Thinking about jazzing up my late 2008 MacBook 5,1 Al unibody

Discussion in 'MacBook' started by DisplacedMic, Jun 10, 2013.

  1. DisplacedMic macrumors 65816

    May 1, 2009
    Hi guys, I am considering putting a SSD and more ram in my unibody 2008 Macbook 2.4ghz 4g RAM

    So, I am well behind the curve here but it looks like you can upgrade this machine to 8gigs ram so I think I am going to do that first of all.
    I'm running ML and it looks like my EFI is upgraded.

    For $80 I can get two sticks of these which seems like a no-brainer.

    And then I was going to get one of those OWC Data Doublers and putting the old drive in it and in place of the old HD drive bay putting a 128G Samsung Electronics 840 Pro Series 2.5-Inch 128 SATA_6_0_gb Solid State Drive MZ-7PD128BW in there.

    I would do this because I have read that the macbooks sometimes don't like booting from one of those optical drive disks and that the max speed would be 3gb sec not 6. So why not put the SSD in the regular drive bay, boot from it and then put the old HD in the data doubler for storage.

    Total cost = $250.
    Not bad, no?

    I don't really want to break the bank on this, especially since i am planning on getting a new MBA at the end of the summer but it would be nice to get a few more years out of my Macbook.

    What do you guys think?
  2. DisplacedMic thread starter macrumors 65816

    May 1, 2009
  3. altuixde macrumors member

    Dec 16, 2011
    I have the same MacBook. How does the extra 4 gigs of RAM affect performance?

    Edit: Well, I guess that since you upgraded your storage at the same time, it might be difficult to tell what any performance improvements were due to. :eek:
  4. DisplacedMic thread starter macrumors 65816

    May 1, 2009
    haha - i'll let you know.
    i'm a scientist, maybe i'll try them both out separately and geek out a bit with it:D
  5. altuixde macrumors member

    Dec 16, 2011
  6. DisplacedMic, Jun 15, 2013
    Last edited: Jun 15, 2013

    DisplacedMic thread starter macrumors 65816

    May 1, 2009
    it's awesome! i am having some issues getting my laptop to sleep when i close the lid, but i am working on sorting that issue out and i don't anticipate a big problem. it might be a ML bug as opposed to the changes i made.

    I can tell you that the SSD made a much bigger difference than the RAM chips, but i did play around with just the RAM upgrade and I noticed everything ran a little smoother. part of the problem is that mac mail is a bit of a memory hog. i have two accounts in there, both with 10 years of emails so it really sucks up a tonne of ram for whatever reason. probably something i've got set up wrong, but freeing up ram on the back end helped resolve that.

    but the SSD... it's so awesome. the first time you play with one you'll spend a good chunk of time just closing and opening programs. mail, for example, opens instantly. no more of that dock bouncing up and down crap while you wait forever for your program to open. the bootup time went from 70 seconds to 25. this is a 5 year old laptop and it runs better than ever.

    for $250 shipped it's like a brand new computer. i'm very happy I did this.
    i was a bit wary of whether or not it was a good investment - i mean i doubt i could get 250 for the laptop if i sold it, why put that much into fixing it up? i wouldn't do that with a car, for example - but it really breathed new life into my machine! and if it does die on me, i can do whatever i want with that SSD and at worst i'm out $80 if i can't find a use for the ram.

    if you are toying with doing this i would say go for it :)
  7. altuixde macrumors member

    Dec 16, 2011
    Thanks for documenting your experience! I actually installed an SSD into my MacBook back in January 2012 (I guess I should've mentioned that earlier; oops), but I still have only 4 gigs of RAM. Was installing the RAM difficult?
  8. DisplacedMic thread starter macrumors 65816

    May 1, 2009
    my pleasure - and no problem. no, if you can install a hard drive you can install a ram chip. if you have a removable battery you just take the rest of the bottom off, remove the divider in the middle and then you can pop the ram chips out - there are squeeze tabs, take the top one out and then the bottom reverse it all and you're done. there are a million videos and how-tos online. super easy :)
  9. mantarey20 macrumors newbie

    Jun 19, 2013
    I have been pondering about buying exactly the same upgrades. Just worried about some people having problems with 2008 MBP and SSD's. Is your setup still working good or have you had any problems yet?

    What do you think? I have everything in the amazon cart its just a matter of checking out. :D
  10. altuixde macrumors member

    Dec 16, 2011
    Sometimes when I access my SSD, I hear a glitch in my music (if I'm playing music). That could be my fault, though; I think I damaged my sound card because I was pumping too much bass out through my headphones.

    Also, you have a MacBook Pro; I have a late 2008 aluminum MacBook (not pro). So my issue may not appear in your machine.

    Also also, I have an Intel 320 series SSD, which may not be the same kind of SSD you've got in your shopping cart.

    Edit: Finally, welcome to the forums!
  11. DisplacedMic thread starter macrumors 65816

    May 1, 2009
    I am very happy with it. Sitting in the sun eating frozen yogurt with it in Montreal right now as a matter of fact.

    The only minor issue I've had is that I am having a hard time getting the machine to reliably stay asleep when I close the lid. But that could be unrelated to the ssd.

