Maximizing my mid 13" mid-2009 MacBook Pro

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by Diselboy, Mar 5, 2014.

  1. Diselboy macrumors newbie

    Mar 5, 2014
    I'm looking to prolong the life of my MacBook as it may be awhile before I can afford a new one.

    • 13", Mid 2009
    • 2.26 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo
    • 8 GB 1067 MHz DDR3
    • 250 GB harddrive, original Hitachi, 5400 RPM
    • NVIDIA GeForce 9400M 256 MB
    • OS X 10.9.1

    What I've done:
    • updated from 4 to 8 GB RAM (see specs above)
    • put a new battery in it
    • moved items off the hard drive so that I have 30GB free
    • ran a full virus scan

    It has been sporadic and unresponsive at times (too many "beach ball" episodes), although is running just fine at the moment. Not sure what to make of that. I had originally assumed the new operating system was bogging it down.

    Short of rolling back my operating system to a prior version (would that even help speed things up?) I'm guessing my best option may be to upgrade the hard drive?

    Options I've Found:
    1. 240GB SSD from Crucial for $130 or 256 GB Solid State Drive from iFixIt for $230
    2. 1 TB SSD Hybrid 2.5" Hard Drive from iFixIt for $160 or 500 GB SSD Hybrid 2.5" Hard Drive for $120

    What is the difference between the true SSD (option #1) and a hybrid (option #2)?

    Also, in item #1 what are the differences (besides the large price difference) between the SSD from Crucial and the one from iFixIt?

  2. Felasco Guest

    Oct 19, 2012
    I have a mid 2009 MacBook too, though less equipped than yours. I tried Mavericks, but had to go back to Snow Leopard. It seems we have the oldest macs that support Mavericks, and the older OS's might be better for us.
  3. Barney63 macrumors 6502a


    Jan 9, 2014
    Bolton, UK.
    It depends on the model of the Seagate SSHD.
    The ST1000LM014 has a 8GB SSD and 1TB HDD combined.

  4. BigRed1 macrumors 6502

    Dec 13, 2011
    You should be able to get a decent 1tb sshd for around 100-110. I haven't used an ssd much, but the sshd has been pretty great on my mini.

    It's not the fastest solution, but I think it hits the sweet spot, especially for older machines.
  5. KUguardgrl13 macrumors 68020


    May 16, 2013
    Kansas, USA
    Strange because I have a mid-2009 with Mavericks as well, and it seems to be fine. If you don't have at least 4gb of ram, that could be why. I have 8gb in mine.
  6. Felasco Guest

    Oct 19, 2012
    Yes, that seems a good theory. The decision for me seemed to be is Mavericks worth upgrading my RAM. Other than text dictation, I didn't see other features that merited the expense. Plus, I'm not sure how much money I want to invest in an old used laptop.
  7. Diselboy thread starter macrumors newbie

    Mar 5, 2014
    RAM boost

    Felasco, the RAM boost made a big time difference as I recall, even before I switched to Mavericks.

    Barney63, so a hybrid drive has a small SSD and a regular HD in it?

    BigRed1, perhaps you are right that the price point of a sshd might make it the right choice for this application (at 1/2 the cost compares to SSD).
  8. ecschwarz macrumors 65816


    Jun 28, 2010
    An SSD is probably going to be the best thing for that machine. I personally like the Samsung drives - they play nicely with Macs, don't use the somewhat flaky Sandforce controller, and the 840 Evos are relatively inexpensive (I think the 250GB version is going for about $140 on Amazon and Best Buy will price match Amazon, giving most people a good local option).

    I put the 840 (before they were selling the 840 Evo) in a machine just like yours (2.26GHz, 8GB RAM) and it flies on Mavericks. As long as you're not doing crazy-ridiculous processor-intensive tasks, your computer will be fine (and the tasks I'm talking about probably were not its forte back in 2009 either).

    I think that the hybrid drives are a bit of an awkward compromise and doubt we'll see them around much longer once SSD prices drop further. If you really want a mix of lots of space and speed, put your current hard drive in your optical bay or get a cheap external enclosure for your old drive.

    Speaking of SSDs, make sure you enable TRIM if you do go that route - TRIM Enabler is a good option (and free for the basic features):
  9. Diselboy thread starter macrumors newbie

    Mar 5, 2014

    ecschwarz, thank you sir. I appreciate the app recommendation re: the TRIM situation. I will have to educate myself on that.

    You mention the hybrid drives as an awkward solution ... what do you mean by that?

    Also, when we look at performance differences between hybrid & SSD, what are we really talking about here? Any firsthand experience or benchmarks studies out there?
  10. ecschwarz macrumors 65816


    Jun 28, 2010
    Basically TRIM are system commands that tell an SSD that those blocks are free - it keeps the drive running as fast and efficiently as possible. Apple OEM drives have TRIM enabled, but the built-in driver on OS X is disabled for third-party drives from the start. Software like TRIM Enabler basically makes a slight modification so it works on all drives. The downside is that you have to re-enable TRIM with each OS update (10.9.1->10.9.2). Still, it's a toggle switch and a quick restart.

    The difference between hard drives, hybrid drives, and SSDs come down to usage. Obviously, hard drives are the bottlenecks for both reading and writing data. Hybrid drives use a bit of flash memory as a cache for recently used content, but are still slow with writing a lot of new content back to disk or reading more new content than the drive has. In addition, they still have the other side-effects of hard drives—moving parts and heat. SSDs run completely silent, often use less energy, and the bottleneck will be your computer's interface, not the drive itself.

    Hybrid drives, like hybrid cars are sort of of a mass-market compromise between old technology (hard drives/gas) and newer, but expensive technology (SSDs/electric). The big difference is that SSDs have dropped in price and the popular option is to not rely on one drive that has two points of failure (if either the hard drive mechanism fails or the SSD portion fails, you're SOL). The popular option on these boards has been to get an SSD and use a hard drive to offload things that you won't use very often - a lot of people have put a hard drive in their optical drive bay (removing the optical drive) and only access it when they need it - this saves on battery life and having the drive spinning all the time. The other option (as I've done) is to put the original drive in a cheap USB enclosure and use it for things like extra storage or Time Machine backups.

    As for hard data, I personally haven't looked into the comparisons just because I was able to justify the slight additional expense for the 840 Evo. These two articles were ones I found that may explain the pros and cons for both:,2817,2404262,00.asp

    (I know they're PC-oriented, but the same general ideas apply)

    Apple's Fusion Drive is a sort of hybrid drive - it combines a small SSD with a traditional hard drive in machines that can support two internal drives. Through OS X's Core Storage software, it basically combines the two and the OS does all the figuring out of what needs to be on what drive for best performance based on usage. If one or the other fails, you can replace one and have to essentially set up the system again, but you don't have to replace both parts (you just need to make sure you have a good backup). The other nice thing is that you could split the two and treat them as two individual internal drives (which is what they really are).

    For the longest time, Apple was using Samsung 830 SSDs for built-to-order options in computers like the Mac mini and 13"/15" MacBook Pro and for the SSD portion of machines with Fusion Drives. The hard drive portion was whatever OEM supplier they had at the time, which was mostly Toshiba and Hitachi.
  11. California macrumors 68040


    Aug 21, 2004
    Sell your logic board and drop in a 2.4 or 2.66 2010 13" Macbook pro logic board.

    Then you can add up to 16gbs of ram and you'll have audio through the display port.

    That would be the best upgrade you could do. Yes the cases/screen are the same.

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