Anyone still using the 2008 aluminum unibody MacBook?

Discussion in 'MacBook' started by retta283, Dec 2, 2018.

  1. retta283 macrumors 6502a

    retta283

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    Jun 8, 2018
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    Kingman, AZ
    #1
    I've been looking at getting one of these to have as a basic laptop, just wanted to know if anyone else is still using this machine, and if you've tried using Mojave on it, let me know how it runs.
     
  2. EugW macrumors 603

    EugW

    Joined:
    Jun 18, 2017
    #2
    Typing on my 2008 MacBook5,1 with High Sierra right now.

    Paid US$150 for the machine last year (in decent shape but without a working optical drive), and I added my own 8 GB RAM and SSD. It came with 2 GB RAM and hard drive, and IMO was basically unusable in that configuration. With 4 GB and SSD it was usable, but it was very easy to make the machine swap to the drive, so I eventually upgraded to 8 GB.

    Officially it supports up to 10.11 El Capitan, but it also runs 10.12 Sierra and 10.13 High Sierra fine. Not so much for Mojave though. I tried Mojave on it and it will run, but it's not a good experience.
     
  3. retta283 thread starter macrumors 6502a

    retta283

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    #3
    Good to know. I figured I'd just keep it at High Sierra, I remember you saying it ran well on this system back when it came out a year ago.
     
  4. EugW macrumors 603

    EugW

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    Jun 18, 2017
    #4
    Sierra is perfect.

    High Sierra is near perfect, aside from two caveats:

    1. On occasional h.264 videos there is a weird display glitch making the video unwatchable but I’ve only encountered this twice in the wild, once with one YouTube video (which has since been taken down) and once with a CNN map illustration video embedded in an article. This was about a year ago, but I haven’t seen the issue since. The interesting part though is this not an issue specific to unsupported Macs. This issue occurs with some fully supported older Macs too, but I guess it shouldn’t be a surprise since those Macs run the same GPU as this one.

    2. I had an issue installing the latest security update. High Sierra runs fine but I’m not sure the latest security update actually got installed. But again, this may be a problem not restricted to these unsupported machines since I believe some people have reported installation glitches with this security update on supported hardware too.

    I’m happy with High Sierra. It has the Photos and APFS upgrades that Sierra doesn’t have. I have Mojave on two supported machines and I don’t think it’s a big deal not having Mojave compatibility. Mojave doesn’t get any upgrade to Photos for example.
     
  5. retta283 thread starter macrumors 6502a

    retta283

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    #5
    I've just gotten mine. I am installing Sierra on it until I can get an SSD and more RAM. Will post with anything I run into. Thanks for your help
     
  6. d4gli macrumors regular

    d4gli

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    Zurich, Switzerland
    #6
    Running as my daily driver (withj 8GB Ram, 256GB SSD) for private and work since 2008. ATM it runs Mojave (10.14.2). Thanks to @dosdude1 for this support.
     
  7. retta283 thread starter macrumors 6502a

    retta283

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    #7
    Yeah, his patches are super useful.
     
  8. brdeveloper macrumors 68020

    brdeveloper

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    Brasil
    #8
    Do you know any WiFi AC/BT4 replacement adapter for this Macbook?
     
  9. retta283 thread starter macrumors 6502a

    retta283

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    Jun 8, 2018
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    #9
    Your best bet would be to get the card name from System Profiler and look it up. Not sure how easy it is to replace the Wi-Fi card on this model. Of course you can also use a USB Wi-Fi dongle if you can't replace it.
     
  10. brdeveloper macrumors 68020

    brdeveloper

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    #10
    Don't know if these dongles has WiFi+Bluetooth4 allowing handoff and continuity.
     
  11. retta283 thread starter macrumors 6502a

    retta283

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    #11
    Does the late 2008 MacBook even support those features? I thought it had to be 2012 or newer.
     
  12. d4gli macrumors regular

    d4gli

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    Jun 15, 2016
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    Zurich, Switzerland
    #12
    Even with patch this does not work. There are several bugs for continum patcher on late '08. My got even stuck in boot... So there's no real benefit (wish could use unlocking with watch).
     
  13. Project Alice macrumors 6502a

    Project Alice

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    Jul 13, 2008
    Location:
    Post Falls, ID
    #13
    I've got the 2008 AL's lesser known cousin, the white 2009 MacBook 5,2 (though mine is black ;))

    It runs great with High Sierra, and Mojave also runs very fast and usable on it. I have been having some problems with mojave though in terms of stability, possibly because of the patch. I'm not sure yet. So I'm going back to HS for now. It has no problem performing anything I've asked it to do.
     
  14. kaardowiq macrumors member

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    Dec 20, 2018
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    Zürich, Switzerland
    #14
    Still using this awesome MacBook! 10 years later it still runs that smooth with Mojave. Only HD videos will make Problems...
     
  15. Project Alice macrumors 6502a

    Project Alice

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    #15
    Mine has no problem with HD videos. Unless of course you're referring to youtube, which is probably the most inefficient way of playing media ever. I use a 2.0Ghz 2009 Mac Mini 3,1 (roughly the same hardware as the aforementioned macbooks) as a Media Center PC hooked up to a 50" TV and it takes 1080p h.26x like its nothing, while being a plex server at the same time.
     
