Logic Board Upgrade, Unibody to Unibody?

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by kennethsime, Nov 23, 2012.

  1. kennethsime macrumors newbie

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    #1
    Hi everyone, this is my first post on these forums.

    I have a Mid-2009 Macbook Pro 13" with an Intel Core2 Duo processor. Early on, I upgraded from 4 to 8 GB of DDR3, and the SSD is stock. It's the best computer I've ever had, and everything still works great.

    If possible, I would like to upgrade the logic board on my computer, with the goal of getting a modern processor (ivy bridge if possible) and graphics card installed on my otherwise-modern computer (ok I still won't have USB 3.0 or thunerbolt, but that's ok).

    This idea was put into my head by iFixit, who offer logic board replacements for unibody MBPs. I have done a fair amount of reading, and while many people say no, and some people say yes, I have no found detailed or definitive answers. I have also searched these forums to no avail.

    Many have pointed out that the model number on 13" MBPs wasn't changed for several years (until the new retina display model I believe), as a way of saying compatibility is very close. The negative side of the argument usually mentions the prohibitive cost, complexity of labor, and convenience of just buying a new laptop.

    When new this computer was over $2,400, and now is worth about $500. If I could spend $6-800 on a new logic board from iFixit or similar, I believe it would be well worth it and I would save money over a similarly-spec'd new model MBP (about $2,000).

    If this is not possible: why?

    If this is possible: has anyone done this before? what is the newest logic board which is compatible, and which processors/graphics cards are available?
     
  2. T5BRICK macrumors 604

    T5BRICK

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    #2
    It may be possible but I don't get the point. If you can sell your MBP for about $500, if suggest doing so. Keep your SSD if possible and transfer it into this:

    http://forums.macrumors.com/showthread.php?t=1495010

    You could also go buy 2 x 8GB of RAM for the new Mac for about $60. After its all said and done, you will have spent $1010 on a new laptop and sold your old one for $500. You've saved $290 over replacing the logic board, and you have a full 1 year warranty. Use that money you saved and go buy an iPad mini.
     
  3. kennethsime thread starter macrumors newbie

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    #3
    Yea, but the black friday deal won't be available tomorrow, or when I'm ready to upgrade (months or maybe a year from now).

    OWC has 16GB for about $100, a new 240 GB SSD at $300. Even if I picked up the Fry's deal today, which I can't, that's still $1400. If I sell my current laptop for about $500, that's $900. Still $200 more than a logic board from a mid-2012 MBP.

    Plus, there's a fair amount of cool factor here.
     
  4. T5BRICK macrumors 604

    T5BRICK

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    #4
    Frys has that same laptop on sale for $999 pretty often.

    As for RAM and SSD, my only suggestion is don't shop at OWC. Newegg and amazon have better prices on just about everything. I've seen 16GB kits for $60 and 256GB SSDs for as little as $130(good ones are going to be closer to $160.)
     
  5. kennethsime thread starter macrumors newbie

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    #5
    Fair points.
     
  6. T5BRICK macrumors 604

    T5BRICK

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    #6
    But I agree on the cool factor part. My main concern would be the parts besides the logic board that Apple upgraded between generations, such as the SATA cables, display connectors, and wireless radios.
     
  7. kennethsime thread starter macrumors newbie

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    #7
    Yea, and the later ones also have dedicated audio input/output also (my case only has one hole, so I'd have to drill another. Can't for the life of me finding evidence of anyone who's done it, may be impossible for small issues like you mention.
     
  8. derbothaus macrumors 601

    derbothaus

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    #8
    Is not worth it if it was possible. Each model has differing locations for all kinds of screws and chips, etc... Each rev they change the shape of the board. For 800.00 and your time to get everything to fit and connect the LCD et al. Plus you would have a Mac totally unsupported and may act real flakey. Not even PC folks swap laptop motherboards in same laptop case. Apple is even more problematic because they have no standard to adhere to. They make if fit for the parts they are using at the time and battery size etc. You'd probably need a dremel, soldering iron, and super magnifying glass. Replacing the logic bard is like having a volvo sports car engine and thinking you can just pop it in their station wagon model hoping that all the hoses and lines match up. You will have holes drilled all over most likely. CPU's, GPU's and especially logic/ mother boards are not a road to go down to upgrade a laptop. Stick with memory, hard drives, expresscard/ pci, and saving of cash for the next model.
     
