Should I upgrade a mid 2012 MacBook Pro ?

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by Bis-XII, Jul 22, 2017.

  1. Bis-XII macrumors newbie

    Jul 22, 2017
    Hi, my girlfriend has an old 13" Mid 2012 mac book pro. It is getting slower as time passes and its life expectancy is at its lowest. But she can't afford a new Apple product..

    I am going to clean its fan, and we are thinking about upgrading it (Ram and/or SSD).
    But is it really interesting to pay 38€ for the ram and/or 90€ for the SSD ? If we upgrade it, the old CPU and the used components will still be as old as before.. Aren't they going to act like a bottleneck rendering the upgrade a little bit useless ?

    Thanks for your time and attention !
  2. ixxx69 macrumors 65816

    Jul 31, 2009
    United States
    What's her usage (what does she mostly use the computer for and most used apps)?

    How much RAM does it currently have?

    SSD is transformative. It will feel like she's getting a new computer.

    The CPU is not likely a bottleneck unless she's really a heavy user or very sensitive to performance (which isn't likely if she's made it this long using a computer with a HDD).

    The only thing you have to look out for is that any older computer is more likely to start developing issues over time, so at already 5 years old, only put into it what you can afford to lose.
  3. Audit13 macrumors 68040


    Apr 19, 2017
    Toronto, Ontario, Canada
    What programs are being run on the Macbook that there cpu had difficulty handling?

    If the machine will be used for office apps, surfing, email, it should be more than sufficient with 8 gb of ram and an ssd.
  4. escavarseason macrumors newbie

    Feb 3, 2017
    I upgraded my mid 2012 MacBook Pro ram from 4 gb to 8 gb and my HD to a Samsung 500 GB SSD. It feels like a new computer and I can see myself using this for another three or four years.
  5. duervo macrumors 68020


    Feb 5, 2011
    Get the SSD and RAM. You can put 16GB RAM in it (2 x 8GB).

    I had a 13" MBP in November, 2012. I upgraded it to 16GB and an SSD the day I brought it home. I returned it a week later, and got a 15" instead, as the VMs I were running at the time cried for a couple more CPU cores. So, unless your girlfriend has changed the workload on the system since it was new, where it would benefit from twice as many threads, then I doubt that you'll find that the CPU is a noticeable bottleneck.

    The things that could be an issue are the older Bluetooth and WiFi controller in it. At any rate, no 802.11ac or TB3/USB C are the biggest differences (notwithstanding a lack of Retina display.) In which case, if you assign a high value to them, then it might be worth upgrading to a newer model. Personally, I'm still fine with my mid-2012 16".
  6. ZapNZs macrumors 68020


    Jan 23, 2017
    The mid-2012 13-inch has proven itself to be one of the more reliable laptops made (minus the SATA cable, which is an easy/cheap fix.) On most Windows laptops, 5 years would be near-ancient. With this particular Mac, it's not ancient at all. As Apple sold this model up until a few months ago, it will likely have OS X support for many more years. It has life left in it, and chances are the slow speed is due mainly to the RAM and hard drive (+ possibly a dying SATA cable.)

    Unless the way your girlfriend uses the system is extremely CPU-heavy or graphics intensive, once you put more RAM in this system and upgrade the SSD, it is going to more or less perform almost as well as a brand new MacBook Pro with most standard-use software.

    If money is an issue, a SSD upgrade is going to be the most cost effective single upgrade, followed by increasing the RAM to 8 GB (or 16). You may want to replace the SATA cable when doing to the upgrade.
  7. Gjwilly macrumors 68030

    May 1, 2011
    SF Bay Area
    Replace the SSD only and see if it makes the improvement you need.
    Switching from HD to SSD is where you'll see the biggest performance jump so if you're still unhappy after that then the extra RAM would just be a waste.
    Only after you're happy with the SSD should you consider the extra RAM.
  8. daddadc macrumors newbie

    Jul 23, 2017
    Yes definitely upgrade. I have a 2011 MBP. I upgraded the Ram to 16GB, primary drive to SSD, bought a HDD Caddy and replaced my Superdrive with the original (normal) HDD, and now my MBP just flies. My startup time used to be 3-5 minutes, now it takes 20 seconds.

    You don't have to buy a large SSD, probably max 256GB, since it should be used to have the macOS and other programs installed there, and all your other regular data files can be stored in the 2nd HDD drive.

