Help me Improve my Aging Macbook! <Please>

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by itsky, Jul 20, 2012.

  1. itsky, Jul 20, 2012
    Last edited: Jul 20, 2012

    itsky macrumors newbie

    Mar 20, 2012
    Hello Everybody –

    I have a 2008 Macbook Aluminum (non-pro), and I’m looking to extend it’s life and improve its ability to process my Nikon D800’s 40+MB pictures through Aperture 3 and Photoshop CS5. I hope this can be accomplished by adding 8GB of RAM and adding my ever SSD.

    I’ve added RAM before, but never done a hard drive. I’m hoping you guys can help me out with some questions:
    • I’ve done some research and it seems my macbook can handle 8GB of RAM ( Boot ROM Version:MB51.007D.B03 ), which RAM do you recommend? I see OWC offers a set for $55, anywhere better and/or cheaper?
    • The SSD thread has overwhelmed my feeble mind. Since my link speed is limited to 3GB/s am I confined to a SATA II SSD? It seems that SATA III Samsung 830 ($250 on Amazon) is highly recommended here but will this drive revert down to 3GB/s on my machine? Is that how it works? The Mercury 3 is 3GB/s SSD on OWC’s site for $240 which seems like it would be a good fit. My thought though is this, if the Samsung 830 will revert down to my machine’s fastest speed, wouldn’t I be better suited to buy in than the slower Mercury 3? As it will benefit me down the line if I end up upgrading to a new macbook?
    • To simplify: which ~250GB SSD do you recommend for me?
    • My plan now is to install a clean version of Lion and then let time machine copy over my data, would I be better suited to ghost my drive using carbon copy cloner?

      Next option:
    • • In your opinion will I be unhappy? Should I just suck it up and buy a new macbook pro?

    A copy/paste of my specs are:

    Processor Name:Intel Core 2 Duo
    Processor Speed:2 GHz
    Number of Processors:1
    Total Number of Cores:2
    L2 Cache:3 MB
    Memory:4 GB
    Bus Speed:1.07 GHz
    Boot ROM Version:MB51.007D.B03

    NVidia MCP79 AHCI:

    Product:MCP79 AHCI
    Link Speed:3 Gigabit
    Negotiated Link Speed:1.5 Gigabit
    Description:AHCI Version 1.20 Supported

    Thanks for the help!
  2. jav6454 macrumors P6


    Nov 14, 2007
    1 Geostationary Tower Plaza
    I am on the same boat; however, buying a new computer is not something I can do right now. I'll just to do the upgrades for now and use this computer for another 2 years.
  3. Stetrain macrumors 68040

    Feb 6, 2009
    You can use a SATA 6G SSD in a SATA 3G laptop, it will just revert to SATA 3G speeds.

    I think that the Samsung 830 would be a great choice. Anandtech says that it's one of the best SSD controllers for use with OSX.

    If you keep an eye out you can sometimes get pretty good deals on the 830s. I got my 256GB version for $189 with free shipping from a special deal on Newegg.
  4. brand macrumors 601


    Oct 3, 2006
    You would notice a huge difference with both of those upgrades and could squeeze a couple of more years out of it. BTW this is the MacBook Pro forum.
  5. jav6454 macrumors P6


    Nov 14, 2007
    1 Geostationary Tower Plaza
    Doesn't matter, same style of computer.
  6. Stetrain macrumors 68040

    Feb 6, 2009
    Yeah, honestly it's much closer to the 13" MBP than it is to the old plastic Macbooks.
  7. brand macrumors 601


    Oct 3, 2006
    I was just pointing it out incase he thought he posted in the MacBook forum.
  8. Pompiliu macrumors 6502a


    Apr 22, 2012
    Yeah, what the hell? Doesen't matter! Hey everybody with dells, ibooks, lenovos come here in the MBP forum. It's the same style of computer, isn't it? :rolleyes:

  9. jav6454 macrumors P6


    Nov 14, 2007
    1 Geostationary Tower Plaza
    You do realize the late 2008 MacBook has more in common with MacBook Pros of that same generation than the plastic Macs right?

    Sshhhh it's alright to not know this!
  10. reberto macrumors 65816


    Jul 20, 2005
    8GB of RAM, a good SSD (the Samsung 830 is always a good choice!), and maybe swapping out the optical drive for a fast HDD for your photos would be a good choice. Something like my setup here would be a huge boost for you.

