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Four Hours Faster

Sat May 29, 2010, 10:23 AM


I recently had an opportunity to upgrade my Macbook Pro (MBP) 15" to the new model.  I had a 2 year old, first generation, mid-level, Unibody model with a 2.4GHz Intel Core 2 Duo, 4GB of RAM and their 320GB drive.  It was a great machine at the time and did everything I needed it to do with Office:Mac 2008 and Adobe Creative Suite 4 Premium.  But with the new Office:Mac 2011 BETA2 with a real Outlook client and especially the new Creative Suite 5 with Photoshop support for true 64-bit operation, it was was getting really unproductive.  Now the MBP is not the greatest choice as a CS platform but when mobility is a nessity it can hold it's own.  You just need the right specs!  It had become very slow to open more than one Adobe application at one time (like opening Photoshop from within Bridge which is just how life is supposed to work right) and slow to open or save large graphic files.  I found that I had to constantly police my dock of inactive apps to keep enough RAM free so my apps would remain responsive.  But even so, I was spending more and more time watching icons bounce.  I was spending more time waiting for apps to open than actually in the app doing the real work.  So when a chance to step up to the new Intel Core i7--and especially support for 8GB or RAM if needed--came along I jumped on it.  And I have to say the difference between the previous MBP with 4GB RAM and the current 2010 MBP with 8GB of RAM is massive.  My new baby is their 2.66GHz 15" MBP with a 500GB drive and their new HD, hi-res, anti-glare screen and Intel HD graphics capable of 1680 x 1050 instead of the old 1440 x 900 native.  I picked it up at the end of the day and ran home to start migrating all my document, apps, and settings.  I needed to be back at work the next day up an running on the new machine with zero downtime.  I was very surprised how easy this was to accomplish!  I have done this numerous times on Windows machines with varying degrees of pain.  But there was always pain.  First thing I did was add another 4GB of RAM taking it to 8GB before even booting up once.  This takes 5 minutes.  Then I booted right into the Mac to Mac transfer utility.  I ran a Firewire cable between the two machines, booted my old MBP while holding down the "T" key, and followed the on-screen prompts with the default settings.  I have a good TimeMachine backup on a reliable Buffalo 500GB 7200 RPM Firewire drive that I could have done the same thing from but this just seemed easier.  It chugged along for about 3 hours, mirroring everything on the old machine to the new, and finished up without a hitch.  When I finished the first boot sequence the new MBP came up almost exactly like my old machine!  I was very pleasantly surprised.  The only thing that didn't take were all my non-Apple approved tweaks like Metalik Muku theme, Skia system fonts, system app replacement icons, dock skin, logon screen, and menubar icons.  I spent another hour manually copying back my menubar icons, applying my dock skin and system icon replacements with CandyBar, my custom theme with ThemePark, and manually overwriting my system fonts with ported Skia font files.  Four hours later I had an exact replica of my old machine up and running with all my apps (and critical application support folders and license files) and assorted documents exactly where they were before.  It was like waving a magic wand and everything got faster.  I edited my boot file to default to x64 operation and was off to the races.  Now I can run Bridge, Photoshop and InDesign all at the same time.  I can keep Outlook, Word, and PowerPoint open at the same time and copy data between them without any wait time.  Photoshop now snaps open with only one bounce, files save with no spinning cursor, stacks pop open with real vigor, Genie effect actually looks fluid, Finder flies like it was on Methamphetamines, and Outlook runs like it's burning Nitromethane instead of Diesel oil.  I have to admit I was surprised at what a huge difference a processor and RAM upgrade can make in both productivity and utility.

skin by LeMex
  • Listening to: Zepp
  • Reading: Skeltons on the Zahara
  • Watching: Tme Pass
  • Playing: Plants vs Zombies (again)
  • Eating: Pho & Rice Crispies
  • Drinking: My Own Urine
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:iconjr007:
JR007 Featured By Owner May 30, 2010
wooho, awesome dude! congrats on the new apple toy. :p
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:iconhundone:
hundone Featured By Owner May 29, 2010  Hobbyist General Artist
Kinda fun to read. You have to buy new hardware cuz of some new software. Sound like Windows in the 90's. :)
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:iconsoundforge:
SoundForge Featured By Owner May 29, 2010  Hobbyist Interface Designer
Great update. Happy designing my friend! :thumbsup:
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:iconwooko:
wooko Featured By Owner May 29, 2010
i plant to buy your old model? would you recommend it?
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:iconhotiron:
hotiron Featured By Owner May 29, 2010  Hobbyist Interface Designer
Yeah, I really would if you want a relatively sturdy Mac laptop and need to do more than just web and email. I think they call it the MC373LL/A model. It sells for about $2,400 USD with 8GB on board but for $1,999 at some of the online wholesalers and you can get a base 4GB model and then you can add a $100 single PC3-8500 DDR3 1066MHz SODIMM to take it up to 8GB and save yourself a cool $300.
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