Should I upgrade my 2008 unibody or buy a new one?

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by Bangnasty, Jan 5, 2016.

  1. Bangnasty macrumors newbie

    Bangnasty

    Joined:
    Sep 27, 2015
    Location:
    SoCal
    #1
    I still have my first apple computer, 2008 MacBook 13" aluminum unibody purchased late 2008.
    2.4 core 2 duo, with only the original 2gb of ram, and original 250 gb hard drive.
    Current software is 10.6.8 snow leopard, because I never felt like the computer needed much more. (also didn't want to upgrade ram to run the next iteration if it wasn't necessary) Currently this is my only personal home computer.

    A little about my most common personal computer uses-

    -torrent downloading via transmission, and watching movies displayed on my tv via the displayport.
    -video streaming. (always displayed on external large monitor/tv)
    -Backing up pics taken from my phone. Sharing with family.
    -most web browsing is done on my ipad 4th gen or iphone 6s, so I don't browse the web much on it besides the website I get torrents from. it does see use when other devise are tied up.
    -I want to use iTunes so I can put my music library on my phone(so I don't have to stream from cloud and use bunches of data), but the mac and phone don't talk to each other due to current iTunes incompatibility between the 2 devices.
    -I do not edit video or make movies. Light photo editing maybe.
    -I practically never take it anywhere. If I do travel with an actual computer its my work PC.

    Its been running fine for the past 7 years with no issues or noticeable sluggishness, but all of a sudden in the last week, practically everything I do just beach balls seemingly forever. mainly happening in safari. I'm thinking because of the suddenness of the sluggishness, could it possibly be a contracted virus/malware/adware?

    anyways, here is what im considering.

    1. buy a new MacBook, or MacBook pro 13". Which one do you recommend for my uses? my wife has an education job, so I can take advantage of that discount. I like the new MacBook, but core m, and 1 single I/o port is kind of a turn off. I'm also looking for used ones that we're released in early 2015 so I can experience all the new goodies. Or possibly go back as far as 2014 but give up force touch.

    2. upgrade ram to 8gb, and update to El Capitan(after time machine back up), maybe upgrade to SSD(is this even possible for my model?) Any additional tips or advice? especially from anyone that has this same model. Also would these few upgrades still give me an enjoyable experience for a couple years, or is it just a bandaid fix? I don't want it to be like my 4th gen ipad, where I just blindly updated and now its laggy as hell.

    Sorry for the super long post, and thanks in advance for any comments and support :)
     
  2. Hughmac macrumors demi-god

    Hughmac

    Joined:
    Feb 4, 2012
    Location:
    Kent, UK
    #2
    Well, if it helps, I recently bought a 2nd hand unibody Macbook (500gb HDD / 8gb RAM) to replace a 2014 Macbook Air, restored my Carbon Copy Cloner drive from the Air to it, and away we went.
    It was quite sluggish so I replaced the hard drive with a 256gb SSD, cloned the system onto it, and it was truly transformed into nearly as speedy machine as the Air.

    Food for thought if money is tight?

    Cheers :)

    Hugh
     
  3. Joelburman macrumors regular

    Joelburman

    Joined:
    Oct 31, 2014
    Location:
    Stockholm
    #3
    SSD does wonders and if you upgrade ram from minimal specs that will help too. Just decide on what SSD and how much ram you need and do the upgrade.
     
  4. Closingracer macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Jul 13, 2010
    #4
    If you plan to upgrade I would go for the Macbook Pro unless you know USB c is good enough for you. That or you are fine paying for all the adapters.
     
  5. east85 macrumors 65816

    east85

    Joined:
    Jun 24, 2010
    #5
    Given what you do on your MacBook I would buy a SSD for your MacBook and upgrade your RAM to 8GB. I am thinking of upgrading from the same model with these modifications but only because I am getting into video editing more and I think the boost in processing speed would be helpful (less time consuming). I have 0 issues editing photos from my DSLR on this machine.

    But what I can tell you is this machine still runs like new on the latest El Capitan with 8GB of RAM and a SSD. I would not attempt updating to a newer version of OS X without at least upgrading the RAM though. I even pulled out the optical drive and installed a product called Optibay, giving myself a second smaller SSD for Time Machine.

    If you haven't already, have your fan cleaned or clean it yourself, this will help a lot with real world usage. iFixit is an amazing guide if you are a DIY type. This model is extremely easy to work on. For reference I've replaced the clutch cover, the rubber feet, the internal hard drive (with SSD), upgraded ram, and the optibay thing, along with cleaning my fan every six months. Prior to working on this MacBook I had very little experience repairing or upgrading computers.
     
