Improve performance

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by aberonni, Jul 11, 2012.

  1. aberonni, Jul 11, 2012
    Last edited: Jul 11, 2012

    aberonni macrumors newbie

    Jul 11, 2012
    Hi all,

    First of all I'm a newbie in this forum so don't be too mean! :D

    I've had a search around the forum to see if I could find the info I'm looking for but I 'd prefer some specific guidance for my situation.

    Basically I have a mid 2009 15" macbook pro running Lion. I've attached an image that show my stats, basically I haven't touched the hardware at all since I bought it.

    Now the performance is starting to get a little bit worse than when I bought it (obviously) and I'm wondering what's best for me to replace in terms of price/improvement.

    The main issues I'm encountering are a pretty slow start up, and the laptop getting quite hot after not much time. I was thinking of updating the RAM from 4GB to 8GB but I'm wondering if there is something else worth doing first.

    Also for the RAM, do you suggest buying Apple RAM or are there valid alternatives.

    Thanks for your help, and pardon my english as I'm not native.


  2. miles01110 macrumors Core


    Jul 24, 2006
    The Ivory Tower (I'm not coming down)
    Apple doesn't make RAM. RAM from companies like Crucial, GSkill, etc are perfectly fine... RAM is all pretty much the same.
  3. Aftershocker macrumors member

    Oct 11, 2011
    Adding in an SSD as a boot drive will make the most noticeable difference in performance.
  4. aberonni thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jul 11, 2012
    Thanks for the quick reply! Do you think that it will make a big difference in terms of performance? Also, would you suggest any other improvements?
  5. yusukeaoki macrumors 68030


    Mar 22, 2011
    Tokyo, Japan
    There is no such thing as "Apple RAM" so forget about it.
    Basically get a 204pin SODIMM 8GB RAM off amazon for about 40bucks.
    (1066MHz, 1333MHz, 1666MHz)
    I suggest Corsair

    And add an SSD.
    SSD are way faster than a HDD.
    A 5400rpm drive can Read 30~40Mbps, Write 30MBps.
    With a SSD, Read 510Mbps, Write 210Mbps.

    Again, its really fast.
    You can also do a optibay which is replacing your Optical Drive (or disc drive) with a secondary HDD/SSD but I prefer you do the first 2 updates first then come back.

    Here is a 256GB SSD Crucial M4

    Quite pricey, but worth it.
  6. medi.freak macrumors regular

    May 26, 2011
    Updating RAM is definitely a good idea, especially since it is cheap. Don't go for Apple Ram, just use the ones you find on Amazon when you type in your model and RAM.
    Something else you should consider that you will most likely feel most is switching from an HDD to an SSD. Prices are drippy rapidly and you can build in an Optibay if you will still have lots of disc space available.

    If you need advice for installing these, use research function in this forum or google :) or ask here again :p

    - Edit: okay, yusukeaoki was faster ;)
  7. Aftershocker macrumors member

    Oct 11, 2011
    You won't get those speeds on a 2009 Macbook pro because it still has the SATA2 interface not the SATA3 but you will get 200MB plus each was which is awesome in everyday use.
  8. FastEddiebags macrumors 6502

    Jun 1, 2012
    I always recommend getting Onyx too. Its a freeware program and it cleans you caches and repairs permissions. Doesn't make a huge difference but sometimes you will notice a nice little speed bump. Other than that the ssd and ram should give you a good performance boost
  9. maflynn Moderator


    Staff Member

    May 3, 2009
    I'd say that Onyx has a minimal affect on performance, plus when you delete cache you actually impede performance as the system needs to build out the cache again.

    Ram and SSD are the OP's best bet to improving performance, OSX does a great job at managing its resources and my experience has been any application that tries to do that usually gets in the way, i.e., does not actually make things better
  10. Sambo110 macrumors 68000

    Mar 12, 2007
    Install Mountain Lion. It has improved the performance of the iMac in my signature drastically.
  11. aberonni thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jul 11, 2012
    Thank you all for your replies, I'm now looking at italian amazon for the best bargain.

    Does that mean that a sata3 won't fit on my computer or that I just won't be able to use all of it's capabilities? Do you have a Sata2 sdd to suggest?
  12. AlexBass macrumors regular

    Jul 9, 2012
    This model doesn't support 1666Mhz RAM.
  13. medi.freak macrumors regular

    May 26, 2011
    You can use a SATA III SSD, it will just downgrade to SATAII speeds on your device. So just go for the Most recommended crucial M4 or Samsung 830
  14. Aftershocker macrumors member

    Oct 11, 2011

    No it will fit just fine mate, its just doesn't have the same bandwidth so the drive will run a bit slower. Realistically you wont even feel the difference in everyday use. Much of the SSD performance increase comes from faster random reads and you will still get all that benefit.

    I like teh crucial M4, I connected one of those to a sata 2 connector last year and its great. Don't over-think the SATA 2 vs SATA 3 connection issue, you will be very happy with the performance of a SATA 3 drive connected to a SATA 2 interface.
  15. AlexBass macrumors regular

    Jul 9, 2012
    I'll explain everything you should probably do, comparing your current performance to what what I'll say here. Let's begin.

