Would it be useful to upgrade a pre-unibody MacBook?

Discussion in 'MacBook' started by Cubytus, Sep 3, 2013.

  1. Cubytus macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Mar 2, 2007
    #1
    Hi there,

    I happen to have a used MacBook 5,2, pre-unibody model that seems to be struggling a bit with the installed Lion (free upgrade performed by the store when I had a HDD corruption issue). True, it is completely stock, side for a third-party battery installed.

    It now sits as a homebound machine, where it runs Transmission, my Bitcoin wallet, a Freenet client, a Tor node, and my backup surveillance system, these kind of things that absolutely need to stay connected 24/7 for optimum performance.

    Hardware context: this is one of 4 machines, my daily-driver MBP, a LG PC (same power as the MB) I expect to use, one day, to offload videosurveillance task to (depending wether I'll be able to finally get ZoneMinder to work), an iPad, all linked through a WRT54GL Linksys router that's having stability issues on its own, occasionally with a gigabit switch.
    Usability context: feels slow. Very slow. Such a "feeling" may not be that important as I rarely touch it directly. Unable to stream a 8GB, 1080p movie, but I am not sure yet if its a computer or LAN connection issue yet. Can manage a 1.3GB 720p movie, but barely. This is a concern as I'd like to use my daily MBP to watch movies as it has a better screen but would rather avoid transferring it to its own local HDD first.

    So, would it be a good investment to double its RAM ? I don't feel too concerned about the internal HDD since most storage is external (desktop drives), but it may be the actual bottleneck.

    And how would I find where the actual bottleneck is?

    Again, I don't have hundreds of bucks lying around than some fellow Americans among you seem to have as these people will invariably advise to invest in brand spanking new high performance hardware.
     
  2. Intell macrumors P6

    Intell

    Joined:
    Jan 24, 2010
    Location:
    Inside
    #2
    That's an 2009 Macbook, not a pre-unibody one. True is uses the original Macbook body, but the unibodies came out in 2008. It may be useful to upgrade that machine. You'd get a few more years out of it.
     
  3. Cubytus thread starter macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Mar 2, 2007
    #3
    Indeed, I should have stated that its the pre-plastic-unibody MacBook. I myself had a metal-unibody MacBook in 2008 (pure lemon BTW). But would you be more precise about the upgrade you suggest? After all, it is only a 2.13GHz C2D...
     
  4. Intell macrumors P6

    Intell

    Joined:
    Jan 24, 2010
    Location:
    Inside
    #4
    How much ram does it have? How are you streaming the video files?
     
  5. gertruded, Sep 3, 2013
    Last edited: Sep 3, 2013

    gertruded macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jul 5, 2007
    Location:
    Northwestern Illinois
    #5
    My 5.2 is a pre unibody early 2009 macbook, white. 2.0ghz c2d processor, Nvidia gforce9400m 256 mb graphics. It has 4 gigs of 800mh DDR2 ram. (Came with slower ram). It has a replacement battery too. I use it every day and it works just great.

    I use it for running Netflix to my TV, run DVDs, for the web surfing, for light iphoto work, and for itunes. It runs a good as new on ML and will run Maveraks.

    It is still a good solid computer, I am using it to type this post.
     
  6. paulbennett95 macrumors 6502a

    paulbennett95

    Joined:
    Aug 30, 2012
    Location:
    Long Island, NY
    #6
    I just upgraded my early 08 2.4GHz Macbook to 4GB of RAM and it runs beautifully (OS X Lion). I'd suggest the upgrade.
     
  7. Cubytus thread starter macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Mar 2, 2007
    #7
    Videos are streamed from a mounted remote drive on this machine toward VLC, that came with 2GB in 2 sticks. (I thought about increasing the buffer size, but not sure how.)

    Of course it doesn't have nearly enough power for what I do on a daily basis but is surely not too old to stay useful.

    So 3 upgrade suggestions out of 3 posters...
     
  8. jav6454 macrumors P6

    jav6454

    Joined:
    Nov 14, 2007
    Location:
    1 Geostationary Tower Plaza
    #8
    5,2 is post-unibody and has a unibody innards. At any rate, do the upgrades, the hardware still lots of life in it. An SSD will give you a nice performance boost in terms of loading apps, and the extra RAM will allow you to better multitask and have big projects open.
     
  9. Cubytus, Sep 4, 2013
    Last edited: Sep 4, 2013

    Cubytus thread starter macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Mar 2, 2007
    #9
    Not completely unibody-innards, as it has a FW400 port whereas the unibody had none. SSD is still way too expensive, but RAM is definitely considered.

    At first, as I had it in a pretty bad shape (broken power brick, split wrist rest below the trackpad, dirty and scratched), I didn't want it to use it as my daily driver. But the main reason I am not using it as such is that it sports that impractical US-QWERTY keyboard.
     
  10. Cubytus thread starter macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Mar 2, 2007
    #10
    Well, 4GB won't make it a killer in terms of multitasking, but definitely seems the right way to go. It can only supprt 6GB, after all.
     
  11. Intell macrumors P6

    Intell

    Joined:
    Jan 24, 2010
    Location:
    Inside
    #11
    Due to its unibody internals (FireWire doesn't count), it can support up to 8GB of ram.
     
  12. Cubytus thread starter macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Mar 2, 2007
    #12
    Oh really? OWC lists it as 6GB max. Good to know.
     
  13. Intell macrumors P6

    Intell

    Joined:
    Jan 24, 2010
    Location:
    Inside
    #13
    I may be incorrect about that, most places state it at being 6GB, but I think it is 8GB due to the Nvidia chipset.
     
  14. jav6454 macrumors P6

    jav6454

    Joined:
    Nov 14, 2007
    Location:
    1 Geostationary Tower Plaza
    #14
    If it does have the 9400M, then it can do 8GB. Just be sure to update the EFI software.
     
  15. Cubytus, Sep 4, 2013
    Last edited: Sep 5, 2013

    Cubytus thread starter macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Mar 2, 2007
    #15
    It seems to be all updated, as there is nothing listed in the Software Update. However, it seems a 8GB kit is very hard to find, and that I would have to stay 4GB.

    Apparently, the metal unibody MB takes DDR3, while this non-unibody plastic takes DDR2. This may be the difference.
     

Share This Page