Upgrading 2009 MacBook - Advice?

Discussion in 'MacBook' started by ZircoBen, Jul 14, 2015.

  1. ZircoBen macrumors member

    ZircoBen

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    Utah, USA
    #1
    Hello everyone!

    I have a late 2009 MacBook with the 2.26 Core 2 Duo and 4GB of RAM that i'm looking to upgrade. I guess my questions are:

    1) Is having more than 4GB RAM useful?

    2) Is an SSD really worth the time and money?

    3) Is having mixed RAM okay?
    (I.E. 2GB original stick and 4GB Crucial, same PC3-8500 spec)

    Thank you! I hope some of you have experience in this.
     
  2. mcnallym macrumors 6502a

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    #2
    Just realised said macbook, thought I was in the macbook pro sectio for some reason.
     
  3. ZircoBen thread starter macrumors member

    ZircoBen

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    #3
    I actually just barely bought it (still in the mail :D ), I'm going to be going to school and don't want a very expensive laptop. I originally planned on a Retina MBP but then reality struck me in the face and my money needs to be saved. So, I'm using the old machine on purpose and upgrading it a bit so it's more usable.

    Do you feel like the 8GB is a must or should I spend that money on an SSD? I probably have about $60 I can use on it, and that could cover one or the other.

    Thank you for the input!
     
  4. Wallabe macrumors 6502a

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    Mar 15, 2015
    #4
    I would suggest you get the SSD. If you don't have enough RAM, the computer will start using the SSD as the RAM (page file). SSD is fast and you won't notice it in most cases.
     
  5. ZircoBen thread starter macrumors member

    ZircoBen

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    #5
    That's a great point, thanks! I'll probably get a Crucial BX100 120GB then, maybe i'll do a fusion drive with the current hard drive, I'll figure it out.

    The MacBook has Office 2011 on it, which I really want to keep. If I cloned the HDD onto the SSD, would Office still work and be activated fine?

    Thanks!
     
  6. Wallabe, Jul 14, 2015
    Last edited: Jul 14, 2015

    Wallabe macrumors 6502a

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    Mar 15, 2015
    #6
    Yeah, just copy the whole folder with Office in it as a backup. It should already be activated and ready to go on the new machine.

    If you mix RAM specs, it will operate on the lowest of the two. It's cheap enough to the point where if you do intend to upgrade the RAM, you're better of upgrading it in pairs so they operate at the best speed possible. I think 4GB is good enough for the next few years of homework. After that, you would have enough money to spend on a newer machine.

    Another person in the same situation.

    http://forums.macrumors.com/threads/is-this-macbook-good-for-high-school.1896580/
     
  7. ZircoBen thread starter macrumors member

    ZircoBen

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    #7
    Okay, thank you! I have a YouTube channel so do you think 4GB will be enough for some light iMovie?

    I'm just afraid with Office that it will detect the different drive, but I should be fine like you said just cloning it.
     
  8. gooser macrumors 6502

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    Jul 4, 2013
    #8
    you don't have to do anything yet. get your machine, use it like it is for a few weeks and then decide if you want to do any upgrades.
     
  9. Wallabe macrumors 6502a

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    Mar 15, 2015
    #9
    4GB should be sufficient for it. Just save your money until you graduate then a new computer will be a whole lot faster.
     
  10. ZircoBen thread starter macrumors member

    ZircoBen

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    #10
    You're right Gooser, in order for me to see I'll probably have to have it in my hands. I think the SSD will be my best choice at the end of the day.

    At this point, I have a high end gaming PC (i5-4590, 8GB RAM, SSD, Radeon R9, etc) that I need to sell before I go to college. I just wanted to simplify to one portable computer that I won't be sad about if it got stolen, dropped, or worn out. The PC sure has spoiled me.

    So just to make absolutely sure, if I am cloning the drive to an SSD, Office will stay activated and not detect the change?
     
  11. \-V-/ Suspended

    \-V-/

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    #11
    Yes, your Office will stay activated. Everything will stay exactly the same. What are you using to clone?
     
  12. ZircoBen thread starter macrumors member

    ZircoBen

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    #12
    Thanks! As for the software, I don't even know yet, probably Carbon Copy Cloner, using the free 30-day trial.
     
  13. \-V-/ Suspended

    \-V-/

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    #13
  14. ZircoBen thread starter macrumors member

    ZircoBen

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    #14
    Oh, awesome! SuperDuper looks perfect!

    The Macbook has 2 2GB RAM sticks in it, so for a cheap upgrade, could I switch in one 4GB stick for 6GB total? They'd probably be different brands as well, but I don't think it's worth my money for a full 2X4GB kit.
     
  15. \-V-/ Suspended

    \-V-/

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    #15
    It should be fine using two different brands, just make sure they're the same type of RAM. If you find your computer being wonky, you can always put the 2 GB stick back in or just use the one 4 GB stick. If it works fine then you should be okay.
     
  16. ApolloBoy macrumors 6502a

    ApolloBoy

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    #16
    I had a similar setup in my 2010 MB, the original owner had upgraded it to 6 GB of RAM using mismatched sticks and I never noticed any problems.
     
  17. ZircoBen thread starter macrumors member

    ZircoBen

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    #17
    Thank you to both of you! I'll make sure it's the same speed and everything, but it will be difficult to get the same brand. 4GB just sounds like it's barely passing by in 2015 but 6GB sounds a lot more acceptable today.

    As for 'Mac-Compatible' RAM, what brands should I stick to? I know Corsair makes some "Mac Ready" RAM that's extremely expensive, but are there dependable brands that will always work in a Mac?

    Thanks!
     
  18. Khalanad75 macrumors 6502

    Khalanad75

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    #18
    Zirco,

    Check out Other World Computing. The site will show you how much ram you can take and has good prices from what I have seen.
     
  19. ZircoBen thread starter macrumors member

    ZircoBen

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    #19
    Thanks, but they are kind of expensive. What brands in general are compatible? Crucial, Kingston, Micron, etc.?
     
  20. ZircoBen thread starter macrumors member

    ZircoBen

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    #20
    Okay everyone, I got the MacBook a few days ago, and it's running well! I've been monitoring the RAM usage and I have plenty of space there. My only complaints are the slower app loading times and the plastic (aluminum unibody is where Apple truly shines).

    I may sell it and get a cheap MacBook air, possibly a fixer-upper model from late 2008, those sell for like $150 on eBay and run El Capitan, but that's just a vague idea.

    If I decide to keep it, i'll definitely put an SSD in at some point I think, but for now I'm surprised at how usable the HDD still is! I may also pop in a 4GB stick for one of the 2GB sticks to get some more RAM for iMovie editing since that's a dirt cheap upgrade.

    So thank you for the advice everyone, it took having it myself to really understand what I needed, but your feedback helped me.
     

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