Speeding up Wife's Macbook Pro...

JTBing

macrumors regular
Original poster
Aug 6, 2015
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I'm going to try to salvage my wife's late-2011 MP to use as a desktop station. It's been severely slow for a long time, partly because she never updates it. I hope to replace the HDD and increase the RAM, but my first question deals with OS:

What is the most recent OS that will make her 2011 run smoothly? What will be the best bet? I could update it all the way to macOS, but didn't know if that would be a bad idea.
 

Fishrrman

macrumors P6
Feb 20, 2009
17,194
5,543
Priority #1: Put an SSD into it. 250 or 500gb is "enough".
Then, add RAM (but just a single DIMM may be enough, not worth spending more).

Is it a 15" or a 17"?
These are prone to "RadeonGate", so again, not worth spending lots of money on it.
(13" 2011 MacBooks ARE NOT susceptible to RadeonGate).
 

EugW

macrumors 604
Jun 18, 2017
7,309
4,691
SSD + 8 GB RAM works well with High Sierra.

See my laptop specs below. All three are on High Sierra.
 

PBG4 Dude

macrumors 68030
Jul 6, 2007
2,644
1,809
Thirded for putting in an SSD. It makes a world of difference.
It's like getting a new machine. Threw one into my late 2008 MBP and boot time for El Capitan was cut in half, for example. This was a $65 SanDisk special from Best Buy as well, Samsung's latest SSD's will smoke most others, if you have SATA III. Mine was limited to SATA II so no reason to go crazy when I wouldn't see the improvement due to buss limitations.
 

JTBing

macrumors regular
Original poster
Aug 6, 2015
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252
Is there a reason why I shouldn't upgrade to 16 gb RAM? It appears to support that capacity.
 

jerryk

macrumors 601
Nov 3, 2011
4,853
2,400
SF Bay Area
Is there a reason why I shouldn't upgrade to 16 gb RAM? It appears to support that capacity.
Nope. If you want to spend for that do it. But make the SSD a higher priority. It will make the system will run faster regardless of the amount of memory or workload. And get a SSD that supports SATA-3 because the 2011 MBP has SATA-3 drive interface.

By way of comparision, the rotational drive does about 45-60 MB/sec. Sata 2 does about 180 MB/sec. Sata 3, 450-500 MB/sec.

The 16GB will only have a major effect if you are doing work that requires a lot of memory. Like running VMs, lots of video work, big scale development,etc. You can check run the Activity Monitor and see if the memory pressure is in the Yellow or Red indicating a severe lack of memory.
 

ZapNZs

macrumors 68020
Jan 23, 2017
2,310
1,150
I agree with other Members - with a SSD, any version of OS X will run well on the machine / without a SSD, anything since Mountain Lion is going to run poorly. The 16 GB won't hurt, but it may be an unnecessary expense depending how the machine is used (8GB is plenty for most standard usage.)
 
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