I'm working with a

MacBook 13" white (Mid 2007)


  • Intel Core2 Duo 2.16 GHz
  • 3 GB RAM (max.)
  • 1 GB hard disk
  • MacOS X 10.6.8


  • limited to 3 GB of max. RAM
  • limited to OS X 10.7

I'm having a lot of trouble with performance - Safari easily eats up up to 2 GB of RAM and makes the MacBook very slow and unresponsive. I have some applications which are working with large databases (size of several GB) like DevonThink Pro, and with the very short amount of RAM it is a pain to work when the MacBook is unresponsive. (so even under normal conditions very often I have only 15..80 MB free RAM according to Activity Monitor). I'm also working with a large LaTeX document, where I think more processor performance could also be helpful (it takes >5 minutes to create the pdf file).

In short: I would like to buy a more powerful MacBook, but I do hesitate spending >1000 EUR for a new MacBook model. So I had a look at offers of used MacBooks and found this one for an (at least absolutely) quite low price of <350 EUR:

MacBook 13" Late 2008 (A1278)

  • Intel CoreDuo 2.4 GHz
  • 2 GB of RAM built-in (but could be expanded to 8 GB for +100 EUR)
  • 128 GB SSD drive

my Questions

  1. The Late 2008 MacBook is already 6 years old and only 1.5 years "newer" than my current one. Could I still expect a large boost in performance for my work thanks to the 8 GB of RAM?

  2. Would a newer model with i5 or even i7 processor be a much better choice (with more potential for the coming years)?

  3. Are there other large technical differences between those generations, which I should consider (like plastic or Aluminium body, graphics performance, connectivity (USB/FW/...?), etc.?

I'm thankful for each advice as my (formerly quite good) knowledge about the generations of Apple products got stuck in the year 2007 :-(

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