  6. Bangnasty thread starter macrumors newbie

    Bangnasty

    Joined:
    Sep 27, 2015
    Location:
    SoCal
    #6
    thank you guys for all the suggestions. I've never opened the laptop or tried to clean the inside. I haven't heard the fan turn on since the sluggishness started now that you mention it. Could that be causing my current lag? I'm a little scared to see whats inside now.. I've never repaired or opened a computer lol.

    going to be an adventure tonight. can I just used compressed air/air in a can or vacuum it? or is that too much for delicate instruments inside?

    I'll start pricing out ram and SSD's and weigh out the cost. Any recommendations for this model?

    thanks again for all the help, much appreciated.
     
  7. east85 macrumors 65816

    east85

    Joined:
    Jun 24, 2010
    #7
    Make sure you wear shoes to prevent any static shock to the computer from your body. This is a good guide on how to get to the fan enclosure to clean it. Make sure to hold the fan rotor (center of the fan) when you blow it out with compressed air so it doesn't just spin erratically. The fan blows out against a plastic piece so that often has a layer of dust on it that can be removed if it's been a while.

    What I do for any repair is get small ziplock bags, pill bottles or whatever you have laying around and label each step number and put the parts I've pulled off (screws, etc) into them so when I go to put it back together there's no chance of missing a piece or putting in the wrong screw. You can see iFixit has everything listed in steps, so you can go back and reference those.

    OWC provides an instructional video on upgrading the RAM, albeit a bit cheesy. iFixit also has a guide to changing out ram here. The model supports any 1066 MHz PC3-8500 DDR3 SDRAM. I personally use Crucial RAM, though other RAM suppliers are equally reliable. In order to achieve 8GB you will need two 4GB modules, as there are 2 available RAM slots in the machine.

    For SSD you should be able to use any SATA compatible 2.5" drive. Because this MacBook has a SATA 1 (not later) interface you will be limited to 3 Gigabit link speeds. When you shop around for an SSD 3 Gigabit is enough, unless you plan to move the SSD into a newer computer in the future. This will save you money if you don't want to go for a newer connection that supports later SATA revisions. For my main drive I use a Crucial M4, but there may be better options for SSD so others can chime in. It's been a few years since I've upgraded so my drive is probably not going to be the best option on the market now.

    iFixit also has a nice guide for this model on replacing the HDD here. If you plan on staying with an older version of OS X look into third party solutions to enable trim like TrimEnabler. If you upgrade to a newer OS X (El Capitan) you can execute a simple command in Terminal get Trim going. This keeps your SSD in good working condition and prevents slowdowns.

    Looking at the guides as a whole can seem overwhelming at first, but each step is dead simple for any of these repairs/modifications honestly.
     
  8. siddharth3.14159265 macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jan 5, 2016
    #8
    an sad will really help you a lot but to be honest this machines is pretty dated. aim pretty sure it will not support the next version of mac os x. even the data is limited to 300 mb/s so there is a huge bottleneck there.
    just pawn it off or pass it on to someone who is not that tech savvy after adding some more ram and an ssd.
     
  9. MadDane macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Apr 5, 2015
    #9
    This, to me, sounds like one of two things. Either you have some sort of Malware which you can scan for with for example Malwarebytes. The other option is that the hard drive is failing and it needs replacing. I personally think it is the latter but give Malwarebytes a go and see if it helps.
     
  10. Bangnasty thread starter macrumors newbie

    Bangnasty

    Joined:
    Sep 27, 2015
    Location:
    SoCal
    #10
    After cleaning the fan like @east85 suggested(quite easy!), then restting pram and smc, I still had the same lagginess. But I narrowed it down to safari. Any time I use safari, it starts beach balling there, and affects everything else. After restarting, it seems like safari is always trying to launch on its own. if I boot up, then force quit safari, everything seems normal when using chrome and firefox. I also ran avast to find any thing bad, but the scan came up clean. i'll try malwarebytes tonight see if that finds anything.

    based on narrowing down to safari affecting everything, is it still a possibility its the hard drive? and what the heck is going on with safari?? I mean, its not a huge deal.. since there are other browsers, but still bothersome since everything was fine less than a week ago.

    I'm starting to look for a used mid 14' or early 15' rMBp now. Is it worth waiting to see the next iteration possibly with skylake cpu? im curious to see if anything changes on the rmb as well, would love a gold one.

    thanks again for the help and responses, very helpful forum for a noob like me.
     
  11. Closingracer macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Jul 13, 2010
  12. east85 macrumors 65816

    east85

    Joined:
    Jun 24, 2010
    #12
    I would advocate waiting for a USB-C port with Thunderbolt 3 on the next gen rMBP. Did you try clicking the Safari dropdown in the menu (while Safari is up and running) and selecting reset Safari? Sounds like your mechanical drive might be struggling still, yeah.
     
