My MB is getting older. What should I do?

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by CrazyIllini, Dec 21, 2009.

  1. CrazyIllini macrumors member

    Joined:
    Oct 8, 2009
    #1
    Ok so I have a 3 year-old MB thats starting to have problems. The biggest one seems to be that sometimes it doesn't recognize the hard drive while booting up. I found that if I turn it off again and give it a shake (which btw just doesn't feel right) it works. I'm beginning to feel a little nervous as I rely heavily on my MB as a student. I also would like a considerable speed upgrade because the mac is starting to feel slugish. I think I have three options:

    1) Buy a netbook and install OS X on it and use it as a backup
    (Maybe something like this: http://bit.ly/HackintoshNetbook)

    2) Buy a new MB or MBP ( This seems highly unlikely because I'm tight pressed for money)

    3) Try to upgrade my current MB (Maybe a new SSD, more RAM, ect. ect.)
    (This thread gave me that idea http://bit.ly/5TwIaV)

    What should I do?
     
  2. Eidorian macrumors Penryn

    Eidorian

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    Indianapolis
    #2
    Reset your PRAM and SMC before spending any money. At worst it sounds like it might be time to get a new hard drive but try the resets first! Have a backup of all your data too.
     
  3. iMav macrumors 6502

    iMav

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    #3
    Dude. Pull the battery and reseat the hard drive. It's probably loose.
     
  4. CrazyIllini thread starter macrumors member

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    Oct 8, 2009
    #4
    Ok I did that following what these two pages said.
    http://support.apple.com/kb/HT1379?viewlocale=en_US
    http://support.apple.com/kb/HT3964?viewlocale=en_US


    I've done that before and it is a recurring issuse. (It happens during about 20 percent of the time)
     
  5. zhenya macrumors 603

    zhenya

    Joined:
    Jan 6, 2005
    #5
    I would want to know for certain that whatever problem you are having with the drive is in fact the drive, and not the logic board side of the connection before throwing a lot of money at this computer. Do you have a spare drive you could toss in to test for a couple of days or something?

    I presume you have a backup of your important data? If not, do it NOW!
     
  6. 1rottenapple macrumors 65816

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    Apr 21, 2004
    #6
    aside from trouble shooting, what's your budget? If its an HD issue I that perhaps upgrading the HD plus upgrading the ram should take you further.
     
  7. CrazyIllini thread starter macrumors member

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    Oct 8, 2009
    #7
    No I do not have a spared hard drive lying around. And of course my important files are backed up.

    Budget wise, no more than 300-400 dollars. Currently I have 2GB of RAM and my HD is 120GB (I only need about 80GB though)
     
  8. Badger^2 macrumors 68000

    Badger^2

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    Sacramento
    #8
    I would recommend the same thing as I did in that thread.

    Except you might max at 3 gigs ram.

    Maybe you could put some fuzzy velcro to the drive so it has a slightly tighter fit?

    And a netbook will not be able to touch it in terms of speed.
     
  9. flopticalcube macrumors G4

    flopticalcube

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    #9
    If its a Core 2 Duo MB then you might see a small benefit from going to 3GB of RAM (by replacing one of the 1GB sticks). A new HD would certainly spice things up. If you don't need much space then a smaller (say 250GB) 7200RPM drive would be a noticeable improvement. That's $100 max.
     
  10. CrazyIllini thread starter macrumors member

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    Oct 8, 2009
    #10
    I agree with getting 3GB of RAM. I added 2GB on my previous iMac and it sped things up significantly. As for the hard drive, I like the price but would the fix my problems? Thats what concerns me most.

    Zhenya recommend this SSD on another thread and it fits my specs but is a little costly ($300).

    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produ...167023&cm_re=intel_ssd-_-20-167-023-_-Product

    Is there any similar but cheaper alternatives?
     
  11. Badger^2 macrumors 68000

    Badger^2

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    #11
  12. carlgo macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Dec 29, 2006
    #12
    In ancient times, islanders put the old ones on rafts and pushed them out to sea.
     
  13. MacMini2009 macrumors 68000

    MacMini2009

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    California
    #13
    O RLY?
     
  14. macsmurf macrumors 65816

    macsmurf

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    #14
    Be nice. Bill O'Reilly is only 60.
     
  15. 1rottenapple macrumors 65816

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    Apr 21, 2004
    #15
    just an aside advise, being a student myself, make sure you backup your documents. I recommend dropbox. google it but it syncs your documents (free up to 2gb) when you are connected to the internet automatically. never know when your hd may fail.
     
  16. flopticalcube macrumors G4

    flopticalcube

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    #16
    Given that you are having to shake it to get it working, its most probably the HD that's failing. 3 years is about average for a HD on a Mac. If something major fails down the road you can always sell the MB for parts and keep the HD as a backup drive. SSDs are not able to replace 7200rpm drives in low-end notebooks yet. Price is just not there.
     
