Is my MacBook pro beyond redemption?

Discussion in 'Mac Basics and Help' started by Gemmapitchenstein, Jan 4, 2018.

  1. Gemmapitchenstein macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jan 4, 2018
    #1
    In 2015 I bought a 3 inch MacBook Pro. It never performed as speedily as I thought it should, and got stickier and stickier as time went on. I didn't use it as my principal machine so I didn't do much about it, but now it's 2017 and it's barely usable at all. The slightest task takes many long minutes, and most software (e.g. Chrome) crashes repeatedly.

    I've updated the OS to Sierra, removed every unnecessary app, run anti-malware programs etc, all to no avail. I'm about to reset it to factory settings as a last resort, but I was wondering if I am wasting my time, is it just too old?

    I notice that the 'About this Mac' specs say mid-2012, however I purchased this in 2015. Is it possible that a Mac I bought in 2015 could have been made in 2012? I checked my order receipt and it doesn't say I bought a refurbished model.

    I only want it for simplest tasks, a bit of photo editing, running web browsers and so on. Nothing that requires too much RAM I shouldn't have thought.

    What else can I do? Or should I just give up? I can't afford a new MacBook so I'd have to reluctantly buy a cheap PC laptop instead. Should I go back to Mac and complain or has too much time passed? I'm in Australia.

    Here are the specs:

    MacBook Pro (13-inch, Mid 2012)

    Memory: 4 GB 1600 MHz DDR3

    Model Identifier: MacBookPro9,2

    Processor Name: Intel Core i5

    Processor Speed: 2.5 GHz

    Number of Processors: 1

    Total Number of Cores: 2

    L2 Cache (per Core): 256 KB

    L3 Cache: 3 MB

    Boot ROM Version: MBP91.00D3.B22

    SMC Version (system): 2.2f44
     
  2. jimN macrumors 6502a

    jimN

    Joined:
    Jun 23, 2005
    Location:
    London
    #2
    https://everymac.com/ultimate-mac-lookup/?search_keywords=MacBookPro9,2

    Short answer, the model you bought was first released in 2012 but kept on sale for 4 years as a basic model that still included a SuperDrive. Apple never hid the specs.

    I’ve an older MBP that sounds far more usable than yours (2011 model). I would suggest maxing ram and installing an SSD. You can find how to guide on Ifixit and can expect to pay about £200-300 depending on size of SSD you go for. Should significantly improve the issues you’re having.
     
  3. hallux macrumors 68030

    hallux

    Joined:
    Apr 25, 2012
    #3
    I'll only reply to confirm everything the previous poster wrote. Nothing more really needs to be said.
     
  4. estabya macrumors 6502

    estabya

    Joined:
    Jun 28, 2014
    #4
    I agree with the above poster. Pick up an SSD and do a fresh install of High Sierra. It will feel like a new machine.

    I would also say up the RAM if you have the budget for it.
     
  5. hobowankenobi macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Aug 27, 2015
    Location:
    on the land line mr. smith.
    #5
    Agreed. Get a good SSD....not something that has been on the shelf for 3 years and is on sale.

    Just had a co-worker do this exact thing (install SSD and bump RAM to 8GB) and she has reported back that her 2011 MBP is much faster than it was new. Very happy with it, now running 10.13.

    I have a 2009 MBP with a recent Samsung SSD in it, and I never have drive related lag, also running 10.13.

    If you want to save a few bucks, do the SSD only. You can get by with 4GB of RAM. You can always do RAM at a later point, once you have proven the SSD fix was worthwhile.
     
  6. Yvan256 macrumors 601

    Joined:
    Jul 5, 2004
    Location:
    Canada
    #6
    Similar story here: Mavericks was extremely slow on my mid-2010 Mac mini. After an upgrade to 16GB RAM and a budget Kingston SSD, it's working nicely. The only thing holding it back is its old Core 2 Duo CPU.

    Given that your MacBook Pro has an i5, upgrading the RAM and replacing the HDD with a SSD should do the trick.
     
  7. Fishrrman, Jan 6, 2018
    Last edited: Jan 6, 2018

    Fishrrman macrumors G5

    Fishrrman

    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2009
    #7
    OP wrote:
    "It never performed as speedily as I thought it should, and got stickier and stickier as time went on"

    There is one fix -- and one fix ONLY -- that will cure the speed problems, and make the MBPro into a new machine (literally):

    PUT AN SSD INTO IT.
    (shouting is intentional).

    This is a cheap, easy upgrade (you can do it yourself).
    It will take only about 15 minutes to install.
    Go to ifixit.com, you can find a page that shows the entire procedure (again, ANYONE can do this -- if I did it, you can too)

    It will make it run BETTER THAN NEW.
    And you'll still have the old hard drive to use as a backup (with the adapter below).

    Here's what you need:
    - an SSD (500gb or 250gb will be fine). I'd suggest "Sandisk Plus".
    - an external USB3 dongle/adapter like this:
    https://www.amazon.com/Sabrent-2-5-...478&sr=1-2-spell&keywords=sabremt+usb3+to+ssd
    - CarbonCopyCloner (FREE to download and use for 30 days):
    Carbon Copy Cloner - Download
    - A Phillips #00 driver and a TORX T-6 driver (these don't cost much, but be sure to use THE RIGHT TOOLS for the job)

    Get these things together, then "report back" to this thread, and we'll tell you what to do next.
     
  8. ZapNZs macrumors 68020

    ZapNZs

    Joined:
    Jan 23, 2017
    #8
    As others have noted, throw a SSD in it (possibly replacing the SATA cable when you do), up the RAM to 8GB or 16GB and it will be fast like a bat out of hell.
     
  9. Dave Braine macrumors 68040

    Dave Braine

    Joined:
    Mar 19, 2008
    Location:
    Warrington, UK
    #9
    It's all very well shouting PUT IN AN SSD, but I have exactly the same MBP(mid 2012, bought 2015) with the original HD, and I don't get any of those problems. Admittedly, I have 12 gig of RAM, but the 4 that you have should be ample for what you say that you want to use it for.

    My advice would be to take it to an Apple Store, if there's one not a couple of days away(could be in Australia). Failing that, try a re-install of the OS, but do a backup first.
     
  10. Gemmapitchenstein thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jan 4, 2018
    #10
    Thanks to all. I’ll do a reinstall of the OS first in case that fixes it. Then if not, take it to the Mac store. If neither of these work, I’ll look at the more ram and ssd options.
     
  11. ZapNZs macrumors 68020

    ZapNZs

    Joined:
    Jan 23, 2017
    #11
    Has the SATA cable ever been replaced on this model?
     
  12. Gemmapitchenstein thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jan 4, 2018
    #12
    No (I just had to look that up) - would that help?

     
  13. ZapNZs macrumors 68020

    ZapNZs

    Joined:
    Jan 23, 2017
    #13
    Not necessarily but it is a known issue on this model, and when it begins to fail it's not unusual for performance to be comically slower (however, a failing hard drive, directory corruption, malware, or just wayyyy too many startup processes can all cause this as well [although it sounds like you have ruled out the latter two].) If you update to a SSD, replacing the SATA cable in the process might not be a bad idea.

    With a HDD, almost everything is dramatically slower than with a SSD. For example, if you click on Safari (when the program is not already running) it should launch within 1-2 seconds with a SSD on most systems (for that matter, most Apps should launch so quickly it seems to happen almost instantaneously)...with a HDD, that can be a good bit longer. But in the case of the failing SATA cable, sometimes a simple process like that could take 30, 60, 90, 180 seconds or more, and might be characterized by the spinning beach ball and periodic moments of the system becoming completely unresponsive (however, when the SATA cable goes, sometimes the performance quirks are strange and so there is no single case.) Further, where as booting a functional system with a SSD usually takes around 6 to 30 seconds, a functional HDD could take a good bit longer, but a failing SATA cable can sometimes take dramatically longer (I've seen it take as long as 15 minutes.)

