This week I took time to do some upgrades on Emily's MacBook Pro. It is a 2008 version ... before the unibody design, so it is pretty easy to open up and work on it. My project is to install a new hard drive, upgrade the RAM, and put in a new battery.
It started with this article I found on lifehacker.com
... Reinvigorate Your Aging MacBook Pro - Wired How-To Wiki
. It took a couple of weeks for me to work up the courage to tackle this project ... and after I researched the parts I needed, I still left the items in the "shopping cart" online for a few days before committing to the task. I got the parts from Other World Computing
... and had a great chat online with Chelsea from their sales team. She helped me get the right parts and answered a ton of my questions. They include a tool-kit with a new hard drive with the specialty screw-drivers you need.
When the box arrived, I got started with backing up my original hard drive, formatting the new hard drive, installing Lion on the new drive, and restoring the back-up on the new drive. This was all the time-consuming work ... now it was time for the hardware installation.
There are some good tutorials online where you can watch somebody change out hardware on your exact model .. which gave me a lot of confidence in tackling this. The battery & RAM are easy upgrades, but they both have to come out of the computer body in order to get to the hard drive ... so it started w/ the hard drive. It boils down to taking out a bunch of screws in order, and then carefully putting them back in the right order. The actual cables for the hard drive are ribbon cables that snap into place, so nothing too technical is required.
If you are thinking about doing some upgrades, don't panic at the look of the inside of the computer. Just roll up your sleeves and go after it. The statement that got my attention & finally got me in gear on this project was when I read that an original hard drive from a 4+ year old computer was living on borrowed time.
Now we've extended the life of this computer and sped it up too.