  17. zhenya macrumors 603

    zhenya

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    Jan 6, 2005
    #17
    The OP has a Macbook - hardly a low-end notebook today. I'd argue that a SSD would be a reasonable upgrade for such a machine, IF the user's primary goal was to have a snappier user experience. As I've mentioned before an older Macbook with a good SSD will be in many respects faster than a brand new MBP. Yes, a SSD is not strictly necessary, and in that respect could be considered a luxury - but when people are considering the alternative of spending $1000-$1500 on a new laptop, $300 on a SSD that will bring many of the same benefits is a bargain.
     
  18. flopticalcube macrumors G4

    flopticalcube

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    #18
    A 3yo MB is low-end. Any other thoughts are simply delusional. Why make a $300 investment in a machine worth no more than $500?
     
  19. zhenya macrumors 603

    zhenya

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    Jan 6, 2005
    #19
    What the machine is worth on the open market is insignificant unless he is actively looking to sell it. The Macbook that one can buy in the store today is not in any appreciable way faster than the one he currently owns, yet most people would not blink if he were to insist that he wanted to replace it with a new model, at the cost of well over $1000 - perhaps going into debt to do so. Yet to buy a ssd as a performance upgrade to an otherwise decent machine, at 1/4 that cost is somehow 'delusional'?

    I still stand by my earlier statement that I'd want to know for sure what is wrong with the current machine, but if it's just the current drive, a SSD is a reasonable upgrade - I've done the same on many machines and it's an improvement that one has to witness to believe.
     
  20. flopticalcube macrumors G4

    flopticalcube

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    #20
    I didn't say that the upgrade was delusional. I said that saying a 3yo MB was not low-end was delusional. Even 3 years ago, only the CPU was not low-end. Everything else was. I just think that putting aside more money for a future machine (that may be needed shortly) is probably better than dropping an extra $200 on an older machine. Of course, the OP could always reuse the SSD drive in the future on a newer box.
     
  21. cubeeggs macrumors member

    Joined:
    Dec 1, 2009
    #21
    I have a late-2006 MacBook with the T7200 (2 GHz Merom Core 2 Duo). Looking at this processor comparison chart:
    http://www.notebookcheck.net/Mobile-Processors-Benchmarklist.2436.0.html

    and browsing Dell’s website, it appears that many laptops with only marginally faster processors than the T7200, or even slower processors, are still being sold.

    I upgraded my hard drive from 120 GB to 500 GB and I can now comfortably run two OSes (or three, if I could get the bootloaders working). I believe the largest available for a MacBook are a 640 GB 5400 RPM Western Digital ($120 on Newegg right now) or a 500 GB 7400 RPM Seagate ($100) or Hitachi. If you determine your hard drive’s the issue and not the logic board, a larger hard drive not only adds more capacity but also transfers data faster and is less likely to become severely fragmented. I’m not running an SSD, so I can’t say how that compares, but a new hard drive’s much cheaper.
     
  22. CrazyIllini thread starter macrumors member

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    Oct 8, 2009
    #22
    Edit: Or do I get the 7200 RPM drive. It would save me $200 or more.

    Ok so I think I decided to upgrade my computer with a SSD and a extra GB of RAM. Now help me with this. Which of these is more worth the money. I think I would rather have a significantly snappier experience than have the little extra GB.

    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820167023 Intel X25-M 80GB $299

    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820227433&ref=dynamitedata.com OCZ Vertex 60GB Mac Edition

    As for the RAM this is what I came up with. Is this the cheapest/best for the money out there for my computer?

    http://www.crucial.com/store/mpartspecs.aspx?mtbpoid=F1CBEE06A5CA7304
     
  23. zhenya macrumors 603

    zhenya

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    Jan 6, 2005
    #23
    As I said in the other thread you linked, a previous really bad experience with OCZ has pretty much permanently soured me on them. In this case, regardless of my experience, I'd still go with the Intel with no hesitation. It's larger and has a pretty much rock solid reputation for only $40 more.

    A 7200 rpm drive isn't going to offer much in the way of a performance improvement - I've done plenty of tests over the years and never been able to 'feel' much of a difference. I've also seen 7200rpm laptop drives benchmark slower than 5400 rpm drives.

    What version of OSX are you currently on? Have you ever done a clean install? If you want the most bang for the buck, your might be able to realize a huge improvement just by doing a clean install of Snow Leopard on an inexpensive new drive. The SSD will of course be faster, but a clean install is known to do wonders as well.
     
  24. CrazyIllini thread starter macrumors member

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    Oct 8, 2009
    #24
    Ok I was already leaning toward the Intel.

    I'm running 10.6.2.
     
  25. Creative One macrumors 6502

    Creative One

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    Ontario
    #25
    I suggest Depends.
     

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