    You can pull the SMART data on the drive to check for hard drive/communication errors that may suggest drive failure or a failing cable (it's far from a definitive diagnosis, but it can be helpful). But ultimately, with a HDD, you are always going to be limited significantly, and more recent versions of macOS seem to fare very poorly without a SSD...what is acceptable varies from User to User, but, even the fastest HDDs provide what I personally consider to be totally unacceptable performance, and, IMHO, you will never see anything close to your MBP's true performance potential without a SSD.

    You can also run Apple Diagnostics to check for other forms of hardware failure.
     
  14. vkd macrumors 6502a

    vkd

    Joined:
    Sep 10, 2012
    #14
    I will go against the grain here and suggest simply putting more RAM in. It will be a cheaper option, less troublesome, no need to mess with software at all, and will give a clearly noticeable, significant performance boost.
     
  15. Fishrrman macrumors G5

    Fishrrman

    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2009
    #15
    RAM isn't going to help much for the OP.
    An SSD replacement -will-.
    That's the very first thing to try.
     
  16. Toutou macrumors 6502a

    Toutou

    Joined:
    Jan 6, 2015
    Location:
    Prague, Czech Republic
    #16
    This sounds like the HDD failing, or the cable. Your 2012 model should definitely be powerful enough for normal usage, even in 2017 and even with 4 gigs of RAM.

    I agree with the SSD thing, since a) the HDD is likely the culprit b) it's the ultimate upgrade for a HDD equipped machine.
     
  17. maculateConception macrumors 6502a

    maculateConception

    Joined:
    May 28, 2017
    Location:
    Rock | Me | Hard place
    #17
    Your machine is definitely NOT too old !

    I'm still rocking a mid-2009 MBP. I put an SSD into it and upgraded the RAM to 8GB. Worked wonders ! Sierra runs butter smooth.

    You don't need to upgrade to High Sierra (and in fact, I would not recommend this upgrade). Just throw an SSD into your machine and add more RAM if your pockets allow.

    (As all others have stated)
     
  18. vkd macrumors 6502a

    vkd

    Joined:
    Sep 10, 2012
    #18
    So you honestly think that backing up all your data, stripping the machine down, throwing out the original HDD, putting a new SSD in its place, going through the long and arduous process of installing a new OS, all your apps, restoring all your data, checking everything, not to mention the stress and anxiety, hoping nothing goes wrong and that you don't forget something, remember the OP is a female and not necessarily a nerd or a techie, is a far superior, more sensible and overall better option than simply putting a bit more RAM in and testing it?
     
  19. Fishrrman macrumors G5

    Fishrrman

    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2009
    #19
    "So you honestly think that backing up all your data, stripping the machine down, throwing out the original HDD, putting a new SSD in its place, going through the long and arduous process of installing a new OS, all your apps, restoring all your data, checking everything, not to mention the stress and anxiety, hoping nothing goes wrong and that you don't forget something, remember the OP is a female and not necessarily a nerd or a techie, is a far superior, more sensible and overall better option than simply putting a bit more RAM in and testing it?"

    Why... yes.
    I do.

    It takes 15 minutes to swap the internal HDD for an SSD on a "unibody" MacBook Pro.
    ANYONE can do it, so long as they look at the ifixit.com guide to see what to do.
    Takes a Phillips #00 driver and a TORX T-6 driver (cheap tools).
    The hardest part is removing the screws on the back, and then replacing them once you put the back on.

    If the OP downloads CarbonCopyCloner (FREE to download and use for 30 days) and if she uses a USB3/SATA adapter dongle like this:
    https://www.amazon.com/Sabrent-2-5-...478&sr=1-2-spell&keywords=sabremt+usb3+to+ssd
    ... to connect the SSD to the MacBook...

    ... she can transfer all her data from the HDD to the SSD in a few clicks.
    The "hardest part" will be waiting for the files to copy over.

    Then, a reboot to check the bootability of the SSD (while still connected to the dongle) will show if it's ready to go inside.

    One doesn't need to be a nerd or a techie to do these things.
    I'm neither.
    If a nearly-70-year-old ham-handed guy like me can do it, so can a lady.

    Aside:
    Changing the internal drive is probably easier than removing/replacing RAM DIMMs.
    The "holders" for the DIMMs are quite fragile, and easy to break.
     
