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Upgrade/Update MacBook A1181 (2006) in HW and SW


I'm looking for a way to update my old Macbook. This is an A1181: CPU 1.83GHz, 2GB of RAM, 120GB SATA.

I would like to upgrade it with put the last version of MacOs (Sierra) and make it run properly :)

Any recommendations,how-to, etc?

Thanks in advance.

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There are two different A1181 systems that offer a 1.83 GHz CPU

- MacBook 13" 1.83 GHz Core Duo Max OS: OS-X 10.6.8 Snow Leopard

- MacBook 13" 1.83 GHz Core 2 Duo Max OS: OS-X 10.7.5 Lion

@danj is extremely knowledgeable about those systems and what upgrades might be possible for your model @mrngview

@rany You make me blush ;-} You know your stuff too!


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Upgrading to an SSD gets complicated with these older systems as the OS's don't have TRIM services and as these systems only have a SATA I (1.5 Gb/s) HD interface so you'll be limited on which SSD drive you could even get to work in this older system. So far Samsung is one of the few that still offers a SATA I compatible SSD Samsung 750 EVO. You'll need to get a copy of TRIM Enabler but you'll need to have the Core 2 Duo model as it requires OS-X 10.7.5 Lion to work.

Frankly, I would recommend going with a SSHD hybrid drive instead like a Seagate ST1000LM014 or ST1000LX001 Sadly these drives are getting harder to find as Seagate no longer makes them. The newer FireCuda no longer offers support for SATA I or SATA II systems. The market for upgrading these older systems is a dying market as more people have moved on to newer systems which have SATA III (6.0 Gb/s) interfaces.

Note in both of these drives data sheets list SATA I (1.5 Gb/s) as a supported interface if the spec sheet doesn't list SATA I compatible for the drive you are thinking of going with forget it! As it won't work.

The SSHD will be cheaper and offer you some time to save your pennies to get a newer i5 or i7 system (new or used) which I think is the smarter move. Good Luck!


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See what I mean?


macOS Sierra is compatible with all Macs (MBP, MBA, Mac Pro, Mac Mini and iMacs) 2010 models and later, and MacBooks starting with late 2009 models and later. Here's a reference.

Otherwise, to boost the performance of your Mac, you can in theory double the RAM to 4GB (EDIT: your model seems to support a max od 2GB RAM, see my comments) and may be swap the HDD with an SSD (not sure about compatibility of your old model with SSDs - someone else might chime in).

I am a strong advocate of repairing, and reusing and extending the life of your device (indeed my computers date back to 2012 although I have every opportunity to upgrade since I trade new and used Mac laptops), but in some cases you just need to move on. This is one of them. The only way you are going to make you 11-years old computer go fast again is strap it to a skateboard and push it down a steep hill.

And no, unfortunately you're not gonna find a new computer that's going to last you as long the one you're currently using - in my opinion.


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Thanks for your time @rany :)

I'm gonna start with changing the harddisk to an SSD and adding some more RAM memory.

By chance, do you know the maximum amount of RAM memory for this model? If I am not wrong, it was 6GB... DDR3 or DDR4 allowed?

Thank you again, by the way!

If this is indeed your Mac, it would be DDR2 and the maximum supported is 2GB which you already have.

I don't recommend spending money on this computer, I would pay them as part of the cost to upgrade to at least a *newer* model. Not necessarily a NEW model.

Hold that thought!

Sadly neither of the two 1.83 GHz systems here won't support anything newer (OS) and I don't recommend fudging it as the systems RAM resources are limited to 2 GB on the Core Duo and 4 GB on the Core 2 Duo system (review the links above).



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