Upgrade my comptuer system? Wife and I are talking it over - Your Feedback wanted

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This thread could go in multiple sub-boards, so I decided the general discussion is the most common sense choice if I only want to post this once.

I currently have a 9 month old 2010 Macbook Pro.


  • It's a 15.4-inch model with a 2.4Ghz dual core i5 processor.
  • It has 8GB of ram and the upgraded anti-glare hi-res matte screen (1680 x 1050).
  • I've removed the superdrive and installed a second internal hard drive. My boot drive is 500gb 7200rpm and my file drive is 500gb 5400rpm. The former's link speed is 3 Gigabit and the latter's link speed is 1.5 Gigabit.
  • If I keep this system I will most likely upgrade the slower drive to 7200rpm and then look long term at upgrading the boot drive to SSD.


Last week Apple came out with their new Macbook Pro systems featuring quad core processors. My main interest in upgrading would be to move from a dual core processor (i5-520M) to a quad core processor (it's either the i7-2630QM or i7-26305QM). The only other benefit would be the thunderbolt port, but that's secondary (currently I'm limited to only firewire800).

Since I use Lightroom 3, I've asked around in the past week and it's becoming clear that the quad core chip would greatly improve Lightroom's performance. Yes I could upgrade to SSD with my current system, but I could do the same with the upgraded system down the road.


Pros for selling and upgrading now -


1. The out of pocket cost (not how much I still owe) to upgrade is between $300 and $400. Meaning I would sell my current system for X and purchase the new system with the upgraded screen for X+$350. This low upgrade cost now factors out to only being about $1.25 per day since I purchased the system last summer.

2. Since there's now an obvious step up in processor difference between my system and all future systems (going from dual to quad core), the value/time ratio for my system will take a nosedive as time goes on. Once the brand new quad core systems come onto the used market, say next year, the value of my dual core system will be drastically reduced. So selling and upgrading now has a distinct benefit over the life of the systems compared to waiting a year or two down the road.

3. The performance benefit will be felt instantly when using LR3. And this doesn't take into account future releases of Lightroom that might make even better use of multi-core processors.

4. The thunderbolt port for transferring files or backing up is significantly faster then Firewire 800, my fastest external port. And while there currently are not any devices on the market, there will be when I need to purchase a new external hard drive.​


Cons for selling and upgrading now -


1. There will always be a newer and better system. What are you going to do next year, lust after the 2012 Macbook Pros and want to sell your newly purchased 2011 model?

2. I'm not currently "suffering" when editing RAW files in LR3. Perhaps 2 or 3 years down the road when LR4 and LR5 will be released, but as it stands now I'm doing ok.

3. Better speeds when importing, rendering previews during import, and exporting times are not a primary concern. My real concern is speeds / slowdowns in Develop.

4. As a part-time photographer, I'm not in Lightroom as much as a full time photographer and therefore the upgrade isn't warranted due to my limited use.

5. The small cost to upgrade does not take into account how much you paid for your system and the overall cost of your current model.

6. A computer system is just like the old analogy of camera bodies. It would be much wiser to suffer a little with a somewhat slower system and instead spend your money acquiring glass. Having the fastest laptop over the next 4 years takes a back seat to putting that money towards a 35mm 1.4G or something of the sort.​

My current system's geekbench score is 5680 and the upgraded system would most likely be between 8900 and 9400.

Your feedback would be appreciated. My wife is looking at this from a "me spending money needlessly and wanting the cutting edge system", while I can see it both ways. The benefit of the newer system yet the argument to be satisfied with my current model.

What say you?
 
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I'd put the SSD in your current system, and wait on the CPU upgrade. The SSD will have a greater impact, and be felt across virtually every function of the computer. And it will be cheaper, and make your system worth more down the road should you sell it for say, next years' MBP. Just be careful, if your wife catches on to how much faster your computer runs after the upgrade, she's going to want one in her system also ;)
 
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My current system's geekbench score is 5680 and the upgraded system would most likely be between 8900 and 9400.

Your feedback would be appreciated. My wife is looking at this from a "me spending money needlessly and wanting the cutting edge system", while I can see it both ways. The benefit of the newer system yet the argument to be satisfied with my current model.

What say you?

I'm running on the new Sandy Bridge platform which the new Macs use. My geekbench score was 15111. Don't want to tempt you but it may run better than you think :wink:
 
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You can bring your system up to date with current technology, but that will only last until newer models come out. Which is about as certain as the sun rising every day or spring arriving every year.

I'd stick with what you have and save the brownie points needed for upgrading for when you *really* need it.
 
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You can bring your system up to date with current technology, but that will only last until newer models come out. Which is about as certain as the sun rising every day or spring arriving every year.

I'd stick with what you have and save the brownie points needed for upgrading for when you *really* need it.

I have to agree with you. His system is so new it isn't even broken in yet. Probably still has that new system aroma waffling under his nose when he opened the box for the first time. I don't even think about upgrades for at least five years. I'm thinking right now.
 
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I am with your wife. Pay off your old system and then keep putting this amount in the bank until you can afford to pay cash for the new system. Think Dave Ramsey and you will be much better off, not only financially but with your wife.
 
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I think you have some time before "needing" to upgrade... From your pro/con list, I can see some hints of wanting to justify the upgrade without really needing to (I've done the same thing enough times to recognize the "logic" :wink: :biggrin:).
 

JPS

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Very interesting thread ! Bookmarked !

