2009 MacBook pro upgrades?

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by Richdmoore, Dec 24, 2014.

  1. Richdmoore macrumors 68000


    Jul 24, 2007
    Troutdale, OR
    I found out I will be given a MacBook pro (early 2009 I think). My plan is to refresh it for my non-tech savy mom & her husband. I do not live anywhere close to them, so I want to make sure any upgrades are reliable. I wanted to get thoughts from the community on the following upgrades....

    1. Replace hard drive. My thoughts are to speed up the computer with a ssd drive. Because of Yosemite trim issues, I was thinking of either an angelbird for Mac ssd, or an owc ssd. It is around $150 for a 240g ssd drive of either brand.
    A hybrid drive may also work, but I have never used them and don't know if they are just as fast for casual use or not.

    2. Replace battery. Since this computer still has it's original battery, I was thinking about proactively replacing it. I see Apple charges $179 for the service. I have no doubts I could do it myself, but i can't find where I can buy a genuine battery. Most of the available batteries for sale online are Chinese knock-offs, from what I can tell. Anybody know of a good source, or am I forced to pay the piper to Apple? I don't want the new battery to fail in 6 months after I give the computer to them. There are a bunch of stories about non-Apple batteries that fail soon after being installed, so I am hesitant to go with non-oem.

    3. Replace dvd with another hard drive. I am thinking this is not a good idea, as they may want to play dvd movies, and I believe that replacing the drive breaks the built in dvd player. (Remember, I am giving this to non-tech savy people.). Also, who knows what will happen with the next version of OS X?

    4. Ram increase. Actually, I did this already for the person who is giving me the computer, so it is maxed out already. No issue here.
  2. JHUFrank macrumors 6502a


    Apr 16, 2010
    Pretty much the same thing I did on my wife's 2008 Unibody and her later 2010 MBP except for Superdrive. She refuses to give up her 2010 MBP.
  3. maflynn Moderator


    Staff Member

    May 3, 2009
    I think adding an SSD is the best way to extend the life of an aging computer and provide more speed. Since I've been on a rMBP, I have no idea what SSD to recommend and/or dealing with the TRIM issue in Yosemite - Sorry I can't provide any insight there.

    Yeah, that's a good idea, I usually opt for apple products, so that's what I'd get, if it were me. Just my $.02.

    Do you need the space in light of (or in spite of) going to an SSD. I've done this and its great to add more storage, IF you need the storage. If you can happy live within the confines of the new SSD, then why bother.

    Nice, though depending on what you do, you may or may not notice a difference.
  4. Richdmoore thread starter macrumors 68000


    Jul 24, 2007
    Troutdale, OR
    I pulled the trigger on an owc 240g ssd drive (3G speed). I found out some 2009 MacBook pros had issues negotiating the correct speed, so owc recommended the 3G version.

    I am probably going to pay the piper and have apple install a new battery. (The one now is around 5 years old, and my mom lives no where close to either an Apple Store or an aasp.). I didn't want to risk a third party battery having issues a few months down the road.

    Unfortunately, I was unable to source a first party replacement battery myself, no one sells them. The tear down videos make this look easy, with only one screwdriver to buy that I don't already own. Unless someone knows a good source of batteries that I don't know, I will have to pay the $180 for replacement instead by Apple.

    Only good thing is that at least the battery will be warranted for a year.

    EDIT: I just noticed that the early 2009 17" MacBook pro is listed as vintage. Does that mean I am screwed for getting a new battery direct from Apple???
  5. KUguardgrl13 macrumors 68020


    May 16, 2013
    Kansas, USA
    On the SSD, you can expect to get slower speeds on this machine than you would with a new model because of the SATA II cable bottleneck. But honestly I'm not sure parents would care too much if they're casual users.

    For the battery, I'm not sure what "vintage" means. I just replaced the battery in my mid-2009 13" last year from Apple no problem.
  6. Richdmoore thread starter macrumors 68000


    Jul 24, 2007
    Troutdale, OR
    I agree on the ssd. I previously upgraded an early 2007 MacBook with sata 1, it still was much faster than using a hard drive. Should still be a good upgrade.

