I have this '09 Macbook that still runs on Snow Leopard

Worth the trouble fixing my old Macbook to modern standards?

  • Hell nah dude wtf???

    Votes: 3 20.0%
  • Sounds like a fun experiment

    Votes: 3 20.0%
  • I mean, why not I guess?

    Votes: 3 20.0%
  • That's the stupidest **** I've ever heard

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • Just try and find the discontinued macbook pro from mid '18, you're better off

    Votes: 1 6.7%
  • Sounds like a fun experiment, if you have the dough

    Votes: 7 46.7%

  • Total voters
    15

Annaifos

macrumors newbie
Original poster
May 28, 2019
8
5
Crazy, right? That's 10 years old!

I obviously bought a new macbook pro by now, the one with the exploding battery(yey), but that's a different discussion entirely. As the keyboard on my mid '15 pro is breaking badly (I really should probably just take it to the vet), I'm left wondering something I've been mulling over for some years now.

Is it still possible to update the insides of my macbook circa '09? Is it even worth it? Thoughts on updating to a newer system also welcome. Not keen on updating past El Capitan, but I guess there really is no choice on that one.
 

CooperBox

macrumors 65816
Nov 28, 2010
1,051
1,042
France - between Ricard & Absinthe
Not crazy at all! I still regulary use an 18 year-old 2001 PPC G4 Cube, and a 2005 17" PowerBook for the fun-factor; superb machines when Mac's were truly exciting.
As an avid Mac collector I have several MacBooks, a 2009 running El Capitan, and another running Linux Mint. Love 'em both. These can me maxed out with 6GB Ram, but its certainly questionable whether it's cost effective to do the SSD and RAM upgrades on the non-unibody models.
My preferred MacBook model by far is the very last 2010 white unibody (2.4GHz). Its completely upgradeable (unlike the later Retina's). Great machines when found - as mine was near-mint condition without the common cracking near the rear hinges or rubber baseplate deterioration. Now running High Sierra with a 500GB dual partitioned SSD, up to date Waterfox web- browser, and 8GB Ram - it's an absolute keeper!
 
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EugW

macrumors 604
Jun 18, 2017
7,300
4,686
Which 2009 MacBook? What are its specs?

You can upgrade to 10.11 El Capitan no problem, but you'll need sufficient RAM and SSD. You can also upgrade to 10.13 High Sierra but if it's MacBook5,2 you may run into problems in some cases, and again you'll need sufficient RAM and SSD.

By "sufficient RAM" I mean bare minimum 4 GB, but 6-8 GB preferred. Any recent SSD would do though.

I use a 2008 Unibody MacBook5,1 2.0 GHz every day BTW, with 8 GB RAM, SSD, and High Sierra. Its Core 2 Duo 2.0 GHz is quite slow but it's only my kitchen recipe and surfing machine, with very occasional Netflix 720p and for that stuff it is usable. (However, for my main portable usage I have an iPad Pro 10.5" and a 2017 MacBook 12" Core m3.) I also have a 2.26 GHz 2009 MacBook Pro which feels a bit faster, and some of the 2009 MacBook models have that same CPU.
 
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dfs

macrumors 6502
Sep 17, 2008
316
148
California
You need to do an Agonizing Reappraisal. Ask yourself what you want to do that you can't do right now. Ask you yourself what specific things about your present Mac seriously annoy you. Then take a thoughtful look at the lists you have compiled. They'll tell you what if anything you need to do and how much if any money you need to spend to make yourself happy. Spending money to make yourself happier and more comfortable are worth it. Newness for the sake of newness is not, and your lists will help you think straight about the subject.
 
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Aston441

macrumors 65816
Sep 16, 2014
1,284
1,778
You need to do an Agonizing Reappraisal. Ask yourself what you want to do that you can't do right now. Ask you yourself what specific things about your present Mac seriously annoy you. Then take a thoughtful look at the lists you have compiled. They'll tell you what if anything you need to do and how much if any money you need to spend to make yourself happy. Spending money to make yourself happier and more comfortable are worth it. Newness for the sake of newness is not, and your lists will help you think straight about the subject.

Old guy, lol it's just a cheap toy, relax, he just wants to have some fun.

It's not like blowing 80 large on that Corvette you've been lusting after lol
 

avz

macrumors 6502a
Oct 7, 2018
587
811
Which 2009 MacBook? What are its specs?

You can upgrade to 10.11 El Capitan no problem, but you'll need sufficient RAM and SSD. You can also upgrade to 10.13 High Sierra but if it's MacBook5,2 you may run into problems in some cases, and again you'll need sufficient RAM and SSD.

By "sufficient RAM" I mean bare minimum 4 GB, but 6-8 GB preferred. Any recent SSD would do though.

I use a 2008 Unibody MacBook5,1 2.0 GHz every day BTW, with 8 GB RAM, SSD, and High Sierra. Its Core 2 Duo 2.0 GHz is quite slow but it's only my kitchen recipe and surfing machine, with very occasional Netflix 720p and for that stuff it is usable. (However, for my main portable usage I have an iPad Pro 10.5" and a 2017 MacBook 12" Core m3.) I also have a 2.26 GHz 2009 MacBook Pro which feels a bit faster, and some of the 2009 MacBook models have that same CPU.
MacBook5,1 2.0 GHz as a "kitchen recipe machine"? I would say you are not even using 20% of its abilities. I have the same machine and I can play 4K and 8K 60fps in IINA player. Yes, it is far from smooth but it is not freezing either. Those Macs are Classics "for all times and nations". I doubt there will be anything like that ever again.
 

