafe charger and plug in as much as you can, you can skip the battery.

    I wouldn't upgrade the RAM unless you consistently get a lot of the "spinning beachball."

    And unless you're running at near capacity with your hard drive all the time (only 10GB free or less), I wouldn't up the hard drive either.

    Just FYI, here are the requirements listed for Snow Leopard on the Apple site:

    http://www.apple.com/macosx/specs.html

    So even now, with what you have you have enough to run Snow Leopard. Heheh. This isn't Windows where you have to upgrade everything just to run the bare bones version. ;)
     
  20. MacSonic 779

    MacSonic 779 Member

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    In my opinion, your MacBook is adequate for your needs. About Snow Leopard, maybe when it's launched and released, just wait for feedbacks first from other users and find out if you need a ram upgrade. It will be a new OSX and untest yet. Just make sure your MacBook is well maintained for optimum speed like fixing permissions and its directory. Leaving some space in the HD.
     

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