Maintain/upgrade current Mac or buy new one?

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by rubberbucket, Jul 6, 2013.

  1. rubberbucket macrumors newbie

    Jun 23, 2013
    I've got a 2007 MacBook Pro that has been a champ for the most part. I've tried to maintain it as best I can, e.g. upgrading the OS to Mountain Lion and running apps to clean up my files (have CleanMyMac which is working well as far as I can tell.)

    Recently, however, I've been having battery and heating issues. Even if I charge it overnight, I can usually only get about 2 hours out of it before I go into my reserve battery power. I haven't really worried about it too much since I've always got a power source close by and keep it plugged in when it's in use. I've also found out that it no longer goes to sleep when I shut the lid. I haven't been able to figure this one out, so I just have to manually put it to sleep after I use it.

    As far as the heating issues go; it gets hot enough that I can't touch the bottom ... and it happens even when I'm simply browsing the web. My quick fix is to set it on some ice packs wrapped in a towel if I'm going to use it more than 15 minutes. Works real well, but it's a little inconvenient since I'm usually laying on the couch with it propped up on my lap ... just uncomfortable. Read online that I should try cleaning the fan or replace it altogether. I haven't ever "looked under the hood" before, so I'm a little nervous to do that and mess something up even further.

    Alrighty, so my question is, do I spend the money maintaining my current MacBook (replacing the battery, cleaning/replacing the fan, possibly upgrading the RAM) or am I better off buying a brand new one? It's not really feasible for me to do the latter right now, but I don't want to dump a whole bunch of money into the one I've got now if it's not necessarily going to fix my problems or extend its life.

    If it's perfectly fine to hang on to what I've got, what do you suggest I need to do to give it a "tune-up"? I'm willing to spend a couple hundred so whatever is necessary. I'm assuming depending on what I need to add, I'll have to take it to someone ... I just don't want to go in completely blind (as I do with, say, my car) and have them tell me I need all these things that aren't necessary. I won't know the difference.

    Any advise would be helpful, thanks!

    **Oh and another more recent problem: my external speak jack has stopped working. Hooked up the laptop to my TV to watch Dexter the other day and no sound. Well, there was sound, but it was BARELY audible, like the volume was turned way down, but wasn't. Not sure if anyone knows what's that about.
  2. codenamecueball macrumors regular

    Jul 28, 2009
    6 year old tech, plus the deteriorating cooling and general condition of the machine tells me it's time for an upgrade. Get an i7 rMBP and you won't regret it.
  3. luisito macrumors regular


    Nov 15, 2012
    Ice packs: That is not good. Have you tried checking if the processor is being utilized in some manner by some program doing crazy background processes? If that is the case, you may have an app that is just killing your processor and you might want to get rid of it. Since it may be the cause of the heat.

    But your computer is 6 years old, so.. have you checked if there is accumulation of dusk/hair/dirt/etc on the grill or fans? Sometimes build-ups occur and this creates a blockage of air flow so the computer heats up a lot; if the fans are dirty, the air flow is not optimal as well.

    What makes me think.. since you have 6 yr old computer, your thermal paste is probably bad by now, with thousands of thermal cycles it may have come to its last days. So you should check that up as well, replace the old thermal paste.

    For what you describe, it seems as if the computer is getting old. The things that you are experimenting specially the battery, is quite normal; on the other hand the heat is not normal.

    My suggestion: If you are willing to spend money, buy a new device. Even if you pay for your computer to get serviced, the cost would be more efficient if you pay for a brand new MBP. Why? Because if your computer is decaying, other things will start to fail on the device and you don't want to spend big bucks to find out that in a couple of months your logic board is dead, etc.

    Have you considered a MBA? Faster than current MBPs, insane battery life, and slimmest model.
  4. Buckaye macrumors member

    Jul 5, 2013
    + 1 on checking the vents/fans. Just open it up and use a can of compressed air to blow things out... one thing though... hold the fan blades when you use the air, you can damage the fan drive if the compressed air blows the fan too fast.

    In any case, you can probably get another year or two out of it... but after 6 years you certainly got your money's worth.

    All that said - I just upgraded an old late 2008 macbook pro that I just bought used for 450.00 with a SSD drive and 4 gigs of ram and it runs as fast as my macbook air I bought last year. All in (upgrades included I am in for just over 600.00 and probably will get 3 years out of this thing (if not more).
  5. KUguardgrl13 macrumors 68020


    May 16, 2013
    Kansas, USA
    Definitely check the fans. I open up my 2009 every once in a while to clean the dust out. Mine also heats up, but I suspect there is something up with my MagSafe connection thanks to a cable that went bad. It will also occasionally not wake up when it's been in my car in the summer or winter.

