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You are here: MacNN Forums > Hardware - Troubleshooting and Discussion > Mac Notebooks > 13" non-Retina MBP motherboards - different generations compatible?

13" non-Retina MBP motherboards - different generations compatible?
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shifuimam
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May 8, 2023, 10:59 PM
 
I have a totally dead 13" MBP (non-retina) I figure I can make useful with a new motherboard. What I have is a late-2011 i5 model: https://everymac.com/systems/apple/m...olt-specs.html

Do other generations use compatible boards? Might as well upgrade while I'm at it, if I can.
( Last edited by shifuimam; May 12, 2023 at 05:56 PM. )
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reader50
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May 9, 2023, 12:32 AM
 
The mid-2012 appears to have the same port connections, with some upgrades (USB speed, graphics). And that model remained available until late 2016, for those avoiding Retina.

The 2013-on Retinas have a different port selection.

I don't own any 13" MBPs, so cannot speak from experience. I don't know if the 2012 boards can be swapped into your 2011.
     
shifuimam  (op)
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May 9, 2023, 02:14 PM
 
I have a mid-2012 13"...guess I'll crack it open and see what's what.
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reader50
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May 9, 2023, 05:57 PM
 
Please let us know the result. This is good info to know.
     
shifuimam  (op)
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May 9, 2023, 09:08 PM
 
I ordered a board on eBay, and also found this video in the meantime:

https://youtu.be/swQIx4VqmLM?t=1662

TL;DR the LVDS connection is very slightly wider on the late 2011 models, and requires a bit of shaving off of plastic on the sides of the male connection to fit a mid-2012 board, but everything else should be plug-and-play.
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reader50
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May 9, 2023, 11:29 PM
 
I have a mid-2012 15" MBP. The non-Retina version, with easy-expansion drive bays.

As the logic board has about the same specs as the mid-2012 15" Retina, I looked into if one could swap the displays. To have the expandability along with a Retina display.

Alas, while the display connectors are the same, they use different protocols. LVDS for the non-Retina, and internal DisplayPort for the Retina. In theory, I could upgrade my 1680 display to a 1920 LVDS, but that's it.
     
shifuimam  (op)
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May 12, 2023, 06:01 PM
 
Yeah, that isn't surprising - it takes a lot of bandwidth to support all those pixels, and the specs for existing hardware just couldn't cut it. It also takes a lot more power - your battery life would take a hit from the upgrade.

I'd love to find a 1080p display for my 13", but I don't see that happening. It's waaaaaay too difficult to open that glued-together display assembly. I might get the 1680x1050 upgrade for my 1440x900 15" Mid-2012. though.

I really don't get why Apple had such an aversion to high-resolution displays before the first Retina models. Other OEMs were making 1080p laptops, and Apple *still* refused to offer that option on their 13" and 15" models. My MBA is newer than my Dell XPS 13, but the XPS 13 has a 1080p display. The MBA's display is just pathetic by comparison.
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reader50
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May 12, 2023, 07:27 PM
 
hmm ... I have the 1680x1050 matte display, with metal frame. It looks like something that can be taken apart, unlike the glossy displays. So I could go after a 1920 panel - just not sure the upgrade is enough to justify the trouble.
     
shifuimam  (op)
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May 13, 2023, 08:41 PM
 
This turned out to be a super easy upgrade. I just used a small cardboard nail file to shave off the plastic on the outside edges of the LVDS connector, and it slotted right in. I'm installing 10.14 now.

Definitely recommend this for anyone with a dead or dying 2011 MBP. The i5 board I got was $60 shipped - I also have a 13" i7, and the extra $$ for an i7 board is worth it if it's going to be a machine you use regularly.
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Laminar
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May 30, 2023, 09:16 AM
 
Do you have any pictures of the case mods? I love stuff like this.
     
shifuimam  (op)
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May 30, 2023, 01:27 PM
 
No case mod required. Just shave off the sides of the LVDS connector.

Details here:
https://youtu.be/Je-_x4T5J_E?t=550

However I'm still waiting to finish this project. If the SATA cable I have coming doesn't work, I'm going to have to see if I can get the eBay seller to exchange the board. I'm pretty sure it's the SATA cable, though. We'll see. It POSTs and can boot external drives, but almost never sees the internal drive at all. This was a repair on a MBP that was completely dead when I acquired it, so it's not implausible it's the SATA cable..we'll see.
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reader50
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May 30, 2023, 01:41 PM
 
I assume the internal drive tests good.

Had to replace the SATA cable on a 13" MBP once. Process of elimination pointed to the cable, even though it looked perfect. Even under a magnifying glass. The new cable fixed everything.
     
shifuimam  (op)
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May 30, 2023, 07:46 PM
 
I replaced the SSD first. Superchina cable from Amazon seems to have done the trick, though.
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