Software Upgrade for a Never-Upgraded MBP 2010 13"

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by taylormn, Jun 18, 2016.

  1. taylormn macrumors newbie

    Jun 18, 2016
    I've never intentionally upgraded by MBP 2010 13" out of fear that it would slow down/melt/explode with fancy new software on old hardware. It has been running amazingly well for 6 years now, but I'm now running into the problem that some programs (Spotify, Adobe Illustrator) won't work because my software is no longer supported.

    I'm wondering if I can upgrade to a newer OS without ruining the good machine I have. If it hasn't been made obvious yet, I know very little about the actual functioning of computers, but I will try to include information that I would guess to be relevant to this problem.

    Mac OS X Version 10.6.8 (10K549)
    Processor: 2.4 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo
    Memory: 4 GB 1067 MHz DDR3
    Number Of Processors:1
    Total Number Of Cores:2
    L2 Cache:3 MB
    Bus Speed:1.07 GHz
    Boot ROM Version:MBP71.0039.B0B
    SMC Version (system):1.62f7

    Any help would be very much appreciated, thank you!
  2. satinsilverem2 macrumors 6502a


    Nov 12, 2013
    Richmond, VA
    You certainly can update to a newer OS! The only thing that I would suggest is to install an SSD. OS X versions newer than Mavericks really prefer a SSD to get the most performance.
  3. taylormn thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jun 18, 2016
    So a quick google search tells me that an SSD would replace my current hard drive...?
  4. DavidLynch macrumors 6502a

    Apr 9, 2015
    Yes, it's a very easy upgrade and will make a huge difference.
  5. taylormn thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jun 18, 2016
    Ok, great! Is there a certain model/size that you would recommend?
  6. DavidLynch macrumors 6502a

    Apr 9, 2015
    It depends on what size you need. I'd get at least 240GB but you should know if you need more than that. You don't want the drive pushing completely full with SSDs. SSDs are more expensive than mechanical hard drives but the price has been coming down on the 500GB-1TB drives in the past year or so. In terms of model, I can only speak for the Samsung Evo 850 drives which have worked flawlessly for me. I'd assume just about any 2.5" SSD from a reputable brand would work.
  7. Fishrrman macrumors G5


    Feb 20, 2009
    Like you, I also have a mid-2010 MacBook Pro 13".

    The most significant upgrade you can make is to replace the platter-based hard drive with an SSD.
    This will TRANSFORM the old MacBook, breathe new life into it.

    Just about any SSD will do the job.
    You DON'T NEED a "high-end" Samsung, indeed I would recommend against it. I've seen too many posts in this forum from folks having problems with Samsung drives.

    I'd suggest either a Sandisk Plus or a Crucial SSD.

    You'll also need the right tools:
    - Phillips #00 driver
    - TORX T-6 driver
    Can be found at hardware stores, Lowe's, Home Depot, and online.

    You'll need to check a repair guide to see how the swap goes:

    The swap takes about 15 minutes, ANYONE can do this.

    I also suggest you pick up a USB3 enclosure:

    This can hold the old drive once it's "out".

    - Put the SSD into the enclosure first
    - Initialize with Disk Utility
    - At this point, you can use CarbonCopyCloner to clone the contents of the old (internal) drive to the new SSD
    - Do a "test boot" to make sure it works BEFORE you open the MacBook (reboot, hold down option key until startup manager appears, select SSD with point and hit ok).
    - If you "get a good boot", NOW it's time to do the swap.

    As far as the OS is concerned, I'm still using old 10.6.8 as my "main OS" on my own 2010 MBPro. It boots in FIVE SECONDS from the first appearance of the apple to the finder.

    If you want to "move forward" insofar as OS's are concerned, you might try El Capitan.
    You could do a "test install" of El Cap on the old drive first. YES - it WILL boot and run slower in the external HDD, but at least you'll get an idea if it will work for you BEFORE you "take the leap".

