Early 2011 Macbook Pro Upgrades

TheRiddler25

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Mar 24, 2019
5
0
Hello,

I have an early 2011 Macbook Pro (see attached screenshot) that has been acting very slow lately, even after a clean installation of the operating system. I am in no way a Mac expert but did some research online and the 2 easiest ways to fix the issue seems to be:

1. Upgrade the RAM

My Macbook Pro currently has 4GB or RAM. I am seeing conflicting information as to the maximum it can hold is 8 GB (2X4GB) or 16 GB (2X8GB). In either case this link seems to be suggestion decent options, I just need to know what to order: https://www.crucial.com/usa/en/compatible-upgrade-for/Apple/macbook-pro-(13-inch,-early-2011)

2. Change the hard drive for a SSD

My Macbook Pro still has its original hard drive and I believe switching to a SSD would help the speed. I would like you help in finding one that is suitable (I don't need a lot of storage capacity, 250GB is plenty) and affordable. Also, is it pretty straightforward to replace the existing one?

3. Thermal Paste?

A few users on a different forum suggested the thermal paste might need to be replaced... could this be the main issue?

Thank you so much in advance!
 

Attachments


maflynn

Moderator
Staff member
May 3, 2009
64,142
30,739
Boston
acting very slow lately,
I would recommend an SSD first, then maybe ram. The thermal paste will only help if you notice your machine throttling or running very hot. if the temps are decent enough then I wouldn't mess with it.
 

Chancha

macrumors 6502a
Mar 19, 2014
920
793
RAM:
Definitely upgrade to at least 8GB, and I'd recommend 16GB not because you need it, but that the price and hassle are not that different. Crucial is a good choice. And the "8GB upper limit" confusion came from Apple's original configuration, they didn't offer 16GB option probably because they didn't want to sell it but the chipset / motherboard of the machine has always been able to support 16GB (or maybe it took a firmware update not sure)

SSD:
This will improve performance dramatically. And do not worry much about the brand and make as the SATA interface was already peaked when this 2011 machine was made, so pretty much any SATA SSD you buy is at or exceeds the MBP's port potential. The swapping is straight forward, there are few screws and the drive bay is immediately accessible after opening the bottom case. The only tedious part is to restore /migrate data to this new drive if you are not already familiar with such procedures.
 

Roman78

macrumors regular
May 7, 2018
249
60
Eifel - Germany
1. It should run the 16GB. I own the 15" 2011 Model also whit 16GB. Although i don't need the 16GB, 8 would be fine for my usage.

2. Hell yes....!!

3. Could be. When the CPU reaches the 100°C it throttles down. Just check you temp whit MacFanControll or some like software. Intel Power Gadget also gives you a good impression of the CPU.
 

TheRiddler25

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Mar 24, 2019
5
0
RAM:
Definitely upgrade to at least 8GB, and I'd recommend 16GB not because you need it, but that the price and hassle are not that different. Crucial is a good choice. And the "8GB upper limit" confusion came from Apple's original configuration, they didn't offer 16GB option probably because they didn't want to sell it but the chipset / motherboard of the machine has always been able to support 16GB (or maybe it took a firmware update not sure)

SSD:
This will improve performance dramatically. And do not worry much about the brand and make as the SATA interface was already peaked when this 2011 machine was made, so pretty much any SATA SSD you buy is at or exceeds the MBP's port potential. The swapping is straight forward, there are few screws and the drive bay is immediately accessible after opening the bottom case. The only tedious part is to restore /migrate data to this new drive if you are not already familiar with such procedures.
@Chancha

Perfect, I will upgrade to either 16GB RAM following your recommendation.
For the SSD, I will pick an affordable one since you mention the brand and make won't make that much of a difference. For the files, everything that I want to save is stored on the cloud. Knowing this, can I just swap the hard drives (I have unscrewed the bottom case and looked at the inside of the Macbook, this seems to be a pretty straighforward process)? My only question is for the Operating System... if I swap the hard drives, can I reinstall Mac OSX from the motherboard or do I need to make some sort of bootable copy?

@Roman78, I will install MacFanControl tonight and see what kind of temperatures I get. I do know it runs quite hot however; in the summer, I can't put the bottom part of the laptop directly in contact with my skin. I'll report back as soon as I can.

Thanks both!
 
Last edited:

shaunp

macrumors 68000
Nov 5, 2010
1,745
1,313
I had the same model and upgraded to 16GB RAM. So did a friend of mine who had the 17" model from the same time. 16GB is definitely supported on that model.

As for the performance, the SSD normally adds the biggest performance boost, but given you only have 4GB RAM I would upgrade to 16GB. If you add both that should be enough of a performance boost for it to last you a while longer and it won't cost too much.

