MacBook goes All-Pro with 1TB SSD and 16GB RAM

MacBook goes All-Pro with 1TB SSD and 16GB RAM

Summary: On Tuesday Apple announced speed-bumped MacBook Pros, but it's not Haswell and Crystal Well that are its key features. It's the new 1TB PCIe-based SSD and 16GB of RAM.

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TOPICS: Apple, Hardware
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During Apple's fall event on Tuesday (CNET live blogZDNET Apple coverage) the company announced a pair of zippy new MacBook Pros with Intel's fourth-generation processors (Haswell and Crystal Well) inside. While the new Intel silicon (combined with Mavericks) are destined to increase battery life, it's not Haswell that's got me excited. It's the new 1TB PCIe-based, flash storage

Apple was the first OEM to ship PCIe flash drives in the Mid-2013 MacBook Air this June and the new drives are 45 percent faster than the previous SATA III flash-based models, and nine times faster than a hard drive. Apple claims that the PCIe-based flash drives in the new MacBook Pro are 60 percent faster than previous generation MBPs.

In June AnandTech benchmarked the new MacBook Air SSD with peak sequential read/write performance of nearly 800MB/s, so it's reasonable to expect that the new MacBook Pros will benchmark in the same ballpark - or better. 

But for me, the best part is the brand-new 1TB SSD option:

mbp-late-2013-1tb-pcie-ssd

Sure, it'll set you back another $500 (over the stock 512GB variety) but for me that's huge. It means that, for the first time, I'll be able to store my massive iTunes and Aperture libraries on my internal drive and not have to constantly connect external drives every time I want to work with my music or photos. 

In the previous (Early 2013) MacBook Pro the largest SSD option available from Apple was a 768GB model, so the extra space will be a welcome addition to pros that work with a lot of media files. 

Another welcome addition is the optional 16GB of RAM in the 13-inch model:

mbp-late-2013-16gb-ddr3l-sdram

The February 2013 MacBook Pro 13-inch maxed out at 8GB of RAM, and you could only Configure To Order (CTO) the 15-inch model 16GB. Now both the 13 and 15-inch models are able to be equipped with 16GB of RAM for an additional $200. Since the RAM on Apple notebooks is soldered onto the motherboard and not able to be upgraded, you need to order it with 16GB of RAM at purchase time.

With a 1TB PCIe-based SSD and 16GB of RAM the new 13-inch MacBook Pro is a creative force to be reckoned with and sets the bar even higher for professional-grade notebooks. Once I added AppleCare (another requirement in my book) and sales tax, my 13-inch rMBP set me back $2,940.36. It would have crossed the $3k barrier if I would have upgraded to the 2.6GHz core i7, but the large SSD and extra RAM are much better value propositions for me.

After you get over the sticker shock, the other downside is that the 1TB MacBook Pros aren't being stocked at Apple retail stores and must be special ordered (either online or through your business representative) and that will add an extra "1-3 business days" longer to your ship time. 

What's your ideal MacBook setup? Did you order one?

Topics: Apple, Hardware

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52 comments
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  • Well I am certainly not a Pro then

    And I am certainly not rich.
    adacosta38
  • $2,940.36?

    Wow! Still not seeing the advantage of an SSD to justify a price of $2,940.36.
    ye
    • You are joking, right?

      Not seeing the advantage of faster I/O speeds from an SSD? Not seeing the advantages of solid state devices in a harsh mobile environment where a sudden drop could destroy a mechanical hard drive? Not seeing the lack of noise or vibrations of an SSD over it's mechanical counterpart? Not seeing how an SSD can reduce overall system weight in a mobile laptop design?

      And, BTW, the price you quoted covers more than just the cost of an SSD.

      Yes, I have read that you own 4 other OS X devices. Yes, I understand your long past history with Apple devices.

      And yes, I understand that you don't believe you are acting like an Apple Fanboy. (Your numerous online comments impressively back up that claim.)

      But sometimes I get the impression that you are simply acting as a gadfly. Personally, I'd rather choose to be a fanboy than a gadfly, if I had to make a choice.
      kenosha77a
      • Boy you're one of my favourite people here :)

        your appreciation for every vendor's stuff is very catching, I must say. The whole reason I'm in tech is to be around people like you who enthuse about it all!
        Mac_PC_FenceSitter
        • The feeling is mutual.

          There is a small cadre of Talkback commentators that I enjoy reading their comments. You belong to that group.

