I was recently gifted an old Mid 2010 Macbook Pro with the following specs listed here:


I would like to do a few things to it, but I have never owned an apple computer before and I know there are some restrictions on the hardware i can purchase to upgrade it.

These are the things I want to do

1) Upgrade Ram: Currently it has 2x2GB of RAM in it. This model is rated for up to 8GB but I have been reading online and it seems some people have been able to successfully install 16GB of RAM, so i am confused. Does anyone have a definitive statement on whether or not this Macbook Pro will work with 16GB of RAM? If it does accept 16GB total which RAM should i buy for a Macbook Pro like this? If it only accepts 8GB total which RAM should i buy? And I know the clock speed must be 1066Hz for this Macbook Pro, but can i use DDR3, or DDR4 RAM? Does the DDR type matter?

2) Install Secondary Hard Drive: I am not 100% so i need someone to inform me but i believe there is space in this Macbook Pro for a second hard drive. Does the CD Drive need to be removed in order for a second Hard Drive to be put in? Or is there simply space inside it for a second hard drive but not installed by Apple? Either way I would like to install an SSD into it and install the Operating System onto that SSD. Which SSD can i look to buy that is compatible with this Pro?

3) Fresh install of Mac OSX: As it currently stands my friend who gave this laptop to me didn't erase his data. I am uncomfortable with this and want a fresh start. How do I do a fresh install of Mac OSX Mavericks (or should i wait for Yosemite?). Where can i buy a Disk/USB for it (or make a disk/USB for it) to do a clean install and how do i format a Macbook Pros hard drive and install fresh? Should this be done at an apple store?

4) Higher Screen Resolution: This is my lowest priority and I don't think it is possible to do without major invasive changes to the Macbook Pro but i want to know if it is possible. Currently the Max Resolution on the Device is 1440x900, i would like to know if it is possible to replace the LCD with one that is 1920x1080 for high resolution.

1 Answer 1


1) RAM Upgrade
As far as I'm aware, the laptop cannot be upgraded beyond 8GB. This is due to restrictions by the CPU and chipset architecture in that particular model. Unless you are a real power user who does lots of video editing or likes to have a lot of applications open at a single given point in time, 8GB should be perfectly fine.
DDR4 ram is NOT supported. It is only a new technology (literally only about a month old) and presently is only compatible with 3 CPU's that were released this year and certain motherboards with a specific chipset and socket for these new CPU's. Bottom line is, your 2010 laptop will not be able to use this type of memory. DDR3 is your only option given the type and generation of hardware inside the laptop.

2) Secondary HDD
It is possible to install a second hard drive, however this will involve removing the CD drive. This will also cause trouble if you ever take the laptop to a genius bar for technical assistance on an unrelated failed component as you have tinkered with the laptop beyond what is allowed. If you're willing to take the risk and do some DIY within the laptop, this is the part that will allow you to install a secondary drive.

3) Fresh Install of OSX
Yes. Wipe it clean now with Mavericks. Updating to Yosemite when it launches will be extremely simple so there's no need to wait for it. Use this guide to help you create a bootable installer USB drive to completely wipe the drive and put a fresh install of Mavericks on the computer.

4) Higher screen resolution
Unfortunately you cannot modify the screen resolution. No such third party screen exists. Generally speaking 15" laptops (especially around the 2010 time period) never had 1920x1080 resolutions and only few laptops today have them (commonly known as high density displays, or in the apple world, retina displays). Only the 17" model had a resolution that high (1920x1200 - 16:10 aspect ratio) and that model has been discontinued for a few years now. So I'm afraid that you're stuck with the resolution you've got.

  • Thanks! Can you recommend a good Solid State Drive to purchase that is compatible with Macbook Pro? Commented Oct 12, 2014 at 3:04
  • Nice write up-you get a +10 for that
    – Ruskes
    Commented Oct 12, 2014 at 3:08
  • Also some good 8GB RAM? Commented Oct 12, 2014 at 3:09
  • For SSD: The Samsung Evo/Pro series is a great range to choose a good SSD. Very reliable and excellent performance. (The Pro series is regarded as the best SSD series on the market currently). For RAM: Anything that has the specs you need really. As long as its from a big name brand. Generally all the bad companies have all fizzled out into nothing so there's no need to worry about getting dodgy RAM. Big brands mostly offer lifetime warranties too so if it does seem to go wrong, you're in the clear. Commented Oct 12, 2014 at 6:09
  • When i google around i see a lot of links saying only OWC and Crucial are compatible with Macbook Pro. Is this correct? Commented Oct 12, 2014 at 6:15

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