...I'm especially stoned by the SSD thing ! As I'm a perfect noob in computer stuff, I don't really understand the WHAT, HOW, WHERE of it, but I do understand the WHY !

BTW, (just to show my lack of knowledge :redface:) is this SSD stuff only for Mac or does it also work on PC ?

:confused:
J-P.
 
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I am with your wife. Pay off your old system and then keep putting this amount in the bank until you can afford to pay cash for the new system. Think Dave Ramsey and you will be much better off, not only financially but with your wife.

Gordon is right in my opinion. +!
 
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BTW, (just to show my lack of knowledge :redface:) is this SSD stuff only for Mac or does it also work on PC ? :confused:
J-P.
YEP, works on PC's really well... It's just basically a different form of a HDD (hard drive) that has no moving parts and can access your OS or data very quickly that speeds things up hugely... :smile:
 
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I am going to say do it, it will keep you UTD longer with a quadcore than a dual. Its a minimal investment right now as long as you can get X for your current system(which is going to be worth x/2 next year).
 
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Listen to Gordon ("greyflash") and "gramps". They speak wisdom.

From some of your other posts, I gather that you have at least one child. This means you have bills and obligations.

Your current computer is more than capable for all of your general computing and photo processing needs for now and the foreseeable future.

Save the money. If you must spend, spend it on an outing with the family and take lots of pictures. Much more rewarding and a far better return on investment.

Hey, you asked..... :biggrin:
 
T

The Switcher

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Keep your current MacBook Pro. The new one's features are just not worth it, the differences are not noticeable (for a photographer).
 
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.... the differences are not noticeable (for a photographer).

In photoshop tests, the new Sandy Bridge CPU's are almost twice as fast as the older i5's. That is a lot more than not noticeable. :wink: Whether it is actually worth it in time savings for a photographer is totally up to your work flow and how much you use photoshop/NX or whatever you use. It will have a greater impact for processing a lot of large files. If you aren't sitting in front of the computer spending a lot of time doing PP, it might not be worth the upgrade.
 
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Keep current MacBook pro, rumors around say next years model will have a totally redesigned body including more upgrades.
 
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Just keep the system that you have right now, and wait to see how much faster the machine will run with the SSD... If you think it is still too slow for what you are doing then look into upgrading the the i7 processor.
 
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SSD, but wait a while, (1-3 months)

the new generation for SSD is coming OUT SOON (OCZ just announced it word is (from OCZ staff) about 1month out.

it is much faster drive !!!

PS i have 18GB ram and I7 over clocked to 3.6GHZ and LR still drags a little, but is res loading, need a SSD
 
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I upgraded this week to a new 15" MBP with the quad core i7 and 8MB. Mainly to run CS5, and anyway in my 3-year old MBP the battery was dying, the HD was full, and I didn't want to upgrade the memory. But even that old one, ancient compared to your current tricked-out system, ran LR3 just fine. So I'm very surprised that apparently you have performance concerns with it that you want to address with a faster CPU.
 
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Update - I was leaning towards keeping my own system, but yesterday my uncle called and said he wanted to purchase it from me. He was looking at the 13" MBP for $1200, so the extra cost of my system is offset by him getting a 15" model, new 500GB hard drive instead of a 320GB, bigger screen more pixals (1680x1050 compared to only 1280x800), anti-glare instead of glossy, and 8GB of memory instead of the 4GB installed on the 13".

So it looks like I will be upgrading even if some of your commends are very much valid. Plus the calculation cost (below in bold) of upgrading every year makes somewhat sense.

Here's a reply to some of your comments I didn't get to yesterday.

I'd put the SSD in your current system, and wait on the CPU upgrade. The SSD will have a greater impact, and be felt across virtually every function of the computer.

I can always put an SSD in the new system down the road. However, down the road I won't be able to put a new processor in my current system.


I have to agree with you. His system is so new it isn't even broken in yet. Probably still has that new system aroma waffling under his nose when he opened the box for the first time. I don't even think about upgrades for at least five years. I'm thinking right now.

The system being new to me, in the context of days/weeks/months/years I've owned it, has no bearing on the performance difference between it and the new model. The additional cost and performance increase ratio is what's important and not how long I've owned the system.


I am with your wife. Pay off your old system and then keep putting this amount in the bank until you can afford to pay cash for the new system. Think Dave Ramsey and you will be much better off, not only financially but with your wife.

But if you factor out the cost over the next few years, it's cheaper to upgrade now in the long run. With a 4 year cycle, I paid $2000 last year and will pay $2000 in the summer of 2014. Yet if I spend between $300-400 each year upgrading, I will come out in the summer of 2014 only paying $3400 compared to the $4000 the traditional way. Of course I won't have a 4 year old system in 2014, but that's a minor trade off for an up to date system each year.


Keep current MacBook pro, rumors around say next years model will have a totally redesigned body including more upgrades.

Then I will upgrade again next year with minimal out of pocket cost if the difference in performance warrants it.

Just keep the system that you have right now, and wait to see how much faster the machine will run with the SSD... If you think it is still too slow for what you are doing then look into upgrading the the i7 processor.

The window for selling my current system at the price that makes the upgrade possible is small/short. Plus the new quad core system has a 6Gbit/s SATA III connection for the internal hard drive compared to the 2010's 3Gbit/s SATA II connection. The obitbay/superdrive connection is still 3Gbit/s. This means the new system will make better use of future SSDs then the 2010 model.

ran LR3 just fine. So I'm very surprised that apparently you have performance concerns with it that you want to address with a faster CPU.

"Just fine" is relative.​
 

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