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You are here: MacNN Forums > Hardware - Troubleshooting and Discussion > Mac Notebooks > Upgrades for Mid-2011 MacBook Pro?

Upgrades for Mid-2011 MacBook Pro?
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MisterEqual
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Dec 27, 2015, 03:10 AM
 
I have a mid-2011 MacBook Pro. 2.7ghz Intel Core i7. Running 10.11.2.

I added 16gb RAM. I also installed a Samsung 850 PRO 512GB 2.5-Inch SATA III Internal SSD (MZ-7KE512BW) to it.

What other upgrades can I do?
     
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Dec 27, 2015, 06:52 AM
 
Looks fine to me. Do you do something that needs an improvement somehow?
The new Mac Pro has up to 30 MB of cache inside the processor itself. That's more than the HD in my first Mac. Somehow I'm still running out of space.
     
MisterEqual  (op)
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Dec 27, 2015, 03:45 PM
 
Just longevity. Can I upgrade the processor or video card? I know I could with my old Powerbook G3.
     
Mike Wuerthele
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Dec 27, 2015, 04:07 PM
 
Nope.

Your i7 in there is pretty good, really only about 20% off the new i7 processors. You're probably good for a bit. That said, don't look at the Retina machines
     
MisterEqual  (op)
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Dec 27, 2015, 06:02 PM
 
Got it.
     
SierraDragon
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Dec 28, 2015, 10:27 PM
 
I have an upgraded 17" 2011 MBP, and once you have SSD and 16 GB RAM upgrade further hardware changes are not really the issue. Although the processing remains strong the box's architecture and non-upgradeable graphics and display are just old; Handoff for instance does not work with my box.

As soon as Skylake MBPs are available I will buy one just for Handoff and to a lesser extent retina, but as far as just getting work done the 2011 MBPs still rock. However my MBP has a matte display, and most modern non-matte displays have (to my eyes/brain) been unacceptable over the years. I hope the new Skylake MBPs will have reduced-glare displays

-Allen
     
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Dec 29, 2015, 11:50 AM
 
Actually that is one of the upgrades you can make. You can get a USB Bluetooth 4.0 adapter and the Continuity Activation Tool:

https://github.com/dokterdok/Continu...tivation-Tool/

Haven't tried it myself though (still on Mavericks, partially because of Apple's BS of disabling Continuity on this 2011 MBA that has the hardware for it).
The new Mac Pro has up to 30 MB of cache inside the processor itself. That's more than the HD in my first Mac. Somehow I'm still running out of space.
     
SierraDragon
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Dec 29, 2015, 03:58 PM
 
Github says we can exchange an Airport Extreme card (BCM94331PCIEBT4CAX) into the 2011 MBP and get Handoff to work. That seems preferable to me to a dongle with their apparent driver issues that vary among OS versions.

However at the moment inertia seems in charge and I am just doing without Handoff on the MBP. What I really want to do is check out the displays and the ports on Skylake MBPs. Just waiting on Apple...
     
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Dec 29, 2015, 05:58 PM
 
Apple has been waiting on Intel, but there was some movement on that front this week:

Intel® Core™ i7-6567U Processor (4M Cache, up to 3.60 GHz) Specifications
Intel® Core™ i5-6287U Processor (4M Cache, up to 3.50 GHz) Specifications
Intel® Core™ i5-6267U Processor (4M Cache, up to 3.30 GHz) Specifications

Those are the chips I want in the 13" MBP. The 15" ones have been launched for some time.
The new Mac Pro has up to 30 MB of cache inside the processor itself. That's more than the HD in my first Mac. Somehow I'm still running out of space.
     
Spheric Harlot
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Dec 29, 2015, 10:27 PM
 
No quads?
     
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Dec 30, 2015, 11:32 AM
 
The mobile quads have been out for some time, so if Apple wants to use discrete graphics in the 15", they're good to go. What is still missing is mobile quads with Crystalwell (i.e., Intel Iris graphics - they changed what the terms mean again). I thought that they would launch together with the above 28W duals, but then all of those things were rumored for Q1 2016, so the duals were technically a little early.
The new Mac Pro has up to 30 MB of cache inside the processor itself. That's more than the HD in my first Mac. Somehow I'm still running out of space.
     