    I've never opened one of the "pre" unibody models, but I imagine it's not difficult. You can probably find instructions online.
  6. GermanyChris macrumors 601


    Jul 3, 2011
    do the clean out, put a newer faster drive in it, add some RAM but don't spend too much pre-unibodies aren't brining too much anymore.
  7. thundersteele macrumors 68030

    Oct 19, 2011
    I believe that with a machine this old, any money invested into maintenance is wasted.

    Have you had a look at the refurbished store? 2011/2012 models of the 13'' MBP (or Air) shouldn't be too expensive, and should be a substantial upgrade over your older machine.
  8. rubberbucket thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jun 23, 2013
    Just to clarify, it's not enough contact to actually make my MBP cold by any means. Not sure if that's what you were thinking. Just enough to keep it from heating so much, so when I touch it, it's not hot and not cold.

    I did run the activity monitor ... not too familiar with how to read a lot of that stuff, but I sorted the activities by CPU and saw that my web browser, Firefox, get upwards 60% CPU at times. Is that normal? Doesn't really seem like it to me. Everything else was under 5%.

    How do you get around the lack of a disk drive is what I wanna know, lol. But really ... how does that work??

    That's really the only reason that I haven't considered it.

    That's definitely something I'll have to look into in the future. When it comes to electronics, I'm usually the type of person to spend extra for the top-of-the-line stuff than settle for less because it's what my budget can afford ... but I'm not opposed to refurbished things. After how great my current MBP and other Mac products have been, quality, regardless of whether it's been refurbished or not, isn't too much of a worry for me. I'm an Apple girl :)

    Thanks to everyone who recommended cleaning the fan. I unscrewed the bottom and was surprised to see that there actually was a lot of dust in there! Got it all cleaned out so we'll see how that goes. I'll probably also look into at least getting a new battery and possibly more RAM (if it's affordable, haven't looked into what that would cost) as some others suggested. Like I said, aside from a few things, it still works nearly as good as it did when I first bought it. Not sure exactly when you'd say it's time to call it quits on your laptop, but I know I'm definitely not there yet.
  9. Cythth macrumors regular


    Feb 24, 2013
    Lake Jackson, TX
    60% for Firefox is insanely high if it's like that all the time. Run Safari and see the difference.
  10. luisito macrumors regular


    Nov 15, 2012
    This is too much. Is there a particular reason why you don't use Safari? Give it a try, you will see a dramatic change. If Firefox is taking 60% of your CPU all the time, then you have just discovered the problem behind your heating issue.

    External Hard Drive. I have a 2 TB WD drive where all my movies are allocated and it has a 500GB partition for Time Machine alone. It is USB 3.0 so there is no issues with the speed, its beastly fast. I keep 50GB of music inside my MBA, and a couple of other apps/programs that don't even take 5GB, and another 5GB of pictures, which leaves me with 190GB of free space. I have the 256GB version.

    If I recall correctly, you mentioned that your mac is always connected to the wall because the battery issue, well, 1 more extra cable shouldn't be a problem; but honestly, I only connect my external hard drive when I want to watch a movie or need to create a new backup with Time Machine.

    If you have an Airport Time Capsule or an airport express, you can even connect the external hard drive to it and make it fully wireless when you are home.

    Also, there are wireless external hard drives, that have a built-in battery that last more than 5 hours of wireless movie streaming.

    The options out there are endless, but it depends on what you really want, your taste and your wallet.

    Fair enough. I think alike.
    Which makes me suggest you one more time, don't buy upgrades for your model; You will benefit much more from a brand new machine.
  11. KUguardgrl13 macrumors 68020


    May 16, 2013
    Kansas, USA
    RAM isn't incredibly expensive depending on what kind you need.

    As for the battery it may be a challenge trying to find a replacement that will be safe to use.

    I'd probably check out the refurb store or look at the non-retina MacBook Pro. Anything even if it's a previous year model will be an upgrade over what you have :)
  12. rubberbucket thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jun 23, 2013
    Holy rusted metal, Batman! Been using my MBP for like 4 hours since I cleaned out the fan - it's made a huge difference! There was definitely more dust in there than I thought, but I was skeptical that it was enough to cause such a problem. Surprise, surprise - so far so good, though! Just an update for you guys.

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