RAM or SSD upgrade for 2008 MacBook White

Discussion in 'MacBook' started by ABigPurpleGoose, Jan 4, 2014.

  1. ABigPurpleGoose macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jan 4, 2014
    Location:
    Cumbria, United Kingdom
    #1
    MacBook 13-inch, Late 2008
    2.1GHz Intel Core 2 Duo
    2GB 667 MHz DDR2 SDRAM
    120GB SATA Disk
    OS X Lion (10.7.5)

    Although my MacBook is getting old, I would like it to last around another 2 years. The battery had to be replaced recently, as the original had reached nearly 1200 cycles and would only last around 30 minutes under an low workload. I would like to upgrade some of the hardware on the computer to give it a new lease of life and an increase in speed. After some research on the internet, I have decided to spend up to £100 on either RAM or a SSD.

    Storage is not an issue as I have an external 1TB hard drive which I use to store files and back-up to. This means that a 120GB SSD would be adequate.

    The other option is an upgrade to 4GB (2x2GB) of RAM (I believe this is the maximum Apple recommend for this MacBook).

    Most of the time the MacBook is used for browsing the internet on Safari, and listening to music on iTunes. The computer handles this well, however when I open an iWork application for school work it starts to struggle.

    Which would be the most effective solution?
     
  2. Altemose macrumors G3

    Altemose

    Joined:
    Mar 26, 2013
    Location:
    Elkton, Maryland
    #2
    Here is how I would think about it… With what little RAM you have you are choking the OS (Lion is a hungry cat), and also you are running on a slow storage media. The better of the two would be getting a quality SSD from a good brand like Samsung. The reasons for that include the fact that your computer is now at least five years old, and that means the hard drive definitely has some wear and tear so to speak. Second of all, as your machine chokes on lack of RAM it will page out to the disk. You can verify this in Activity Monitor. When using an SSD, this space used as RAM will be a lot faster than on an HDD.

    Apple says 4 GB is the maximum, but it is the general consensus that the chipset can support 6 GB. Apple's limits generally are what they can ship in the Mac at time of sale. For instance, Apple says my mid-2012 MBP can support 8 GB of 1600 MHz DDR3 RAM. However, my Mac supports and is running with 16 GB. Go for the SSD now and if you have the money do the RAM. Both are relatively easy procedures, and one is not harder than the other. Do not cheap out on the SSD as it will bite you later on.
     
  3. DmbShn41 macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jun 22, 2009
    #3
    Have you considered a small SSD and RAM? Maybe a 60-80GB SSD and the 4GB of RAM? Would that be within your budget? That should easily help the MB see the next two years...
     
  4. ABigPurpleGoose thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jan 4, 2014
    Location:
    Cumbria, United Kingdom
    #4
    Thank you for the input. The sort of SSD that I was considering was a Samsung 840 EVO 120GB which retails on Amazon UK for £70. I think this is a reasonable price, and after reading various reviews it's evident that the Samsung 840 series offers great speed and reliability. I think that this size of SSD would be best. If I got anything smaller I think I'd regret it in the future.

    I think 4GB RAM will suffice for what I require in the next two years. My MacBook is compatible with DDR2 So-Dimm, which can be quite a bit more expensive than DDR3 So-Dimm. Assuming price and quality correlate, how much should I be paying? Also, are there any specific makes I should stick to (like with the SSD)?
     
  5. BigRed1 macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Dec 13, 2011
    #5
    For the same price as the 2x2gb kit you can add a single 4gb module to one of your 1gb for a total of 5. That may be a better deal. Can anyone verify that this combination will work? I know that the 4 + 2 works, and I see no reason that 4 + 1 wouldn't, I'd just like some assurance.

    I'm going through a similar dilemma with my wife's exact same model. I had upgraded her HD a few years back and now she has too much stuff to comfortably fit on a reasonably-priced SSD. I think I'm stuck with only going the RAM route.
     
  6. DmbShn41 macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jun 22, 2009
    #6
    In terms of pairing two memory modules together, it truly is recommended to 'pair' the modules together as they both bing the same size. Computer will recognize both modules, but you may have issues down the line. Generally not recommended.
     
  7. anotherimacuser macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jan 11, 2014
    #7
    In another MacBook I run 5 GB of RAM (but my goal is to use 2 4GB modules, see http://forums.macrumors.com/showthread.php?t=1696531)
     
  8. borostef macrumors 6502

    borostef

    Joined:
    Feb 10, 2012
    Location:
    Zagreb, Croatia
    #8
    I have the exact same MacBook... What I did is put a 90 GB SSD in it and put more RAM in (Now it has 4 GB). It really feels like a new machine now...:)
     
  9. Goftrey macrumors 68000

    Goftrey

    Joined:
    May 20, 2011
    Location:
    Wales, UK
    #9
  10. ABigPurpleGoose thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jan 4, 2014
    Location:
    Cumbria, United Kingdom
    #10
    Thank you very much! Just ordered the SSD for now. Estimated to arrive on Tuesday :)
     
  11. Goftrey macrumors 68000

    Goftrey

    Joined:
    May 20, 2011
    Location:
    Wales, UK
    #11
    No worries! I've got an 840 EVO in my late 2008 aluminium MacBook and man is it a nice drive. Silent, cool & lighting fast.
     
  12. ABigPurpleGoose thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jan 4, 2014
    Location:
    Cumbria, United Kingdom
    #12
    Cloned my Macintosh HD to the new SSD without a problem. After finding an iFixit guide (http://www.ifixit.com/Guide/MacBook+Core+2+Duo+Hard+Drive+Replacement/514) I was also able to install the new drive without an issue. The first boot took a while, but after enabling TRIM and restarting, it's away! Stock programs (Safari, iTunes, Mail, iCal etc.) will open pretty much instantly, with one bounce or less on the dock. This is also similar for programs like Pages and Keynote. Even Photoshop CS6, which I would rarely use because it took ages to open, will now open in just over 4 seconds! Thank you so much for the recommendation :) is there anything else I should do asides enabling TRIM? Thanks again!
     
  13. ABigPurpleGoose thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jan 4, 2014
    Location:
    Cumbria, United Kingdom
    #13
    After just under a month of use with the new SSD, I'm pleased to say it has all worked flawlessly. I'm very impressed with the speed, and it was incredibly easy to transfer all the data from the old HDD. I would highly recommend this upgrade for anyone with an older MacBook that wants to keep it alive longer. Mine is coming up 6 years old, and I hope to keep it going another year or two providing nothing goes completely wrong! Thanks again to all those who input on the thread :)
     
  14. l.a.rossmann macrumors 65816

    l.a.rossmann

    Joined:
    May 15, 2009
    Location:
    Brooklyn
    #14
    SSD for sure. You made the right choice.

    You cannot take your RAM to a new machine that uses DDR3.

    You CAN take your SSD to a new machine, so long as it is not a Retina or an Air.

    So, one month from now when your motherboard dies, or the CCFL backlight in that 6 year old screen dies, your upgrade won't die with it.
     
  15. DmbShn41 macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jun 22, 2009
    #15
    OP, have you optimized the SSD? TRIM enabler? I highly recommend using the TRIM application (google trim enabler mac). If you're uncomfortable with using Terminal, pay the $10 for the Pro version of TRIM and enabler the tweaks that turns off sudden motion sensor, Sleep disk(saves space), and Local Time Machine backups.
    If you have no problem using Terminal, these tweaks can be done by code. Search the forums here as there is a great tutorial on this. Good luck.
     

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