Upgrading a 2009 & 2012 macbook pro

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by thehustleman, Oct 17, 2013.

  1. thehustleman macrumors 65816

    Jan 3, 2013
    So my I'm planning to upgrade my mother-in-law's macbook pro. She has a 2009 and she's complaining about it slowing down drastically. She's only used about 64GB of space and she's considering selling it and buying a new one. Thing is, she can't afford to do that so I told her if she upgrades the memory and/or adds a solid state drive, that computer would fly again and faster than ever.

    She's too cheap to get a solid state drive and said to just upgrade the memory. Well Christmas is coming up and I'm going to upgrade her laptop to a solid state drive for her. My question is how cheap can i find a 120gb or better SSD? I say 120 because she has a 128gb hard drive in there now and it just isn't anywhere near fill. I also replaced her hard drive recently when it crashed and wouldn't boot. Put the same type of drive in, but I want to upgrade.

    Also the 2012 macbook pro I asked about is my wife's system I want to upgrade as well, I want to know if anyone can find an ssd that will work well at a decent price in the 256+ gig range?

    Any other advice?

    Aside from the hard drive swap, I have never upgraded an apple product.
  2. SnowLeopard2008, Oct 17, 2013
    Last edited: Oct 17, 2013

    SnowLeopard2008 macrumors 604


    Jul 4, 2008
    Silicon Valley
    Upgrading the hard drives on a MBP is fairly simple. You need a Torx T6 screwdriver for the mounting screws (on the drive itself) and standard phillips (looks like a + sign) screwdriver to take off the bottom cover. After that, touch any metal surface inside the computer to ground yourself. Then to the left of the battery, the hard drive is held in place by a mounting bracket. I believe it's held to the chassis with phillips screws. Detach the cable to the hard drive and also use the Torx T6 screwdriver to unscrew the 4 screws on the sides of the hard drive. Attach these Torx screws to the new drive. Then follow what you just did in reverse order.

    120GB/128GB SSDs can be had for under $100 when they are on sale. Since your mother-in-law is not a computer geek, I doubt she'll notice a difference between the fastest SSD on the market right now (Samsung 840 Pro series) and some of the slower SSDs. Even the slowest SSD is significantly and noticeably faster than a hard drive. I recommend OCZ, Samsung, SanDisk, Toshiba, Kingston, Corsair, etc. For the sake of quality and other concerns, I recommend staying away from extremely not well known brands. I saw a SanDisk 120GB (or was it 128GB?) SSD on sale for $90 at my local Fry's. If you shop on Amazon or Newegg's weekly specials, you'll find similar prices for a 120GB/128GB SSD.

    For RAM, I don't think having more than the included 4GB does as much as upgrading to a SSD. Just make sure your wife and your mother-in-law knows the difference between a closed application and a quitted application. Some of my friends who have switched to Macs did not quite get this at first. A closed application still takes up some (but not as much as an opened application) memory in RAM. A quitted application takes up no memory in RAM. My newly Mac using friends had tons of closed apps and were wondering why the entire computer was so slow. Once they properly quitted applications no longer in use, things became much much faster.

    Newegg is currently selling a 240GB Kingston HyperX SSD for $160. You might want to take a look at it for your wife's MBP.
  3. bigeasy_uk macrumors 6502

    Sep 8, 2005
    Leamington Spa, England
    I recently upgraded my Early 2011 15" macbook pro with an OCZ Vertex 2 128gb SSD and moved the old 500gb hdd to the optical bay. It's so much faster. I paid £54 for the SSD and £9 for the drive caddy.

    Makes it feel like a new system again.

    I had it done in about 20 mins following a guide on ifixit.com, they make it very easy for someone who isn't experienced with the insides of their computer to do any kind of upgrade. It's all step by step guides with clear pictures for each step.
  4. thehustleman thread starter macrumors 65816

    Jan 3, 2013

    thanks for that advice.

    I already have the proper tools from my xbox 360 modding days and it's what I used to swap out the hard drive, but I'll definitely keep looking at those sales!

    She will totally be surprised when her computer flies.

    Where can I find a drive caddy?

    Also an external enclosure to use the optical drive when needed?
  5. SnowLeopard2008 macrumors 604


    Jul 4, 2008
    Silicon Valley
    Amazon or eBay for both.
  6. joco.nz macrumors newbie

    Oct 20, 2013
    Re the 2009 MacBook Pro, be aware that some of that years models are fussy about the SSD controller. From research I have done the sata controller does not play well with sandforce based SSDs. SSDs using the Marvel controller seem to have some success.

    There have also been questions raised about the quality of the sata cable on the hdd. But hard evidence on that issue seems to be missing. The cables are delicate so be very careful when upgrading not to "yank" it at all.

    I have a mid 2009 15" MacBook Pro and have in the last week successfully upgraded with a 256GB (240GB usable) Crucial m500. The SSD is running at full sata2 speed with no beach balling issues. Boots to desktop in approx 10 to 15 secs.

    Good luck in you upgrades.
  7. jfalberti macrumors member


    Aug 7, 2014
    Visalia CA
    I recently upgraded my old mid 2009 13" MacBook Pro to 8 GB RAM and a SanDisk Ultra II 480 GB SSD for under $200 (February 2016). It's like a new machine.
  8. maflynn Moderator


    Staff Member

    May 3, 2009
    I'm pretty sure the OP has already upgraded his computers, since he asked this question 3 years ago.

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