  16. kaardowiq macrumors member

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    Dec 20, 2018
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    Zürich, Switzerland
    #16
    Yep, meant YouToube and Netflix. Local Media may work, regarding used codec. But no reason to replace it...
     
  17. Project Alice macrumors 6502a

    Project Alice

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    Post Falls, ID
    #17
    Netflix does fine with HD on my MacBook. I've watched google play movies in Chrome on the Mini. Also Full HD no issues.
    How much ram is in yours?
     
  18. kaardowiq macrumors member

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  19. EugW, Dec 22, 2018
    Last edited: Dec 22, 2018

    EugW macrumors 603

    EugW

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    Jun 18, 2017
    #19
    For YouTube, use Safari and stick with 720p. Safari YouTube is h.264 and is hardware accelerated. Chrome YouTube is VP9 and is not hardware accelerated.

    For Netflix, use Chrome, mainly to avoid having to install Silverlight.

    I find a 2.0 GHz C2D MacBook5,1 should work OK but may stutter esp. when starting a YouTube video. The 13% faster 2.26 GHz C2D MacBookPro5,5 (which otherwise has basically the same hardware) is more consistent though, which tells me that the 2.0 C2D is the culprit, only borderline sufficient.
    --- Post Merged, Dec 22, 2018 ---
    Just a note to others that MacBook5,2 has some specific issues with Sierra / High Sierra, which is why I specifically sought out the MacBook5,1 when I bought my used machine last year (as a replacement to our white MacBook4,1 for our kitchen recipe and surfing machine).

    Some MacBook5,2 WiFi modules will not work, and not all the trackpad features support this. This is not an issue for either MacBook5,1 or MacBookPro5,5.
     
  20. retta283 thread starter macrumors 6502a

    retta283

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    Jun 8, 2018
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    Kingman, AZ
    #20
    I could not adjust my trackpad settings until I bought a battery. Kind of strange. Running good now.
    --- Post Merged, Dec 22, 2018 ---
    Also, I had no clue Silverlight was still used for anything. Takes me back to 2008-09...
     
  21. EugW macrumors 603

    EugW

    Joined:
    Jun 18, 2017
    #21
    BTW, the MacBookPro5,5 has better battery life and better screen features than MacBook5,1. the MINIMUM screen brightness of MacBookPro5,5 is significantly lower than MacBook5,1, which is very nice in a very dark room. The other big benefit of MacBookPro5,5 is the backlit keyboard.

    Safari won't run Netflix without Silverlight on these old machines.

    Netflix with Silverlight actually is pretty good with good quality video, but has occasional glitches, and it's legacy software, so you're better off just running Chrome which supports Netflix without Silverlight. Chrome's Netflix quality is limited to 720p on macOS, but on the 1280x800 Macs that's not an issue, and overall Chrome Netflix a better experience with less glitches and without the requirement to run third party legacy software.

    On newer machines like my 2017 MacBook Core m3, Netflix is best run on Safari with HTML5 since it offers 1080p and mostly glitch-free support, but this isn't supported on old machines. To get HTML5 support in Mac Safari with Netflix, you need either some specific 2011 models, or else any 2012 model.
     
  22. bunnspecial macrumors 603

    bunnspecial

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    May 3, 2014
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    Kentucky
    #22
    In some ways, I actually like the 5,2 better than the 5,1 since it has Firewire. On the other hand, though, you'll pay through the nose if you want 8gb of RAM in the 5,2 while DDR3 prices are a bit more tolerable.

    In any case, I have an MB 5,1 along with its companion MBP 5,1(which also shares the fun feature of having a removable battery). Unfortunately, I don't use the MB 5,1 all that often. It was sold to me cheaply with a described "flaky" WiFi module. I figured that it wouldn't be a big deal to change. Much to my surprise, it actually worked when I first received the computer, but not for long afterwards. At some point or another, it froze while I was using it, and when I rebooted the computer didn't recognize the presence of an Airport card. It could be either the module or the ribbon cable, but unfortunately accessing both is quite an invasive repair(it's buried in the screen hinge) so I've put it off for the time being. It doesn't help that when I looked up those parts, at least one of them(I forget which) is fairly expensive.
     
  23. retta283 thread starter macrumors 6502a

    retta283

    Joined:
    Jun 8, 2018
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    Kingman, AZ
    #23
    Last time I remember being able to easily replace the Airport card was with the iBook G3.

    I have a MacBook 1,1 with messed up Wi-Fi. Don't think I'll replace it as it's mostly offline anyway.
     
  24. bunnspecial macrumors 603

    bunnspecial

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    May 3, 2014
    Location:
    Kentucky
    #24
    All Intel Macs require some degree of disassembly to remove/replace it(you can't pop off the keyboard and get at it like with the Airport-capable iBooks along with the Pismo and TiBook) but some are worse than others. In many, the AP/BT card is a mini-PCIe card that does take some work to get to, but it's not terrible. Having it in the screen hinge(or anywhere else in the screen assembly) is a nightmare, though.
     
  25. Project Alice macrumors 6502a

    Project Alice

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    Jul 13, 2008
    Location:
    Post Falls, ID
    #25
    Yeah, I have 8GB in mine. I waited about a year for the right deal. $43 bucks for two 4GB sticks. I don't understand why every Mac with the same chipset used DDR3 but this one. The 2009 iMacs, Mac Mini, and the other MacBook.
     

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82 December 2, 2018