Will upgrading RAM & adding SSD cure my Mac?

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by bsox18, Aug 18, 2015.

  1. bsox18 macrumors newbie

    Aug 18, 2015
    So I have a mid 2010 MacBook Pro 2.4ghz. I basically only use it for my iTunes library and documents for school. About 6 months ago it started to crap out, every time I used it for more than ten minutes it would freeze and need to be restarted. The problem has only gotten worse where now the computer only seems to work for a good amount of time if it is near 100% charged, still being slow and laggy.

    It seems to get very hot and once that begins you know a crash is imminent. I don't have many apps running simultaneously, it just seems after a good 20 mins of work it's ready to shut down. Ik an update could solve the possible kernel panic, but I'm running on Maverick afraid that an upgrade will only worsen the problem for this old comp.

    When I brought it to the Apple Store they were pretty much useless. They said they saw no damage on the hard drive or anywhere else and suggested a reboot. I backed up everything using time machine and reinstalled but the problem still persists. I have cleared up space and it still looks like I have plenty left (92 gb out of 249). At this point I think I have tried everything there is to do before opening up the Mac itself.

    Which brings me to the idea of purchasing more ram and an SSD. Ik little about this stuff and have only read how the process could be beneficial. Will purchasing these things cure my Mac problems? Spending $120-$200 for this equipment sounds a lot better than buying a completely new Mac. But then again going through this buying and replacing process to end up with the same slow ****** Mac may even be worse.
  2. keysofanxiety macrumors G3


    Nov 23, 2011
    A RAM/SSD upgrade will drastically increase the performance of your machine. I'd recommend doing that.

    Alternatively if you want us to run some diagnostics to try and figure out why your Mac's running so slowly, we can try to identify the problem before you make the plunge for the upgrades? But we'd just be checking HDD & RAM , so even if they're faulty they'll be getting replaced anyway.
  3. Zedsdead185 macrumors 6502

    Sep 14, 2006
    how much ram do you currently have? It certainly sounds like a low amount of ram paired with a slow HDD. You can get maxed out ram (for that model) and a decent 250gb ssd for quite cheap nowadays. I would certainly do that before buying a new mac.
  4. snaky69 macrumors 603

    Mar 14, 2008
    Your symptoms are very similar to one of a dying hard drive.

    If you have access to another Mac, you could try and swap it and see if the problem persists.
  5. meson macrumors regular

    Apr 29, 2014
    Are you only needing to reboot because the machine stops responding, or are you getting a kernel panic every that tells you to hold the power button and restart? If the latter, I would definitely recommend running that Apple Hardware Test to see what it says, and it might be a good idea to run it regardless.

    If the machine is running hot, take off your back plate and check to see if the fan(s) need cleaned. If there is a bunch of dust in there, it can restrict heat flow.

    Also, how full is your HDD? A very full HDD can cause a machine to be very sluggish and not responsive as well.

    If the hardware seems okay after running the Hardware Test, then an SSD will do you good. For your usage, as long as you have at minimum 4GB of RAM, you will be fine. If you decide to take up more than casual photo or video editing or change your usage habits, such as running a virtual machine, then more RAM will be good.
  6. bsox18 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Aug 18, 2015
    Thank you everyone. I have to reboot because the computer stops responding and just freezes. I have run diagnostics on the hard drive and everything comes back fine. I believe my HDD has only 92gb left out of 249 capacity. I do think opening the Mac up and cleaning it may make a difference, it's lived the college life for 4 years now and has never been cleaned.

    I currently have only 4gb of RAM. I just spoke to someone at OWC and he recommended that I upgrade to at least 8gb saying that my old comp probably cannot handle running Maverick on its current RAM. He did also say that he does not think replacing the hard drive with an SSD is necessay at this point too, he seems to think the RAM upgrade will do the trick. What do you think?
  7. Zedsdead185 macrumors 6502

    Sep 14, 2006
    In my opinion, ram alone should improve the machine quite a bit, but if you want to breath new life into your old macbook then getting an ssd as well is the way to go. The ram will allow you to work with multiple programmes a lot more efficiently once opened, however, boot up time and loading apps etc might still seem a bit sluggish.
  8. Weaselboy, Aug 18, 2015
    Last edited: Aug 18, 2015

    Weaselboy Moderator


    Staff Member

    Jan 23, 2005
    What OWC told you is complete BS. There is absolutely no way having 4GB of RAM would cause the problems you are describing with a complete lockup. I assume from your description here, your Mac never did this before and worked okay, and now you are having the lockup issue... yes?