    For the upgrades, the only think I bought new was the HDD Caddy which cost $5. For the RAM and SSD, I bought used, and they still work like a charm.
  9. noteple macrumors 65816


    Aug 30, 2011
    Going from a Hard disk to an SSD will make the machine feel faster in loading.
    The OS is starved on 4 GB of ram so going to 8 GB or 16 apps will feel faster.

    The tell is "It is getting slower as time passes"
    Compared to what ?

    You will never be able to upgrade a 5 year old machine To whatever you are comparing it to.
  10. entropi macrumors 6502

    May 20, 2008
    Yep, upgrade to SSD and more RAM. Since theres no dGPU that will start to freak out there is a real chance it can survive a long time!
  11. Fishrrman macrumors G5


    Feb 20, 2009
    Put an SSD into it, and perhaps some more RAM, too.
    These are cheap and EASY fixes.

    It will literally feel like a NEW machine.

    You (and she) won't understand this until you've done it and can actually experience the difference.
  12. Adamantoise macrumors 6502a

    Aug 1, 2011
    I did the same to my machine about 3 years ago. If I'm being honest with myself, I don't need a new computer, but I do want a 2017 one.
  13. jerryk macrumors 68040

    Nov 3, 2011
    SF Bay Area
    Without getting a new system, the SSD is your best bet. The swap will make the system much faster than when it was new.
  14. Patcell macrumors 6502

    Aug 8, 2016
    Bergen County, NJ
    As many others have said... do the SSD. It will be a massive uplift in performance. I replaced the spinning drive in my wife's 2011 iMac last year and the thing is like brand new. Well worth the price of the drive.

    RAM may be helpful, but less so depending on her uses.
  15. Rhinoevans macrumors 6502

    Oct 5, 2012
    Las Vegas, NV
  16. BigRed1 macrumors 6502

    Dec 13, 2011
    The battery may be a problem. If the trackpad is coming up at all, the old one is swelling and needs to be replaced. It's a great machine, though. It's definitely worth keeping it going and upgrading the parts.
  17. HippyRabbitFish macrumors member


    Mar 22, 2013
    Huntsville, AL
    Having just purchased a mid-2012 13" MBP (2.5 i5), it "felt" like a five-year old computer in starting up and in opening applications. I swapped a new SSD for the 5400RPM spinning HDD and it seemed to transport the same computer to the future. Boot time in about 12 seconds, applications open nearly instantaneously.

    I also replaced the 2x2GB sticks of RAM with 2x8GB sticks to max out the unit at 16GB, but I know from reading here that the biggest performance gains for most users with older MBPs is from the changeover from a traditional, mechanically spinning hard disk drive to an electronic solid-state drive.

  18. amanmann macrumors newbie

    Jul 24, 2017
    I'm in the same situation and would like to upgrade my HDD to SSD. Could anyone chime in on what's the cheapest way to purchase and get it installed? How much does it cost ? Does Apple Store do it ?
  19. Ace2617 macrumors regular


    Mar 16, 2016
    If it's a mid-2012 or earlier (non-Retina), you'll need a 2.5 inch SSD. Samsung is a good brand, and the brand I went with when I upgraded a mid-2012 MBP, but there are other brands. I went on eBay, but Amazon will have plenty as well. The price will depend on the storage space. I replaced the drive myself (went from the standard 500 GB HDD to a 500 GB SSD). Ifixit has a great guide, which I'll link here. That guide includes not only the steps in the process, but it tells you which screw drivers are needed, etc. Before I considered doing the upgrade myself, I went in and asked my local Apple store. They said they wouldn't do it, even for a fee.
  20. HippyRabbitFish macrumors member


    Mar 22, 2013
    Huntsville, AL
    I changed the drives myself, and it was even easier than I expected. I purchased a bundle (included an enclosure for the existing drive) from OWC/MacSales. The bundle included the tools needed to replace the drive myself.

    I used the iFixit guide linked above as well as the following YouTube video:

    How to Upgrade the Hard Drive or SSD in a 13-inch MacBook Pro (Mid 2012-present)

    It took about 20 minutes because I was being deliberate and focused, but I am confident I could do it again in about half the time.
  21. BigRed1 macrumors 6502

    Dec 13, 2011
    Swapping out the hard drive in these machines is about as easy as it gets. Ok, maybe it was easier on my blue and white tower, but this is pretty close. If you get it from macsales you can get the bundle with everything that you'll need, though it won't be the absolute cheapest.

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