  13. Fishrrman macrumors G3

    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2009
    #13
    Even though the old MacBook is still running ok, there comes a time when it may not be worth upgrading any longer -- when the $$$ would be better put towards a new one.

    From the list of tasks you posted, I believe you'd do fine with the base model retina MacBook Pro.
    8gb of RAM should do you fine.
    You would have to decide between the 128gb or the 256gb SSD.
    You will certainly enjoy the increased speeds of both the CPU and the built-in SSD.

    Be aware that you can save some $$$ by buying an Apple-refurbished model, which will still have the full 1-year warranty.

    Then again, you might be able to save even more by taking your wife's educational discount!
     
  14. east85 macrumors 65816

    east85

    Joined:
    Jun 24, 2010
    #14
    Yeah the difference between upgrading this is maybe $175-$200 vs $1000 roughly. Both would meet the basic needs outlined, so I guess it comes down to personal preference and financial flexibility.
     
  15. Bangnasty thread starter macrumors newbie

    Bangnasty

    Joined:
    Sep 27, 2015
    Location:
    SoCal
    #15
    Do you guys know if the edu discount applies to refurb stuff too?

    I think I'll just limp along until the next announcement, that way 2015s come down in price a bit more. I can probably swing a new one, my wife already told me to, but if I could get back the same experience I had 2 weeks ago, I wouldn't even bother buying a new one.
     
  16. antz359 macrumors newbie

    antz359

    Joined:
    Dec 7, 2014
    Location:
    New Zealand
    #16

    Hi I have an early MBP 2008, i bought it 2nd hand I found the HDD too slow as I use a SSD in my MM. So I upgraded it to a 128Gb SSD Sandisk, it flys. I also put in 4Gb RAM from OWC just to help things along. I have a 500Gb HDD in a caddy in the optical drive for backup etc this keeps the SSD fairly clear. You'll be pleasantly surprised with the improvement that an upgrade will give the MBP. I also have put a Linux Mint OS dual booting just to see what that is like.
     
  17. Bangnasty thread starter macrumors newbie

    Bangnasty

    Joined:
    Sep 27, 2015
    Location:
    SoCal
    #17
    Are you using El Capitan?
     
  18. Closingracer macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Jul 13, 2010
    #18

    No but bestbuy has them on sale and you can get a coupon for $50 off as well. Go to the deals link and click on student center
     
  19. Closingracer macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Jul 13, 2010
    #19

    I actually love magsafe 2 so I would love to not have a USB c port
     
  20. east85 macrumors 65816

    east85

    Joined:
    Jun 24, 2010
    #20
    Yeah I dig my MagSafe. If I ever get a USB-C based laptop I'll be using one of these:

    http://www.znaps.net

    There's always the possibility that USB-C will be introduced on the Pro but not as a charging port (seems to be happening on a few laptops at CES this year).
     
  21. Closingracer macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Jul 13, 2010
    #21

    I don't think Apple would add the USB C and not let it be the charging port considering they are trying to push it for the Macbook. Would just mix the message up imo.
    --- Post Merged, Jan 6, 2016 ---

    Your going to save more buying refurbished i believe :)
     
  22. antz359 macrumors newbie

    antz359

    Joined:
    Dec 7, 2014
    Location:
    New Zealand
    #22
    Yes, not a problem
     
  23. Bangnasty thread starter macrumors newbie

    Bangnasty

    Joined:
    Sep 27, 2015
    Location:
    SoCal
    #23
    @east85 I reset safari like you suggested, and it literally fixed everything. It runs as fast and smooth as it always has :)
    thank you so much!

    I checked out best buy, they have a hot deal on ipad mini 4 right now for 299, might get one to replace my slow ass 4th gen regular size.

    Since mac running so smooth now, I think i'll just stick with snow leopard and the oem specs, for a few more months. In the mean time i'll look for cheap ram and ssd to upgrade and sell it to my fried for cheap, then get my next mac that should hopefully last me as long as this one has. I noticed my battery is super swollen and isnt holding a charge too well, better replace that too.

    If the new MacBook revision comes with an additional port ill get that in gold for sure. If not i'll just get the base mbp, hopefully with something new and exciting over 2015.

    again, thank you guys all so much for your help and suggestions.
     
  24. jlc1978 macrumors 68000

    jlc1978

    Joined:
    Aug 14, 2009
    #24
    No
     
  25. taelan28 macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jan 15, 2014
    #25
    The damn thing is 8 years old. Get new one when the skylake MBPs come out.
     

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