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You are here: MacNN Forums > Hardware - Troubleshooting and Discussion > Mac Notebooks > Stretching the life of a 2010 MacBook Pro

Stretching the life of a 2010 MacBook Pro
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Pootie Tang
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Jun 6, 2015, 04:59 AM
 
Hey guys, I'm unemployed now so I cannot do this today, but I'd like to know what upgrade options there are for the 2010 MacBook Pro? I currently have an internal 500GB HD (not a solid state drive, but a conventional one), 4GB RAM, a 2.66 GHz Intel Core i7 all running Yosemite (wish I never upgraded to that).

Thanks much.
     
P
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Jun 6, 2015, 07:48 AM
 
RAM goes to at least 8 GB and possibly 16 GB depending on if it's 13" or 15". That is the first upgrade to do - cheap, easy and effective. Secondarily, you upgrade the HDD to an SSD, a very valuable upgrade, but a bit more work to achieve.
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.
     
OreoCookie
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Jun 6, 2015, 09:44 AM
 
Upgrading the hard drive to an SSD isn't that difficult, and it's definitely a must if you want to coax a little more life out of your machine.
I don't suffer from insanity, I enjoy every minute of it.
     
SierraDragon
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Jun 6, 2015, 11:18 AM
 
Yosemite 10.10.3 runs challenging graphics (images work, not games) very well on my 2.2 GHz i7 2011 17" MBP with 16 GB RAM and SSD.

1) A RAM upgrade has zero value if your usage does not page out to disk anyway. However my expectation is that running Yosemite with 4 GB RAM, odds are very high that you _are_ paging out to disk. And the disk is an old slow HDD, so when the box does page to disk the negative impact on operation is very, very significant.

My expectation is that upgrading to 8 GB RAM or more would show a huge improvement. When I had 8 GB of RAM in my MBP my heavy graphics workflow paged out fairly frequently, but 10-12 GB may be equally as effective as 16 GB for many users (meaning you might want to add a single 8 GB RAM DIMM if your box allows it and leave the existing small DIMM in the other RAM slot).

2) Switching the HDD for a SSD will have a significant positive impact on operation no matter what apps you run. Plus when you do page to disk you would be paging to SSD, which although nothing like RAM speeds is a big improvement over an old HDD.

3) Hard drives (HDDs) slow as they fill, and many of us allow our drives to overfill after a few years of operation. One thing you should do now for free is clean up your hard drive and make sure it never gets above an arbitrary 70% full.

4) Another thing that you can do now for free is to immediately quit applications not being used and restart fairly frequently to keep maximum memory available. Browsers in particular can suck RAM.
( Last edited by SierraDragon; Jun 6, 2015 at 11:43 AM. )
     
P
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Jun 6, 2015, 04:14 PM
 
The work in replacing an HDD with an SSD is mostly in the software side, cloning and moving the installation. Installing RAM is cheap and painless by comparison.

1) more RAM always helps. If the your usage demand less, OS X will use the remainder for disk cache. With a slow 2.5" HDD, it has a noticeable effect.

4) Yosemite significantly reduces this effect for browsers, and it was never relevant for other software.
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.
     
Pootie Tang  (op)
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Jun 7, 2015, 03:53 AM
 
Thank you folks. 'Preciate it. Any idea how much these upgrades might cost and is it wise to have an Apple store take care of this? Or would it be better to have an authorized service dealer handle these? I ask because I have never opened a laptop before and installed anything.

Tanx.
     
honestone
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Jun 7, 2015, 06:48 PM
 
For RAM, you will need to basically remove the two 2 gig modules in your machine, and install 2 4 gig modules. The cost for the 2 4 gig modules is around $55 to $60. Here is an example from amazon:

http://www.amazon.com/s/?ie=UTF8&key...l_3i3fx76zat_b

This video shows how easy it is:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0_tFZYAxLCI

As for installing an SSD, that depends on the size of the SSD, along with the specs of the SSD. Myself, I prefer Samsung SSDs. In fact, after purchasing my late 2012 Mac Mini in July 2013, in November of that year, I replaced the (slow) 1 TB 5400 pm drive with a fast Samsung 840 Pro 256 gig SSD, and it was definitely like a breath of fresh air! I also installed the 1 TB inside a nice, slim external case, and that has also worked out real well.

