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Does a Fast SSD negate the need for maxing out RAM?
Posted by: RoadToad
Date: January 06, 2013 07:39PM
I just got a new-to-me Early 2011 17" MacBook Pro 2.3 Quad core i7 off of Ebay for $1400. I bought this particular model because it's the newest one that will run Snow Leopard. It came with an OWC Mercury EXTREME Pro 6G SSD and a Toshiba 750GB HD that was moved to the optical drive slot using an OWC Data Doubler.

It came with 4GB of RAM. Would it make an appreciable difference if I maxed it out to 16GB? I typically have Photoshop, InDesign, Illustrator and Dreamweaver open along with Mail, Chrome, iTunes, etc.

I haven't used it enough to know if I'll have a lot of page-outs under working conditions, currently it is up to 25MB after being on for a day, but I'm just surfing and emailing.

I can up the RAM to 16GB for $60. Would it be money well spent?

P.S. I upgraded from a late 2008 MBP 15" that had 8GB of RAM, but no SSD and WOW is this thing big and fast!




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Re: Does a Fast SSD negate the need for maxing out RAM?
Posted by: Carnos Jax
Date: January 06, 2013 07:46PM
From real world comments I've seen in this forum, and my understanding of how traditional HD storage and RAM works, I would say the SSD would negate the need for more RAM.

However, from what I understand also, the memory used in SSD's eventually 'wear out' over the typical life of the device. That's why SSD's are built with an additional buffer of storage held in reserve (that doesn't get reported in the overall capacity of the product).

I would think if you needed more RAM (i.e. frequently accessed data), it would be detrimental to the life of the SSD, as it would be used as virtual memory in lieu of adequate RAM. So perhaps adequate RAM would good. Maybe someone who knows more about these sorts of things can shed more light...
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Re: Does a Fast SSD negate the need for maxing out RAM?
Posted by: Buzz
Date: January 06, 2013 07:49PM
Awesome deal, so dropping a couple of bucks to add RAM is a must... it'll still be a great deal, and you won't have to worry anymore.


///



Sometimes it is what it is...
and then there's times when it's really better.



==
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Re: Does a Fast SSD negate the need for maxing out RAM?
Posted by: Surfrider
Date: January 06, 2013 07:53PM
I'm configuring a new Mini and this helped me decide 16 GB Ram AND an SSD!!!
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Re: Does a Fast SSD negate the need for maxing out RAM?
Posted by: mattkime
Date: January 06, 2013 07:59PM
$60?? buy the ram!



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Re: Does a Fast SSD negate the need for maxing out RAM?
Posted by: RoadToad
Date: January 06, 2013 07:59PM
Quote
Awesome deal, so dropping a couple of bucks to add RAM is a must... it'll still be a great deal, and you won't have to worry anymore.
It was an awesome deal and it was in perfect condition. It also had the anti-glare screen which wasn't even mentioned in the listing.

Apple is still selling the same MBP refurbished for $1,989 and that's without an SSD!




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Re: Does a Fast SSD negate the need for maxing out RAM?
Posted by: Black
Date: January 06, 2013 09:15PM
It came with 4GB of RAM. Would it make an appreciable difference if I maxed it out to 16GB?
For most people, no.
I typically have Photoshop, InDesign, Illustrator and Dreamweaver open along with Mail, Chrome, iTunes, etc.
For you, yes.




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Re: Does a Fast SSD negate the need for maxing out RAM?
Posted by: M A V I C
Date: January 06, 2013 09:26PM
Quote
RoadToad
It came with 4GB of RAM. Would it make an appreciable difference if I maxed it out to 16GB? I typically have Photoshop, InDesign, Illustrator and Dreamweaver open along with Mail, Chrome, iTunes, etc.

I usually have all that open, and then some. My experience has been that a SSD does not negate the need for more RAM.

For example, I would still get spinning beachballs when I had 4GB of RAM and a SSD. I upgraded to 8GB, the problem went away immediately.

I also agree with the longevity issues Carnos Jax mentioned.

