I had my youngest daughter using a dated 2.4 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo MacBook (the white plastic model). While it has 4GB of memory, it was running so incredibly slowly that it was pretty awful to use even for mail and web browsing (poor kid!)—then the battery died completely.
So it would not even run unless plugged in, and if the cord were detached, instant system shutdown and loss of any work. Not terribly usable.
So the question arose: did I really want to spend $1000 on a new (refurbished) MacBook Pro (definitely not), or could this old “dog” be made to run faster?
I wasn’t sure, but I went ahead and ordered a NewerTech replacement battery from OWC for $89. This fixed the battery problem, but the MacBook still ran like molasses in a Wisconsin winter on the side of a snowmobile engine cover.
Battery OK, but still slow, SSD?
Next, I dug out a several-years-old old 80GB Intel SSD on the theory that the speed problem was due to the hard drive (based on observations using Activity Monitor). Mind you this old SSD is far from current technology performance, but it was sitting around pretty useless and I wanted to see if it would address the speed issue (without spending any money).
Had I not had this old (otherwise useless) aged SSD, the about $119 OWC 120GB Mercury Electra 3G SSD would have been the “go to” candidate, and quite a bit faster too.
So in went the old SSD and guess what? Things that were taking 20 or 30 seconds were now taking 1-2 seconds: this old MacBook dog felt like a hyperactive young puppy. Heck, even *I* found it perfectly usable for web browsing and mail and iPhoto. My daughter now has a perfectly fast and good laptop, and I saved a ton of money.
The lesson here is that old and apparently too slow to be usable computers might in fact run perfectly fine with an SSD (and 4GB or so of memory).
Any of the OWC Mercury Electra SSDs are an excellent choice (choose capacity based on actual space usage). The about $119 OWC 120GB Mercury Electra 3G SSD should rejuvenate any old and seemingly defunct MacBook or any Mac.