  9. T5BRICK macrumors 604

    T5BRICK

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    #9
    As far as I know the 13" models always had a combined input/output jack.

    Maybe as a side project you could find a newer MBP on Craigslist or eBay? Something with a damaged screen or maybe even one that has been dropped? If you could find something like that for less than just a logic board on ifixit, you may be able to scavange the other parts you need.
     
  10. TheRdungeon macrumors 6502

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    #10
    Nah man it was only the 13" aluminium macbook in 2008 that had the two holes, otherwise the 15 and 17 unibody pros had two the whole time
     
  11. kennethsime thread starter macrumors newbie

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    #11
    The new 2010 13" finally has two holes again.
     
  12. snaky69 macrumors 603

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    #12
    Once you factor in labor, you'll end up paying a lot more than simply selling your machine off and buying a newer model, you know that, right?
     
  13. zackkmac macrumors 6502a

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    #13
    If it were me I'd either buy a logic board when a great deal came up and install it myself, or just sell it and get a newer one. However, older cables and screws may not match up on newer logic boards. That's some research you'll have to do yourself - I think comparing the teardown guides on iFixit may give you an answer on which logic boards will be swappable.

    However, if yours is worth $500 and you're looking to spend $600-$800 on a new logic board anyways, that's $1100-$1300 you could spend on a brand new 13" model. I believe yours would be worth more than $500 considering the SSD and RAM upgrades though, but either way you are still able to get the newest model for a significant discount.
     
  14. T5BRICK macrumors 604

    T5BRICK

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    #14
    The 2011 and 2012 models don't. Are you sure they have them on the 2010 13" models?
     
  15. Spicedham macrumors regular

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    Jun 16, 2012
    #15
    better dust off Xzibit's old ass because you'll need his help custom fitting that sucker in. put some dubs on it while you're at it.
     
  16. R4226 macrumors member

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    Nov 26, 2011
    #16
    I know this is an old thread. But I have a late 2008 aluminum Macbook A1278 MB466LL/A with the 2ghz Core2Duo processor and I just ordered the 2.4ghz version of the logic board for the A1278 on eBay used but working for $160. I remember when buying this laptop there were two processor speeds the 2ghz and 2.4ghz and I got the cheaper slower one. I really hope I can just swap out my current 2ghz logic board with the 2.4ghz board I just bought with no issues.

    Is it just a simple swap like I hope?? Will the 2.4ghz fit and connect exactly the same as the 2ghz and will I have any software or operating systems issues if all of a sudden it boots up with a different logic board with the faster 2.4ghz processor?

    Thanks!
     
  17. LewisChapman macrumors 6502a

    LewisChapman

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    #17
    I'm definetly interested in whether this can be done and I'm very surprised nobody has come forward to say they have done it.

    Forgetting the price, this would be an awesome project and would make your MacBook Pro a little bit special.
     
  18. R4226 macrumors member

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    Nov 26, 2011
    #18
    Well we shall soon find out as the the 2.4ghz logic board will be here Wednesday. Supposedly it is just a swap out so it will probably work. It is a major disassembly & reassembly job so hopefully everything goes ok. I paid $165 for a used 2.4ghz and it looks like a can sell my current working 2ghz for about $120 so the whole job may only cost me $50 to upgrade to 2.4ghz and therefore add some usable lifespan to this laptop. I just upgraded to 8gb of ram so with this added 400mhz I should be in really good shape!!!
     
  19. LewisChapman macrumors 6502a

    LewisChapman

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    #19
    Sounds really good, you'll have to keep us updated and remember to get some pics before, during and after! I remember once reading that an issue may occur due to the heatsink design change between MacBooks but I don't know whether that is true.
     
  20. R4226 macrumors member

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    Nov 26, 2011
    #20
    Good idea I will be sure to take plenty of pics. I think Thursday or Friday will be the big installation day!
     

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