5 Replies Latest reply: Jan 15, 2010 3:04 PM by S.U.
Luisa Conesa Level 1 Level 1 (40 points)
Hey all,
Bought my 17'' MacBook Pro in 2007 and have loved it till pretty much until now. Bought the Spore and Sims 3 games and it runs them ridiculously slow, so it's probably time to upgrade the Hard Drive (have like 23 Gs of memory left, how sad is that?) and the RAM. What do you guys recommend for a budget of around $300-$400 for both? Don't want any hassle, so would prefer to buy from the apple store online or another trusted site and have it installed in store.
Thanks in advance,

MacBookPro3,1 Intel Core 2 Duo 2.2 GHz, Mac OS X (10.5.8)
  • 1. Re: Pimp my Macbook Pro 3.1
    S.U. Level 6 Level 6 (8,360 points)
    I have the same Mac that you do. I believe that you can put up to 6 GB's of RAM in it and the biggest fastest notebook drive you can find. Western Digital has announced some 750 GB and 1 TB drives that would fit, although I'm not sure that these have actually been shipped yet. However, if Apple does the upgrade, they will likely want to sell you the drive and the RAM for more than you might pay elsewhere.

    RAM is user upgradable, and you can replace it yourself following the instructions in your owner's manual. I would recommend OWC as a source for good quality RAM.

    Apple would likely want to replace the hard drive with one like the Mac originally shipped with. If you want to upgrade to something like a 7200RPM 500 GB Seagate Momentus or a 5400 RPM 640 GB Western Digital Scorpio Blue, you will probably need to get an AASP to do the installation.

    You can shop for drives at OWC as well--sometimes there are specials on them. Newegg also has good prices on drives, but I have heard some complaints about improper packaging which causes the drives to arrive damaged. I have never had this problem myself, but I have heard of others who have.

    Your first step will be to speak with Apple and see what they will or will not do, and what sort of price they would charge. Then check around and see what an AASP would charge.

    One thing to consider is to buy a new drive and an enclosure. You can then format the drive and use a utility like Super Duper to make a bootable clone on the new drive. That will enable you to check out the drive in advance. If all is well, the new drive can be installed, and all your stuff will already be on it.

    Good luck!
  • 2. Re: Pimp my Macbook Pro 3.1
    Luisa Conesa Level 1 Level 1 (40 points)
    Thanks, that was very helpful!
    Will the Western Digital 640 GB Scorpio Blue SATA Bulk/OEM Notebook Hard Drive WD6400BEVT work as well? What did you put on your own computer?
    Tnxs again..
  • 3. Re: Pimp my Macbook Pro 3.1
    S.U. Level 6 Level 6 (8,360 points)
    So far I am still with my original 250 GB drive, as it still has 186 GB free and is working perfectly. I did replace the 30 GB drive in my iBook with a 120 GB drive from Western Digital, and it has worked perfectly without issue. If I had it to do over again, I would have put in a bigger drive. I gave the iBook to my dearly beloved, and it is now rapidly filling up with music files.

    The 640GB drive should work, but some people have had some issues with it. You might want to look over this thread:

    http://discussions.apple.com/thread.jspa?threadID=2250690&start=0&tstart=0

    You can get a 500 GB from Apple Palace:

    http://www.applepalace.com/apple-mac/index.asp

    It doesn't say what brand the 500 GB drive is--there may be several--but these are supposed to be exactly what Apple uses, and the sticker on the drive would have the Apple logo on it. They seem to want a premium for these drives, and I'm not sure it would be worth the extra cost as others have successfully installed both the Seagate Momentus (WITHOUT the G-Force protection) and the 500 GB Scorpio Blue, which you can find at OWC and Newegg. I don't really know of any problems with those.

    I don't know if the problems with the WD 640 GB are intrinsic to the drive or might represent a manufacturing flaw in some of the drives. It may be worth contacting WD to see if they can shed any light on the issue.

    Good luck!
  • 4. Re: Pimp my Macbook Pro 3.1
    Allan Jones Level 7 Level 7 (30,450 points)
    Part of the slow behavior of graphics-based games with the MBP 3,1 can be the nVidea 8600 graphics chipset, which you cannot upgrade. Newer video chipsets are more robust, plus we have the fact that some of these 8600 chipsets fail in high-usage, high-temperature environments--like gaming. Throwing more RAM and a faster hard drive may not fix your concerns about poor gaming performance.
  • 5. Re: Pimp my Macbook Pro 3.1
    S.U. Level 6 Level 6 (8,360 points)
    Allan is right about the limitations of your chipset. However, the biggest single boost to performance would be to max out your RAM. Try that first since you can do that yourself. See how it goes. A bigger and faster hard drive would give you another boost, but I don't think nearly as much of a boost as the additional RAM. So if still too slow with maxed out RAM, it will likely still be too slow with a HD upgrade.

    If you happen to have a large FireWire 800 external drive (always a good thing to have for backup), you could create a bootable clone of your internal drive on the larger external. Booting from the larger external drive would mimic the extra boost that the larger internal drive would give you in addition to the RAM.

    Good luck!