Replace or Upgrade Late 2008 Unibody Macbook Pro

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by JonnyAlpha, Oct 22, 2012.

  1. JonnyAlpha macrumors regular

    Oct 30, 2008

    Ive had my Macbook Pro for a few years now and want to know what the best options are:

    a. Replace it for a new Macbook Pro?

    b. Upgrade it?

    My specs are:
    2.4 Ghz Intel Core 2 Duo
    2GB 1067 Mhz DDR3
    250GB HDD (Not sure exact size, I have a 150GB main partition and an 80GB Boot Camp partition)
    Its running OSX 10.5.8

    My OS is now a little outdated so is it worth upgrading this Macbook and if so what would be a recommended upgrade and which OSX version could I / should I run?

  2. clyde2801 macrumors 601


    Mar 6, 2008
    In the land of no hills and red dirt.
    ddr3 ram is still fairly cheap. I'd try to spend $45 bucks at best buy and go up to 8 gb of ram. Did so on my wife's identical MBP, and she claims it made a world of difference on hers, at least for basic consumer stuff.
  3. fan09 macrumors newbie

    Mar 11, 2012
    I have a mid-2009 MacBook Pro with a Core 2 duo 2.26 GHz processor. I recently upgraded my RAM to 8GB (from 4GB) and installed a new Crucial M4 128 GB SSD on it. It runs seemlessly with Mountain Lion and I am sure I don't need a new computer for the next year or so at least.

    My recommendation is that you increase the RAM to 8GB ($40) and get a decent sized SSD (pretty cheap these days). As with the OS, since you're on Leopard, you'll first have to upgrade to Snow Leopard if you want to install Mountain Lion on it. I am sure you can get it going for another year or so.

    Or if you can afford a new one, go for it!
  4. NewishMacGuy macrumors 6502a


    Aug 2, 2007
    Upgrades (RAM & Hybrid or SSD) will work in the short term to give you a decent speed boost, but there are other things to consider. The chip upgrade from C2D to i5/i7 has been significant in my experience. You will also get Thunderbolt, USB 3.0, more capable graphics, and an SDXC card slot. It'll really boil down to the math of how important resale is to you. In a year or two the resale value on your 2008 will halve; when combined with the $200-$250 it will take to upgrade the RAM & HD, you're halfway to a new machine and more than halfway to a 2011 MBP.
  5. clyde2801 macrumors 601


    Mar 6, 2008
    In the land of no hills and red dirt.
    The decision to upgrade or buy new is never completely obvious, as there are always factors to consider.

    What we really don't know is what the OP is, and will be, doing on the '08. FCP? Doubt it, since they're still using 2gb of ram.

    BUT....if they're using it to do ordinary consumer tasks, web surf, email, and occasional iPhoto, the RAM and HDD/SSD upgrade should be enough to reasonably extend the usable life of the machine. Sure, ML is probably the last supported OS for it, but it doesn't mean it will be any less usable for basic stuff in the next few years.
  6. 0x000000 macrumors 6502

    Aug 26, 2011
    If you don't do any heavy stuff with it and your overall experience still fits your requirements, go for a RAM upgrade, as it'll bring you the most notable improvements.

    But remember that every 2 years the processing power doubles, so a new model should be approximately 4 times faster than what you have right now. You would most definitely see an improvement, but it's up to you to decide whether you need it and whether you want to pay for it.
  7. Mrbobb macrumors 601

    Aug 27, 2012
    "Outdated" is in your mind if you have no personal requirement to update, however, a "tired of the ole" is a good enuff reason for me.

    Heck, if ur box came with different processors, u may even try to find a used but working mobo but faster cpu, and push that old dog for just a little $, and it would be a fun project.
  8. CASLondon macrumors 6502a

    Apr 18, 2011
    What do you do with it? It kind of matters.

    I have a recent 17" Macbook Pro with a SSD and 16gigs of RAM, i need to keep this machine up-to-date more or less for video/film work

    However, I have a 2009 iMac as the house computer that runs our media server for house - serves music and movies out. Its also a presentation/spreadsheet/surfing/email machine, general office machine. This machine, with an upgrade of a ssd boot drive, max ram, and a 3tb storage disc, is more than up to date enough to be fine for the forseable future.

