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Question: Should I upgrade my 2009 MacBook Pro 17"?

I have a 2009 17" MacBook Pro. Recently it's started shutting down randomly, so I replaced the battery and reset the SMC, it helped for a few days but now it shuts down during boot up. It should also be noted that the 500GB hard drive is just about full.

I've read a million articles trying to figure out what to do. It's not an option to buy a new Mac right now and if I can give my Mac some TLC and buy a couple more years, I would love that.


1. Should I install a new hard drive? What kind? 1TB?




2. Should I install new RAM? What kind?


Any help or advice would be appreciated, and please explain simply as I'm still learning all of this.


More info:

MacBook Pro 2009

17"

OS X El Capitan 10.11.6

2.8 Ghz intel core 2 duo

8 GB 1333 MHz DDR3

Macintosh HD

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It would be good to determine why it is shutting down. It may be something meaning end of the line for the computer and not drive related at all.


About the screens you see when your Mac starts up - https://support.apple.com/HT204156


Use safe mode to isolate issues with your Mac (formerly: Try safe mode if your Mac doesn't finish starting up (formerly: What is Safe Boot, Safe Mode? (Mac OS X))) - http://support.apple.com/HT201262


Using Apple Hardware Test - https://support.apple.com/HT201257


If it turns to be the drive you can either go for speed but reduced storage (use an external drive for that) and install a SSD, or go for a 7200 rpm 1 TB HDD for storage and maybe a tiny speed bump.


8 GB is enough RAM for most things unless you're doing serious video or photo processing. This is a 9 year old computer after all.

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Mar 17, 2018 12:03 AM in response to TheSoxClan In response to TheSoxClan

It would be good to determine why it is shutting down. It may be something meaning end of the line for the computer and not drive related at all.


About the screens you see when your Mac starts up - https://support.apple.com/HT204156


Use safe mode to isolate issues with your Mac (formerly: Try safe mode if your Mac doesn't finish starting up (formerly: What is Safe Boot, Safe Mode? (Mac OS X))) - http://support.apple.com/HT201262


Using Apple Hardware Test - https://support.apple.com/HT201257


If it turns to be the drive you can either go for speed but reduced storage (use an external drive for that) and install a SSD, or go for a 7200 rpm 1 TB HDD for storage and maybe a tiny speed bump.


8 GB is enough RAM for most things unless you're doing serious video or photo processing. This is a 9 year old computer after all.

Mar 17, 2018 12:03 AM

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Mar 19, 2018 5:42 PM in response to TheSoxClan In response to TheSoxClan

8GB RAM is the maximum that model will handle.


I'd move Apple Hardware Test high up the list. Sudden shutdowns can be thermal shutdowns, where sensors detect excessive heat and shut down the system to avoid frying itself. If a sensor fails the fans will kick up to full speed but, should a fan fail, you get no notice until the shutdown occurs. You model has two fans; only one running is not enough to properly cool it.


A 7200 RPM mechanical drive could increase heat. I'd go for the SSD.


Can you please clarify if you have the "Early 2009" or the "Mid 2009" model (from "About this Mac...")? We might need that if we have to help with information on how to access and change a fan or a hard drive.

Mar 19, 2018 5:42 PM

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Question: Should I upgrade my 2009 MacBook Pro 17"?