  20. Toutou macrumors 6502a

    Toutou

    Joined:
    Jan 6, 2015
    Location:
    Prague, Czech Republic
    #20
    Definitely, mainly because the computer DOES NOT NEED more ram. 4 gigs is enough for any macOS version to run like butter, including High Sierra. And since OP told us their machine is, at this moment, close to unusable, we can safely assume that the low-ish amount of RAM is not the main problem.

    Hell, I do software development with 4 gigs of RAM. Not much, but it works just fine.
     
  21. vkd macrumors 6502a

    vkd

    Joined:
    Sep 10, 2012
    #21
    I am finding it difficult to take too seriously these claims that changing the storage is a better idea than more RAM. For instance, when I acquired this mid-2011 iMac it had the 4GB of RAM in it that Apple included as standard then. I noticed practically that it functioned just as if you were trying to cook a lot of food in a small pan filled to the brim, ie. it worked albeit with difficulty. I upgraded to 16GB of RAM and it improved drastically, as if you poured all that food into a nice big pan and now had room to stir it without being over-careful to not spill anything, etc. ie. it was more comfortable with its processing. OK this is a simple example and I am a simple person, simple minded. Quite likely you guys are far more knowledgeable and have acres more experience than me but, I am finding it difficult to take too seriously these claims that changing the storage is a better idea than more RAM.
     
  22. MacDawg macrumors Core

    MacDawg

    Joined:
    Mar 20, 2004
    Location:
    "Between the Hedges"
    #22
    I agree with what has generally been said in this thread
    I have a 2011 MacBook Air with 4GB RAM and SSD and it works fine for what you want to do, so your hardware isn't too old

    If you can afford to get a cheap Windows laptop like you said, you can afford the RAM upgrade to 8GB and a new SSD
    As stated above, the iFixit guide shows how easy this is, and if you don't feel comfortable doing it, I'm sure you have a friend who would

    Using Carbon Copy Cloner makes it simple (or if you have a Time Machine backup)
    And if you need any step by steps, the Forum here will be happy to oblige
     
  23. ZapNZs macrumors 68020

    ZapNZs

    Joined:
    Jan 23, 2017
    #23
    In most cases, switching from a HDD to the SSD will have dramatically more pronounced effects for most Users than upgrading the RAM - so dramatic that it is usually as if you purchased an entirely new computer (for example, imagine the boot time falling from 100 seconds to 6 seconds). Increasing the RAM can obviously have significant effects too, but this is very usage-dependent (where with the SSD, it is not.)
     
  24. Fishrrman, Jan 14, 2018
    Last edited: Jan 14, 2018

    Fishrrman macrumors G5

    Fishrrman

    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2009
    #24
    Exactly right, Zap.
    The OP has "the answer" as to what to do by now.
    Whether he/she actually does it... well, "one can lead a horse to water"...
     
  25. vkd macrumors 6502a

    vkd

    Joined:
    Sep 10, 2012
    #25
    Your experience may vary, but I too put an SSD in this iMac and formed a Fusion Drive which is topping out SATA 3 speeds; great. However I do not regard that event as high as when I increased the RAM. For one thing, the OS works with what is known as delayed write so it stores in memory (RAM) info to write to disc at an opportune moment and not disturb present work. This eases pressure on disc usage and decreases importance of disc read/write speed. Another thing is, when an app is open, and when the computer is on and running come to think of it, and the OS is up, everything is going on predominantly in RAM. All your graphic display is functioning in RAM, GPU RAM. The OS kernel, drivers etc. are all in RAM so essential operation is conducted in RAM. ROM (disc) is used basically to get data to write into RAM, when you open an app, for instance, and to save information permanently, for instance saving a file you have edited. So if you have a lot of RAM, the OS and apps have more space to work. More RAM also eliminates the need for paging, where pages of data are written out of RAM to ROM to free up space for other data. This little exposure of RAM-ROM activity I present to you do try to solidify my argument that RAM is more important than ROM (disc). Even gaming takes place primarily in RAM; even if you had the fastest SSD in the world your game would not run any quicker if you didn't have enough RAM (including GPU RAM of course) to handle it.
     

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