Old good white MacBook revival - dusting, upgrades.

oreez

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Jul 31, 2012
11
5
UK
So, I'm going to start my first post with a little revival project that I've just finished for my old good white macbook, which I bought 4 years ago and used it throughout 4 years in University. After 4 years of good service the inevitable came - HDD failure, which prompted me to do bring my computer to second life.

Firstly I've started of with some dusting. Opening the computer was fairly simple and quick, there are loads of manuals on YouTube and internet on which screws to remove and how to dissemble a macbook. So After a little while I was inside the macbook looking at a cluster of dust that have gathered over 4 years. The best way to remove the dust without doing any damage to the electronics was using a condensed air can, which is fairly cheap (£3) and easy to use. Here you can see the before and after images of the main board.




The next step was to order a new HDD. The original 160GB Hitachi HDD was making repetitive weird sounds, which would result in temporary system crashes for a minute or two and then resume to normal for about 10 - 15 minutes before crashing again. It also made it very difficult to boot in the OS as sometimes I would have to restart the computer several times for the HDD to work properly (OS reinstall didn't help). So with all the trouble it was time to get a new HDD. My initial idea was to buy an SSD, however my computer being SATA I and SSD being so expensive it didn't seem rational as I wouldn't achieve the full performance for the price. Hence, I've decided to go for a quality, good size HDD - WD 500GB Scorpio Blue.



I've read quite a few posts where people were saying that their MacBooks didn't recognise the new HDD when booted from install disc. It seems like many people cloned their old HDD onto the new via an SATA/USB cable and only then boot from the new HDD. Luckily my new HDD was properly recognised right away and didn't cause any compatibility issues. So for all those interested in upgrading their old HDD - WD 500GB Scorpio Blue is a safe choose as long as "Early 2008" white macbook models are concerned.



Finally, I've ordered some memory to replace my old 2x1GB memory sticks in order to improve overall performance. The new memory sticks were 2x2GB Kingston. Once again - no compatibility issues.




So, after all the upgrades, inside dusting and a fresh OS install my old good macbook is back to life and ready to serve me at least another couple good years. Hopefully this post will serve as an encouragement not to toss your old MacBooks away as they are still very capable and nice to use machines. What about you MacBook fans? Anyone still using old good pre-unibody white/black MacBooks? Does it meet your needs? What upgrades have you made? What do you use your old MacBook for?
 
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racer1441

macrumors 68000
Jul 3, 2009
1,773
387
I love my rMBP. I love the iPad.

But there is just something about that white MacBook. It's like looking at a 1960’s muscle car. Is it the best out there, no. But it is a beautiful little box.
 

oreez

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Jul 31, 2012
11
5
UK
I love my rMBP. I love the iPad.

But there is just something about that white MacBook. It's like looking at a 1960’s muscle car. Is it the best out there, no. But it is a beautiful little box.
Totally agree. It's not the most speedy and versatile computer anymore, but there is something to it that makes me want to hold on to it until it's completely broken and unusable. :)
 

fteter

macrumors member
Mar 12, 2008
69
0
Traveling Workhorse

My 2010 white MB is my workhorse while on the road (I travel at least two weeks per month). I've upgraded to 4GB, but everything else is original. Just declined a spiffy new Winows laptop from my employer, because the MB still rocks and I like owning my own tools. I expect at least 4 more years.

And, yeah, it's running ML like a champ!
 

Pinkie Pie

macrumors regular
Mar 3, 2012
139
0
Los Angeles
My MB got it's RAM doubled and its top case replaced for its 4th birthday. Everything else is original and still almost perfect. (Even though the original HDD is nowhere near big enough for my 2012 needs, and I REALLY want ML.)

I know the plastic casing sucks and considering how much it's been destroyed by careful use, I shouldn't feel this way ... But it's so pretty and iconic! I'll miss that glistening white polycarbonate after I upgrade! :'(
 
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oreez

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Jul 31, 2012
11
5
UK
My MB got it's RAM doubled and its top case replaced for its 4th birthday. Everything else is original and still almost perfect. (Even though the original HDD is nowhere near big enough for my 2012 needs, and I REALLY want ML.)

