Early 2008 white MB, still usable?

Discussion in 'MacBook' started by AlexxRyzhkov, Dec 6, 2015.

  1. AlexxRyzhkov macrumors regular

    May 17, 2014
    So I recently bought a 2008 Macbook. I bought it from some dude at a fleamarket for $30, and it didn't have a battery or harddrive. I originally thought it was a 2009 model, but found out it was actually a 2008 model.

    So I have a couple questions. First of all, are these computers even still useful? The CPU doesn't seem too weak, but I'm scared about the Intel GMA graphics. Second of all, I have a hard drive, but it's blank. Do I have to buy some sort of install disks? Or how do i get the OS on? Can I use a USB flash drive and torrent a copy of Snow Leopard or something?

    Last of all, if it actually is useful, where can i get a decent battery. I'm gonna go with a used one, hopefully I can get at least 2 hours out of it.
  2. nordique macrumors 65816

    Oct 12, 2014
    depends what you use it for, I don't see why it shouldn't still be useful especially if you manage to load an older OSX version on it.

    If you don't use your laptop for much beyond emails, web surfing, calendar organizing and such, it should be perfectly fine with an older OSX.

    Not sure how it runs 10.11

    My first mac was a mid 2010 macbook, which I only had for a few months before getting an early 2011 Pro.

    No idea on longevity.
  3. AlexxRyzhkov thread starter macrumors regular

    May 17, 2014
    It's going to be used only for web browsing, youtube, and listening to music. It's an Early 2008, so the newest OS I can run on it is OSX Lion, although Snow leopard will probably be faster
  4. gooser macrumors 6502a

    Jul 4, 2013
    i have a mid 2009 that i use for pretty much just what you use yours for. in addition it is used for ripping dvd's. mine will run el capitan but i use 10.6 instead. (prefer an older version of itunes)
  5. MacRazySwe macrumors 6502a

    Aug 7, 2007
    I had a 2009 MacBook (white, not unibody) which I passed on to my mom. It still works great for her. 2.2GHz Core 2 Duo and 2GB ram, running 10.7 Lion. For email, browsing, movies and such it's really all she needs. It's a heavy old thing though, compared to modern macs.
  6. lo100469 macrumors member

    Sep 26, 2013
    my parents use an old white macbook too that i upgraded to Snow Leopard to get iMessage working. for web browsing and emails, it still works great, they do not need more.
  7. pastrychef macrumors 601


    Sep 15, 2006
    New York City, NY
    The only thing about this MacBook is that it won't be able to run the latest OS X revisions. This also means that you may not be able to run the latest versions of software that require newer OS X versions.

    That being said, for browsing, YouTube, and music, it will be fine. Even when Apple stops updating Safari for it, you will have options such as Firefox. At $30 it's a great bargain. Toss in an SSD and maybe upgrade the RAM and it should perform nicely.
  8. thescotsman4 macrumors member


    Nov 11, 2015
    Snow Leopard install discs are still available from Apple for $19.99: http://www.apple.com/shop/product/MC573Z/A/mac-os-x-106-snow-leopard

    I bought one of these batteries (but in black) from eBay for my 2007 BlackBook: http://www.ebay.com/itm/NEW-59WH-La...939351?hash=item3389d79617:g:pxwAAOSwu-BWPf8y Its worked great so far, no issues.

    The Intel GMA X3100 isn't that great, but you should still be able to browse the web, watch YouTube pretty comfortably etc. I put an SSD in mine and it runs Snow Leopard nicely. Always liked SL as an OS, its quick and doesn't seem to have as many issues as newer OS's. I also own a modified BlackBook, with a 2009 logic board inside, that dual boots El Cap and Snow Leopard. To be honest I favour SL on it!

    Ditto what @pastrychef said. The Core 2 Duo MacBooks are still decent little machines for the average user. I'd max out the RAM if you can afford to. Everymac has lots of information on the MacBook models, but if yours is an early 2008 then should be able to put 6GB in (2 GB + 4GB). I've had a hard time finding that for a decent price on eBay, as the single 4GB sticks are expensive ($50 IIRC). I have 4GB in both MacBooks and they run great.
  9. Max(IT) Suspended


    Dec 8, 2009
    I owned the previous model (The Santa Rosa), that was quite similar .... a loooong time ago :D
    A good notebook at the time, with an hardware defect (cracking on the keyboard case) that didn't affect my unit fortunately.
    The primary problem in using it today is about the ram: you need AT LEAST 2 Gb of ram to run OS X in a decent way.
    It could be a good idea to replace the battery and put a 128 Gb SSD inside it.
  10. CooperBox, Dec 12, 2015
    Last edited: Dec 12, 2015

    CooperBox macrumors 6502a


    Nov 28, 2010
    France - between Ricard & Absinthe
    Another positive vote from me for a 2008 white Macbook, and agree with most here that the Core 2 Duo MacBooks are still excellent little machines for the average user. Mine (purchased second-hand) is a near mint example and for browsing the web, watching YouTube/DailyMotion is just great.
    Although it looked mint from outside, once I opened it up to perform a spring-clean I found it desperately needed a blast of air to clear out the 'cobwebs.' In fact even when that was done I decided to remove the fan assy to perform a 100% clean, and believe me it really needed it. It was like a rat's nest inside.
    Bottom line is, if you have one and suspect any signs of overheating (amazingly mine didn't) or believe that the no internal cleaning has been done since new, the odds are it will need one.
    I should add that I'm running Snow Leopard, imho the best OS so far, and even if it was possible to update to Mavericks or El Capitan - I wouldn't want to.
    Enjoy your MacBook!

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