Released June 2012, Model A1278. Intel processor with Turbo Boost, Up to 512 MB DDR5 Video RAM

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How to replace the logic board / CPU?

hey there,

I have just ordered a MBP mid 2012 (non Retina) refurbished with 16GB of RAM and a 500GB SSD. It was the best deal I could get for my money and the included upgrades should give it a nice boost, I guess.

However, it only has a i5 dual core @ 2,5GHZ...now I know that in order to upgrade the CPU (if it is at all possible), I need to change the whole logic board.

Question is: is that possible (found contradictory statements on the web) and if so, how to I know which logic boards I can use?

thanks for all your help

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First lets work with some facts, here's the IFIXIT guide to replace the systems logic board: MacBook Pro 13" Unibody Mid 2012 Logic Board Replacement. If you jump down to Step 27 you can see the CPU is firmly attached to the logic board (soldered) so swapping it out is just not possible without swapping out the entire logic board.

As to what boards fit, its best to stay within the model series. In your case this would be the MacBookPro9,2 Series. As you can see this series had only two systems a i5 (2.5 GHz) and a i7 (2.9 GHz).

Frankly, I think the amount of improvement is not enough to warrant swapping it out. I can think better things like upgrading your current HD to a SSHD hybrid or even a SSD drive either would be a better investment.

But before you do anything use your system as is it might meet your needs as is!

You may want to run disk utility to make sure the permissions and drive are in good shape, then do some system house cleaning deleting the old cache and log files. Lastly consider defrag'ing the drive as over time they do get fragmented. You should try to leave 1/4 to 1/3 of the drive free for the OS to do its thing.

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You won't notice the difference in CPU, but you will be spending $450-$600 on it!

You are looking at $500 to $600 to buy a known good board with that CPU. While you can go from a 2.5 i5 to a 2.9 i7, this will make no difference in day to day tasks - only long video encodes. Going from dual core to quad core is noticeable, going from fast dual core to slightly faster dual core in the same processor family will barely be noticeable.

For day to day tasks, you can buy two SSDs and put them in RAID 0. For less than half the money of a replacement logic board your laptop will scream as if it were a brand new retina with PCI express SSD. 250 GB SSDs are $100 now so two of the plus a caddy to put the 2nd SSD in the optical drive bay is $230 total. With two SSDs in RAID 0, you will get almost double the read/write speeds of a single SSD - you will have nearly 1000 megabytes per SECOND read and write speed on your laptop. This is in contrast to the junky 43 to 85 megabytes per second you get now, with all the latency from mechanical spinning hardware.

Weighing the options, you can get either a 1000% increase in storage bandwidth which you are using nonstop for $230, or a 20% improvement in processor speed which you rarely use to even half capacity for $600. I know which I would go with!!

Save the money and get yourself a much faster machine by dumping the mechanical storage. When 100+ track logic sessions, large video projects, and your operating system all load in eight seconds or less you will never go back to a spinning hard drive - and this is all possible with a 3 year old dual core processor when the storage is capable of keeping up with the processor!

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