The reasons why I chose that particular Samsung model at that time were 1) 256 gig is a good size for my needs, 2) the read, write, and MTBF times for that drive are excellent, and 3) there were numerous positive reviews of that drive at that time, including quite a few from Mac users.

The other thing is that you need to get the correct "type" of interface. Your machine has a serial ATA (3 Gb/s) interface, so the SSD you purchase needs to be one that has a 3.0 Gb/s SATA 2.0 interface. It is usually called "SATA II". Here are some examples from amazon:

Amazon.com: sata ii ssd: Electronics

This video explains how easy it is to install such a SSD:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jd3RS-GGsC
     
Mike Wuerthele
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Jun 8, 2015, 01:08 AM
 
I haven't seen a SATA III SSD that doesn't slow down to SATA II speeds.
     
honestone
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Jun 8, 2015, 01:33 PM
 
Originally Posted by Mike Wuerthele View Post
I haven't seen a SATA III SSD that doesn't slow down to SATA II speeds.
Yes, a SATA III SSD would "slow down" to SATA II speeds. But, a SATA III SSD is more expensive than a SATA II SSD, and given that the features of the SATA III SSD would not be utilized is why I stated it would be a waste of money.
     
Mike Wuerthele
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Jun 8, 2015, 03:41 PM
 
They're actually not. SATA III SSDs are at an all-time low price per $. It may make a difference used, but not new.
     
honestone
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Jun 10, 2015, 12:35 PM
 
Originally Posted by Mike Wuerthele View Post
They're actually not. SATA III SSDs are at an all-time low price per $. It may make a difference used, but not new.
Yeah, the prices are definitely attractive. I've seen Samsung 256 gig 850 EVO SSDs for as inexpensive as $125 to $140.

Update: Just saw, on dealmac.com, that drive for $90! Here's the link:

http://www.ebay.com/itm/Samsung-850-...148?rmvSB=true
( Last edited by honestone; Jun 12, 2015 at 11:31 AM. )
     
panjandrum
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Jun 12, 2015, 08:21 PM
 
Absolutely do not have the Apple store do this (if they even will). The labor costs will kill you. Google "ifixit" and look into the guides for your model. The upgrades you are talking about are very inexpensive (hardware costs) and very simple to install (labor costs). I mean, it would take a professional less than 15 minutes to put those parts in; and that's doing it carefully. If you can change a tire, you can do this. Just be careful. First time through, assume you'll need an hour because you'll want to be extra careful. Or, pay a reputable local "computer guy" to do it; there are still a LOT of mom & pop shops out there. They shouldn't charge you more than 1 hour, including cloning your drive (because it takes about 1 minute to actually start the Clone software, then they walk away...)

Look up Carbon Copy Cloner to clone your existing drive (this means you'll need an extra drive case, which you can find on Amazon for less than $20 - I always clone FIRST then install the cloned drive into the system; just in case).

If you need speed AND storage capacity, don't hesitate to go with one of the 2.5" 1TB Seagate Hybrid drives. Dirt cheap and you get 1TB of storage with an 8GB "SSD" portion. It's not nearly as fast as a pure SSD overall, but it does increase the "user responsiveness" significantly, and is a great compromise. If you go pure SSD order one from Other World Computing so you don't have to worry about TRIM support (Apple does NOT want you installing non-Apple parts because then Apple doesn't make $). You may also need software to control your fan speed with any non-Apple drive. I don't remember if this applies to your model specifically, but there is a ver good chance it does (Google: smcFanControl).

