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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Absolutely do not replace the logic board, that is a very fast logic board as it is and you have fast Ram as well, all you need to do is put a solid state hard drive in it and call it a day. You don't even need to do the Dual raid setup and it would still be 15 to 20 times faster than it is now but rating a couple of solid state drives would certainly give you even more but it's not worth buying a new logic board for a very very unnoticeable only slight boost in performance. The solid state hard drive will give you much more performance by a long shot then replacing the board with an i7 processor that's going to cost you three times as much as a couple of hard drives and a mounting bracket for the second one. So definitely leave the board alone you also risk of damaging the unit if you don't know how to replace the board anyway and you definitely don't want to do that so just slap a large solid state hard drive in it or two of them if you want to give up the DVD drive and call it a day that thing will scream with a solid state hard drive in it and it'll scream even faster with two of them at only a third of the cost. If you left the hard drive in it and replaced the board to an i7 board you'll barely notice the difference whatsoever. Do NOT update the board...total waste if money and if you damage something then you have to replace it and you still won't see a boost in performance you'll simply only get it running again and you'll still want more performance and end up putting a solid state hard drive in it anyway so just do that from the get-go. The higher end logic board might give you a 10% increase if that wear as a solid state hard drive will give you more like a 40% increase in speed at least.

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