    That points to either some kind of hardware failure, or you installed some incompatible software that is causing this.

    I tend to agree with snaky69 that this sounds a lot like a failing drive. Less common, but a bad drive cable can cause this also. Do you have an external USB drive of some sort we can use for testing.

    See if you can find a crush report from the date time of the last lockup/crash. Triple click the line below then right click and in the Services menu select Reveal in Finder. Look through there for the crash report and post it here for us to take a look.

  9. saturnotaku macrumors 68000

    Mar 4, 2013
    If you can afford it, buy both the RAM and SSD. I would avoid OWC for both those purchases. Their RAM is too expensive - they charge $68 for an 8 GB kit whereas you can get a Mac-compatible one from Crucial for $56. OWC's SSDs are similarly overpriced while using a very much outdated and potentially unreliable controller. I would also look at Crucial for this - their SSDs are of exceptional quality, with firmware updates that can be easily done on a Mac.
  10. snaky69 macrumors 603

    Mar 14, 2008
    If you're not running out of RAM in the first place, more RAM will yield no improvement whatsoever.

    If the memory pressure graph in activity monitor always shows green, you don't need more RAM.
  11. bsox18 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Aug 18, 2015
    Thank you, I tried to find a report under CrashReporter but the only thing there were reports from my iphone.. Is there anything else I could look at to see where the problem is? To be honest I remember having problems when I updated to Maverick and using more Google Products (Music Manager, Docs, etc) dont know if that makes a difference... here are some pics Screen Shot 2015-08-18 at 1.44.07 PM.png

    Attached Files:

  12. Weaselboy Moderator


    Staff Member

    Jan 23, 2005
    That screenshot shows you have plenty of memory.

    Try running the app Etrecheck. It will create a report showing everything running on your system, Post that report here so we can take a look.
  13. zombiecakes, Aug 18, 2015
    Last edited: Aug 18, 2015

    zombiecakes macrumors regular

    Jul 11, 2012
    your machine getting hot and crashing has nothing to do with the ram or HDD speed, 4gb of ram is plenty, if your HDD was running out of space (which it isnt since 92gb is a ton of freespace) you would receive a popup window saying the drive is full (and it still wouldnt crash).

    since it only works well near 100% charge it might be the battery malfunctioning or something more serious like the logic board. Open it up and see if the battery is swollen and run a battery health test app.
  14. bsox18 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Aug 18, 2015
    EtreCheck version: 2.4.1 (137)

    Report generated 8/18/15, 2:32 PM

    Download EtreCheck from http://etresoft.com/etrecheck

    Click the [Click for support] links for help with non-Apple products.

    Click the [Click for details] links for more information about that line.

    Hardware Information: (What does this mean?)

    MacBook Pro (13-inch, Mid 2010) (Technical Specifications)

    MacBook Pro - model: MacBookPro7,1

    1 2.4 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo CPU: 2-core

    4 GB RAM

    BANK 0/DIMM0

    2 GB DDR3 1067 MHz ok

    BANK 1/DIMM0

    2 GB DDR3 1067 MHz ok

    Bluetooth: Old - Handoff/Airdrop2 not supported

    Wireless: en1: 802.11 a/b/g/n

    Battery: Health = Normal - Cycle count = 929 - SN = 9G0290BHFD3MA

    Video Information: (What does this mean?)

    NVIDIA GeForce 320M - VRAM: 256 MB

    Color LCD 1280 x 800

    System Software: (What does this mean?)

    OS X 10.9.3 (13D65) - Time since boot: about one hour

    Disk Information: (What does this mean?)

    Hitachi HTS545025B9SA02 disk0 : (250.06 GB) (Rotational)

    EFI (disk0s1) <not mounted> : 210 MB

    Macintosh HD (disk0s2) / : 249.20 GB (92.75 GB free)

    Recovery HD (disk0s3) <not mounted> [Recovery]: 650 MB


    USB Information: (What does this mean?)