    Attached Files:

  11. brand macrumors 601


    Oct 3, 2006
    It's still a MacBook and is closer to the other MacBooks of that year than it is to the 13" MacBook Pro of a completely different year.
  12. itsky thread starter macrumors newbie

    Mar 20, 2012
    Sorry guys for posting in the Macbook Pro forum. I was sort of hoping that these improvements would boost my Macbook to 'Pro' status. :eek:

    I added some specs to my first post that I forgot to include.

    Thanks Again!
  13. serb macrumors newbie

    May 29, 2012
    are you guys seriously arguing about which forum he posted in?
  14. sweetbrat macrumors 65816


    Jun 17, 2009
    Redford, MI
    There's nothing wrong with pointing out that it was posted in the wrong forum. People post in the wrong place unintentionally all the time, and it's valid to point it out to them, especially if it's a newbie that might not be very familiar with the site. People need to relax a little.

    A SATA III drive should work fine in your machine, and yes, then if you get a newer MBP later you can move it to that machine and take advantage of the faster speed. Considering that the SATA II drives are about as expensive as SATA III drives, I'd go for the faster one.
  15. Jiten macrumors 6502a


    Jul 16, 2008
    Yes this, and besides, there are more folks browsing the Macbook Pro forums.
  16. itsky thread starter macrumors newbie

    Mar 20, 2012
    Follow Up

    Hello All -

    After several months I wanted to follow up. I installed:

    Crucial 256 GB m4 2.5-Inch Solid State Drive SATA 6Gb/s CT256M4SSD2
    Crucial CT2CP51264BC1067 8GB 204-PIN PC3-8500 SODIMM DDR3 (4GBx2)

    Total cost $225

    Using videos from ifixit and owc and it was a breeze, the result was fantastic. The computer flies now! I highly recommend.
  17. nwcs macrumors 68000


    Sep 21, 2009
    For other people curious about D800 and upgrades I thought I'd pass along my experience with moving to SSD.

    I have a D800 that I shoot in 14 bit raw and I've got a 2010 MBP that got a SSD a few months ago so I can give you some real world expectations... It has 8GB memory, too.

    Did the SSD upgrade have a meaningful difference in processing D800 files in Lightroom: yes but nowhere near as big as I was hoping. The SSD means Lightroom and other apps load very quickly and the D800 file can be loaded quicker (if you're storing them on the SSD) but that's it. The processing time for any operations is virtually unchanged.

    Is 8GB better than 4? Definitely. And with D800 files it can be a noticeable difference. Is it enough? For lightroom, yeah, it basically is.

    So if you upgrade to SSD and add memory will you be happier? Without a doubt. But realize the limitations. It won't make any *processing* any faster whatsoever. And it doesn't make your computer like "a whole new machine" but it does remove bottlenecks that can make it easier to deal with D800 files. The fact remains, though, that these are basically stopgap solutions until you upgrade.

    Personally, the SSD reduced my frustration enough to put off buying a rMBP until a spec bump or model update.
  18. Saturn1217 macrumors 6502a

    Apr 28, 2008
    Thank you OP

    Thanks for updating with your experiences. I did very similar with my 2009 MBP 13-inch.

    Now it works too well to upgrade...:eek:
  19. itsky thread starter macrumors newbie

    Mar 20, 2012
    nwcs -

    Thanks for adding your experience, I agree with what you are saying.

    I will add a few extra details. For regular computing: booting, shutdowns, sleep, web browsing, office type docs the addition of a SSD and 8GB of RAM fulfilled my expectations, the user experience along with the most current operating system is fantastic.

    As nwcs notes, shooting RAW with a full-frame camera creates just massive amounts of data to store and plow through. In our camera, we run (2) 32GB cards and our workflow is generally this:

    Import using Aperture 3 to the SSD (where we keep about a month of photos) --> Do culling, rating, album making, ~50% of edits in Aperture --> Export 100% JPEGs to a work in process folder on the SSD for photoshop CS5 --> reimport edited JPEGs back into Aperture 3 on SSD --> when we are done with the project or our SSD we move the images to an external drive

    Using this process we are pretty happy as aperture and photoshop run well on the SSD.

    Our biggest gripe is that we need more resolution and looking to pick up a nice 27" monitor, hopefully this machine can run it. (I have a question in the "peripheral" section.

    Overall it works but there are better things out there.


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