Upgrading Hard drive and RAM on 13" MBP - Any unexpected difficulties?

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by Saturn1217, Jun 25, 2009.

  1. Saturn1217 macrumors 6502a

    Apr 28, 2008
    I know in theory how to upgrade the hard drive and ram on the 13 inch MBPs
    I've seen the youtube videos
    I've read the apple users manual

    I know from experience (upgrading ram and hard drive on a thinkpad) that these videos and manuals sometimes miss critical practical details that a newb wouldn't consider such as:

    are the screws really easy to strip? - this is probably my biggest concern

    once the screws are out of the base how hard is it pull off the back cover?
    (on other computers i've noticed sometimes there are hidden tabs still keeping things shut up and a bit of force and bending is necessary to actually remove things)

    do you feel in general that once you've put the MBP back together again it is aligned and everything inside is where it was before you started or do you feel like the case is on a little different post-upgrade or the wire connecting the SATA interface is not packed in as well as it was before etc. (sorry if this doesn't make so much sense-difficult to describe)

    basically what are the chances that someone with limited computer experience could upgrade the hard drive and ram by his or herself without ruining a >$1000 investment? 90% 80%...or should I just order a BTO model?

    Thanks in advance for your help. I just went to the apple store and coming home without a MBP was very painful:D
  2. Ruahrc macrumors 65816

    Jun 9, 2009
    I don't think I'd say it is easy to strip the screws but do be careful puttin them back in. I could tell where I needed to stop because if I had gone in tighter it would have started to strip the threads. The cover comes off very easily so no probs there. The install was trivially easy otherwise

  3. GoCubsGo macrumors Nehalem


    Feb 19, 2005
    Looking at these forums, stripping screws, losing screws, putting screws in wrong holes and forcing them in; which almost always strips them.

    Just be careful.
  4. sneeks macrumors 6502a

    Oct 21, 2007
    Glasgow, UK
    All went very easy until I realised I needed a size 6 hex driver in order to remove the HDD mount pins from the old drive.
  5. iLog.Genius macrumors 601


    Feb 24, 2009
    Toronto, Ontario
    Yeah to be honest, the hardest part is getting the correct screwdriver. :D
  6. reallynotnick macrumors 6502a

    Oct 21, 2005
    It is Torx 6, and I agree that's the hardest part but I knew that going in so I had one handy.

    I guess otherwise my Philips 00 screwdriver kind of sucked and would spin a lot on some screws but I had a different one that came with my Torx that worked fine. I had trouble with that screwdriver on an old white MB but works fine for other things, so I'm not sure.
  7. Saturn1217 thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Apr 28, 2008
    thanks for the replies everyone! Still on the fence about doing a BTO or DIY but I'll see if I can find the screwdrivers needed and then we'll see...
  8. LowMach macrumors member

    May 7, 2008
    same here, but i used some pliers to remove/install the 2 little HD bracket bolts and did not damage the screws one bit. They were not tight.

    also note you can eject a disc by holding down the trackpad button while powering up to eject a cd. i had forgot one on the drive when upgrading the ram and HDD.

    the part that takes the longest is the software load/format/partitioning.

  9. LowMach macrumors member

    May 7, 2008
    i suggest you try it. It will take away some of the mystic of the pc hardware. if your that nervous than get a pc savy friend to help you.
  10. CrazedVW macrumors member


    Feb 15, 2005
    Sandston, Virginia
    I haven't upgraded the hard drive yet but I replaced the RAM yesterday without a problem. To be on the safe side I took the screws out in order and put them aside in the order I removed them. When I put the bottom of the case back on I put them back in by the reverse order. Easy as could be. As for the bottom of the case coming off, as soon as I removed the last screw the case lifted up slightly and came off without a problem. No tugging required.
  11. will0407 macrumors 6502a

    May 20, 2006
    the money you'd spend buying the right screwdrives still doesn't come anywhere near to the money you'll save if you DIY. it's extremely simple, I did it the day i got mine and it took me about 10 minutes. it only takes a while as there are so many screws to unscrew...and rescrew!
  12. dlo604 macrumors member

    Jun 25, 2009
    This might be a bit more of a hassle, but to avoid screws going in the wrong spot what you could do is take a few post it strips and label each screw to each corresponding to each thread it's supposed to go into

    It makes sense in my head, though I'm not sure if you get what I mean.
  13. nizmoz macrumors 65816

    Jul 7, 2008
  14. Saturn1217 thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Apr 28, 2008
    Wow! thanks for the advice everyone. I am now convinced. I'll be ordering hard drive and ram from new egg soon and hope to have my new MBP by july -when the next pay check comes in :)

    This will be my first mac ever after wanting one for what seems like forever...very excited!!!
  15. DewGuy1999 macrumors 68040


    Jan 25, 2009
    One thing I always do when I take something apart is to get a sheet of paper, a pen and a roll of scotch tape. What I do with these things is make sketches, write notes, etc. to remind me what I'm doing and in what order I'm doing them in. I also use the tape to tape small items like screws, etc. to the sheet. In a case like this, I would draw a rectangle on the paper to represent the bottom of the MacBook Pro. I would label the hinge side of the Mac and I would indicate which direction the writing on the bottom was. I would then indicate where the screws are on the drawing. I would then number the screw positions and take them out and put them back in in this order. Finally, as I took each screw out I would tape it next to the number on the sheet. Hard drive could be handled in a similar manner. Another tip is to use a digital camera to take photos as you go to document the order and position of parts. Lastly, if you have to buy screwdrivers, go to someplace like Sears and get a quality tool like Craftsman or similar, if taken care of they'll be with you for the rest of your life and will get the job done better/easier.
  16. mrrippey macrumors regular

    Apr 7, 2009
    upgraded 13" uMBP to 4GB RAM last night

    took a total of say 15 minutes. very easy actually.

    put the screws back in the right place since they are different sizes in some spots.
  17. Sounds Good macrumors 68000

    Jul 8, 2007
    Where can you buy one of these online -- cheap? ;)
  18. nizmoz macrumors 65816

    Jul 7, 2008
  19. Sounds Good macrumors 68000

    Jul 8, 2007
  20. DewGuy1999 macrumors 68040


    Jan 25, 2009
    If you'd prefer to buy individual tools, iFixit has a selection available:
    Tools - iFixit
  21. Sounds Good macrumors 68000

    Jul 8, 2007
    Nice... thanks, DewGuy!

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