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I've recently found a (factory refurbished) logic board from a Macbook Unibody 5.2 (mid-2009; 820-2496-A) and want to replace the logic board of my Macbook Unibody 4.1 (early-2008) with it, so my Macbook can run a newer OS. I've already upgraded my Macbook with a 240GB SSD and 4GB 800MHz RAM.

Comparing pictures of the logic boards it seems like the connectors are the same, as well as everything else, except for the graphics chip (X3100 is my current, while the one on the new logic board is the x64-based GeForce 9400M). So visually it seems like the 5.2 logic board is perfectly compatible with the 4.1 version.

I'll probably receive the logic board just before Christmas (never know exactly this time of year), so I can try swapping the logic boards. Once I've succeeded (or failed) I will report to you guys here.

Has anyone tried doing this before? If it works, does my current OS X installation work with the new logic board or do I need to reinstall OS X?

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I have received my new logic board today and installed it successfully. I also upgraded the Macbook with a 240GB SSD and 4GBs of RAM.

I only encountered 2 problems which can be worked around easily. The first one was the different SuperDrive connector. I simply didn't connect the SuperDrive, but you can easily order the right SuperDrive, since they're not that expensive. The second and most important problem I encountered was the different layout of the heat sink. This needs replacement as well in order to get it working properly. I'm still waiting for this part to be delivered. For now, my Macbook shuts down after a few minutes, because it gets too hot.

After I've received the right heat sink and installed Yosemite, I'll give you guys another update.

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I've got it all up and running now!

I just bent my heat sink a little, so it covered both the processor and graphics chip. This works like a charm! It's just a temporary issue though, since the proper heat sink is on its way.

Yosemite was installed in about 20 mins and runs perfectly. No lags or choppy graphics and due to the SSD it works even faster than OS X Lion on the old logic board.

So if you have an old Macbook Unibody A1181 which can't be updated to the latest version of OS X, you can buy a logic board of a newer version of the A1181 along with the right heat sink and (optional) the right SuperDrive and you'll have an up-to-date Macbook for less than €150. I'd recommend upgrading your HDD to a SSD and your RAM to at least 4GB for maximum results!

  • Did you end up with any wires that had nowhere to connect to on the new logic board? I have a strange Black MB4,1 with a 2.4GHz Core2Duo. When I went on iFixit to do the same operation, I ended up with an orphanned wire. – TopHatProductions115 Dec 29 '16 at 17:31
  • As I said, the connector of the Super Drive was different, so that could've been your loose wire. Otherwise, you might want to double-check if you installed everything correctly. – Danny de Haas Jan 21 '17 at 11:37
  • Sorry for not updating - I replaced the Superdrive, so that wasn't it. I think it was an unused temperature sensor. I posted my complete result on iFixit, if you want the link. – TopHatProductions115 Jan 21 '17 at 16:33

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