Is my Macbook worth upgrading?

Discussion in 'MacBook' started by Mike0105, Sep 13, 2011.

  1. Mike0105 macrumors newbie

    Sep 13, 2011
    Hey All,

    Long time lurker here. I have a Macbook from 2007, the model # is 2.1 and it has a 2.0Ghz Core2Duo processor with 2 gigs of RAM. For being almost 5 years old it works perfectly. The battery even has 95% of it's original capacity which just amazes me and speaks to how well Apple builds these things.

    My main issue with the computer as it sits is everytime I try to watch an HD video it gets very choppy and I'm guessing that's just due to the internal graphics card and nothing can be done about it. My other gripe is starting up and waking the computer from sleep it's a little sluggish. It's really only used for web surfing, occasionally photoshop and Office. I'm currently running Leopard for what it's worth

    Would upgrading the RAM to 4GB and changing the hard drive to an SSD make a meaningful impact or am I better off retiring it and buying a new Macbook Air?
  2. session101 macrumors regular

    Aug 25, 2011
    Salt Lake City, UT
    buy the RAM, its $40 and can help your problem, i wouldn't want to upgrade to SSD if you plan on buying a macbook air. if you upgrade the RAM its cheap and if you don't like the way it runs then you will get more in return when you sell it
  3. AppleFanatic10 macrumors 68030


    Nov 2, 2010
    Encino, CA
    Like Session101 said, upgrading the ram and upgrading the HD would be a good thing to do. Upgrading the RAM might help with the computer being sluggish; it should make the computer faster. Upgrading the HD will just give it more space, and having more space is always a good thing =)
  4. Peace macrumors Core


    Apr 1, 2005
    Space--The ONLY Frontier
    I agree with the previous two posts except for the SSD drive. For your Mac the SSD would be too expensive and not really help much. The main problem you have is the graphics. There is no way to make it better. The additional RAM will give the video more shared memory though.

    It's always good to put in more RAM. OSX loves it.
  5. Mike0105 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Sep 13, 2011
    That's the thing, I'd rather hold off on buying an entirely new machine for about a year so I thought the SSD and the RAM upgrade would be a nice holdover. I am probably just going to throw some RAM into it and install snow leopard and see how long it'll last
  6. Mutinygraphiks macrumors regular


    Jan 5, 2011
    Las Vegas, NV
    SSD's IMHO are a waste of cash, for something that holds no actual value besides shrinking files in a flash format to minimize capacity, thats what they make terrabytes for.

    you are better off just upgrading the hard drive with a bigger capacity rather than flash storage, and upgrading the ram to 4gb's you will see an improvement in speed as far as boot and wake times, also the bigger hard drive will allow more room to hold you over.

    I did a ram upgrade from 2gb and a hard drive upgrade from 120gb to 4gb and 500gb and I feel it was money well spent, and it was total 95 dollars brand new with lifetime warranties on both.
  7. myrtlebee macrumors 68020


    Jul 9, 2011
    Don't upgrade with a regular hard disk drive. It makes no sense unless you are simply looking for more room to store locally- go with your original idea and upgrade to an SSD if looking for faster operation and expanded local storage. More RAM and an SSD would be ideal for any system, but if under financial constraint, the RAM upgrade would be more important. I'd forego the drive upgrade altogether on such an old, '07, machine if it were me - especially since you plan to upgrade in a year. You'd be better off with the 4GB and a 16GB flash thumb drive for any modest storage overflow.
  8. Mutinygraphiks macrumors regular


    Jan 5, 2011
    Las Vegas, NV
    flash drives really? they hold no value except buying the same hard drive except its smaller and condenses files in a flash format. NOT WORTH IT IMHO.
  9. mcdonap macrumors member

    Feb 22, 2011
    FWIW, I also have a 2007 MB - 2,1, 2.16GHz. I upgraded to 4 GB RAM and an SSD late last year. I was happy to do the RAM upgrade, but I didn't notice any kind of performance boost. I never really taxed my original 2GB anyway - no swapping. I tend to only keep open what I NEED to keep open. As an ex-PC user, though, I figured the RAM boost would help. I also installed a 240GB SSD, and that was the upgrade that made a difference. And I'm talking about night and day. The speed is incredible. I've had no issues with my SSD. (I happen to have gone with OWC.) I upgraded to Lion the day it came out, and I've had no issues. (I can't take advantage of certain gestures, but that's no big deal to me.)

    I respect the opinions of those who say not to bother upgrading an old computer for monetary reasons, or for the fact that you may get something new soon. I wanted to do my upgrades just because I wanted to experience doing it as much as for performance. However, I completely disagree with those who say an SSD holds no value over a regular HD. The speed difference alone is worth it to me. I won't go back to regular HD's now. (Well, other than for external storage...until SSD's get even less expensive.)

