How-to: the Ultimate Laptop Upgrade (RAM and SSD)

Your laptop has a few mainly functioning parts. The hard drive, the RAM, and the CPU. The CPU, unfortunately, cannot be replaced, as in Macs they are soldered on to the logic board. however, you can upgrade  the other two things. Lets start with the hard drive.

Ultimate Hard Drive Upgrade: OWC Mercury Extreme Pro SSD

When you write and read data from a computer, you write/read from a hard drive. This is a small metal box with a few spinning disks inside and a needly thing that writes the data across.

An SSD looks (on the outside) just like a hard drive. It has the same connections and the same dimensions. But a peek inside reveals lots of chips, and a lack of moving parts.

That’s because SSD stands for Solid State Drive, because they are just that: Solid state.

But one of the biggest advantages to that would be the speed. I can write/read from this thing at a blazing 3GBps. Also, it holds a world record for fastest internal SATA II Drive. What does this mean for the user?

Lets look at some in-house tests.

With a standard hard drive: 1:14 to boot.

With this OWC Mercury Extreme Pro SSD: 00:12.

That’s enough proof for me.

And as far as apps go, they launch FAST. I can launch 6 applications and have them all open and running in less than 4 seconds.

This means that when you open things, they take less time to open. Enough said.

If you’re looking to upgrade your computer, this is probably one of the first things you should upgrade. Even though you might want a faster processor, it won’t speed up how long it takes for something to go from your hard drive to your screen.

The OWC Mercury Extreme Pro SSD comes in many sizes. I purchased the 115GB drive for approximately $230, and you can find this series here.

The ultimate RAM upgrade: Crucial 4GBx2 Kit

When you’re interacting with applications, a buffer of everything is stored in RAM. This is Random Access Memory, and it is made so that you can randomly access it. It’s extremely fast, which is what allows things like pop-up menus to instantly drop down. It’s also what keeps the base operating system going, and if you have so many applications running that your RAM is full, everything becomes hard drive base. Translation: things freeze, slow down, and crash. The easiest solution to this is to get some more RAM.

I ordered crucial’s 8GB RAM kit, as it wasn’t too expensive and seemed like it would work well. Most laptops have two RAM slots, so my 8GB kit came with 2 4GB chips. The amount of RAM that your computer supports varies. If you have an older Aluminum MacBook, then you can fit 8GB in there. However, the current MacBook Pros only support up to 6. Search for your model on to find exactly what RAM you need.

Installation is fairly simple. Just take off the bottom of the laptop with a screwdriver, and move out the tabs next to those flashy green RAM chips. Then, smoothly slide out the chips, and replace them with the new and bigger RAM you got. Seal up that wound on the bottom of your computer, and voila, you have more RAM! No drivers necessary. If you have the MacBook 5,1, click here to get 8GB of RAM. If not, click here to go to the crucial site and find what RAM will work in your model of computer.

The result

Your compter will boot faster. Things will open faster. Things will run faster. Things won’t freeze. Things will crash less. In general, things will be faster and more stable. Enjoy!

One thought on “How-to: the Ultimate Laptop Upgrade (RAM and SSD)

  1. Great article! Although, the current Macbook Pros actually do support up to 8gb of RAM.

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