Speeding up old MacBook

Discussion in 'Mac Basics and Help' started by Dane95, Mar 12, 2015.

  1. Dane95 macrumors newbie

    Mar 12, 2015
    Hi Macrumors

    I bought an "Early 2011" MacBook Pro in the summer of 2011 - just before I was going to high school.

    One of the reasons why I picked up a MacBook rather than a Dell or some other Windows based PC was that I had heard it wouldn't slow down over time as much as other computers.

    To be honest this machine served me truly well over the first three years. I've hardly had any problems with it what so ever, but for the past 6 months things have changed a bit.

    First of all the battery is starting to complaint by notifying me it wants to be replaced. That seems fair since it reached just over 1200 cycles. But what bothers me even more is that it's really slow and heavy when I use it. As a result of this I installed Yosemite as a clean install, but that didn't seem to help either.

    I'm doing really light usage on this machine limited to web-surfing, emailing, Office and some music listening.

    Is it really time to replace my computer for another one or is there some way I can make it walk a few extra miles? Preferably I would wanna wait till the first of September when I'm heading for college.

    My specs are:
    2,3 GHz Intel Core i5
    4 GB Ram
    Intel HD Graphics 3000

    From my point of view these specs should be able to handle my light usage.


    Bonus: From what I've heard Yosemite should be able to get better results out of poor hardware. My experience has been the opposit. Since installing Yosemite everything has actually been heavier and slower (same when I upgraded from Lion to Mavericks)
  2. Gav2k macrumors G3


    Jul 24, 2009
    Up the ram to 8gb minimum and slap an ssd in their and it'll be like a new machine.

    Also out of curiosity when was the last time you cleaned inside. It could be dusty as hell causing the machine to throttle.
  3. Dane95 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Mar 12, 2015
    Well, no doubt these upgrades would do the trick.

    However, since the battery status of my computer is "Replace soon" I am a bit reluctant in terms of spending that amount of money on hardware upgrades.

    I have never had the bottom case off, so that might be a better way to start - thank you!
  4. Gav2k macrumors G3


    Jul 24, 2009
    A battery swap would be in order. Failure to do so could damage your MacBook and yourself.
  5. BrettApple macrumors 65816


    Apr 3, 2010
    Heart of the midwest
    I don't know how much storage space you need, but you can easily grab a small 128GB SSD for around $60 if you look around. I put one in an Early 2009 MacBook running Yosemite and it's very quick!

    It is less powerful than your MacBook Pro too, running on a 2.0 GHz Core 2 Duo and a 9400m. It's also got 4GB RAM in it. But the SSD makes a bigger difference than RAM does in this case.

    As for the battery, I'd get it replaced, but I'd also open it up and make sure it isn't swollen or anything. If not, then it should be alright. My Late '08 MacBook had the battery swell up after 5 years and I HAD to replace it at that point. It was pushing up against the trackpad and bottom case.
  6. chogue23 macrumors member

    Mar 16, 2015
    Waco, TX, USA
    Also when you reinstall the operating system, don't use the migration assistant to copy everything back. That just copies all the stuff that bogged down the system before back over. Upgrading to 8gb or 16gb of ram would breathe new life for not much money ($50 to $120 respectively) but it could also be that your hard drive is getting full or is starting to fail. Hard drives that are full will have slower read write speeds because the hard drive heads have to move farther to read the data at the edge of the drive compared to the center. Also as they get older they start to get bad bits and they have to be reallocated which slows the drive down. A new 500gb drive will run you $50 and a TB is not much more, and with those two things you should be able to get a few more years out of the macbook. I have a 2012 Macbook Pro which is the same as the 2011 with the addition of USB 3, and with 8gb ram and a new hard drive and a fresh start I can run photoshop and edit videos with no problems at all. An SSD would be faster, but the amount of money still doesnt cover the lower capacity in my books, and I'd rather have a larger internal hard drive instead of a slower external drive

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5 March 12, 2015