    Do its 2 cores take a little longer to rip dvd? Sure, a bit. Do we notice? No, not really.

    the real question on upgrades for me, is what resale value can you get at what time to get the best curve of money/utility on these things. I daresay unless you are game obsessed, work with video and graphics, you can make this a very useable machine for a little while longer. You are still on Leopard.

    Start with
    RAM - negligible cost, new OS, same.

    Whatever you decide, you should go to Snow Leopard, then decide about Mountain Lion, as these are the most stable OS versions - each very different from each other

    If your machine was 2009 or newer you might SSD as main drive - about 160 bucks - not as useful as on newer machines due to your SATA 1 connection and the non-sata optibay
  9. JonnyAlpha thread starter macrumors regular

    Oct 30, 2008
    Thanks for all the replies.

    I use my mac for basically, web surfing email, MS Office, iTunes mostly basic stuff I suppose. I used to game a little but don't tend to have the time anyway I have a PC for that.

    I do find my Mac a little slow to respond but that could be the fact that on my main partition 155GB partition I only have 18GB spare (does it matter on a Mac)?

    If I don't decide to replace my Macbook i'll defo increase the RAM and change the OS. The HDD is maxed out so i may fit a larger one?
  10. tcphoto macrumors 6502a


    Feb 23, 2005
    Madison, GA
    I have the same MBP with 8GB of RAM and use it for my photo business. I have no complaints except for how ML killed my battery life. I am considering installing an SSD and moving the hard drive to an enclosure for yet another backup. How fast is fast? It's all relative and what your budget is, so I wouldn't put too much money into it but it's still a solid performer.
  11. JonnyAlpha thread starter macrumors regular

    Oct 30, 2008

    So DDR 3 Memory is pretty cheap at the mo, are Macbook Pros same as PC's in that you should install 2 x chips to make the most of the double data rate or should I install just one chip (2 x 4GB)?
  12. knarzie macrumors regular

    Aug 5, 2008
    I've got the indentical machine, except I bought it when it was just called MacBook before they added the Pro again :(

    i put in a bigger HDD and upgraded to 8GB RAM a year or so ago, because opening itunes and iPhoto always envolved a lot of icon bouncing and waiting. It was a big improvement at the time, but now I will be moving to greener (SSD) pastures I think.
  13. JonnyAlpha thread starter macrumors regular

    Oct 30, 2008
    I have been doing some research on memory upgrades and the Apple Support Page states that the maximum memory for a late 2008 Macbook Pro is 4GB??

    Is this an OSX restriction? If so I'd need to upgrade the OSX as well to make installing any more that 4GB worth while. 4GB would be double what I have now and would probably make quite a difference anyway, but if I am going to upgrade I want to make it worthwile??
  14. mcnallym macrumors 6502a

    Oct 28, 2008
    I have the same late 2008 mbpro as you do, and upgraded it to an 8gb and sad.

    The latest efi update only supports 10.6.8 or 10.7.4 for booting however so make sure you have your system updated before updating the efi.

    However with the later efi updates then quietly added support for 8gb to these mbpro's. They will run no problem with 8gb if the efi is updated.

    I am now happily running the machine with 10.7.5, i simply use for web / email, office etc and not a problem.

    Personally however I use my mini / iPad combination more then the laptop somwon't be replacing the mbpro. Once it breaks then will stick with the mini / iPad combo in future, which suits my personal needs. As such upgrading was the way for me. I did think about an optibay replacement and putting a second drive in but for my needs rejected it. Hower unless you regularly use the optical bay allows the use of the ssd for a boot drive and more storage for docs etc on the hdd.
  15. JonnyAlpha thread starter macrumors regular

    Oct 30, 2008
    I'm running 10.5.8 Leopard so to make use of 8GB I guess I'll need to update to 10.7 (Lion) will I first need to update to 10.6 (Snow Leopard)? What is efi and how do you update efi?

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