Upgrading my 2009 Macbook vs Microsoft Surface Laptop 3

bungiefan89

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Apr 5, 2011
559
76
I own a late-2009 unibody MC207LL/A Macbook that I want to upgrade in the following ways:
  1. Boost the RAM from 4GB to 8GB
  2. Swap out the 256GB HDD it came with for a 500GB HDD (or possibly an SSD later on)
  3. Upgrade the operating system from Mac OS 10.6 to Windows 10
  4. Replace the bottom cover with a new one (mine is currently falling apart on all four sides, held in place by just barely any adhesive or whatever is holding it there and missing a screw!)
Before we get into how to do any of these upgrades (if they're possible at all), it's worth noting that I'd want to do this because it would be an alternative to buying a new Microsoft Surface Laptop 3 (13.5-inch, i5, 8GB RAM, 256SSD) and I want to know how these machines would compare.

It's worth noting, I already own two 500GB HDDs (closest I could find to what I have) and the Macbook's battery was replaced with a new one like 5 years ago followed by several years of limited use, so with a new bottom cover, RAM, and Windows 10, upgrading the Macbook would be closer to a $250 upgrade versus the $1,000 I'd be spending on the new Surface Laptop 3 (it's a very long story but suffice to say the one I'm getting is $300 marked down from the MSRP).

Beyond the wide gap in price, the Macbook would bring other benefits like ...
  • more than one USB port (I don't mind that it's 2.0 instead of 3.0 :) )
  • a built-in Ethernet port
  • a mini-displayport that I already have several adapters for (I don't own a single USB-C port or plug of any sort right now and only one USB 3.0 external HDD I almost never use)
  • that trusty old Superdrive that I can use to watch DVDs with VLC in Windows 10!
  • I just love love LOVE the body of this thing! From the all-rubber bottom to the beveled edges to the GREAT keyboard and trackpad, I'd love to stick with this body if I could (and if it all stays working on Windows 10 like it does now)
  • I also just love the idea of fixing up something old rather than buying something new.
...but I worry that with the definitely outdated Core 2 Duo processor and its puny GeForce 9400M GPU ... I dunno if this thing could even run Second Life. :( Or would it just be sluggish in general with those specs?
(I'm the sorry owner of a 2014 Mac Mini with 4GB of RAM that beachballs when opening System Preferences, so I know the pain of hamstrung hardware. Thought I was saving it from being trashed, LOL!)
It's not like this would be my ONLY computer, I already have a very powerful desktop PC at home ... the need for a laptop comes from a need for a portable computer for lesser tasks when I'm away from my apartment for a week at a time or more.

I'm also worried about whether trackpad scrolling would work in Windows 10 like this thread suggests wouldn't happen or any other unforseen problems with upgrading such old hardware to such a new operating system (and yes, I'm pretty firm about going to Windows 10 and not Mac OS ... it's just what I'm more used to these days).

Any thoughts or advice about which path to chose appreciated! Thanks!
 

kenvip88

macrumors member
Oct 1, 2018
52
19
Ho Chi Minh
1kg3 vs 2kg (weight)
And Window 10 wont be smooth on an old (10 years old) Mac
I will go for surface 3, lighter, faster, (may be) better battery. Everything new
Or some lightweight laptop that use gen 8th or 9th chip.
 
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MultiFinder17

macrumors 68020
Jan 8, 2008
2,062
752
Tampa, Florida
I have a 2010 white MacBook that has a Windows 10 partition on it. No lie, it's not a great experience, and mine has 16GB of RAM, an SSD, and a better integrated graphics chipset (320m vs 9400m). It runs beautifully under MacOS High Sierra, but Windows 10 is a slug on it for some reason. I can't imagine the 2009 being any better.