Mid 2009 MBP needs speeding up


macrumors newbie
Original poster
Jan 15, 2015
I'm posting for my dad who has noticed his mid 2009 macbook pro slowing down a bit lately. I'm pretty sure it's the base model, 2.26ghz intel core 2 duo processor with 4gb of RAM (which he upgraded from 2gb at the time of purchase). I think it's running Mavericks. He really doesn't need a new computer considering all he uses his for is browsing the web, checking email, and playing free cell, but he has noticed some lag lately and it's bothering him.

I'm not great at handling stuff like this so I told him I'd post here and see if anyone has suggestions for speeding the computer up. Any suggestions would be great.


macrumors P6
Jan 24, 2010
Put a SSD into that machine. That'll perk it right up and make it feel like a new machine.


macrumors 6502
Jul 7, 2013
I have a Mid 2009 MBP. Have 8 gigs of 1066 Crucial RAM in it and just last night installed a Crucial 256gb MX100. Thing is nice and speedy and so far I have yet to see a beach ball. Boot up is now at about 20 seconds.


macrumors 6502
Feb 6, 2010
Louisville, KY
Additional RAM and an SSD would make it a lot faster, but based on your description of his usage I doubt that this is what he really needs.
That year is not SATA 3, so wont see the full speed potential of the SSD.

If he was happy with the performance a few months back before the slow down, then it might be that the hard drive is cluttered and full etc.


macrumors regular
Nov 21, 2009
I replaced the hard drive with a SSD in my son's 2009 MacBook Pro. In his words, "It is like a new computer".

Boot time went from about 50 seconds to 20 seconds.

Launching Apps was so much faster.

Definitely worth the $$ to install an SSD if you want to use it for another couple years.


macrumors 68020
May 16, 2013
Kansas, USA
8gb of RAM is definitely worth it. An SSD is up for debate since the mid-2009 is SATA II, and most SSD speeds are set for SATA III. A hybrid drive might be a good solution if he wants to save a little money. The OS will be a little faster. You could also think about getting a small SSD to put in the main hard drive bay and moving the current HDD to the optical bay if he doesn't use the superdrive.

In the mean time you can check his launch programs and see what all is on the hard drive. Sometimes things like that can create slowdowns. You can also repair disk permissions in Disk Utility. That alone did wonders for my mid-2009 MBP.

I have the same model MBP. For mine I upgraded the RAM to 8gb and put in a new standard HDD (courtesy of Apple due to recurring SATA cable failures). It was doing pretty well running Mavericks and functioning as a media server. Yosemite has slowed it down a bit, so I've been thinking about going back to Mavericks.


macrumors 6502a
Jul 8, 2014
ssd. SATA II versus III is a minor element with that spec. I'd say boosting ram is as well but since you're going to be in there, may as well add a couple of gb if the budget allows. An ssd is way more bang for the buck.

I recently did a SATA II iMac. An additional 2 gb of memory. Tested using photo editing and used it for 2 weeks. Could not notice any difference. Added a Crucial MX100 and the iMac was a completely different machine.

If the OS is an old/updated install, may as well go all the way and do a fresh unstall as well. I'm doing very well with a fresh install of Yosemite, much quicker and smoother than Mavericks. But then there are other opinions.

Bomb Bloke

macrumors regular
Feb 12, 2015
Tasmania (AU)
If the OS is an old/updated install, may as well go all the way and do a fresh unstall as well. I'm doing very well with a fresh install of Yosemite, much quicker and smoother than Mavericks. But then there are other opinions.
This is very much worth considering, and is certainly worth a shot before sticking some different hardware into the system. Computers tend not to slow down because they're "wearing out" - it's much more often the case that they get bogged down with unnecessary and / or outdated software loading on startup. Some of that software bloat may just be "Mavericks", but much of it probably doesn't need to be there quite so much.

Backup everything with Time Machine, wipe the drive and do a fresh OS install, migrate just his user data from the backup and then manually re-install any additional apps he needs. You may well find it's perfectly fine after that.

Even if for some reason you decide to skip the re-install, make sure anything important is backed up before you start modifying the unit. A bad stick of RAM can quickly lead to a corrupt file system, for example.


macrumors newbie
May 20, 2013
I have a 2010 Macbook Pro 13" with a 2.4 GHz Core2 duo and 4 GB of RAM. I replaced the stock hard drive with a SSD, and it made the machine noticeably faster in most operations. I am running Mavericks on it. I don't think your dad will need more than 4 GB of RAM base on your explanation of his usage. You can check memory pressure in Activity Monitor to verify this.


May 8, 2011
Los Angeles
I remember I replaced Intel Series 320 SSD 160GB on 2007 MBP with 4GB. It runs like a butter... I think it is a worth a try with SSD you can afford. :apple: