Mac OS forum

General discussion

Upgrading a MBP

by lkcor / May 28, 2009 8:46 AM PDT

I've got an older Mac Book Pro (17") and I'd like to upgrade almost all of it:

Memory: 2GB -> 4GB
Disk: 160 GB -> 320 GB (or better)
OS: 10.4 (Tiger) -> 10.5 (Leopard, or Snow Leopard)

Since I am upgrading the disk does it make the most sense to just replace the disk and install the new OS? Can I do this myself or do I need to take it to an Apple Store? I know this voids the warranty, but that's long expired, and so has my one year of Apple Care. Still, is it better for Apple to do it? The same question for the memory, too.

Also, I assume I can take the old disk and put it into an enclosure to turn it into an external drive.


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That upgrade
by mrmacfixit Forum moderator / May 28, 2009 9:19 AM PDT
In reply to: Upgrading a MBP

The memory and the OS is quite straight forward but the HD is a little more tricky.

It requires minor, or depending on your level of skill, major, surgery to get at the drive. There are a number of good sites around with step by step instructions on how to do it.

Yes, it makes sense to replace the drive and install 10.5 onto it. The old drive can be used in an external enclosure but be aware that the drive is SATA.

Apple will do it all for you, probably at a price that is close to the cost of a new one. It would not have been done under AppleCare or the original warranty.

It's a nice weekend project


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by onemoremile / May 29, 2009 4:59 AM PDT
In reply to: Upgrading a MBP
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Upgrading the Hard Disk
by BobHG / May 29, 2009 11:49 AM PDT
In reply to: Upgrading a MBP

Whilst the memory is easy to upgrade, the hard disk is not easy to do. I'd take it to Apple in the knowledge that their technicians are trained by Apple and that they won't bodge the job. Whilst there are illustrated instructions online which show you how to change the hard drive, there are many things that could go wrong. If you make a mistake, it could cost you serious money to put right. If you do decide to do it yourself, check that the drive you put in is compatible with your MacBook Pro and good luck! Only use the tools suggested by the online illustrated guide.

Before you change your drive, put your new drive into an external case and use Carbon Copy Cloner to clone your existing disk. Using CCC will make it a bootable drive. Once that job's done, take out the new drive from the external case and fit it to your MBP. If you do it this way, then if anything goes wrong with your disk replacement, you can still boot up from the external drive. If your changing drives is successful, you can then put the old drive into the external case.

Having done all that, you can then upgrade your software with safety, knowing that you have a back up should anything go wrong.

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