What is the most recent operation that can be used on this Macbook

StrangeMagic66

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Oct 19, 2013
25
1
Hi,
I am actually researching this for my uncle who lives in Mexico. He has an old macbook...one of the white ones. I looked up the serial and its from 2009.

Here are the stats he emailed me:

Model Name:MacBook
Model Identifier:MacBook5,2
Processor Name:Intel Core 2 Duo
Processor Speed:2.13 GHz
Number of Processors:1
Total Number of Cores:2
L2 Cache:3 MB
Memory:2 GB
Bus Speed:1.07 GHz
Boot ROM Version:MB52.0088.B06
SMC Version (system):1.38f5
Serial Number (system):459279J59GU
Hardware UUID:CFFAEE61-F555-5E3C-A102-CD777083555A
Sudden Motion Sensor:
State:Enabled

He said his RAM is 4 gigs and apparently, he was told by someone in MX who has helped him with his computer that he cannot upgrade the RAM with his processor. I am wondering if this is accurate. He currently is running Snow Leopard.

My first question is what is the most recent operating system that he can install on his mac without having problems? I have read that upgrading older machines with a newer OS can result in sluggishness especially if there isn't enough RAM.

Second question is this: When we Skype, after about 10-15 minutes his computer shuts down. Does anybody know what this could be? I wish he could get a new machine but he cannot afford it right now nor can I afford to buy him one.

Any advice is appreciated.

Thank you.
 

ApolloBoy

macrumors 6502a
Apr 16, 2015
734
246
San Jose, CA
You can totally upgrade the RAM on that machine, just remove the battery, undo three screws on the metal hatch in the battery compartment and you're in. On that particular one you can upgrade the RAM up to 6 GB. I highly recommend doing so if you want to upgrade the OS; you can have the current version of Yosemite on it and it should be good to go for El Capitan as well.

On the second question, sounds like maybe it's suffering from thermal overload. Try asking him to spray some canned air into the vents and if he's more technically inclined, he could also take off the top case and clean out the fan and heat sink fins.
 

Dark Void

macrumors 68030
Jun 1, 2011
2,614
478
You can totally upgrade the RAM on that machine, just remove the battery, undo three screws on the metal hatch in the battery compartment and you're in. On that particular one you can upgrade the RAM up to 6 GB. I highly recommend doing so if you want to upgrade the OS; you can have the current version of Yosemite on it and it should be good to go for El Capitan as well.

On the second question, sounds like maybe it's suffering from thermal overload. Try asking him to spray some canned air into the vents and if he's more technically inclined, he could also take off the top case and clean out the fan and heat sink fins.
I agree with this post for reassurance.

OP, I would ask him if the fans get noticeably loud when using Skype, or any other applications for that matter. This would almost always indicate that the issue is heat related. You can also install a program such as SMC FanControl to control the RPM at which the fans spin, if they don't seem to be functioning properly. They could not be spinning up properly and therefore not cooling properly. I've seen such programs used by many as a method of prolonging an older notebook as much as possible when heat related issues start to take place. In other words, using the program to set the fans near or at full speed to maximize cooling. You can also use this to determine if they are even working in the first place.

I specifically second the upgrades (both hardware: RAM; and software: Yosemite). I would recommend a clean install, and have him back up his files first. You can create a bootable Yosemite USB drive installer that would allow you to do so - there are many text and video guides out there.

I hope this helps!
 

T'hain Esh Kelch

macrumors 603
Aug 5, 2001
5,156
4,710
Denmark
Unless he is doing crazy stuff on that machine, more RAM is unlikely to help him. An SSD would give a much larger speed boost.

But regarding Skype, my guess would also be heat.
 

Dwayne82

macrumors member
May 16, 2015
73
10
Switzerland
Unless he is doing crazy stuff on that machine, more RAM is unlikely to help him. An SSD would give a much larger speed boost.

But regarding Skype, my guess would also be heat.
First and CHEAPEST thing to do is upgrade RAM. The jump from 2GB to at least 4GB is an important one. Like others said here, this Macbook supports 6GB RAM(one 2GB and one 4GB module). OWC should have a set for this case!

Second question is this: When we Skype, after about 10-15 minutes his computer shuts down. Does anybody know what this could be? I wish he could get a new machine but he cannot afford it right now nor can I afford to buy him one.
Try a PRAM reset as well (google is your friend ;) )! In some cases it helped with freezing macs
 

T'hain Esh Kelch

macrumors 603
Aug 5, 2001
5,156
4,710
Denmark
First and CHEAPEST thing to do is upgrade RAM. The jump from 2GB to at least 4GB is an important one. Like others said here, this Macbook supports 6GB RAM(one 2GB and one 4GB module). OWC should have a set for this case!
Ah, I think there is some confusion about it - His listing of specs state 2 GB RAM, but he writes below that there is 4GB (Which is what I had my eyes on). If it is indeed only 2 GB, then yes, he should surely update it.
 
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StrangeMagic66

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Oct 19, 2013
25
1
Thank you, everyone. He said he has 4 gigs of ram but I believe the machine stats say it only has 2 gigs. He was told that he cannot go beyond 4 gigs of ram.

My uncle is not technically savvy. He's 79 and knows very little about computers and would not be able to change the ram himself. it's unfortunate that he is so far away as there isn't a whole lot I can do for him. He does have a neighbor who has been helping him and advising him with the computer so I will pass your suggestions on to my uncle who can float them by his neighbor.

I will keep checking this thread to see if any one else has suggestions.

Thanks again.
 
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