Mavericks on a early 2008 Macbook 4.1

Discussion in 'MacBook' started by Entertainer, May 21, 2018.

  1. Entertainer macrumors member

    Jul 24, 2013
    **Not sure if this is the best place to post this question... **

    Yes, I have newer Apple devices. I, in fact, bought this Macbook because i like the look of the black edition. I'm going to be upgrading it to 6 GB ram and a 500 GB SSD.

    I have read that Mavericks can be hacked onto the Macbook I have, but I also read there might be issues with the video graphics (resolution problems, can't change brightness, etc.) and the audio (no sound).

    I would stay on Lion but I want to use some software that only works on Mavericks and later OSs.

    Have any of you done this successfully without compromises?
  2. EugW, May 21, 2018
    Last edited: May 21, 2018

    EugW macrumors 603


    Jun 18, 2017
    Check out the MacPostFactor threads. I didn’t go this route with our old MacBook4,1 because it seemed like a major PITA to do and because the results were pretty mixed.

    I personally installed Linux Ubuntu 17.04 instead. Works reasonably well. I tried the current 18.04 but there is a weird bug that causes the system settings to take 1 minute to load. I’ll wait a few months until 18.04 is updated and then try again.

    However, I just use it for surfing, email, and Netflix. What software are you trying to use?

    BTW, I cleaned out the fan and replaced the CPU and GPU heatsink’s thermal paste and now the fan runs a lot less than it used to.

    Also BTW, I did what you did and recently bought an old MacBook to upgrade. However, I went for a late 2008 aluminum MacBook5,1 instead. It now has High Sierra, SSD, and 8 GB RAM, and runs very well. The OS install was simple, and the machine runs like a fully supported Mac. The MacBook5,1 cost me all of US$150 off Kijiji last year, and I already had an extra SSD. I also had extra 4 GB RAM for it but managed to score 8 GB name brand RAM on Amazon for US$35 so that worked out well.
  3. Entertainer, May 21, 2018
    Last edited: May 21, 2018

    Entertainer thread starter macrumors member

    Jul 24, 2013
    Hey, I just got the Macbook in the mail this afternoon, along with the SSD and 6 gig ram upgrade. Carbon copied the original Lion drive to the SSD, installed the ram. I even took out the keyboard because there were stick keys I wanted to fix, but then I realized I didn't have to take out the keyboard, I just needed to snap the keys off (doh!). Looked like some coffee or Coke/Pepsi.

    Everything is running... but man if I use Chrome or Safari, the fans start going nuts. It sounds like an airplane is taking off with only 1 or 2 tabs. How hard was it to replace the CPU and GPU thermal paste? I might have to do this. Would hate to think I spent over 500 total on this machine and it's this LOUD! BTW when I took the case apart, the front top case plastic chipped (where they always chip on the palm rest), so I glued it back on. Now it's stuck to the bottom case as well as the top case, so taking apart the computer means I'll have to re-break that piece.

    Anyway... I vacuumed the interiors and cleaned the fans, although everything was pretty clean already. So not sure at this point what else I can do other than the thermal paste. I hope the computer settles down a bit, but it's running at 60 degrees without doing nearly anything.

    Thanks for your reply btw!

    Edit: I checked out the Activity Monitor, and nothing is even using up the CPU that much, but I keep seeing this process called "ReportCrash" that goes between 70% and 0% every few seconds. I might have to downgrade to Snow Leopard if this continues.
  4. EugW macrumors 603


    Jun 18, 2017
    $500 for a MacBook4,1? Ouch. For a computer a decade old, that's a lot of money just to get the colour black, but your money I guess. I chose MacBook5,1 over MacBook4,1 because MacBook4,1 does not accelerate h.264, which means the fans will ramp up high for HD video playback.

    The thermal paste replacement is pretty involved but it just takes patience. It made a lot of difference for my MacBook4,1. Idle temps are way lower, and the fan doesn't ramp up nearly as often, including with HD video playback. I used Arctic Silver, the bottle of which I had was ironically nearly as old as the MacBook. The instructions are here:

    Note though that it's a lot easier to remove the heatsink if the fan is loosened or removed.