    Apple has a list of computers/iPhone/etc that they will no longer service in their retail stores (except in California.) The latest computer listed is what I will be upgrading, the early 2009 MacBook pro. It looks like your mid 2009 is still being serviced, at least for a bit longer.

    I read this article a bit more, basically after the computer has been discontinued for 5 years old unless I move to California or Turkey, Apple retail itself will not repair the computer (or more important to me will replace the battery.) Apple Authorized service centers can still get parts for them.

    After 7 years, Apple calls them obsolete rather than vintage, and won't even sell the parts to fix/service them to authorized Apple service providers.

    At least, that is how I read it. I emailed an authorized service provider near me today, if the Apple retail store won't service the computer, like I expect according to the article, I will probably go with them instead, if they use genuine batteries.

    If I simply can't get a genuine battery, I will have to try the nupower battery from owc, the reviews are a bit of hit and miss, but at least it is a somewhat know quantity vs an eBay one.

    The vintage/obsolete List is here:

    Vintage products are those that were discontinued more than five and less than seven years ago. Apple has discontinued hardware service for vintage products with the following exception:

    Macintosh products purchased in the country of Turkey.

    Owners of vintage Macintosh products may obtain service and parts from Apple service providers within the country of Turkey.

    Products purchased in the state of California, United States, as required by statute.

    Owners of vintage Macintosh products may obtain service and parts from Apple service providers within the state of California, United States.

    Owners of vintage iPod products in the state of California may obtain service from Apple Retail Stores or by contacting AppleCare at 1-800-APL-CARE.

    Owners of vintage iPhone products in the state of California may obtain service from Apple Retail Stores or by contacting AppleCare at 1-800-APL-CARE.

    Obsolete products are those that were discontinued more than seven years ago. Apple has discontinued all hardware service for obsolete products with no exceptions. Service providers cannot order parts for obsolete products.

    All Apple Retail Stores and the Canadian, European, Latin American and Asia-Pacific operating regions follow the U.S. product list, but make no distinction between vintage and obsolete. When applied to Apple Retail Stores and these operating regions, products on the U.S. Vintage list (all models) are considered obsolete.
  7. DeltaMac macrumors G3


    Jul 30, 2003
    You should still be able to get the battery that you need, because it is also used on the next newer model.

    The Early and Mid 2009 17-inch MBPro take the same battery.

    Apple (and any service shop) expects batteries to need replacing, because they have a limited life, and all eventually will no longer hold a proper charge.
    When I worked for an AASP, we could still get replacement batteries even if no other service parts were available for otherwise obsolete systems. I don't know if that's still true.
  8. Richdmoore thread starter macrumors 68000


    Jul 24, 2007
    Troutdale, OR
    Thanks for the information. The big thing to me is to get an official battery, I really don't want to send this computer to my mom with a battery that may or may not work as well as the apple one.

    The computer is being shipped to me now, and I already have the OWC SSD order placed, so I will be able to get this all completed by the middle of January. I am glad I am not trying to source these parts several years from now.
  9. The Mitchelli macrumors newbie

    Dec 23, 2014
    I did exactly the same upgrades to my 2009 MBP.

    Upgrading the RAM to something more meaty was probably the best once the machine was up and running to get the apps running fast. It was also the easiest of the upgrades.

    Replacing the battery although probably the cheapest of the upgrades and the 2nd easiest to install - this was also one of the best upgrades for usability as having a battery die after just 1hr is a real pain.

    The SSD upgrade yielded almost modern performance and was easily the best upgrade overall as the decrease in startup time and the overall performance boost can't be beaten.

    The only upgrade I did and would question is the replacing of the SuperDrive. I swapped mine for a 1TB Hdd. I got the kit and drive from Amazon. Although straight forward was the hardest to install. Unless you have masses of storage requirements and a normal portable USB drive isn't enough, I'd skip it. Having said that, it was probably the upgrade that increased the value the most at resale time. As yours is for your parents, I'd probably skip the Shperdrive replacement and put the money to more RAM or bigger primary SSD.