    Apple Inc. Built-in iSight

    Apple Internal Memory Card Reader

    Apple Inc. BRCM2046 Hub

    Apple Inc. Bluetooth USB Host Controller

    Apple Computer, Inc. IR Receiver

    Apple Inc. Apple Internal Keyboard / Trackpad

    Gatekeeper: (What does this mean?)

    Mac App Store and identified developers

    User Launch Agents: (What does this mean?)

    [loaded] com.google.keystone.agent.plist [Click for support]

    [running] com.spotify.webhelper.plist [Click for support]

    User Login Items: (What does this mean?)

    iTunesHelper Application (/Applications/iTunes.app/Contents/MacOS/iTunesHelper.app)

    Google Drive UNKNOWN (missing value)

    Spotify Application Hidden (/Applications/Spotify.app)

    Google Chrome Application Hidden (/Applications/Google Chrome.app)

    Internet Plug-ins: (What does this mean?)

    Default Browser: Version: 537 - SDK 10.9

    QuickTime Plugin: Version: 7.7.3

    Silverlight: Version: 5.1.30317.0 - SDK 10.6 [Click for support]

    3rd Party Preference Panes: (What does this mean?)


    Time Machine: (What does this mean?)

    Time Machine not configured!

    Top Processes by CPU: (What does this mean?)

    23% WindowServer

    5% Google Chrome Helper(4)

    3% fontd

    1% Google Chrome

    1% mdworker(3)

    Top Processes by Memory: (What does this mean?)

    477 MB kernel_task

    442 MB Google Chrome Helper(4)

    197 MB Google Chrome

    131 MB Messages

    115 MB Finder

    Virtual Memory Information: (What does this mean?)

    1.00 GB Free RAM

    3.00 GB Used RAM (1.66 GB Cached)

    0 B Swap Used

    Diagnostics Information: (What does this mean?)

    Aug 18, 2015, 01:16:48 PM Self test - passed

    Aug 17, 2015, 12:53:22 PM ~/Library/Logs/DiagnosticReports/iPhoto_2015-08-17-125322_[redacted].crash

    Aug 17, 2015, 11:54:02 AM ~/Library/Logs/DiagnosticReports/iPhoto_2015-08-17-115402_[redacted].crash
  15. Weaselboy Moderator


    Staff Member

    Jan 23, 2005
    I'm not seeing anything in that report that would cause a problem. When it starts to get hot just before this happens, can you look in activity monitor in the CPU tab and see if any processes are running high CPU cycles?

    You also might try running the Apple Hardware Test.
  16. Cuniac macrumors 6502a

    Jan 23, 2013
    As mentioned above, while upgrading the SSD and RAM will dramatically improve you performance, it may have little to zero effect in stopping your computer from crashing. More RAM will decrease the number of times and the length of time you see the recourse wheel, The SSD will do the same as well while also make everything snappier. But if your having to reboot your computer your OS may be having issues.

    Over time the Mac will gather TONS of temp files, system files, program extensions and other junk that it probably has no use for now or is no longer compatible with your currently installed OS. Also, While Apple does a good job of making sure the OS updates are as smooth as possible there will always be files that are not updated right and lead to system errors that you can see in the Log (reboot you computer then open the log and look for errors during the shut down and start up time frame. Its usually not a huge issue but going through six OS updates since 2010 is going to leave a lot of tiny errors.

    What I would do, and yes this will be a pain. Back up everything. Time machine if you can, but don't restore. Nuke everything and reinstall the OS as if its your first time. This will cause you to re-enter in all you product keys you have done over the years (that's the pain) and will take time moving everything back over but it will be fresh. This may be your best option, then if everything is good update your RAM and Hard drive.
  17. Reidan macrumors regular

    Apr 12, 2012
    I agree with Cuniac.

    I had similar issues with my MBA. Specs in my signature. Over heated and got so bogged down it would stop responding.

    I pulled the bottom cover off and took a can of compressed air and blew out the fan. Was not really that dirty, I have seen much worse.

    The major item that helped mine was reinstall of OS X. I had upgraded multiple times and had patched and installed a lot of programs. They all caused degraded performance until it compounded until system was unusable.

    But, with a clean install of OS X it is running as good as the day I got it.

    Again, no hardware upgraded done. Just some canned air and time to reinstall OS X and my apps. Can not beat FREE!

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