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I have an mid 2009 MacBook Pro 13" (processor: 2.26 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo, memory: 2 GB 1067 MHz DDR3, HDD: 160 GB SATA) and it has started giving me trouble a few months ago. It runs on Max OS 10.7.5 and has been getting excruciatingly slow. Additional software is Adobe CS4, Skype and OpenOffice. I mostly use it for OpenOffice work, internet research, Skype, and movies.

The cost to fix it with a new battery, new RAM and new HDD which would get me in the price range of about $300 to 400 in my estimates.

What reasons should could help decide between fixing it or rather save up for a replacement. MacBook Pro 13" again with a non-retina display?

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    Pick a SSD first that will speed up a lot! Also check out an optibay, if it doesn't help you out yet buy 8GB RAM. Replacing with the same laptop does not speed up.
    – Rob
    Feb 12, 2014 at 20:10

3 Answers 3

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My mom is still using my 2009 MBP without any issue. If the CPU is fast enough for you, I'd recommend refurbing it.

I'd also agree with Robuust about getting an SSD. The prices are low enough now that you should be able to get 250GB for < $250 and anything smaller is still < $1/GB. If you've been getting by with a 160GB spinning drive, you'll be amazed by the speed increase. Mine went from a 40s boot time to about 12s.

The only caveat I see is that my mom's MB DID need a new keyboard a couple years ago due to the mouse button failing to click anymore. That was a $80 repair -- bought one from ebay and installed it myself. So if you have any kind of HW problems, you would need to address those down the road.

Then again, you can get a complete late-model MBP on ebay for $700-ish. If you aren't afraid of buying a used one, that may be the better way, but for what you are doing, the old one should continue to work well.

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I would reinstall the system first. Backup everything to a USB disk using time machine. Format and reinstall OS X. When it asks you to migrate data at the end of installation, do it.

This will remove a lot of junk that your system accumulated over years (yes, it does accumulate a lot of it!)

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How much space is left on the harddisc? If not much, this alone may slow it down.

I'd get a cheap usb/network harddisk, and back up the stuff you need (I prefer not to use Time Machine). Then, get Mavericks and make a clean install, using the macbook as it is. Among other things Mavericks uses some needed memory compression. After, try to keep 10-20GB free always - put stuff on external HD if needed.

The Macbook should be plenty for your needs, if you don't use Adobe CS4 a lot. And if you can live with the battery life.

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  • I'm using about 110 out of the 160 GB HDD right now. Question though: If I reinstall the system, can I go straight for Mavericks, or do I need to go via Mountain Lion which was its original OS? Thanks!
    – user70219
    Mar 5, 2014 at 7:36

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