    To start, you're going to want to replace the Hard Disk Drive (HDD) which I'm guessing is currently in your system. There are multiple different options you can go for with SSD's. I'll cut to the chase and recommend one- the Samsung 830 256GB. This is faster the the Crucial M4 which everyone talks about, more reliable and made by a very well known company. Here-

    Now, it seems you currently have 1066Mhz 2 X 2GB RAM, something very easy and affordable which you can do is upgrade to 1333Mhz 2 X 4GB RAM. This will mean that everything will run without 'lag' and will enable you to do more at once. Here-

    Something else I'd recommend is to replace the cooling gel on the CPU and GPU. By doing this, the CPU and GPU will not get as hot and prevent the fan from running so much, thus saving power and reducing the noise. This is known to be the best around-

    Something simple you can do is clean the the inside of the computer, this will make the ventilation system operate better, making is cooler so that fan can operate at it's full potential. This is very cheap too, just purchase some compressed air from a hardware store.

    Here are some tutorials for what I have mentioned:
    -Replacing HDD with SSD;
    -Changing RAM;
    -Applying AS5;
    -Cleaning MBP;

    Speed comparison-
    Read (loading things): 50mb/s
    Write (saving things): 45mb/s

    Read (loading things): 385mb/s (maximum of any ssd on 2009 mbp)
    Write (saving things): 385mb/s (maximum of any ssd on 2009 mbp)

    Comparison video-

    If you replace the HDD with an SSD, you should enable TRIM, this keeps the SSD like-new for year on end without a performance decrease. Here is a tutorial-


    An extra thing you can do for EXTREME performance, is to replace the Optical bay (CD/DVD drive) with another SSD. This should almost double read/write speeds. In order to do this, you would need a 2nd hard drive caddy-

    Here is a tutorial for it-


    I hope I've been of great help!
  16. clumeng macrumors member

    May 14, 2010
    While I certainly agree that more RAM and a SSD will really help performance might I suggest a non-hardware fix.

    1. In disk utility verify permissions and check your hard drive

    2. How much free space is left in your hard drive?

    3. While it is commonly thought that Macs don't have to be "rebuilt" this isn't always true. Backing up your system and rebuilding it from the backup or a fresh install may fix many of the issues you are currently having. I had similar issues with my 2009 iMac - over years of heavy use plenty of bloat enters in the system in terms of old applications you don't use, preferences, extensions etc. Rebuilding it with careful attention to what I actually need and use made it much better performance wise independent of changing any of the hardware.
  17. aberonni thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jul 11, 2012
    Now that is what a call an answer! You definitely removed most of my doubts. I think I'll go for the sdd and the ram, not so sure about the cooler seeing as it seems a little more risky in terms of wrecking the laptop :D


    1. Will do that
    2. At the moment I have 200gb free out of 500. The great thing is that I finished cleaning the hard drive a couple of days ago, it's just that I can't remove more stuff until I get an external hd because I've got enormous svns on here that I need for work.
    3. That seems like a good idea, but I'm afraid I might have issues with commercial software (ie. product licensing etc..) I have plenty of software I've bought online but I've never took track of serial keys and stuff like that (stupid me)
  18. AlexBass macrumors regular

    Jul 9, 2012
    I think that's best. I haven't even replaced the cooling stuff myself in fear it might break a small wire, wise decision :)
  19. aberonni thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jul 11, 2012
    Another doubt just sprang to mind. I obviously want to use the sdd as my boot disk and remove the old one completely.

    I'm guessing that I have to copy the contents of my actual hd onto the sdd before installing it. How would I go about doing that?

    Also, would there be any chance of being able to use my hd as an external hd in the future?
  20. pacman7331 macrumors regular


    Apr 5, 2006
    Open it up and check for any dust buildup, if there is, i think u can buy a spray can product that will allow you to safely clean it out. I heard the dust buildup affects heat issues.
  21. AlexBass macrumors regular

    Jul 9, 2012
    You can use the HDD as an external drive by using this-
    You just need to slide it in and use it via a Universal Serial Bus.


    You should be able to load the os onto the ssd, copy the contents of the hdd to the ssd and then erase the contents of the hdd to put what you want on it.
  22. clumeng, Jul 11, 2012
    Last edited: Jul 11, 2012

    clumeng macrumors member

    May 14, 2010
    This implies that you do not have a backup strategy - bad plan. What would you do WHEN (not if) your hard drive crashes?

    Invest $100 in a 1TB hard drive and make a backup right away. I would not recommend messing around with RAM or swapping out SSD unless you have a backup(s).
  23. GGJstudios macrumors Westmere


    May 16, 2008
    If you're having performance issues, this may help:
    It's normal for your Mac to get hot under heavy workloads. iStat Pro will give you accurate temp readings.
    To determine if you can benefit from more RAM, launch Activity Monitor and click the System Memory tab at the bottom to check your page outs. Page outs are cumulative since your last restart, so the best way to check is to restart your computer and track page outs under your normal workload (the apps, browser pages and documents you normally would have open). If your page outs are significant (say 1GB or more) under normal use, you may benefit from more RAM. If your page outs are zero or very low during normal use, you probably won't see any performance improvement from adding RAM.

    Mac OS X: Reading system memory usage in Activity Monitor
    You can find specs on all Apple products, including maximum RAM:
  24. sweetbrat macrumors 65816


    Jun 17, 2009
    Redford, MI
    The OP won't see much of the faster speed from the Samsung since he/she will be getting SATA II speeds. I doubt the faster speed would be noticeable at all in day to day usage. I'm not saying there's anything wrong with the Samsung...just that the M4 is less expensive and still very fast, made by a reputable company and very reliable. They're both great drives.
  25. AlexBass macrumors regular

    Jul 9, 2012
    Note how I wrote "(maximum of any ssd on 2009 mbp)" - I've already dimmed down the read/write speeds. The read/write speeds for the Samsung are considerably faster than this- r:520mb/s w:400mb/s

    The Crucial M4 is the cheaper, slower and not as reliable of the two, though it is still a respectable drive (or it wouldn't be as popular as it is)

Share This Page