Spheric Harlot
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Dec 30, 2015, 02:32 PM
 
I'm looking at 13" or 14" form factor. 15" is too unwieldy for my purposes.
     
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Dec 30, 2015, 04:13 PM
 
Oh, you want a quad at 28W? Nope, that is not in the cards at this node - and I don't think Apple is going to go up to the 45W mark for the 13". Note that few manufacturers go as high as 28W for a slim 13" these days. Most of them stay at the 15W mark, and Apple is almost the only customer Intel has for the 28W CPUs.
The new Mac Pro has up to 30 MB of cache inside the processor itself. That's more than the HD in my first Mac. Somehow I'm still running out of space.
     
SierraDragon
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Jan 1, 2016, 09:47 AM
 
All I want Apple to do is release a maxxed out discreet-graphics 45w Skylake MBP with a 15" or larger display that has minimal glare, and they can have my money.

Apple's alternative is to continue to drag their feet and folks like me will keep using 5-year-old boxes. If I get around to upgrading the modem in this 17" box I might end up choosing not to upgrade to a new MBP at all...

-Allen
     
Kensington
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Jan 1, 2016, 03:29 PM
 
I agree with you SierraDragon...I've been contemplating the alternatives since everything in the "pro" space from Apple has been very sub-par lately. Everything from the actual build quality to the specs has been disappointing in recent years. You better shape up Apple!
     
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Jan 1, 2016, 03:46 PM
 
Well, I'm typing this on a 2009 iMac, so I see where you're coming from. Apple will certainly keep making 15" MBPs with a quadcore CPUs. Discrete graphics will be going away, I think - not sure that it is this cycle, but it is going to happen. The top Intel graphics in Skylake (GT4e) should be pretty good though - it's another 50% more powerful than the current top GT3e graphics in the 21.5" iMac.
The new Mac Pro has up to 30 MB of cache inside the processor itself. That's more than the HD in my first Mac. Somehow I'm still running out of space.
     
Spheric Harlot
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Jan 1, 2016, 06:23 PM
 
Just a thought: Since the retina MacBooks Pro are slightly smaller than the non-retina ones... A 14" quad machine with Iris graphics in a form factor about the same size as the old 13" MacBook Pro?
Maybe a cm wider?

I'd jump on that in a heartbeat. This dual-core machine is at its absolute limits for what I do, and it's not a good place to be, live on stage.
     
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Jan 2, 2016, 08:31 AM
 
Possible, but somewhat unlikely. Quad 14" laptops are rare (excluding ones based on Atom or something Bulldozer-y) and the 13"-15" models sell well. I could see it more if they kept the old 13" Air around and a big 17" or something at the top, but now that we seem to be moving towards the 12" extremely low power MacBook, the 13" MBP makes more sense.

Depending on your workload, a new Skylake dual might be enough of a boost to help. AVX256 and a nice big L4 help a lot in some cases.
The new Mac Pro has up to 30 MB of cache inside the processor itself. That's more than the HD in my first Mac. Somehow I'm still running out of space.
     
Spheric Harlot
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Jan 2, 2016, 08:47 AM
 
Oh, it'd certainly "help" over an early 2011 i7 13".

Point being, it'd be nice if it would last 5 years of rising expectations and advancing production tools without any headaches.
     
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Jan 2, 2016, 08:56 AM
 
Five years from now, I suspect that we will all have way more memory bandwidth - HBM2 or whatever comes after it - but I'm not so sure that regular CPU performance will have gone up otherwise.
The new Mac Pro has up to 30 MB of cache inside the processor itself. That's more than the HD in my first Mac. Somehow I'm still running out of space.
     
badidea
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Jan 8, 2016, 08:35 AM
 
Does your MBP have an ExpressCard/34 Slot?
If yes, then you can upgrade it with a USB3 card.
Getting one with supported drivers is a bit tricky though!

