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Upgrading an 8-Year-Old Macbook Pro with a Solid State Drive

Upgrading an 8-Year-Old Macbook Pro with a Solid State Drive
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Synopsis: Adam Clark Estes at Gizmodo tackles the issues of owning an 8-year-old MacBook Pro by upgrading its components and swapping out the stock hard drive (HDD) with a solid state drive (SSD).

The following is a summary of two articles from Gizmodo's Adam Clark Estes, who proudly shares his experience of the ups and downs in owning an 8-year-old MacBook Pro - including how upgrading to a solid state drive breathed new life into his beloved notebook.

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The joy of owning an eight-year-old MacBook

Sometimes things are said that hit home and we don't want to hear it. Adam Clark Estes at Gizmodo faced that very situation during a recent Apple keynote. At the event, Apple executive Phil Schiller called anyone who owned a PC more than 5 years old, "sad". Whether it was a poor choice of words or a moment of unabashed transparency, the comment drew ire across the world from owners who have good reason for hanging onto that “sad”, dated computer - which, ironically, in Adam's case happens to be a MacBook Pro.

"I love my MacBook too much! I love it so much that sometimes I think it's better at balancing on fire escapes than it actually is and it goes tumbling all the way down to the ground. After that incident, it felt like the machine was getting slower"

Apple would like you to believe that the easiest way to deal with an aging and slowing device is just to go out and buy a new one. But as Adam points out an expensive, newer model may not be the answer.

"...but I couldn't afford to part with it just yet. I loved it. Also, new MacBooks are very expensive."

For most of us, budget is an issue but there are ways to boost performance on your favorite computer's performance at a fraction of the cost. Upgrading internal parts such as replacing your battery, adding RAM, or installing a Solid State Drive (SSD) all have rejuvenating effects and are relatively easy to do on older machines, Mac and PC. Unlike newer Mac models as Adam points out:

"In recent years, Apple's started to solder more and more guts onto the logic board so it's getting damn near impossible to repair them easily by yourself."

After looking around online, Adam felt capable of fixing his own computer and took to upgrading his MacBook with great results.

"So I did some research that led me to max out the RAM, install a solid state hard drive, and wow did I love my ancient MacBook that suddenly felt like a brand new MacBook."

Here's how he did it...

Upgrading your MacBook with an SSD

In a separate article, Adam outlines the process of repairing battery connectors, upgrading the RAM, replacing the hard drive with an SSD along with other small repairs. For the rest of this blog post, we will be focus on replacing the hard drive with an SSD.

Why upgrade to an SSD?

Part of the slow down that Adam was experiencing was due to the traditional spinning hard disk drive (HDD) in his aging MacBook. Replacing it with an SSD offers a number of benefits.

  • SSDs can run up to 10 times faster than a HDD due to flash technology. This leads to faster start ups, app loading, and an improved overall user experience.
  • Unlike HDDs, SSDs have no moving part for increased durability to better protect your data.
  • Generally, SSDs also draw less power than HDDs to maximize battery life when traveling or using an old battery.
  • As an affordable upgrade, SSDs continue to lower in price and compete with HDD pricing.

Ultimately, an SSD can breath new life into an aging MacBook like Adam's, as he notes after completing his upgrade:

"I swapped my aging hard drive with an SSD from Crucial, and my mid-2009 MacBook Pro felt brand new."

How easy is upgrading your MacBook with an SSD?

Upgrading your MacBook to an SSD isn't as daunting of a task as one may think. It just requires a little patience and a screwdriver as Adam mentions:

"This one sounds like it would be hard, but it's frightfully easy. Removing your MacBook's hard drive can be done in a few easy steps."

First, you'll need to decide between a fresh install or cloning your existing drive. Cloning your existing drive requires making a backup to transfer your existing data to your new drive. If you decide to start fresh, which Adam recommends, you will need to partition the new drive and create a bootable operating system off a thumb drive to install the software on the new SSD.

If the idea of partitioning an SSD or creating a boot drive sounds a little tech heavy, Adam provides some helpful links for first timers that describe what is involved.

The MyDigitalSSD BP5e 2.5 Inch SSD is the perfect upgrade for an Apple MacBook

What SSD should I get?

A MacBook will generally need a 2.5" SATA SSD, preferably one that has a z-height of 7mm. The 2.5" form factor is required to connect to the Apple Logic Board and the low z-height of 7mm just ensures that the drive is a good fit.

While there are plenty of brands available to pick and choose from, only the MyDigitalSSD Bullet Proof 5 Eco (BP5e) Slim 7 Series (7mm) 2.5" SATA III 6Gb/s SSD offers a powerful yet affordable upgrade in 120GB, 240GB, 480GB, and 960GB storage capacities. The BP5e currently offers the best price for performance on the market among TLC-based, as well as some MLC-based, drives as shown in the reviews below.

Click here to shop MyDigitalSSD BP5e Slim 7 Series 7mm 2.5" SATA III (6G) SSDs.

Want More?

Read the full articles quoted in this blog post on Gizmodo.com using the links below.

Comments on Upgrading an 8-Year-Old Macbook Pro with a Solid State Drive

Peachy Lomeda Saturday, July 1, 2017 05:42:18 PM
Thank you! ! I feel so much better after reading your article that my 8-yr old MacBook Pro has brothers and sisters out there that are still alive! Sadly I'm not a DIY person and it'll be unbearable if I gave it to somebody who does not know their stuff and kill my MacBook Pro instead. I think I will just keep using it until it dies a natural death.
Peachy Lomeda,

Thank you for your comment, a lot of emphasis is put on new tech in tech blogs, but we couldn't pass this up on such a classic device such as the earlier MacBook Pros. That said even though the idea of upgrading your MacBook can feel uncomfortable for a new person, the process itself can be relatively easy.

There are plenty of blogs or YouTube videos that could further inform you on the process and help you perform the upgrade yourself. Or even better inform you if you wanted someone else to do the upgrade for you.

Upgrading from the original MacBook Pro hard disk drive (HDD) to a solid state drive (SSD) would make an incredible difference. Boot up speeds and app loading times will improve greatly. It's an upgrade we highly recommend!

All the best with your MacBook Pro!
MyDigitalDiscount.com Tuesday, July 12, 2016 10:45:05 AM

Yeah, the article from Adam Estes Clark at Gizmodo hit close to home for a few of us at MyDigitalDiscount.com. More often than not, inexpensive upgrades can get extra life out of a beloved or necessary computer.
TheDigitalBridges.com Monday, July 11, 2016 11:38:10 AM
Hey MyDigitalDiscount,

Great post. I am always looking for ways to upgrade older technology and use them to save money because I end up breaking my stuff a lot. This is great even with protection for breakable technology.

Anthony Friday, May 6, 2016 04:37:24 AM
Great article. Considering buying a 2009 MacBook Pro. Should be a good investment.

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