Advice: Is it worth upgrading a black Macbook?

Discussion in 'MacBook' started by ccsanford2016, Jan 29, 2015.

  1. ccsanford2016 macrumors newbie

    Jan 29, 2015
    Hi everyone I am new to the site but a long time Apple user.

    Wanted some advice on a project I'm wanting to do.

    I want to get an older black Macbook and put it on steroids. (For lack of a better term)
    SSD Hard Drive
    Ram, etc.

    I have been looking on ebay.

    I guess my questions are:

    What are your opinions on doing this?
    What is a good price to pay for one?

    I am in high school currently and I take college classes in computer science 3rd and 4th block. This can be used as an extra credit project and just an awesome computer.

    Thanks, Cameron
  2. leman macrumors G3

    Oct 14, 2008
    Do you intend it as a hobby project tor do you actually want to use that computer? If later, I wouldn't even bother unless I could get a black MB in good condition for free (or almost free).
  3. ccsanford2016 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jan 29, 2015
    My thoughts were to use it.
    I have a Mac book pro 2014 and love it but I have always loved the black mac book.

    It would be a project computer that I would more than likely just use for my Computer Science classes.

    Thanks for the response!
  4. BrettApple, Jan 29, 2015
    Last edited: Jan 29, 2015

    BrettApple macrumors 65816


    Apr 3, 2010
    Heart of the midwest
    I had one around this time last year. It was an Early 2008 model (the last of them) and I maxed out the RAM to 6GB and threw in a 128GB SSD.

    It was quick, but not fast. The SATA bus only runs at SATA 1 (150 MB/s) so that's the max rate you'll get there, but that was plenty fine. 6GB RAM was perfectly alright too.

    I ran Snow Leopard on it because I just don't like Lion, plus it's GPU hungry and that brings me to why I don't recommend one.

    The Intel GMA. They are simply terrible. If you have any class assignments that use flash/java/other plugins it can be frustrating to get any kind of decent frame rate in a browser such as Chrome to do your work.

    Mine had the X3100, so it was better than the 950, but still terrible.

    It's alright for general use, but I wouldn't spend as much as I did on mine now. I payed a little under $300, and sold it for the same. But for $200 I got a 2009 model with the Nvidia card, and it runs Yosemite.

    But if you must have black, then that's how it will be. Quick, but with a terrible GPU. Unless you shoehorn an Early/Mid 2009 logic board in there, then it would be acceptably fast with the 9400m. Some have done it, but it isn't super simple.

    Also make sure anything you need to run will work with 10.6 or 10.7. Since it can't go beyond Lion.

    The one I had:

  5. mojolicious macrumors 68000


    Mar 18, 2014
    Sarf London
    Pretty much what BrettApple said.

    For the same price as a BlackBook you could get a later unibody with SATA II, greatly improved graphics, ability to run 10.10, etc etc. I've got both the Late 2009 and Mid 2010 (both 10.9 / 240GB SSD / 8GB RAM) and they're fantastic little laptops. The last BlackBook runs them very close on CPU, but is otherwise significantly inferior in every way.

    It all comes down to how much you value the blackness.
  6. ccsanford2016 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jan 29, 2015
    Okay how much do those run?

    I found a black Macbook for $150. I would like to keep the computer under $250 is and leave 100 or 150 to upgrades.

    The black is not a definite just looks neat.

    So, the mid 2009 or 2010 would be better for pretty mu have everything.

    Could I get a 15 inch for around that price?

    I found one on Ebay and it says the MLB has failed and needs to be replaced. What is that and how much is that fix?

    Thanks for all the help!
  7. BrettApple macrumors 65816


    Apr 3, 2010
    Heart of the midwest
    Don't get any of the non unibody 15" models, just a fair warning. They have the Nvidia 8600m that is pretty much guaranteed to fail at some point. That's why you will see lots of them on eBay wit failed logic boards. They aren't economical to replace either.
    I have one in the family that has somehow survived being a production computer for 7 years, but it's just lucky. The LCD/Keyboard/Trackpad are all on their way out though.

    If you want a 15", go with the Late 2008-Mid 2010. They are decently priced. But not that low. I sold my modified (SSD+HDD+8GB) Mid 2010 for $600 on CL late last year. You can get them around $475-$500. But you already have a nice MBP.

    $150 for a BlackBook would be acceptable, just make sure it's got lots of pictures and you know the condition. The palm rests are notorious for cracking from the display tabs hitting it over the years. A 128GB SSD and 4GB RAM should run around $60 and $50 ish. Also check out the battery. I put a NuPower one in mine since it was black and it matched the MacBook and wasn't a cheap eBay model.

    Also, you might want to grab a copy of Snow Leopard while you can, if you want to run it on there.

    If you want something to last a while, grab a 2009-2010. Either style, both are known to crack. Early/Mid 2009 use the same case as the original, the Late 2009-2010 ones are polycarbonate unibody ones. Like a rounded off, plastic 13" MBP.

    They run $150 to $300 depending on model and condition. If you can score one for $199/under $200, that's the way to go.

    I found my Early 2009 model on eBay from championcomputer for $199 shipped. It was stock 2.0GHz C2D, 9400m, 2GB RAM, 120GB HDD. But I had 4GB DDR2 sitting around, so that was $0 cost to me, and got a 128GB SanDisk SSD for $59. Battery was good and lasts a couple hours. Plays some steam games like TF2 and Portal 2 just fine too. Also rocks Yosemite.



    Going back to this though, if you like the Black because it's unique, and can get one for $150. Then why not? That was the whole reason I got mine. Cool factor.

    I also changed the Apple logo to red via the sanding method and some red light film/gel. Adds a personal touch. :cool:

  8. ccsanford2016 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jan 29, 2015
    Awesome thanks for all the help!

    I'm going to attach a few links of the ones I have found to get your opinions if you don't mind.

    Thanks again!!
  9. Cloudsurfer macrumors 65816


    Apr 12, 2007
    The good old days when black was considered a premium color... :cool:

    Wish Apple would still make them though. Would love a black rMBP.
  10. diggy33 macrumors 6502a


    Aug 13, 2011
    Very first Mac that I owned was a BlackBook. Loved it like no other machine I had before or since. I gave it to her daughter as her first computer, but it finally went to the computer afterlife last year.

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