I know the plastic casing sucks and considering how much it's been destroyed by careful use, I shouldn't feel this way ... But it's so pretty and iconic! I'll miss that glistening white polycarbonate after I upgrade! :'(
I've read people saying that you can get the plastics replaced by Apple, but I'm not sure if it's a free service and weather it's actually available anymore.
 

imageWIS

macrumors 65816
Mar 17, 2009
1,243
781
NYC
My MB got it's RAM doubled and its top case replaced for its 4th birthday. Everything else is original and still almost perfect. (Even though the original HDD is nowhere near big enough for my 2012 needs, and I REALLY want ML.)

I know the plastic casing sucks and considering how much it's been destroyed by careful use, I shouldn't feel this way ... But it's so pretty and iconic! I'll miss that glistening white polycarbonate after I upgrade! :'(
I still have 2.4 GHZ White MB and its working fine, but I think you will be pleasantly surprised at how much faster, lighter and stronger the new MBP's are; the backlit keyboard is also a great feature.

As technology gets faster and faster, at smaller intervals between one advancement to the other the need to upgrade will occur more frequently. Which is good in terms what you can do with your computer in terms of speed and power but bad because the monetary expense becomes greater due to the shortened upgrade window.
 

wmmf

macrumors member
Jun 16, 2010
41
1
I have the same early '08 white MacBook and I share your delight at giving it a good update (although in my case no dusting, but you've given me the idea...). Last year I took it from 2Gb to 4Gb RAM for just ~$30, then this January the Apple Store replaced my cracked top deck for free (it even smelled new!). And just this afternoon I replaced the HD with a C4 128Gb SSD, and boy does that make a speed difference!
I agree that further OS developments might leave this machine behind on new bells and whistles, but knowing that I've not only saved money but also avoided the need to feel like I had to spend money...well, that's a good feeling, and now I've got a machine that should last for years to come. Here's to user-upgradeability!
 
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oreez

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Jul 31, 2012
11
5
UK
I have the same early '08 white MacBook and I share your delight at giving it a good update (although in my case no dusting, but you've given me the idea...). Last year I took it from 2Gb to 4Gb RAM for just ~$30, then this January the Apple Store replaced my cracked top deck for free (it even smelled new!). And just this afternoon I replaced the HD with a C4 128Gb SSD, and boy does that make a speed difference!
I agree that further OS developments might leave this machine behind on new bells and whistles, but knowing that I've not only saved money but also avoided the need to feel like I had to spend money...well, that's a good feeling, and now I've got a machine that should last for years to come. Here's to user-upgradeability!
How come you got the deck replaced for free? I have some cracks on the base plastic and the keyboards plastics too. What are the criteria to qualify for a free replacement?
 

wmmf

macrumors member
Jun 16, 2010
41
1
I came across something on this very forum back in January about how the crack along the edge of the top plate (where your wrists rest) was considered a manufacturing defect that Apple was replacing almost regardless of the date of purchase. I went to my local Apple Authorized Service Agent (I'm in Costa Rica), and they said they'd have the part in a couple of days. Then the replacement itself took a couple of hours, and the results were awesome: new top deck, new trackpad, new keyboard, everything shining white, good keyboard action, etc.

I'd say just take it in to your closest Apple store and just talk to someone about it. Don't accept any answer involving "timelines" or "expired offer." Just tell them you know it was a manufacturing error and you'd like them to replace it. There are some other posts about this same experience elsewhere on this forum. Good luck!
 

Pinkie Pie

macrumors regular
Mar 3, 2012
139
0
Los Angeles
I've read people saying that you can get the plastics replaced by Apple, but I'm not sure if it's a free service and weather it's actually available anymore.
They replaced my top case and the bezel around the screen, both of which were badly cracked and missing chunks of plastic, but couldn't do the bottom case. That part's not considered defective. I got a $130 repair for free! It can't hurt to try. It's magical, giving your old laptop a brand new face.


