Can You Build a MacBook Pro?

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by michelletelfo, Jul 31, 2017.


What can and should I replace, besides the hard drive?

  1. CPU/ Processor

    1 vote(s)
  2. Logic Board/ Mother Board

    1 vote(s)
  3. Memory/ RAM

    3 vote(s)
  4. Graphic card

    1 vote(s)
  5. Battery

    4 vote(s)
Multiple votes are allowed.
  1. michelletelfo, Jul 31, 2017
    Last edited: Jul 31, 2017

    michelletelfo macrumors newbie


    Jul 31, 2017
    San Tan Valley, AZ
    Hey, guys!

    So I currently own a MacBook Pro 15" from late 2011 (w/ the optical drive). It's got a 2.2 GHZ Intel Core i7 with 8GB of memory and an Intel HD Graphics card. I've also got a 1TB SATA Disk.

    I'm wanting to switch to a lighter laptop, but still want to save my money. So I was considering just buying a used or refurbished 15" with a retina display (2012 or newer). Then I'd switch over my hard drive and whichever other parts I can replace. It sounds simple, but I know little to nothing about replacing hardware, and in a Mac no less.

    So my question is, what parts can I replace in the new computer? And which ones should I replace?
    • Hard drive
    • CPU/ Processor
    • Logic board/ Mother board
    • RAM
    • Graphic card
    • Battery

    And if you know, how can I go about buying the new computer w/out having to pay extra for the parts I already have? Where do I look?
  2. New_Mac_Smell macrumors 68000


    Oct 17, 2016
    Generally speaking. Laptops are not upgradable, desktops are.

    Specifically on MacBooks, the newest models are entirely not upgradable. As everything is attached to the logic board, meaning any 'upgrade' requires replacing this major component, which is effectively the entire machine. Cost and time wise, it is significantly better to just buy a new computer. Replacing the CPU/GPU requires a new logic board, which usually costs a lot more than the machine is worth.

    That said if you want to upgrade your current computer, you can upgrade the HDD and RAM. You can upgrade the 2012 too, albeit slower SSDs. If you want to use proper stuff, it's also costly,-mid-2012). You can use cheaper components, but you'll take a speed hit or potential compatibility issues. If you don't know anything about replacing hardware however, I would advise you leave it alone and simple get the one you need instead of troubling yourself with research and guides.

    Moving from a 2011 to a 2012 the only difference you'd find is the screen, and trying to upgrade it would likely run the total cost upwards of $1000. Depending on what you do, you'd usually be best just buying a new MacBook or Air. Otherwise you'll spend $700 on a computer and swap your new SSD for a slower HDD, and depending on RAM you could possible add 8GB but will likely see no performance increase whatsoever.
  3. maerz001 macrumors 65816


    Nov 2, 2010
    just sell ur old one on craiglist or ebay and take the money for the new or used one. its not possible to use parts from an older model.
    depending how good in shape is your old one, you could get about $500-700. a used rMBP you can get for $300 more. just not 1TB SSD for that price. this will be expensive
  4. robvas macrumors 68030

    Mar 29, 2009
    Nothing is interchangeable between a 2011 and a Retina.
  5. Fishrrman macrumors P6


    Feb 20, 2009
    Post above pretty much says it all.

    If you want something newer, try and buy something with the specs you need.

    There's nothing really "replaceable" in retina MacBook Pro's, except the hard drive, and that's impractical as well (certainly costly).
  6. jerryk macrumors 601

    Nov 3, 2011
    SF Bay Area
    Best to treat retina and later MacBooks as sealed non-upgradable units. More like a car than a desktop computer. Buy it configured with what you need. Replace with newer unit when your needs change.
  7. JaySoul macrumors 68030


    Jan 30, 2008
    I had a mid-2011. The thing that makes the MOST difference is swapping out the SATA hard drive for an SSD (e.g. Samsung make incredible ones).

    BUT a couple of months after I did that, the MacBook died, full on. I was in a situation where I didn't know if I should "stick or twist" and played it safe.

    As others have said, it's better to sell it while it's working fine, and put that money towards a newer one. I ended up getting a mid-2015 MBP and it's doing the job just fine.

    And the newest MBPs from 2016-17? Well, I don't think anything is going to be user replaceable from now on!
  8. michelletelfo thread starter macrumors newbie


    Jul 31, 2017
    San Tan Valley, AZ
    Thanks everyone's for all of the informative replies! Based on them, I've determined it's better to just try to sell my 2011. And I'm looking to purchase a 2015 or newer, likely refurbished. I'm glad I asked and wasn't caught by surprises later when I found the hardware to be completely different. Appreciate the responses

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