And Happy New Year to you!
Nice machine. I have basically the same one. Only 2 things I can think of that would improve things - lotsa memory and at least one and maybe two internal SSDs in a RAID to run off of.
The RAM is a no brainer. 16 Gigs will make that a new machine. If you monitor memory during your high usage times you'll find it running itself right out of free memory and dumping data off to the hard drive. Performance killer.
Setting up the SSDs is a lot harder but just as enhancing. If you don't want to do the internal paired SSDs you could run on an external setup of one sort or another, but I am less enamored of that after doing it, more descriptively, 'trying' to do it. Having to hook up a second piece of equipment everywhere I go, to get performance, just made it a mess. I want to sit down, pop open the lid and work for five minutes. And I want to do it RIGHT NOW. While speed is often its own reward, simple is, for me, right up there on the list. Hence I would recommend a pair of SSDs internally. You lose your DVD drive, but oh well, DVDs have been king for a while, long live the king and all that. A few years from now they will be like VCR tapes. Mostly a memory.
That is a great MBP. Last you a long time.
"I am a mortal enemy to arbitrary government and unlimited power. I am naturally very jealous for the rights and liberties of my country, and the least encroachment of those invaluable privileges is apt to make my blood boil."