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I have a regular MacBook from 2009, with a 250 GB hardrive, 4GB ram and everything else as standard, I want to know:

  1. Can I upgrade the hard drive, what to? How much? What would you advise?
  2. Can I upgrade my RAM, if so what to? How much?
  3. Importantly, do you recommend upgrading the hard drive without the RAM or vice versa?

Any help appreciated. thanks

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This question covers "shopping and buying recommendations", which are prohibited by the site's FAQ. This question should be closed. – jrc03c Jul 14 '10 at 13:31
up vote 5 down vote accepted
  1. Yes, you can upgrade your hard drive. Instructions are available here. You will need a 2.5" laptop hard drive. They are normally available in two different speeds: 5400 RPM or 7200 RPM. Some of the 7200's can throttle down to 5400 when all the speed isn't needed, but most are one speed or the other. Keep in mind that although the 7200 RPM drives will access data faster than a 5400 RPM drive, they will also drain your battery faster. Your choice as to which you prefer (I use a 5400). Naturally the 7200 RPM drives are a bit more expensive than a 5400 RPM drive of the same size, but both are fairly reasonable in price. Check for a good selection, and make sure you look at the ratings! Also, Western Digital and Seagate are the only two companies that I will ever purchase a hard drive from. I've had great experiences with both of them and have never had the reliability issues with them that I've experienced with some other brands.

    That being said, do you really need to upgrade your internal hard drive? 250GB is more than plenty for most people - if you really need more than that you may want to reconsider exactly what's on your laptop. For backups and bulky storage I'd go with an external drive rather than upgrade the internal one. Not only do you have redundancy in case of drive failure, but buying an external hard drive and plugging it in is a lot easier than opening up your laptop, removing/installing a new hard drive, and reinstalling your OS and all your programs. Again, your choice.

  2. No, you can't upgrade your RAM. Though it's physically possible, 4gb is the max that a Macbook can take.

  3. If you're out of space on your hard drive, then you absolutely need to do something. Whether that something is to simply delete some files to make more room, or buy a new hard drive, or get an external to move stuff onto is a question that you have to answer yourself, depending on your situation. As I said earlier, your RAM is already maxed out. However, this does NOT mean that you can't upgrade your hard drive. Though they work together, there's no reason why hard drive/RAM upgrades would be dependent upon each other.

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For question 2, you can go to OWC, select your macbook model to check how many ram upgrade.

For question 3, it is depending on your requirement, someone would like to upgrade hard disk to SSD to improve performance.

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An SSD will make a world of difference. That is the single most powerful update you can buy. Be sure to get a good one though, since reliability is an issue there. Sadly, SSDs are one of the most expensive pieces of hardware, too. – bastibe Jul 14 '10 at 14:41
Totally agree, reliability is a big issue. And different controller chips have significant read performance differences, so it is very hard to choose. Moreover, Mac OS X 10.6 is not support TRIM command yet, I am not sure how large it affect write performance. – shiki Jul 15 '10 at 8:04

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