    I haven't had to do this for my 2008 MacBook5,1 though, nor for my 2009 MacBookPro5,5. Those remain quiet. Perhaps they got much better at the heatsink thermal paste application in the factory. I'm just glad because apparently it's much more difficult to remove the heatsink for those.
  5. Entertainer thread starter macrumors member

    Jul 24, 2013

    Well I paid $215 for the Macbook, which is in flawless condition, other than the sticky keys I repaired. Every other black Macbook was selling for just $25-50 less and had a ton of defects. This one looks like new, and came with 4 Gigs, and a 250 gb hard drive, which to me didn't matter. What added to the cost was the Crucial Ram upgrade and 500 GB SSD which totalled to almost $200. So not quite $500, more like $425.

    Yeah, still a lot for a 10 year old computer but the Black Macbook (esp the fastest one) is kind of iconic imo. I think the prices will start to go up after a while.
  6. EugW macrumors 603


    Jun 18, 2017
    That's wishful thinking. If the iBooks and the older MacBooks are any indication, the value of MacBook4,1 will continue to decrease until it's worthless.

    In any case, back to the thermal paste... For my MacBook4,1, new thermal paste made a huge difference, but don't expect miracles. One of the other reasons that MacBook4,1 can ramp the fan so high is due the fact that it doesn't have the hardware video acceleration I mentioned. This causes three main issues. 1. Fan noise if there is need for video playback. 2) Choppy video playback. 3) Poor surfing experience.

    And you've already mentioned the other problem, which is OS support. I decided not to use MacPostFactor and related hacks because the results were reportedly inconsistent, and a major PITA to get to work, according to users here. Plus, even when it did work, people had problems. All of these problems disappear if you have MacBook5,1 or MacBookPro5,x. You can use dosdude1's patcher to install either Sierra or High Sierra.

    Good luck with your MacBook4,1 experiment, but if you decide you want to give it a try again later with a different cheap machine, strongly consider a MacBook5,1 or a MacBookPro5,x or later. Besides my MacBook4,1 (which I'm typing on right now BTW), I have both a 2.0 GHz MacBook5,1 and a 2.26 GHz MacBookPro5,5. In fact, I bought the MacBook5,1 specifically to replace my MacBook4,1, even just as a secondary computer. (My primary laptop these days is a 2017 MacBook10,1.) MacBook5,1 really is world of difference. In terms of usability and feel:

    2.26 GHz MacBookPro5,5 > 2.0 GHz MacBook5,1 >>> 2.4 GHz MacBook4,1
  7. Entertainer thread starter macrumors member

    Jul 24, 2013
    That 2017 10,1 must be phenomenal. My newest is the 2015 13” 3.1 i7. Also have a 2011 iMac with 3.4 GHz. Both with 16 Gigs of ram.

    In the past I’ve owned a 2007 MBP 15”, 2009 MBP 13/15”, and an beastly 2012 Quad i7 2.7 ghz 16 gig ram MBP. It was almost twice as fast as my current 13” but I wanted something more portable so I sold it.

    Now I figured out what was making the fans go crazy. In Console, I could see an error popping up every 4 seconds or so related to my Trim Enabler software. I used the previous version to the current one, but even that was too new apparently. Luckily Trim Enabler 2 worked and is not presenting any errors. Now the MacBook works and feels like a Mac. The fans are much tamer. That error process was using between 25-50” of the CPU ever few seconds.

    I’m realizing though that almost none of my App Store apps I purchased work on this laptop. I was going to use it to do some coding on it but quickly realized it can’t install most of the packages that I need.

    Installed Ableton Live and recorded some music with no problem. Editing a picture made the fans spin up quite a bid - guess it’s that vram limitation.

    Overall seems like it will be a good computer for now and maybe for a long time.

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