I recently upgraded my 2009 17″ MacBook Pro to the newer 2011 model. I was torn on the upgrade because I’m losing some horsepower on a per-core basis (2.6Ghz down to 2.3Ghz) but I picked up two additional cores in the deal. That plus hyperthreading and we’ve got up to 8 parallel threads cranking at once. So, from a processor perspective I think its a positive trade.
Memory was the original 8GB from Apple but I saw that OWC had 8GB DIMMs for the Mac and putting in a pair of them gave me 16GB. That was quite a boost in terms of real memory. I’d say for most people its more memory than they need but for me I generally run a VM or two and 8GB is really not enough. Running Lotus Notes for e-mail, Sametime and other Java based applications tend to burn up memory pretty quickly. So, paging was bad for the SSD.
I’m currently running a Kingston SSDNow 512GB drive and it makes all the difference from a performance perspective. In my opinion, if you’re going to do one upgrade the SSD will give you the biggest bang for the buck in terms of overall performance and user experience.
I’ve been looking at possibly running two 512GB SSDs in the MacBook Pro by removing the DVD (never really use it anyway) and putting in a second 512GB SSD and running as RAID 0 to see if there is a significant performance boost. Should I run into and extra one I may give that a go.
At this point the Mac is working great and I’m not seeing any issues due to the memory upgrade. Here is what it looks like:
Now we’ll see what happens to my battery life.