Hope that helps.
     
turtle777
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Jun 12, 2015, 09:18 PM
 
Other World Computing SSD self-install kit FTW.

You get a free ext. HD enclosure for your old HD.
Also helps with transferring the data.

-t
     
cvela
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Jun 12, 2015, 10:51 PM
 
I have a 2010 13"MBP hitch is limited to 8GB of RAM. The largest improvement in performance was obtained when I installed a hybrid drive. SSDs where expensive at the time but the machine was so much faster it felt like a new machine. I later upgraded to 8 GB of RAM (from 4) and saw small improvements as well. Today, I would get an SSD in the 500 GB range for close to the price of the 750GB hybrid drive I bought.

I am running Yosemite with no performance issues. Mainly upgraded to better interact with my iOS devices. I have been looking for a reason to get a new MBP but really don't have one.

Do the work yourself. Plenty of be pages and YouTube videos. The small tools needed are cheap enough to get and will save you a lot of $.

Good luck.
     
foo2
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Jun 13, 2015, 10:18 AM
 
Read online about max ram for your model - I have a 2010 MacBook that happily will go to 16gb. Apples limit is obsolete - check macsales website.

Get an SSD - I put.a 240gb in my MacBook for $80. The cheapest name brand model is fine.

Tools are simple - you can get them on amazon or a. Electronics store for a few bucks or get the kit from owc-Mac sales. Time required for the ram is 5 minutes and for the SSD perhaps 20-30 minutes. I would not pay someone else.
iMac 3.3/i5 (2015) 24GB 2TB 10.13.1
MBP 15/2.5 (2014) 16GB 500GB 10.13.1
MBP 15/2.3 (2012) 16GB 250GB 10.13.1
MB 13/2.4 (2010) 9GB 120GB 10.13.1
MB 13/2.0 (E-2009) 4GB 120GB 10.13
     
pigmode
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Jun 13, 2015, 12:00 PM
 
Here are 1TB SSD that are on sale. Not sure if there are any issues on the Crucial M500, as there are a few negative reviews listed are Newegg. I have one (M500)--first used for a few months in a mid-2012 MBP, and now as an external back up drive, so it hasn't been tested extensively.

Samsung 850 EVO $377.99
Amazon.com: Samsung 850 EVO 1TB 2.5-Inch SATA III Internal SSD (MZ-75E1T0B/AM): Computers & Accessories

Crucial M500 $305.99
Crucial M500 CT960M500SSD1 7mm (with 9.5mm adapter) 2.5" 960GB SATA III MLC Internal Solid State Drive (SSD) - Newegg.com

Crucial BX100 $379.99
Crucial BX100 CT1000BX100SSD1 2.5" 1TB SATA 6Gbps (SATA III) Micron 16nm MLC NAND Internal Solid State Drive (SSD) - Newegg.com
     
honestone
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Jun 13, 2015, 01:05 PM
 
First, as panjandrum so correctly stated, make sure to first backup/clone your current drive. Carbon Copy Cloner is an excellent choice, as is SuperDuper!. You can usr SuperDuper! in its "free" mode, if you want.

Next, the size of the replacement internal drive/SSD depends on your needs. As it is, you'll be able to use your current 500 gig drive as an external one, after obtaining an external case. If you really want speed, getting a "pure" SSD would be the best. Myself, a 256 gig SSD is enough.

I provided a link above for a 256 Gig Samsung 850 EVO SSD for $90, and pigmode provided one for a 1 TB Samsung 850 EVO SSD for $377.99. Here is a link for a 500 gig model of that same series for $177.99:

http://www.amazon.com/Samsung-2-5-In...amsung+840+evo

Of course, you might be able to find less expensive prices at some other sites.
     
Pootie Tang  (op)
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Jul 24, 2015, 06:50 AM
 
...you guys were very helpful and I appreciate the time it took to type all that out. Unfortunately I'm still jobless, but I have a wealth of information to draw from, unless this machine decides to die on me.
     
   
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