  10. Richdmoore, Dec 27, 2014
    Last edited: Dec 27, 2014

    Richdmoore thread starter macrumors 68000


    Jul 24, 2007
    Troutdale, OR
    I checked with the Apple authorized service center near me, they refused to put anything other than a third party battery in the MacBook pro. They claimed (even though they are an authorized Apple service center) that apple will not sell them replacement batteries.

    Of course, this info was from the unprofessional looking sales person, they wouldn't let me talk to an actual repair person. (The salesperson had a disc in the earlobe, and a nose ring, he looked like he should be selling coffee rather than Apple computers.... I try not to judge people based on looks, but it has limits......)

    Anyway, once the computer arrives I will make a run at the real Apple store and hope that they will do a battery replacement on an officially obsolete computer. If not, does anyone know where I can just order the official battery part? I feel confident I can install it myself, if I can find the real Apple battery...

    EDIT: I finally found one place for a new official Apple battery, for $200 + shipping. The Apple store itself, if they will do it, is $170. Nutech battery is $100 at owc, but I an not sure of the quality, the few rreviews I could find online are hit and miss.
  11. baypharm macrumors 65816


    Nov 15, 2007
    Replacing the battery, SSD, as well as RAM is pretty easy on a MBP 17". You can save yourself a bundle of $$$ by doing it yourself. I checked the Apple store and they have listed for sale a battery specifically for the 17" model.
  12. Richdmoore, Dec 28, 2014
    Last edited: Dec 28, 2014

    Richdmoore thread starter macrumors 68000


    Jul 24, 2007
    Troutdale, OR
    Are you sure it is the correct battery for the unibody (internal non-user replaceable) version? I can only find the battery for the older 17" MacBook pro pre-2009 on apple's web site.

    (The battery is listed as a aasp installed part only in the documentation I have found, as it is internal and secured with trilobe security screws.)

    I did finally locate the correct genuine Apple battery online, for $200 + shipping. I am still waiting to actually order it, but it may be my only option.

    If the MacBook pro was newer, I could get them to replace it for $170, but the early 2009 17" is now listed as vintage, and I don't believe Apple will service it.

    The ugly thing is that this exact battery part is also used in late 2009 & 2010 models, which means the part is still available, except Apple simply won't install it.

    The local AASP store chain in Beaverton, Oregon claims Apple won't sell sell them a battery, they only put generic knockoff batteries in Apple computers when they replace them. (Search these forums if you want to read horror stories about generic batteries.....)

    I guess the lesson for those with older MacBooks with internal batteries is to do a battery service close (but not exceeding) 5 years after it is discontinued, if you want a ensure you get a genuine replacement battery.
  13. Richdmoore thread starter macrumors 68000


    Jul 24, 2007
    Troutdale, OR
    I thought I would do a final wrap of of the situation with the 17" 2009 Macbook pro. I received the computer today, and instead of an early 2009 macbook pro, it was a mid 2009 model. That was important, as the mid 2009 Macbook pro still had full apple service support, while the early 17" 2009 Macbook pro is vintage, and will not be serviced.

    First of all, the old battery was over 5 years old, but only 40 cycles. It was still at 100.5% of maximum battery capacity when apple ran the diagnostics. I was surprised. Due to the age of the computer (5 years) and the fact that I will be unable to obtain a genuine factory battery soon, I still had the battery replaced for $180 directly from the Apple store. Actually, the apple genius had to get an override from his manager, as the battery did not show a failure he needed it so he could authorize the out of warranty replacement.

    They had one battery for the Macbook Pro in the back, and it was ready in two hours. Coconut Battery is showing the replacement battery with a manufacture date of 2014-06-12, so if was manufactured 6 months ago. Of course, it showed zero cycles.

    Next step is to replace the HDD with the OWC SSD, reinstall Yosemite, and configure it for my mom before I send it off to them.
  14. BoredAtWork macrumors newbie

    Jun 19, 2012
    Aside from the items mentioned above, I would strongly advise you to clean the fans and reseat the heatsink on old macboooks. This help them run quiet and stay cool for remaining lifespan. Especially important for Macbooks with no ventilation holes

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