I still have 2.4 GHZ White MB and its working fine, but I think you will be pleasantly surprised at how much faster, lighter and stronger the new MBP's are; the backlit keyboard is also a great feature.
Yeah, I can't wait to upgrade to a maxed out MBP, but I'm still gonna miss my little white Macbook. :)
 

Vandalist

macrumors newbie
Aug 3, 2012
7
0
If you didn't already do so, think about dusting out the interior of the fans. My '06 macbook would reach temps of 85 degrees celsius, couldn't handle youtube videos without kernel panics. All that went away when I opened the fan and took out this fairly decent sized conglomerate of dust that had the consistency (and heat transfer) of felt.
 

imageWIS

macrumors 65816
Mar 17, 2009
1,243
781
NYC
Yeah, I can't wait to upgrade to a maxed out MBP, but I'm still gonna miss my little white Macbook. :)
Don't buy the RAM from Apple, just get whatever base it comes with (8 GB, IIRC), and then upgrade the RAM yourself to 16GB. You'll save quite a bit of money.
 

gertruded

macrumors 6502
Jul 5, 2007
301
1,042
Northwestern Illinois
My early 2009 pre unibody white Macbook is still going strong. I have replaced the battery, hard drive and increased memory to 4 gig at 800mh. Still in daily use and expect several more years of useful life. Just installed ML.

I originally purchased it from the Apple refurb store. Some people might complain about the 2GH core 2 duo being too slow, but running Handbrake overnight has never been a problem.
 

TheZA

macrumors regular
Sep 14, 2007
174
0
I have the last of the non-unibody Macbooks (mid-2009, I believe). It is my favorite Mac product, and in the family there are two iMacs, iPad, various iPods, and a newly purchased Macbook Air (mid-2012). The only thing I've done to the Macbook was up the memory to 4 Gb, and just replaced the almost dead battery last week. The thing still runs like a champ on Lion. I could upgrade to ML, but I haven't seen the need, and everything seems to run so well I don't want to mess with it. The new Macbook Air sleek and quiet, but there is something about the old reliable Macbook - I love the look, and it has just always run so extremely well. So I justified the new Air because I rationalized that I would turn the Macbook over to my daughter, but that is proving hard to do.

When I first purchased the Macbook I had read about case cracking so I installed four little rubber circle things around the inside of the top bezel. I think I got them from Radtech. I also got a Radtech cloth. In any event, it doesn't even have the slightist suggestion of cracking and the bezel and case are pristine. The Apple store genius was amazed at the condition.
 

mgsnat75

macrumors member
Aug 17, 2011
57
1
my friend gave me an early 08 white macbook and he gave it me litterally brand new, seriously! its super clean like it was never used and it actually hasnt seen much action. no scratches, mint condition keyboard/tracpad, mind I/0 and magsafe ports, no cracking on the palm rests which are actually very mint condition and the battery has only 7 cycles into it. everything was original until i added more memory as it only had 1gb stock. working on getting a bigger hdd or maybe ssd if i can find a cheap one. Going to be using this one as a backup in case my retina macbook pro fails one day and needs service from apple or when i dont feel like using the retina. :D
 

mark29

macrumors newbie
Mar 4, 2013
14
1
In the same boat.

I received a hand me down early 2009 white macbook in August, pre-unibody.

First thing was opening it up to remove the super drive that was broken, came across a lot of dust as well.



Then I stuck a 60GB SSD in it and the speed difference was incredible.

After a couple of months I made the plunge and upgraded to 4GB of RAM, not cheap!

It has become my main laptop even though I own a 15" Thinkpad, at university the Thinkpad gives me no end of WiFi connection problems while the Macbook connects like a dream.

