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anonyjelly16's avatar

MacBook Upgrade Opinion?

Asked by anonyjelly16 (739 points ) May 31st, 2009

I have a White, Late 2006 Macbook Core Duo notebook. It has a 2.0Ghz CPU, 1GB of RAM, and 60GB of HDD. And, I need a new battery.

I am thinking of purchasing a new battery, and installing the maximum RAM and HDD it can accept.

Here are my questions for the collective:

1) Battery: Would you purchase an Apple Battery? Or, would you prefer a 3rd party battery that may be cheaper and last longer (because of greater capacity).

2) RAM: I am getting conflicting information about RAM. Crucial, OWC, and NewEgg say that this system can accept only 2GB of 200 Pin, DDR2–667, PC2–5300 SODIMMs. However, several blogs report that they have made 4GB work successfully. Which source would you trust? Which memory would you purchase?

3) Hard Drive: There are bunch of Hard Drive manufacturers, speeds, and capacities. Do you have one that you recommend over others? I haven’t really kept up with hard drive manufacturers so I don’t know which model will run cooler, be less susceptible to failures, etc.

Thank you so much for your help!

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8 Answers

philo23's avatar

The white Macbook’s only support 2GB of RAM maximum, and i would recommend Crucial for it.

Personally i’d recommend an apple battery, but i’ve never upgraded my Macbook’s battery.

andrew's avatar

I’d go with 2GB, or at least see what apple’s site has to say.

richardhenry asked a hard drive question just the other day.

We purchased apple batteries off of ebay to extend the life. I’m not a big fan of third party anything these days.

anonyjelly16's avatar

Okay. I’ll stick with 2GB of Crucial RAM and a MacBook battery. How about the harddrives? Any recommendations?

By the way, did you know that if you go to the Apple store, you can buy a battery for $129 at the counter or $99 at the Genius bar?! The difference is that the Genius bar battery has a 3 month warranty and they insist that you should buy the one at the retail counter (within the same store) because that has a 1 year warranty. That just seems strange to me.

drClaw's avatar

It is not possible to do 4 gigs, you can use a hack to get it up to 3 gigs, but the risk outweighs the reward. I upgraded to 2 gigs using Samsung’s RAM and it was plenty for me to run Parallels, browser, Photoshop and Flash together with no noticeable slowdowns.

anonyjelly16's avatar

@drClaw Thank you! Now, I know not to mess with the RAM. I won’t go higher than 2GB. Do you have any Hard Drive recommendations?

bonus's avatar

RAM. I dealt with this a few months back. Ask the “geniuses” over at MAC what they determine you can use. Also, make sure you have them describe as articulately as possible the exact specs for you. I am almost dead certain you do not have more capacity than 2gb as I have the more recent Macbook Pro and it can only handle 4gb (which is very disappointing). I found mine online via OWC and then found it for WAY cheaper on Amazon. In the end, I got 4gb of RAM for $30 (with a mail-in rebate, etc.) as opposed to Apple setting me up for over $300. Frankly, I am not an Apple fan because it is such a rip-off.

drClaw's avatar

I haven’t done the hd yet, but anytime I do an upgrade on my mac I lean toward using parts manufactured by mac approved companies (ie Samsung, Intel, etc.).

rovdog's avatar

I’ve bought memory from OWC before, no problems- if you look over there- they and pretty much know what they are doing re:macs. They are kind of like a mac speciality company. I’ve used them for a lot of stuff (mostly HDs) and so far I’m happy. I would trust their opinion more than than the kids at the Apple Store these days- I can say that. Though not more than Apple phone support. Right now I transferring data from a flimsy built WD HD bought at the Apple store to robust raid made by OWC.

1. I’ve hard no problem with 3rd party batteries- have one for my soon to be sold 12 in G4 (b/c apple stopped making batteries) and it works great- if you do get one I would do my research and make sure the color matches- this can be a problem. If the computer was pretty new or the battery was internal as it in the new Macs, I’d probably would go with Apple. I haven’t noticed any difference versus an Apple battery only it’s higher capacity and degrading slower.

2. Some people say not to mix and match brands of memory. I try not to but I’ve also never had a problem. I think as long as you buy the right specs- you will be fine- there is a less well known spec about heat dissipation I believe- I can’t remember it exactly- but technically this should also match which is why they say not to mix and match I believe. If you are replacing all your memory, I think you will be fine unless you go ultra cheap. If you look it up- most of this memory is made by the same manufacturers and sold under different brands- you can probably buy the exact same memory apple would supply you with considerably cheaper. Oh I see @bonus totally said it- yeah, that’s good shopping!

3. Look at the HDs that they are selling at OWC- I know for their enclosures they try to keep track of which drives are failing less, etc. I’m sure you could ask them about it. These days they are going with a lot of the Western Digital ones which surprises me a bit. A year or two back Seagate had a lot of QC problems with their 7200 rpm high capacity drives but I bought one after they ironed it out and it’s been fine. I think it kind of works like crops in the field if that makes any sense- one drive manufacturer has a good crop then they have a bad crop- so it’s really hard to tell. If you try to look at reviews you will go crazy b/c everyone will tell you their nightmare stories about every single drive- those are the only people who are going to write reviews of hard drives. Drive failure is hard but heat and noise is certainly something you can look up- slower rpm drives will generally be less noisy- and they use less power so I assume they will not get as hot. If you look at some recent comparisons you will see that the performance of new 5400 rpm (might be 5200?) drives like the ones from WD are often on par with 7200 rpm drives or close. Also they offer variable speed drives to save power. I used to only buy 7200 rpm drives but now I use both depending on the application. So that’s a place to start- depending on what you’re going to use it for you have a lot of options- and you might save some money.

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