I have a 17" Macbook Pro, mid 2010, with a 2.66 GHz core i7. It has 4GB of memory and a 500 GB sata hard drive (5400 rpm).
With this specification, if I have to update one and only one part of my machine, which of the following gives me better improvement of performance: 8 GB of ram vs. 256 GB solid state drive?
There is a similar question here, but it is not applicable to me since the OP is already having 8GB of ram.
I know that ssd improves the boot and wake up time as well as data transfer rate, however, I suspect that with 4GB one bottleneck in my machine is page swamping. Thus, accruing more memory would make sense.
On the other hand, I read everywhere that ssd makes the computer much more responsive and this is the main reason I want an upgrade.
To add to dilemma, my laptop has sata2 while most solid state drives can shine with sata3 (correct me if this wrong).
So here is the situation. If you had my mac, would you upgrade the ram or the hard disk?
P.S. If I go with ssd, I would remove the optical drive and use its physical space for my current hard drive. Running out of space is not really an issue then.
P.P.S As a side note, if I somehow manage to do both upgrades, i.e. 8 GB of ram and solid state drive. In such case how long would I expand life time of my mac?
I use this mac for coding (and compiling of course) when I'm not on my linux machine. This also means, sometimes I need to run virtual machines (RAM!). Sometimes I also do photos post-processing which includes using huge raw files. Apart from that, mostly regular daily use of surfing, emailing, reading and writing papers.