Thinkpad



Macbook




Then the other day I bought the mini-dvi to dvi connector so that I could connect to my 27" monitor that is usually used with my desktop and now find myself using the macbook at home as well!




And today I will probably take the 180GB Intel SSD out of my Thinkpad even though it won't be utilised at full speed, I'm just so much more productive on a Macbook, Computer Science Student, and that slightly higher resolution screen than the norm makes such a big difference.
 
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MultiFinder17

macrumors 68020
Jan 8, 2008
2,206
961
Tampa, Florida
I'm a high school teacher, and I use my old Core Duo MacBook in the classroom all the time as my main computer. The school supplies computers in the classroom, but they're all bogged down HPs. Plus, I get to have the same computer at home and in the classroom, which makes it simpler to do and keep all of my lessons on it.
 

Cibernetico

macrumors newbie
Jul 13, 2012
8
0
Yonkers, NY
This thread encouraged me to try to revive an old 2006 Macbook Pro that is sitting around the house. Will give updates when I do some more research on it.
 

mark29

macrumors newbie
Mar 4, 2013
14
1
I ended up putting in the 180GB ssd and now have no problems at all for space.

Today I applied new thermal paste and it was definitely worth it, an idle temp drop of around 10ºC!

Also I finally fixed the dreaded red light of death that stops the internal speakers working.

So more or less I'm running at better than new :D
 

GlastoEls

macrumors member
Jul 30, 2010
66
29
London
I have the same early '08 white MacBook and I share your delight at giving it a good update (although in my case no dusting, but you've given me the idea...). Last year I took it from 2Gb to 4Gb RAM for just ~$30, then this January the Apple Store replaced my cracked top deck for free (it even smelled new!). And just this afternoon I replaced the HD with a C4 128Gb SSD, and boy does that make a speed difference!
I agree that further OS developments might leave this machine behind on new bells and whistles, but knowing that I've not only saved money but also avoided the need to feel like I had to spend money...well, that's a good feeling, and now I've got a machine that should last for years to come. Here's to user-upgradeability!
Almost matches my experience! Early 2008 2.4GHz WhiteBook, long since upgraded to 4Gb RAM, replaced keyboard and cases, downgraded from 10.6.9 to 10.6.8.

Does everything I need it to do and no intention of replacing.

Only danger I see is an iPhone coming out not supported!
 

madmacfan

macrumors 6502
Feb 19, 2012
282
2
London, United Kingdom
I recently within the last year Got myself a mid 2010 white unibody macbook, And other than the cracks around the lid hinges, Which apple replaced, it's still going strong and is more reliable than ever. I Upgraded the Ram to 8gb and replaced the stock 250gb Hdd with a 256gb m4 ssd and it absolutely flies on Mountain lion. I was considering upgrading the ram to 16gb, but I think it would be a bit OTT. All in all it's a very solid mac, and has never given me any issues
 

DavidMarks

macrumors member
Mar 6, 2013
82
0
Nice post! Mine's a Mid-2009 WhiteBook too, and it's a eff,ing warrior: it has been dropped from a bunk's top bed, people have sat on it, overall a lot of excused misuse.

Result: a wide open crack in the bottom right corner, a cracked screen, the screen bezel is half-secure, the SuperDrive doesn't recognize Beethoven CD's, the magnets that allow the Mac to go to sleep are gone so closing the lid does nothing, the palm rest is chipped, the battery knob is gone (mechanism still works though) and the fan stops working once in a while and I have to knock on the chassis to wake it up! It has since gotten the screen replaced, memory upgrade from 2 to 4GB, numerous hard drives all prone to failure (this one's way overdue as well - weird clicking sounds),

But guess what? IT'S STILL ROCKING HARD!

On 10.9 Mavericks the battery lasts over 3 hours, it's as fast as can be for a machine like this and - best of all - it gets my work done without major annoyances!

It's been rocking for 4 years now, and I have no plans to upgrade for the next year or so :D
 
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