Why I Chose To Keep And Upgrade My 2011 MacBook Pro

by | Feb 9, 2018 | Blog, Technology | 0 comments

Apple is notorious for its overpriced products. They justify the cost of producing high-quality products that perform really well.

I own the Early 2011 MacBook Pro. And I still love it. If you own an older MacBook Pro and are considering upgrading to the latest or more recent models, consider an upgrade before you fork up $2500. For under $400, you can, once again, have a fast performing computer for a quarter of the cost.

Obviously, I don’t know which MacBook model you own. I can only speak about my own model and what I’ve done to improve the performance of my Mac.

Upgraded to SSD

My original hard drive 325 GB disk space. Before I upgraded to a solid state drive (SSD), I had about 50 GB of disk space left on my original hard drive. The performance was noticeably slower, apps took longer to open and documents took longer to process and save.

It was at this time I decided I was going to invest a new MacBook. My current one obviously was getting old and was ready to be “obsolete”.

The newest MacBook models boasted faster processors, retina display, more RAM, and SSD!

Wait! More RAM and SSD?

I’ve owned many PC’s prior to buying my first MacBook and routinely upgraded the RAM and hard drives of those computers. But, it didn’t occur to me that I could do or would be able to do the same with a MacBook.

didn’t think twice about getting a new MacBook once the performance of my old one started suffering.

This is Apple brainwashing you to keep buying the latest iteration of their products. I’ve always upgraded to the newest iPod, Shuffle and, of course, the iPhone.

So why shouldn’t I just upgrade my MacBook? Simple. Because after a few Google searches, I was pleasantly surprised to learn I could swap out my hard drive for a new SSD, and increase my RAM!

DIY or Pro

I had to decide if I should hire a computer tech to do the install or if I should do it myself.

Based on customer reviews and in doing my own research, I decided to go with the Crucial MX100 512 GB SSD and Crucial16 GB Ram Kit. They now offer the Crucial MX300 525 GB SSD that delivers faster saves and files transfers. The next question is…where do I go to have this installed?

After some initial local searches of places that service Apple computers, the minimum charge for installation of a new hard drive and RAM would be $175, plus the wait time, which could be up to 3 days before I get it back.

No, this was no longer an option. I decided to do the install myself. To my amazement, Apple made it incredibly simple to install the hard drive and to replace the RAM! Thank you, Apple!

I ordered a small Macbook toolkit from Amazon, which I needed to open the computer. It arrived the next day. After watching several Youtube videos and a little bit of prep work, I was ready for surgery on my trusty MacBook Pro.

Surgery on my MacBook

Youtube has many tutorials from people teaching you how to replace the hard drive and RAM for MacBooks. The process is straight-forward and I felt confident enough to do the install myself. Using the super tiny Phillips screwdriver to remove the super tiny screws, I was able to successfully remove the back cover.

Without surprise, the hard drive was sitting right on top (actually, it’s at the bottom the computer inverted). It was a beautiful sight to see. I removed a few screws, unplugged a couple of cables and I removed my old hard drives within a few minutes. Next, the RAM bay was easily accessible as well.

It was a little tricky to remove the old RAM because the slot is just wide enough to fit the RAM car, but could be difficult if you have large hands or fat fingers. 4 GB of RAM was successfully removed and replaced with brand new 16 GB of RAM.

Data Transfer Anxiety

Now that the hard drive and RAM are installed, I needed to transfer my data from the old hard drive to the new SSD. I used a hard disk external enclosure case to house my old hard drive to prepare it to transfer files to my new SSD.

Fortunately again, there were several tutorials on how to transfer data using 3rd party software. I used SuperDuper for Mac to transfer my data from my old hard drive to the SSD. The process was simple and easy to use. This was actually the least stressful part of the installation because of the ease of use.

The data transfer process was seamless. After inputting some initial information and formatting requirements, the software did all of the work. I used up nearly all of my hard drive space, so it took a few hours to transfer all my data to the SSD.

During this time, I had not replaced the cover of my MacBook. If there were any issues with the hard drive, RAM or transfer process, I could easily replace the old part, without having to re-open the back cover.

Fortunately, I was able to successfully replace my hard drive, increase my RAM and transfer all my data without errors! I proudly put the cover back on the computer and screwed it back in place.

Here’s the result of my DIY project to replace the hard drive and RAM:

Time Costs

Research Time:  3 hours
Installation Time: 1 hour
Data Transfer Time: 5 hours

Total: 9 Hours

Upgrade Costs

SSD: $200
RAM: $115
External Enclosure: $11
Mac Basic Took Kit: $11
Software: $0

Total: $338
Money saved: $1000


Do you need to upgrade?

Since I’ve made the upgrade, my MacBook performs as good as new. Well, not exactly new. But way faster than before. I downloaded the Black Magic Speed Test app to check my read and write speed. The speed performance matched my results. I literally saved thousands by making these small upgrades.

In some cases, it may be necessary to replace an aging laptop. But for me, to buy a brand or even a refurbished computer that would cost me over $1000 wasn’t necessary.

Before you shell out your hard earn money for that shiny new laptop, look to see if you can do a similar upgrade. Maybe all you need is just a faster hard drive and more memory. If that’s the case, upgrade with confidence and enjoy the savings!

Do you like this article? If so, please be sure to share with your family and friends. Also, leave me a comment on what you’ve done to improve the performance of your computer.


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