That said, my early 2011 17" MBP just had an issue 2 days ago probably with the integrated graphics. The screen suddenly only showed colorful stripes followed by a restart which resulted in a grey screen after the startup process.
After quite a few restarts I finally managed to get it working again with a PRAM reset and it now seems to run with the dedicated graphics only.
In a panic reaction I ordered the new 15" retina model with 512GB flash storage and the Radeon R9 M370X...
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Mike Wuerthele
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Jan 8, 2016, 11:04 AM
 
Badidea, sounds like the GPU issue.

https://www.macnn.com/articles/15/02...repair.issues/

Best hurry. Program expires in the end of February.
     
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Jan 8, 2016, 11:28 AM
 
GPU issue is the most likely. Could possibly maybe be a RAM issue, but since there is a time pressure, contact Apple about that program.
The new Mac Pro has up to 30 MB of cache inside the processor itself. That's more than the HD in my first Mac. Somehow I'm still running out of space.
     
SierraDragon
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Jan 8, 2016, 08:46 PM
 
Originally Posted by badidea View Post
Does your MBP have an ExpressCard/34 Slot?
If yes, then you can upgrade it with a USB3 card.
Getting one with supported drivers is a bit tricky though!
Yes my MBP does have an EC/34 slot that I used with a CF adapter to upload large batches of RAW files from a Nikon D2x and from a Nikon D3. I was a big EC/34 proponent but I have found EC/34 usage to be somewhat temperamental.

Thanks for the suggestion. I will check out what is available, because the 2011 17" i7 MBP remains a very strong desktop replacement laptop.

-Allen
     
badidea
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Jan 11, 2016, 07:07 AM
 
Originally Posted by Mike Wuerthele View Post
Badidea, sounds like the GPU issue.

https://www.macnn.com/articles/15/02...repair.issues/

Best hurry. Program expires in the end of February.
Oh, thanks Mike for that info - I wasn't aware of it!
Hmmm, if they really repair it without charge, I probably shouldn't have ordered the new model. I don't need anything better than my old 17" MBP though I really look forward to the retina display!
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badidea
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Feb 19, 2016, 10:09 AM
 
Originally Posted by badidea View Post
Oh, thanks Mike for that info - I wasn't aware of it!
Hmmm, if they really repair it without charge, I probably shouldn't have ordered the new model. I don't need anything better than my old 17" MBP though I really look forward to the retina display!
And just for the record. It indeed was the GPU issue and my 17" MBP will be repaired free of charge!
That was a close one since the program will end next week!
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angelmb
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Mar 2, 2016, 08:17 AM
 
It's been extended. My Late 2011 17-inch MBP is affected, but Apple (Spain) refuses to repair it as I don't keep the invoice.

Does that make any sense?

The program covers affected MacBook Pro models until December 31, 2016 or four years from its original date of sale, whichever provides longer coverage for you.

MacBook Pro Repair Extension Program for Video Issues - Apple Support
     
Mike Wuerthele
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Mar 2, 2016, 09:04 AM
 
That is a very recent extension. Is it possible that they didn't get the word about it?
     
Spheric Harlot
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Mar 2, 2016, 03:25 PM
 
It was all over the Mac news channels in mid-February...
     
Spheric Harlot
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Mar 2, 2016, 03:29 PM
 
     
Mike Wuerthele
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Mar 2, 2016, 04:30 PM
 
Yeah, mid-February is still recent. If the repair shop was third party, they may not have gotten the message.
     
SierraDragon
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Mar 5, 2016, 04:43 PM
 
My early 2011 17" MBP was just repaired for free last week under the GPU replacement program. And not just a GPU but allegedly the full mobo.

Thanks to Mike W. for commenting because I had no idea the program existed, and otherwise would have just trashed the 5-year-old MBP and bought a 2015 pre-Skylake MBP out of necessity.

Looking forward to Apple hardware announcements because I will buy at least one top-end Skylake MBP if they ever do get produced...

-Allen
     
Spheric Harlot
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Mar 6, 2016, 11:48 AM
 
There is no way to replace just the GPU. It's soldered onto the main logic board.
     
   
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