Optimizing early 2008 (Santa Rosa) MBP performance

TSNWork

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Mar 18, 2011
28
0
Hi all,

I have an early 2008 2.4/2.2 MBP. ("About This Mac" screenshot attached with the specs.) While it still runs well -- I had the HDD replaced and the maximum RAM added last year -- it's beginning to overheat more frequently, slow down when opening large documents, and just generally show its age.

Does anyone have suggestions as to how to arrest the decline? I'm not a power user by any means, so I don't think there's much to gain from reducing usage (about the most I tax it is by having a Word doc, Excel spreadsheet, and 3-4 Safari tabs open simultaneously). I use XSlimmer and Onyx fairly regularly, but any benefits are (predictably) only marginal.

Thanks much for help.
 

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Nov 28, 2010
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1. That MBP supports up to 6 GB RAM.
2. You could replace the HDD with an SSD to bring new life to your MBP and even replace the ODD with your old HDD with an Optibay adapter.
MacBook, MacBook Pro: Replacing the Hard Disk Drive, transferring data to the new HDD

the guide includes:
  • 0. Identify your MacBook or MacBook Pro
  • 1. Getting a new HDD
  • 2. Guides to replace the internal HDD with a newer one
  • 3. Transferring data from the old HDD to the new HDD
  • 4. Using the optical disk drive (ODD) slot for placing an SSD or HDD inside the MB/P (OPTIBAY)

3. Performance Tips For Mac OS X
4. Five Mac maintenance myths
5. You can take screenshots of just one window or element via CMD+SHIFT+4, press Spacebar and click on the window or element you want to shoot.
 

Queen6

macrumors 604
I would look at cleaning out the cooling system, the fans my also be declining i recently replaced both on my Early 08 15" MBP. iDefrag will help to speed up your HDD access, don't expect miracles and in general it only requires defraging once - twice a year, you will see a bigger improvement if you are accessing large files frequently.

SSD will work, just depends if you want to invest heavily on machine that is already four years plus. If you plan to keep it, then an SSD is a good option, equally a well cared for Late 2011 13" Air might also be a consideration or another 15" MBP.

For your described usage, your machine should not be getting overly hot, once i cleaned the cooling system and replaced the fans, the operating temperatures dropped immensely.
 

CausticPuppy

macrumors 65816
May 1, 2012
1,483
18
If it's been overheating more frequently over time-- chances are good that you've got some dust build-up inside. Remove the bottom cover and give it a good blow-out with some compressed air.

An SSD works wonders; my 3.5-year-old macbook pro feels like a brand new computer again with its new SSD and a fresh install of ML. Subjectively it feels faster than my 2011 macbook pro at work (which has a 5400rpm HDD).
The only thing lacking is the battery life, so I may plonk down $89 for a NuPower battery and keep it around for a while longer.
 

geoffreak

macrumors 68020
Feb 8, 2008
2,193
2
I'd recommend a clean install of OS X. My early 2008 was really bogged down a few months back and a clean install really bumped the performance.

I've always had my MBP on a cooling stand to prevent it from being unbearably hot with even minor usage.
 

TSNWork

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Mar 18, 2011
28
0
Thanks much, all. I've gone through the steps in simsaladimbamba's list that I hadn't done already, and will clean out any dust.

As for a clean OSX install, will upgrading to Mountain Lion (from Snow Leopard -- never got around to Lion) have the same effect? I was planning on doing that over the next few days anyway.
 

clyde2801

macrumors 601
I just installed 8 gigs of ram in my wife's 2.4 c2d unibody MBP; upgraded from 4 gigs.

My wife's reaction was, "Wow, this thing is cooking with gas now!". Arguably, the best $55 I've spent, and I think she'll get a bit more contented use out of it. Next stop MAY be SSD land, but this may get me by.
 

treyjustice

macrumors 65816
Jun 14, 2009
1,135
36
TX
I'd say open and blow out add more ram and get a ssd

ram/ssd will make a noticeable improvement!
 

TSNWork

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Mar 18, 2011
28
0
Actually, one more question (sorry, but just want to make sure that I get this right): I currently have 4 GB RAM (2 x 2 GB) in my early 2008 MBP. To get to the maximum 6 GB, I need to buy a single 4 GB module to replace one of the 2 GB ones, correct? What one would you guys recommend?
 
Nov 28, 2010
22,684
27
located
Actually, one more question (sorry, but just want to make sure that I get this right): I currently have 4 GB RAM (2 x 2 GB) in my early 2008 MBP. To get to the maximum 6 GB, I need to buy a single 4 GB module to replace one of the 2 GB ones, correct? What one would you guys recommend?
Yes, that is correct, though a 4 GB 200-pin DDR2 SO-DIMM RAM module might cost 50 € or so nowadays. I can't recommend a specific one.
 

tivoboy

macrumors 68040
May 15, 2005
3,120
205
ebay

I simply tracked some ebay auctions for about two weeks, for the RAM which was $$$ in the second market. I ended up getting a great Samsung 4GB stick for 29$ shipped. Maybe setup a search and track a few auctions.
 

TSNWork

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Mar 18, 2011
28
0
Thanks. I'm a bit time-constrained, but I was able to find this on eBay for $49. Plus next-day shipping for $19 comes to $68. It's not $29, but it's not bad either. Went with that.
 

TSNWork

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Mar 18, 2011
28
0
So I got my 4GB stick with all the correct specifications and installed it (it fit perfectly) in place of one of my current 2 GB ones, and yet my computer didn't recognize it (i.e., I could hear it power up, but unit never actually turned on). I then took it to my local Best Buy Geek Squad -- they aren't great, but for simple things they generally know what's going on -- and they told me they checked too sites and that my MBP only supports a max of 4GB of RAM, so there's no possibility of getting it to recognize 6 GB. I've seen elsewhere, however, including in this thread, that I should be able to get it to recognize 6 GB.

What's going on? And how can I solve this problem? Thanks as always.
 

TSNWork

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Mar 18, 2011
28
0
What model do you have? I have the same machine, granted bought in september 2008 (this was pre-unibody) and 6GB works fine.]
I have a MBP 3,1 (Core 2 Duo, 2.4 GHz). I've skimmed through that thread, but didn't see an answer to my question. Is the best way to test the RAM stick to take out both 2 GB sticks, put in only the 4 GB, and see whether the computer boots up?
 

TSNWork

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Mar 18, 2011
28
0
Update: just tested the 4 GB stick by itself and it doesn't appear to work, so perhaps that's the issue. I'll buy one from Newegg since my eBay foray didn't work well. Any difference between options # 1 and 2?
 
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tivoboy

macrumors 68040
May 15, 2005
3,120
205
both are fine

I've used both partiot and GSKILL memory in various systems before, both are fine.

Can you get a refund on your ebay purchase. That's bunk
 

macagain

macrumors 6502
Jan 1, 2002
261
70
Do you have animals in the house?

Hi all,

[edited] -- it's beginning to overheat more frequently, slow down when opening large documents, and just generally show its age.

Does anyone have suggestions as to how to arrest the decline? [edited]
...I'm not joking! Not long ago a friend was complaining that her Dell (I know different machine... but story applies) was overheating more and more, and shutting down spontaneously more often. I had it opened up, and the problem turned out to be about 1/4 inch of cat hair clogging up the fan, pretty much cutting airflow to zero!
 

TSNWork

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Mar 18, 2011
28
0
Thanks. Yeah, I should be able to get an eBay refund, so it's a pain but not a hit to my wallet. And macagain, thanks for the advice on the fan -- I've already cleaned mine, so unfortunately the fix isn't that simple.