          I also respect several, how shall I put this, commentators that provoke strong reactions in some persons, (Toddbottom3, for example - because he was consistent with his views and also had some technical chops to back them up)

          But it is always a pleasure to read a comment that relies on logic and proveable observations in order to make a point and in that regard, you have consistently adhered to that standard, Mac_PC_FenceSitter.
          kenosha77a
          • Speaking of Toddbottom3

            Where is he. I haven't seen him around. I hope he is alright.
            calfee20
          • I'm missing him too

            :-(
            Laraine Anne Barker
      • Those are 'negative space' arguments.

        IF you have those needs - and if you go with the simplest and most expensive solutions - then maybe you could justify the high price.

        BUT..

        Most people don't work in those kinds of harsh conditions. Hard drives actually sense when they're dropped and can go to 'safe' mode before the laptop hits the ground - so the actual number of incidences of hard drives being destroyed because a laptop was dropped is low... the incidence of *laptops* being destroyed is higher (esp MacBooks because of their soft aluminum chassis which tend to deform and crumple more easily).

        As for speed - again, unless you're doing something regularly that needs that kind of speed, having it just for the sake of having it is kind of silly. If it were at a comparable price to a hard drive, sure, why NOT take it? But it's not. It's substantially more expensive per GB.

        Some people value capacity over speed. And there are other ways to manage resources to get speed. For example, I'd rather have 16GB RAM than 512GB of SSD because I can always turn 8GB of that into a ramdisk and get way crazier speeds by caching my files into RAM.

        So basically, your arguments are kind of silly. You ignore alternative solutions that may well be better (and cheaper) and you assume a use pattern that I suggest is actually atypical, then use it as a general case.
        TheWerewolf
        • I'd wager that Macbooks getting damaged due to a fall

          is relatively low - they have the magsafe power adapter. Walk through the cable and - pop - out it comes, laptop left in place.
          Mac_PC_FenceSitter
          • never happens??

            Tracking over 150,000 machine years I've never had a report of someone tripping over a power cord and damaging a machine.
            mswift@...
          • never happens??

            Tracking over 150,000 machine years I've never had a report of someone tripping over a power cord and damaging a machine.
            mswift@...
          • never happens??

            Tracking over 150,000 machine years I've never had a report of someone tripping over a power cord and damaging a machine.
            mswift@...
          • never happens??

            Tracking over 150,000 machine years I've never had a report of someone tripping over a power cord and damaging a machine.
            mswift@...
          • Who cares about the power cord..

            ..when the entire laptop hits the ground.

            Plus, SSD's aren't immune to damage. One good hit on a particular chip and it's done for, along with *ALL* of your data.
            Simba7
          • SSDs are worth it....usually

            I dropped my Mac and the HDD barely survived long enough for me to get the information off. The 256GB SSD I popped in for $150 has made my computer pretty much lightening fast. Best thing that ever happened to me.

            I think about 90% of computer activities are bottlenecked by hard drive speeds. Bumping up your processor speed, or going past the entry level amount of RAM (4-8GB is plenty) is rarely going to help as much as making your main drive an SSD.
            omnimoeish
          • MTBF of SSDs are lower

            I'm already seeing SSD failures due to excessive write cycles.
            SSDs have better physical resilience but they DO wear out quicker electronically.
            warboat
          • Re: MTBF of SSDs are lower

            Manufacturer specifications seem to differ from your opinion.

            So whom do we trust, war boat or the SSD manufactures?
            danbi
          • If you dont have SSD, you're doing it wrong!

            Once you taste SSD, there is no going back to mechanical drives. To your point, when I upgraded my main laptop to 512GB SSD, I then had a spare 128GB SSD. I put that in a 2006 white MacBook. With help from something called rEFIt, got dual boot win 8.1 and OSX 10.6.8. Keep in mind the MB only has a 64MB ATI video card. It can now play up to 720p youtube videos and handle the girlfriend's average consumer needs.
            crazieglued
          • Since you don't get it

            The power cord won't be the reason the MacBook hits the ground because it will release.

            Therefore the situation won't happen as often with a MacBook as compared to another laptop.

            Nobody is caring about the power cord.
            richardw66
  • 1 TB??

    I just don't need 1TB. I have a 2010 mid-April 13" MBPro with a 256 GB SSD and I am a good ways from maxing it out. I'm not a big music freak (60 GB) and I don't have that big of a picture library.

    I do want the ability to do Parallels with the least amount of friction, so I'm taking the money and putting it on the processor.
    wilsonhines@...