LizKat

macrumors 603
Aug 5, 2004
5,323
29,844
Catskill Mountains
Crazy, right? That's 10 years old!

I obviously bought a new macbook pro by now, the one with the exploding battery(yey), but that's a different discussion entirely. As the keyboard on my mid '15 pro is breaking badly (I really should probably just take it to the vet), I'm left wondering something I've been mulling over for some years now.

Is it still possible to update the insides of my macbook circa '09? Is it even worth it? Thoughts on updating to a newer system also welcome. Not keen on updating past El Capitan, but I guess there really is no choice on that one.
It's good to have a spare machine, so the costs of upgrading RAM and putting in an SSD in an older Mac notebook can seem more appealing than shelling out for a used spare that you don't know much about and then plowing more money in to upgrade it.

I have a mid-2010 2.4GHz dual core MacBook running El Capitan as my spare, the RAM and SSD were upgrades installed before I bought it used. It's been a great machine. I don't ask more of it than net surfing and streaming movies or music on DSL anyway.

I'd not have bought it used and THEN updated it. The machine you have you already know isn't one that's likely to bite you over a bad drop or a mopped-up beverage spill or something.
 
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EugW

macrumors 604
Jun 18, 2017
7,300
4,686
MacBook5,1 2.0 GHz as a "kitchen recipe machine"? I would say you are not even using 20% of its abilities. I have the same machine and I can play 4K and 8K 60fps in IINA player. Yes, it is far from smooth but it is not freezing either. Those Macs are Classics "for all times and nations". I doubt there will be anything like that ever again.
If it’s significantly stuttering for video playback, it’s effectively unusable in my opinion. For that purpose I use Kaby Lake Macs that do it 100% cleanly.

I keep the MacBook5,1 to 720p (Netflix) or at most 1080p h.264.
 

Jack Neill

macrumors 6502
Sep 13, 2015
432
225
San Antonio Texas
It's good to have a spare machine, so the costs of upgrading RAM and putting in an SSD in an older Mac notebook can seem more appealing than shelling out for a used spare that you don't know much about and then plowing more money in to upgrade it.

I have a mid-2010 2.4GHz dual core MacBook running El Capitan as my spare, the RAM and SSD were upgrades installed before I bought it used. It's been a great machine. I don't ask more of it than net surfing and streaming movies or music on DSL anyway.

I'd not have bought it used and THEN updated it. The machine you have you already know isn't one that's likely to bite you over a bad drop or a mopped-up beverage spill or something.
I always upgrade every machineI have to the max. I bought a 2010 7,1 at a pawn shop yesterday for 70$ because they forgot the password. I put a 512 SSD in it and ordered a OWC 16Gb kit. I'm only 150$ into a still capable Mac. It replaces the 5,2 I gave my daughter. I love the old white books!
 

LizKat

macrumors 603
Aug 5, 2004
5,323
29,844
Catskill Mountains
I always upgrade every machineI have to the max. I bought a 2010 7,1 at a pawn shop yesterday for 70$ because they forgot the password. I put a 512 SSD in it and ordered a OWC 16Gb kit. I'm only 150$ into a still capable Mac. It replaces the 5,2 I gave my daughter. I love the old white books!
For that price I'd give it a go too! Well done...
 

rampancy

macrumors regular
Jul 22, 2002
121
27
One of my favorite MacBook upgrades is to take out the optical drive and replace it with a second drive (be it a large capacity HDD, or good value SSD). Since the MacBook 5,x and upward use SATA optical drives, you can use any standard SATA-SATA optical drive bay caddy.
 

sananda

macrumors 68020
May 24, 2007
2,353
49
My preferred MacBook model by far is the very last 2010 white unibody (2.4GHz). Its completely upgradeable (unlike the later Retina's). Great machines when found - as mine was near-mint condition without the common cracking near the rear hinges or rubber baseplate deterioration. Now running High Sierra with a 500GB dual partitioned SSD, up to date Waterfox web- browser, and 8GB Ram - it's an absolute keeper!
I have that MacBook (not upgraded to SSD). It’s so infuriatingly slow and has been like that since I was given it in 2010.
 
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CooperBox

macrumors 65816
Nov 28, 2010
1,051
1,042
France - between Ricard & Absinthe
Mine is running great on Mojave. Get a SSD and some ram and it will be fine.
That was presumably using the DosDude2 patch, as otherwise one is limited to 10.13.6 High-Sierra on the MacBook7,1.
I've always thought 16Gb was somewhat overkill and not really cost effective on a Core2Duo. My MBook7,1 performs admirably with 8Gb Ram (which it came with) and the Samsung SSD which I installed, even using iMovie.
 
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Jack Neill

macrumors 6502
Sep 13, 2015
432
225
San Antonio Texas
That was presumably using the DosDude2 patch, as otherwise one is limited to 10.13.6 High-Sierra on the MacBook7,1.
I've always thought 16Gb was somewhat overkill and not really cost effective on a Core2Duo. My MBook7,1 performs admirably with 8Gb Ram (which it came with) and the Samsung SSD which I installed, even using iMovie.
Yeah I used the patch to get 14.5. I think .14 runs smoother than .13. 16Gb is probobly overkill for this machine, but I got it pretty cheap at a pawn shop because they didnt know the password. I had a Samsung 512 from a HP elitebook upgrade I did so I decided to throw it in the 7,1. My battery only has 25 cycles on it too, Im getting 5-6 hours of battery life.
 
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