Boost Mid 2009 MBP 15" for gaming

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by MacbookAlex, Jun 9, 2017.

  1. MacbookAlex macrumors member

    MacbookAlex

    Joined:
    Mar 25, 2017
    Location:
    London, UK
    #1
    Hi all,

    Am using my mid 2009 Mbp 15" running games on Steam. The graphics are very grainy and the game will begin to lag the minute the Mac starts to heat up and the fan comes on. I really want to upgrade to make it better at playing the games instead of getting a brand new Macbook Pro. My questions below are long but I would really appreciate advice/thoughts from people who unlike me are more knowledgable :) Please don't say "Macs are not for gaming", ha ha!

    My questions are:

    1. Which parts should I go about upgrading in order to maximise its performance for running these games?

    2.I think that an upgraded graphics card would be great, but is soldered to logic board. To get a better one I would have to get the whole logic board from a better unibody 15" map for spares, would that work/be compatible?

    3. I am going to be installing Sierra on this mac (which is unsupported) via a patcher tool. Will running Sierra on my unsupported mac decrease its performance, and in turn that of the Steam games? If that's the case i'll leave it on El Capitan.

    4. Will new RAM benefit me much if at all when it comes to it? Apple says max is 8GB but is there any point pushing my luck with 16GB?

    5. Anything else you think I should know before I set about doing any upgrades with the goal of increasing the mac's gaming performance.

    Someone I know has a mid 2012 MBP 13" and running Steam games on it is flawless, even though it is entry spec with no upgrades!

    Btw- My 15" mac already has a 128 GB SSD (Samsung). Since installing it, gaming has increased from impossible to tolerable.

    Specs are:
    2.53 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo
    4 GB 1067 MHz DDR3
    NVIDIA GeForce 9400M 256 MB

    Thanks very much for your ideas/advice, and taking the time to read this and advise me so I don't just go upgrading random stuff with my fingers crossed:eek:

    Alex
     
  2. killawat macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Sep 11, 2014
    #2
    Sorry man that thing is an antique. Not much you can do expect play less demanding games, even with the 9600M GT.

    What resolution is your friend playing at? The 13" screen is less pixels (of course) so less horsepower required for native resolution.
     
  3. halfbad macrumors member

    Joined:
    Apr 20, 2014
    #3
    The core issue here is your video card and there isn't anything you can do about the unfortunately, the SSD will help load games and assets faster and the ram you may want to increase to 8, just so other applications don't get in the way. No real point going to 16 unless you keep a tons of stuff open and running at the same time. You'll see diminishing returns after 8gb

    Your friend with a 2012 is the i5/i7 gen with a video card that is 4 year newer so it will do far better. both CPU and GPU wise.

    There isn't much you can do beyond what your've mentioned hardware wise since the video card is the key component here. And the model you have was the one without dual video cards, so you got the lower end card.

    Best you can do for performance is select a lower resolution in your game settings, like 1024 res instead of the native 1440, tweak the detail setting as low as you can go without being unhappy, and maybe lock your frame rate to 30/45fps. This will give you the best gains.
     
  4. Ries macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Apr 21, 2007
    #4
    Buy a cheap used corei7/16GB/SSD/dGPU windows laptop on eBay/what-ever. That will boost your gaming by light years compared to anything you do to your current Macbook.
     
  5. MacbookAlex thread starter macrumors member

    MacbookAlex

    Joined:
    Mar 25, 2017
    Location:
    London, UK
    #5
    Thank you everyone for your quick replies.

    Yh, video card really does bug me ha ha! I just really want one of the last 2012 unibody 15" ones that Apple made, then everything would be okay lol :)

    I am not sure if my game, American Truck Simulator(yes....I know:cool:) has settings for fps, but I'm going to check that out.

    cheers,

    Alex
    --- Post Merged, Jun 9, 2017 ---
    Sorry, can't remember what resolution, its been a while ha ha! Good point bout the smaller screen, I had stupidly never thought about that lol.

    If it is antique now, what will it be like when I need a walking stick, heh?:D Knowing MacBooks, probably still running lol.

    thanks,

    Alex
     
  6. A_morl282 macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Apr 20, 2017
    Location:
    London, UK
    #6
    I've got a mid 2012 13" i7 probably like your friend, which will run American truck simulator (yes, I sometimes play it too :) ) on low settings at around 30-40fps (on macos sierra), but the problem is that it's 5 years old now and gaming takes it's toll on these laptops as they just get way too hot.

    I've only had the computer for 2 years but I bought it from a friend that used it primarily for gaming and the logic board is now utterly toast and it needs a new one. Specifically the laptop has previously got so hot that the solder on the board cracks and shuts down the laptop. SSD is a huge performance upgrade tho (as you will have seen) but a macbook logic board is sadly very expensive as I will find out in about a month when mine finally gives up and I have to buy a new one..

    My answer to question 3: I don't think you'll see too much of a performance drop with sierra- I didn't on mine but then again I can't be sure as yours is lower spec and is also a 15" which requires more power. With an SSD, it should be ok, but don't take my word for it.
    Have you considered building yourself a PC? I know thats a big question but it's what I did when my macbook became unreliable for daily use, it cost me just under half the original retail price for the macbook and is literally 10 times more powerful. Just a suggestion.

    Archie
     
  7. MacbookAlex thread starter macrumors member

    MacbookAlex

    Joined:
    Mar 25, 2017
    Location:
    London, UK
    #7
    Hi Archie,

    Am very sorry for not getting back to you for all this time. For some reason Maceumours doesn't seem to be emailing me when someone replies, very odd :oops:

    thanks for your reply. Unfortunately, I wouldn't consider building a pc, because currently, especially after i got it an ssd, the 2009 MBP is incredibly fast and reliable for day to day use, just not that great at gaming which i occasionally do on the weekend a bit and on holidays:cool:
    One thing- i just posted a similar question with a similar problem on my 2011 MBA, perhaps you might be able to advise me as well-
    https://forums.macrumors.com/threads/mba-13-mid-2011-graphics-issue.2054543/

    Cheers,

    Alex
     
  8. A_morl282 macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Apr 20, 2017
    Location:
    London, UK
    #8
    Alex,

    Cheers haha it's not emailing me either which is getting on my nerves- only just saw this because I decided to go on macrumors. I'll have a look at the other thread- yeh my top spec mbp 2012 died totally the other day and I decided to go full on broke and buy a 2017 mbp non touch bar.. I don't even deserve it but here I am :D I didn't really use mine much for gaming (like once a month at school if I had time) but its dead now :(
     

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