    Ultimately though it was money well spent. It's like I got a brand new machine for 250
  12. L19L91L macrumors newbie

    Aug 11, 2007

    I just picked up one of these macbooks on ebay, it hasn't arrived yet. It was in fairly good condition but I wanted to give it a boost too. I picked out some different RAM but the Samsung was the SSD I picked out online. Glad to hear it works well. Are you using Mountain Lion by chance? Does that affect performance? This is my first experience with a mac. I want to make it run as smooth as possible :)
  13. DisplacedMic thread starter macrumors 65816

    May 1, 2009
    yep - i went ahead and upgraded to mountain lion. I have had some complaints with ML and some of the choices they made that kind of drive me crazy but most of that is because I was used to the Snow Leopard gestures so I don't think you'll have a big problem. Despite my misgivings there are some other features that I really like and I think I'll stay with ML and then upgrade to mav in the fall. All in all I think you'll be happy.

    If i were you i would wait until the laptop arrives and you've had time to get used to it. If for no other reason that you may decide it's not worth putting another 2-300 into a computer that you don't think will last. I've been the only owner of my laptop so I have no reason to believe it won't last a few more years :)

    feel free to post back or PM me if you have questions/comments when you go to install. have fun with your new computer!

    Edit- oops it looks like you've already ordered the RAM and SSD. my bad, i'm sure it'll work great for you:)

    Like with most things I buy online i just go to amazon, go to the relevant department subtopic and arrange by highest rated- that's how i found both the RAM and the drive. Happy with both.
  14. L19L91L macrumors newbie

    Aug 11, 2007
    Sweet thanks for the advice! I already ordered the RAM but not the SSD! I felt the same way you did ha ha but I knew it could always use the RAM and the RAM is fairly cheap. I need to study/get used to the OS for work so I'm going to have to make it work out regardless. I am definitely waiting to buy the SSD since it's more expensive. I too use Amazon but I'm waiting for my rewards to kick in before I make another purchase.

    Thanks for the help.
  15. DisplacedMic thread starter macrumors 65816

    May 1, 2009
    Funny, i was forced to switch to mac for work as well. While I was waiting for it to arrive i go myself XP, vmware and a bunch of other XP-related software suites that i thought i'd use...i think i'd had the thing 6 months before i ran into a windows-only requirement. it really is very intuitive. There's nothing you won't be able to do right off the bat, it's just a matter of getting used to the little things.

    For me the trackpad+gestures alone is worth the price of admission so although my first mac was free, i've purchased macs almost exclusively since :D

    I will say regarding the price/benefit while i think the $80 for the RAM is a no-brainer, i think you'll see a bigger improvement with the SSD. In fact I know that's the case.
  16. L19L91L macrumors newbie

    Aug 11, 2007

    I got it today and everything was going smoothly. Looked to be in good shape. I put my RAM inside and rebooted and there was no problem but then I remembered there was a problem with the audio so I decided to check that out. I started poking my headphones in and outta the headphone jack to see if that helped at all like it said on some forums but I still didn't have sound. So I opened the sucker up, poked around a bit and was going to remove the board but it looked like the last owner really stripped a screw in there and it wasn't budging so I put all the screws and cables back in place and sealed it up.. only now it isn't turning on.

    I'm new to macs but I believe I put everything back in the right place... is there something I could perhaps be forgetting that would cause it to not power on? Man I feel like an idiot right now ha ha ha. If there is anything I could try I would greatly appreciate it! All suggestions welcome.
  17. altuixde macrumors member

    Dec 16, 2011
    So nothing happens at all when you press the power button? I can't remember this ever happening to me with my MacBook. There was one time, though, when I had turned the brightness all the way down and I thought it wouldn't turn on, when it actually was already running.
  18. L19L91L macrumors newbie

    Aug 11, 2007
    Nah it's not like that.. there is just nothing going on inside. I can still see the little battery meter on the side and it looks like it is taking a charge so it's not completely gone I guess. It doesn't make a sound or respond at all to the power button though. It makes me kinda sad.
  19. altuixde, Jul 1, 2013
    Last edited: Jul 1, 2013

    altuixde macrumors member

    Dec 16, 2011
  20. L19L91L macrumors newbie

    Aug 11, 2007

    I'll try that again along with giving the cables a closer look one more time. Maybe they are just loose.
  21. DisplacedMic thread starter macrumors 65816

    May 1, 2009
    definitely. some of those cables can pop out pretty easily. take a trip over to ifixit and look up something like replacing the logic board to give you a nice global picture of what needs to come off and, more importantly, go back on.

    if you can't sort it out, i would take it into the store and see if they can help.
  22. L19L91L macrumors newbie

    Aug 11, 2007
    Yeah thanks for the tips guys, I'm looking over the cables right now. I made an appointment at a store downtown for them to take a look this afternoon. We'll see what the problem was soon enough.
  23. DisplacedMic thread starter macrumors 65816

    May 1, 2009
    good luck!
  24. InfinitiG macrumors 6502

    Jun 22, 2010
    I have the same macbook, can you post your ssd speeds read/write using blackmagic.

    I upgraded my hard drive as well but to a 7200RPM not a ssd. Would like to compare speeds with your ssd.
  25. vincenz macrumors 601


    Oct 20, 2008
    I did the same with my late 2008 MacBook. Upgraded to 8 GB RAM and a 160 GB Intel SSD about a year and a half ago. Never looked back. This thing runs faster than brand new Macs with regular HDD's. Couldn't be happier with the upgrade. I think I'm set for another 5 years with this machine. My first Mac ever, talk about bang for buck!

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