Early 2008 MBP; can it be saved??


macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Jan 16, 2008
I have an early 2008 MBP that used to be my work horse.

Now, it just gets used for a few tasks here and there that my phone can't handle.

The problem is that it runs like a snail now. A few years back I upgraded to a hybrid hard drive, but that didn't seem to help too much with speed.

I'm curious: if I upgraded to a SSD: could I expect dramatic performance improvement? Or would I just be throwing away cash towards a dinosaur?

I really only use the MBP for music and web browsing now. I'd like to be able to handle light photo editing/management too. But I'd hate to buy a new laptop if I can get a few more years out of my current one!


macrumors 6502
Jan 18, 2016
An SSD will make it snappy, but the CPUs in those things are pretty limiting.There is no reason why you shouldn't be able to browse the web and listen to music on the thing. As far as editing, if you are ok with doing it on that low res of a screen I'm guessing you aren't expecting too much.

Whether it's worth it or not, I don't know. That's something only you can decide. On one hand, the computer is worth half as much as what you will spend to update it, but on the other you'll spend 3-15x what you spend to update it to get a new MacBook depending on what you went for. Sooooooooo


macrumors 68020
Jan 23, 2017
Do you have a future use for the SSD as an external for a more modern system after this one goes to the boneyard?

If not, the problem is you are putting money into something that could go kaput at any moment, and something that has a CPU that cannot handle much. Literally, on an older Core 2 Duo MBA I have with OS X El Cap, just watching a YT video takes the CPU to 100% and makes the system sluggish. It has 4GB of RAM and a reasonably fast SSD...it's just that C2D is archaic to a point where it makes even the base model MacBook look like a 10-core workstation.

You can sometimes find 128 GB SSDs for around $50 USD (and ones made with MLC NAND, at that) - but if you are going for something more, and you do not have an alternative use, the money might be better spent on a tablet or a used Windows system. A friend just purchased a refurbished ThinkPad with an i5 and a 160 GB Intel eMLC SSD (yes, eMLC) for $180 and it showed up in near new condition with less than 10 GB of writes on the SSD...


macrumors 68020
Jun 2, 2016
Cornwall UK
I have 2007 MBP I used to use but it is 17"

it runs ok with el capitan and a HDD, never got round to putting an SSD in it.

only stopped using it due to size and weight and poor battery life as cheap and nasty battery I bought for it.


macrumors 6502
Mar 3, 2008
New Jersey
I have a 2009 13" Whitebook that I upgraded the memory (honestly, can't remember if it was 4gb or 8gb) and put an SSD in it... I use it for some web design, garageband, and some light photo editing.

True it's not a 2016 $3000 laptop with 12382348mbps write speeds, but for what it cost for the upgrades (maybe 150-200 a few years ago), it can do the job for me.



macrumors P6
Feb 20, 2009
OP asks:
"if I upgraded to a SSD: could I expect dramatic performance improvement? Or would I just be throwing away cash towards a dinosaur?"

Second question provides the answer.

The MacBook is 9 years old.
An SSD will help -some-, yes, but really, it's...
...Time for a replacement.

Your money is better spent by doing that.
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macrumors regular
Sep 19, 2014
Thousand Oaks, CA
I have an old 17-inch MacBook Pro, 2008 vintage, and just put a 525GB Crucial MX300 SSD into it. It brought it to life and runs El Capitan just fine. It will never see the true speed of the SSD, but that is fine. Much faster than the old "spinner". It is great for general work. It is heavy and the battery a bit weak, so it sits on the desk. It will never be editing 4K video, but for a general use computer, it is fine. If it finally has a major breakdown, I pull the SSD out and use it somewhere else. Still cheaper than a new computer.


macrumors regular
Oct 18, 2008
New York City
A new SSD is fairly cheap, and as someone posted above - you can use it for an external when you switch computers. For my late 2008, spending $80 on the SSD was like getting a new computer, but I did it knowing there were no guarantees about how long the computer housing my new drive would last.

Part of my decision was that I like the versions of the software I have installed, and when I get a new computer I'm going to have to buy ($) and adjust to newer editions ... and I wanted to put that off.


macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Jan 16, 2008
Sounds like a mixed bag. I had considered an iPad Pro: but I don't think that will be able to replace the laptop at this point.

Another function I'd like, that I don't think I mentioned, is for the laptop to be able to backup my iPhone. I have iCloud: but that has failed me before (upon an update it took 300 vacation photos that were "Live Photos" and turned it into 600 photos and 600 4 second movies that couldn't be merged back...) Having the data stored locally AND in the cloud is important to me.

Also: my work isn't 100% apple friendly so a couple times a year I need to boot up Boot Camp to get windows running.

I think I could get away with using just a desktop so the iMac is on the radar too (which is admittedly cheaper than an iPad Pro).

If I tried to just buy an SSD to see if I can get another year or two out of her: and the motherboard did die; is it easy enough to pull the Hard drive and steal the files off of it? I'm guessing I'd want to make sure any encryption settings are off?

Also, does anybody know if there are any reputable sites selling refurbed Macs? I'd like to look at those to compare prices too. (I don't necessarily need the latest and greatest)


macrumors 68020
Jun 2, 2016
Cornwall UK
several refurb mac places are around.

I bought a refurbed imac with year warranty cheap as it was a 2007 model and no body wanted it as runs el capitan.
get a late 08 or 09 onwards will run sierra, if you want to that is.

yes easy get files off if no encryption.
and can reuse the ssd in an imac if the laptop did fail.


macrumors 6502
May 14, 2003
I had one of those. It was a great machine. I remember the first 1 hour movie I made that it rendered for me. I left for the morning and three hours later it was still chugging away. I was happy that it could do this.

Then I bought a quad i5 iMac in 2011, and it made movies in about 55 minutes. I was delighted.

Recently, I bought an early 2014 MBP 15 quad i7. This machine is 96% of the power of the current CPU and 1/2 the power for the current GPU. It makes the same movies in about 6-9 minutes.

3 1/2 hours vs 9 minutes. You have to decide what you need.