    Alternate course of action:
    Leave the old OS on the HDD -inside- for now.
    Get the USB3 enclosure and SSD, and install a clean copy of El Cap on the SSD and try that "from the external drive" first. Then, if you swap drives, you'll still have a "known good OS" on the HDD for the moment.

    Have I lost you yet?
  8. taylormn thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jun 18, 2016
    Thank you! This has been incredibly helpful!
    --- Post Merged, Jun 18, 2016 ---

    Wow! I have more options than I would have thought, I think I'll try the El Cap test on the old drive first. Then switch to the SDD.

    Thank you so much for your time and the detailed instructions! Extremely helpful!
  9. jerryk macrumors 68040

    Nov 3, 2011
    SF Bay Area
    Definitely upgrade to ssd. I did that with a 2009 Mac mini and maxed the memory 8gb. The difference is night and day. You will love it.

    However I say go with Samsung 850. They are ver reliable. The only drive to avoid is the Corsair bx models. They are not much faster than a rotational drive in some operations.
  10. taylormn thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jun 18, 2016
  11. JTToft macrumors 68040

    Apr 27, 2010
    Aarhus, Denmark
    - I'd really like to know from where your apparent strong aversion to Samsung SSDs stems.

    - That's Crucial BX, not Corsair. :)
  12. MacInTO macrumors 65816


    Apr 25, 2005
    Canada, eh!
    I would avoid any Corsair SSDs. I've just had an experience with one not working in 2008-2010 MBPs. There may be other models that might not work because of a conflict between the chipset on the MBP and the controller on the SSD (speculation).

    I'd go with a Samsung 850 EVO. I don't consider it high end. The 850 PRO is high end though and you probably wouldn't pay the price for this model. I have a 850 PRO and it worked. I'm sure the 850 EVO will also work.
  13. robvas macrumors 68030

    Mar 29, 2009
    Any Sandforce based drive is going to have issues with the Mac chipset - I would go with a Samsung 850 too :)
  14. Fishrrman macrumors G5


    Feb 20, 2009
    JTToft wrote:
    "I'd really like to know from where your apparent strong aversion to Samsung SSDs stems."

    My "aversion" comes from simply reading posts in this forum.

    I see numerous complaints from folks who are having trouble with Samsung drives.
    I see very few complaints from users of Sandisk or Crucial.

    I've had good luck with Intel, Sandisk Plus, and Crucial.

    The OP has a 2010 MacBook (that has a SATA-2 bus).
    This means his overall speed will be limited by the computer's bus -- a high-end drive offers nothing in the way of improved performance.
    A lower-end drive should outlast his MacBook and save $$$$.

    Of course, my opinion only.

    BTW, I -like- Samsung insofar as displays, tvs go, etc.
  15. JTToft macrumors 68040

    Apr 27, 2010
    Aarhus, Denmark
    - Can you point to some examples? Because I sure don't see a lot.

    With Samsung you don't risk compatibility issues with, for instance, the Nvidia MCP79 chipset. You do with SanDisk, Kingston, Corsair, and Toshiba - and probably some others.
    While Crucial is also one of my most preferred brands, they do have the horrendously slow BX200 that doesn't even saturate SATA I in sequential performance.
    Samsung drives are consistently high-performance and compatible.
  16. !!! macrumors 6502

    Aug 5, 2013
    Please note that a 2010 MacBook does not have USB 3. In the future, it may be useful, but the OP will be stuck at transferring files at USB 2 speeds.
  17. jerryk macrumors 68040

    Nov 3, 2011
    SF Bay Area
    Thanks for correcting me.
  18. duervo macrumors 68020


    Feb 5, 2011
    You forgot IOPS. A SATA2 system will still see substantial performance gains from the higher write IOPS capacity of the "high-end" drives. In fact, it's the IOPS metric that results in the majority of performance gains of using an SSD in everyday use, more than the transfer speed. Initial OS install will benefit from transfer speed, but after that, IOPS is going to go much further to determine your day-to-day performance levels for most workloads of an average consumer.

    Of course, it still is workload dependent. If the user does not do a lot of writes in their daily routine, then the lower-end drive should be fine.

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