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I recently got a MacBook2,1 as a gift and I'm looking to upgrade the memory, hd, and processor. Currently it is a MacBook2,1 with an Intel Core 2 Duo 2GHz processor, 2GB of RAM, and about 200GB of HD space. Oh yeah, and the battery's dead so it only works when it is plugged in. I read somewhere you can add an extra 2GB of memory to this bad boy. However, only 3GB is usable due to some I/O settings.

What's the best way to gauge performance of this machine so that I can choose an upgrade on a budget?

  • Welcome to Ask Different. Hardware shopping is off topic, so if you want to edit that out - this could have the hold released. Another way to ask would be to phrase how to measure performance on your existing Mac and then you could use that answer to then go shopping. – bmike Aug 13 '16 at 15:47
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One of the best reference sites out there is EveryMac.com They have a very reliable and comprehensive list of pretty much every Mac product ever made.

You should take some time to review and become familiar with the specs of your machine.

That said...

You aren't going to get a very modern OS X experience out of this machine.

  • The latest OS X version that's compatible is 10.7 (Lion)
  • Max RAM is 3.5GB
  • HDD is SATA I (1.5 Gb/sec)

No matter how you slice it, it's not a strong platform to begin with.

However...

All is not lost. It's still a good laptop to be used for surfing the web, checking email and even doing some office type work.

  • 4GB of memory is cheap (2x2GB PC2-5300])
  • A New battery is around $50 on (don't ever buy used batteries, it's not worth it)
  • A SATA SSD can be had for as little as $45-50 on and even cheaper on eBay used.

With these few upgrades, you can install Windows 7 32bit (potentially Win10, but I haven't tried it), Ubuntu, or my personal favorite FreeBSD (you will probably have better results with *BSD since OS X is based on the BSD OS). In fact, if you are looking for a machine in which you can learn one of the *NIXes, this is a great way to do it.

Bottom line...

If you are looking to keep it in the Apple family, just be aware of the limitations on it. You will be using an OS that is now 7-8 years old and 3rd party apps which are long since deprecated and no longer supported.

If you want a modern experience, you can do some minor upgrades and install Windows, FreeBSD, or Linux on it and keep going with modern software.

  • Since the interface is 1.5 Gbps wouldn't a SSD just be a waste of money. The transfer speed wound not be any faster than just buying a larger HDD for less money. I do realize a SSD does not have to spin up, has a less latency and also uses less energy. – David Anderson Aug 13 '16 at 18:25
  • Yeah, I am looking to keep in the Apple family. I have the same concern as David. 1.5 Gbps is not much and with an SSD, it might not be a cost-effective approach for the performance. I like EveryMac.com btw, very helpful site. – JohnNg Aug 13 '16 at 19:42
  • An SSD uses far less power meaning it would extend your battery life, it would run cooler and you would be able to consistently run at 1.5Gb/s. With spinning media, you still have to deal with access times (read/write) which is inherently slower. – Allan Aug 13 '16 at 20:43

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