If I had to choose between a SSD and a lot of RAM, I would still pick a lot of RAM.




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Re: Does a Fast SSD negate the need for maxing out RAM?
Posted by: RoadToad
Date: January 06, 2013 09:48PM
Thanks all for the responses. 16GB it is!




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Re: Does a Fast SSD negate the need for maxing out RAM?
Posted by: sekker
Date: January 06, 2013 10:43PM
That's a sweet machine.

eBay L E A D E R !
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Re: Does a Fast SSD negate the need for maxing out RAM?
Posted by: DRR
Date: January 07, 2013 01:08AM
Quote
M A V I C

If I had to choose between a SSD and a lot of RAM, I would still pick a lot of RAM.

Personally, yes, I think it depends in large part on what you use the machine for as well.

SSD will basically negate more RAM if your system is using the HD as swap. However, if you still want to open lots of programs at once, and have them all working at once - there's no substitute for RAM. SSD would help lessen the blow though.

So I'd say, if you single or double task, go with the SSD,

If you multitask - have 5+ programs open, or pro-level memory hogs - get RAM first.

Also consider that RAM is generally easier to replace than SSD.

Of course, both is best.
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Re: Does a Fast SSD negate the need for maxing out RAM?
Posted by: silvarios
Date: January 07, 2013 04:14AM
Quote
DRR
So I'd say, if you single or double task, go with the SSD,

While I agree, assuming the single or double apps aren't big hitters themselves, who buys an expensive computer to just check email and browse the web? Even a couple year old netbook would be fine for such an application.
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Re: Does a Fast SSD negate the need for maxing out RAM?
Posted by: Robert M
Date: January 07, 2013 09:47AM
Road,

I have a '09 Macbook Pro 13" model. I upgraded the RAM _and_ installed an SSD in it. I can tell you that the SSD has dramatically increased its "snappiness" for general day to day tasks. This is in the sense of opening and closing apps, booting, shutting down, etc. The machine feels as "snappy" as my Mac Pro.

But, snappiness doesn't necessarily equate a boost in horsepower and as DRR said, depending on your usage, there is no substute for real RAM (and, I'll add, horsepower). The MacBook Pro still has just a Core 2 Duo processor and prior to a RAM upgrade, just 2 or 4 gigs of RAM.

Although I use my Mac Pro for heavy duty work, knowing I was going to run some heavy duty packages simultaneously now and again (Photoshop, InDesign, etc) along with light duty tasks (email, web browsing, etc) on the Macbook Pro, I decided to up the RAM while the machine was in the shop for its SSD.

Could I have done with just the SSD? Likely. But, the RAM was cheap and the timing was right. If I was going to upgrade the drive, it made sense to bump up the RAM at the same time. No regrets!

Robert
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Re: Does a Fast SSD negate the need for maxing out RAM?
Posted by: DRR
Date: January 07, 2013 10:49AM
Quote
silvarios
Quote
DRR
So I'd say, if you single or double task, go with the SSD,

While I agree, assuming the single or double apps aren't big hitters themselves, who buys an expensive computer to just check email and browse the web? Even a couple year old netbook would be fine for such an application.

Lots of people do. I'm not here to argue their needs or purchase decisions.

My mother drives an Acura TL type S with close to 300 horsepower. To get groceries and go to dim sum.
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Re: Does a Fast SSD negate the need for maxing out RAM?
Posted by: OWC Larry
Date: January 07, 2013 03:52PM
Fast SSD reduces load time, OS operational calls, and - when you don't have enough memory, speeds up memory page swaps dramatically. An SSD be up to 100X faster for the page swaps vs. a hard drive... but memory is still 15-100X faster than the fastest SSD today in terms of bandwidth (depends on computer...) and I/O transaction capability.

So - an SSD makes a huge difference across the board. But you still want to have at least enough memory to run your applications without paging virtual memory if possible. it's a bigger deal if you're doing work output/processing, etc vs. tasks that aren't as time intensive to begin with.



OWC Larry
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