I'm relatively a novice when it comes to computers. I recently upgraded my MBP to the new OS X 10.8.2 and noticed that it's running much slower now. I purchased this laptop in the summer of 2009. Here are the basic specs:

Macbook Pro 13-inch, (mid-2009)
Processor 2.26 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo
Memory 2 GB 1067 MHz DDR3
Graphics NVIDIA GeForce 9400M 256 MB
SATA Disk 160GB

Any recommendations on how to boost its performance would be greatly appreciated. I would love to avoid purchasing a new laptop, unless needed.

  • Can you qualify and quantify "much slower" for us. Does the laptop take longer to boot or load applications? Is there one program or file you see the effect with? Is Mail running slowly? Have you checked to see if any of your apps have new versions? My recommendations could range from defragging your hard disk to rebuilding your Mail index, or even some Terminal commands. Commented Dec 26, 2012 at 16:35
  • This seems like a pretty subjective question but an SSD will definitely help you.
    – anjunatl
    Commented Dec 26, 2012 at 18:18
  • I mainly use my laptop for basic functions- email (gmail to be exact), internet browsing and microsoft office applications. I don't use any apps. Loading and exiting programs take longer more often than not, and switching between internet tabs/windows can take more than 4-5 seconds. It's not the end of the world, but any advice you have to make my laptop run smoother would be much appreciated. Thanks
    – user37317
    Commented Dec 26, 2012 at 20:28

4 Answers 4


I have the same MacBook Pro model.

Upgrading your RAM to 8 GB will help a lot, as the others suggested. You might also look into adding an SSD using something like the Data Doubler by Other World Computing (macsales.com).

Then you could do something cool like this: http://reviews.cnet.com/8301-13727_7-57550128-263/how-to-make-a-custom-corestorage-drive-in-os-x/


Tho Apple lists 2GB RAM as the minimum requirement for Mountain Lion it is not really enough in my opinion.

Apps like Safari, Chrome, Photoshop are all going to grab all your free RAM in order to boost their own performance at the expense of other operations.

You can confirm that you are RAM constrained by opening Activity Monitor and looking at "Page outs" in the "System Memory" Tab.

If you are seeing any number other than zero then your computer at one point since the last reboot had to swap memory to disk. This is going to slow your machine considerably while the swap is occurring and slow it again when the same memory is later pull back into RAM.

So first thing would I'd do is buy more RAM. That should help a LOT.

After that I'd look to getting a SSD, which should also improve battery life. But RAM is the top priority here.


Id suggest upgrading your RAM regardless of what OS you run.

Two upgrade kits from NewEgg: - 8GB http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820233215 - 16GB http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820148607

Both of these upgrades use two SO-DIMMs. I know the 17" MBP accepts 16GB, but I'm not 100% sure with the 13".

To install them,

  1. completely power down your computer (shut down, not sleep or just lid close),
  2. remove all the screws from the bottom panel, remembering the positions for the long screws
  3. gently pop off the bottom plate
  4. the RAM sockets are located in the center of the MacBook Pro, just above the battery. The installed DIMMs have metal clips, one on either side. Click them away from the DIMM and tilt the stick away from the laptop, pivoting around the contacts
  5. repeat for the second stick.
  6. Insert the new DIMMs in the opposite manner.
  7. Snap the bottom panel into place
  8. Boot the computer. If you hear any different chimes at startup, you didnt insert the RAM sticks correctly. Power down by holding the power button for 10 to 15 seconds. Open the bottom and reseat both DIMMs. Close and try again.
  9. check About this Mac to make sure the new amount of RAM is recognized.
  • Bought the 8GB and installed it this morning. My MBP is running like new again! Thanks everyone for all your help!
    – user37317
    Commented Jan 6, 2013 at 19:38
  • 1
    WooHoo! Glad to hear your success, @user37317. One more step for pure, unadulterated speed: the infamous SSD! Commented Jan 6, 2013 at 20:42

Agreed. RAM upgrade/addition and an SSD will make that thing run way faster. I did that to my wife's MBP and it made a huge difference. Just bear in mind that SSD's are not cheap for higher volume drives. The one I ordered was a 256GB and it was around $200. So with that, the SSD drive will really only be used for the OS and any other software/apps that you want to put on it. We have a NAS that we push photos, documents, etc. to and then we use dropbox as well so that the drive doesn't get gobbed up with non-functioning files.

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