I wouldn't bother messing around with thermal paste as you are more likely to break it than fix it.
 

Fishrrman

macrumors P6
Feb 20, 2009
17,456
5,671
My advice:

For an 8-year-old MPB, do your upgrades "on the cheap". Don't put a lot of $$$ into it.
You can still get a very nice boost in overall performance.

Just about any SSD will do, so, don't buy "high end" (i.e., expensive Samsung).
I'd suggest Crucial or Sandisk.

For RAM -- I'd buy ONE 8gb DIMM, and put that into the topmost slot while you have the back off to change the drive. That will give you 12gb of installed RAM.
 

TheRiddler25

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Mar 24, 2019
5
0
Hi everone,

I purchased an SSD and it arrived today. Now I am trying to install MAC OSX Lion on my new hard drive using Internet Recovery. I am prompted to enter my Apple ID and password (I remember both, shockingly) followed by a verification code. My question is: how do I get the verification code? Apple has texted me numerous ones in the past but does not text me a new one when I try to enter my ID and password in this instance. Note that my MBP is my only Apple device (I own a Samsung phone).

Also, can anyone confirm the below? In other words, are there no spaces between my usual Apple ID password and the verification code I will receive?

Password: PASSWORD123456

Thanks!
 

rocknrotty

macrumors member
Oct 14, 2006
41
0
Can i ask a question Why Internal recovery? Do u have an external case for the drive? Is the machine bootable?
 

AlexMaximus

macrumors 6502a
Aug 15, 2006
839
245
A400M Base
Hi everone,

I purchased an SSD and it arrived today. Now I am trying to install MAC OSX Lion on my new hard drive using Internet Recovery. I am prompted to enter my Apple ID and password (I remember both, shockingly) followed by a verification code. My question is: how do I get the verification code? Apple has texted me numerous ones in the past but does not text me a new one when I try to enter my ID and password in this instance. Note that my MBP is my only Apple device (I own a Samsung phone).

Also, can anyone confirm the below? In other words, are there no spaces between my usual Apple ID password and the verification code I will receive?

Password: PASSWORD123456

Thanks!
I just resurrected my old 2010 17' MacBook Pro from the dead. Finally found a like new mainboard to replace my dead gpu. Since its 2019 I tried the new Mojave Patcher upgrade from dosdude. I am really really surprised how great the 2010 runs with Mojave on it. The process is straight forward. This might be very beneficial for you. I am not sure about your HD3000 GPU, but ist worked great on my 2010 MBP. Might be worth a shot...

How to Install macOS 10.14 Mojave on an Unsupported Mac
 

studium4sk

macrumors newbie
Oct 23, 2013
8
15
I upgraded my MBP 2011 HDD to a SSD which will bring you most of the performance improvement.
I chose a Samsung EVO 850.
Up until today, it is still as fast as my new 2018 MBP.

Enjoy the performance improvement :) you ll love it !
 

TheRiddler25

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Mar 24, 2019
5
0
I upgraded my MBP 2011 HDD to a SSD which will bring you most of the performance improvement.
I chose a Samsung EVO 850.
Up until today, it is still as fast as my new 2018 MBP.

Enjoy the performance improvement :) you ll love it !
Hi everyone,

I ended up purchasing 16GB of DDR3 RAM as well as a 500GB Crucial SSD and wow, what a difference it makes! Thank you all for your valued suggestions and contributions; I can now enjoy my old MBP for several more years! :)
 

hpucker99

macrumors member
Nov 20, 2009
44
4
Hello,

I have an early 2011 Macbook Pro (see attached screenshot) that has been acting very slow lately, even after a clean installation of the operating system. I am in no way a Mac expert but did some research online and the 2 easiest ways to fix the issue seems to be:

1. Upgrade the RAM

My Macbook Pro currently has 4GB or RAM. I am seeing conflicting information as to the maximum it can hold is 8 GB (2X4GB) or 16 GB (2X8GB). In either case this link seems to be suggestion decent options, I just need to know what to order: https://www.crucial.com/usa/en/compatible-upgrade-for/Apple/macbook-pro-(13-inch,-early-2011)

2. Change the hard drive for a SSD

My Macbook Pro still has its original hard drive and I believe switching to a SSD would help the speed. I would like you help in finding one that is suitable (I don't need a lot of storage capacity, 250GB is plenty) and affordable. Also, is it pretty straightforward to replace the existing one?

3. Thermal Paste?

A few users on a different forum suggested the thermal paste might need to be replaced... could this be the main issue?

Thank you so much in advance!

I did options #1 and #2, 16 GB RAM and 1 TB SSD on an early MBP 15”. Still going strong.