    My advice would be to do both upgrades if you plan on keeping the MB for a significant amount of time. If you can swing the SSD, it's going to make a significant difference. If money is tight, try the RAM first - RAM prices seem to be dropping pretty significantly. Your machine, like mine, can really only use 3 GB, but a matched set of two 2GB modules will give a slight boost over 2 GB + 1GB modules. The RAM alone may solve your problem. Actually, before you do anything, see what's going on in the activity monitor when you are watching the videos. Maybe just turning off some other processes will reduce the choppiness. Good luck, and let us know what you decide to do!
  10. mcdonap macrumors member

    Feb 22, 2011
    If you don't upgrade to a MBA in a year, you could always relocate the SSD to the new machine. (Save some money by not ordering an SSD in the new machine.)
  11. myrtlebee, Sep 17, 2011
    Last edited: Sep 17, 2011

    myrtlebee macrumors 68020


    Jul 9, 2011
    What's the controversy? I said it's ideal. And it is. Disregarding price, and on sheer performance alone. Would someone rather have a (theoretical) 500GB SSD or a 500GB HD? The SSD of course. An SSD is DEFINITELY snappier, if only by a few seconds. The only drawback is the price. Not much of a debatable point.

    Oh, and if you are referencing the flash thumb drive I mentioned as an alternative for expanded storage- what in the world are you talking about? That is a great option for someone who only needs a slight increase in storage (and not looking for a system-wide performance boost) and doesn't mind that it is external. He also wouldn't have to bother with installing a new HD or SSD. I use my 16GB thumb drive all the time- I often switch between computers and it is invaluable for me to have important work files with me at all times.
  12. iThinkergoiMac macrumors 68030

    Jan 20, 2010
    You obviously don't know how SSDs work. Files aren't condensed in any way just because they're on a SSD. A 2 GB file on a HDD is still 2 GB on a SSD. Also, they don't "make terabytes", they make devices with that capacity.

    Is significantly increased read/write speed not valuable?
  13. NorthDakota91 macrumors member

    Sep 3, 2011
    As others has said, buying some RAM would definitively make your machine run much better. As for the HD, have you considered getting a Momentus XT? It's much cheaper than an SSD, it has good storage capacity (250, 320 or 500GB) and it has a small flash chip (4GB) that makes the most common operations smoother (booting, opening apps, etc). Of course it can't compete with an SSD's performance but it is really much better than the stock drive and for that price it's really worth it IMHO
  14. mwhities macrumors 6502a

    Jul 13, 2011
    That's the drive I'n considering for my '10 Macbook. SSD is out of my price range right now.

    OP, I'd say go for it.

    Good luck on whatever you decided to do.
  15. bbarrker macrumors newbie

    Sep 5, 2011
    In my experience, the HDDs in my MacBooks slow after a few years degrading performance greatly. Everything I have read says they shouldn't, but I have replaced 2 and noticed night and day improvement. My MBP had choppy iTunes play back until I replaced the HDD. My Black MB had spinning beach balls all the time until I recently changed out the HDD. I tried more RAM and clean installs (including writing zeros to the entire drive before fresh install) and nothing helped until I replaced the HDD. My '09 2.53 C2D MBP is now just as fast (if not faster) than my '11 MBA i7.

    So to your question - I would increase your RAM and get a new 7200 RPM HDD. Should set you back less than a $100 and leave you with a very usable machine for a few more years.
  16. markjns, Sep 19, 2011
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 9, 2013

    markjns macrumors newbie


    Dec 31, 2008
    Sorry, but I don't agree that it is not worth changing to SSD

    I have just swapped HD to SSD in my 2006 2.0ghz, boot time went from nearly 2 mins to 22 secs!!!
  17. kaydot macrumors regular

    Sep 15, 2011
    I have the exact same machine as the OP. In 4 years, I've had almost all the common 07 Macbook issues:
    * crackbook problem
    * dead battery after sleep
    * inverter issue

    The only problem I didn't encounter is the faulty HD.

    In any case, the laptop is over 4 years old and by most laptop standards, it's time for an upgrade. I also see the stuttering HD problem. Some music videos you find only come in 1080 HD resolution and the MacBook can have a hard time with that.

    I've upgraded mine to 4 gigs ram (of which 3 is usable) for $50. Totally worth it as even having just a browser + iTunes + office caused a bit of slowdown after a while.

    I've also upgraded the HD 120 gig to 500 gig recently for extra space and that was easy to do.

    Both upgrades in total cost less than $150. Better deals can be found now, even.

    I'd recommend installing the RAM (biggest cost-value benefit) and standard HD if you ned it. The SSD is a nice to have, but would not fix your original complaints as much as extra RAM would and the cost is only coming down.
    My problem with SSDs is their capacity. And if they follow the trend of traditional HDs, the price is going to come down significantly month after month.

    My plan is to live out the last legs of my 07 MacBook (i have to use it with an external monitor now, since the screen is dead) and upgrade with the 2012 refresh of the Air or MBP.

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