Can I swap out my Logic Board for a later version?

I have an early 2011 Macbook Pro with a 2.3ghz Processor, an Intel HD 3000 Graphics Card, 250GB Samsung EVO SSD, and 8GB 1333Mhz DDR3 Ram.

I had a voltage sensor error with the Apple Hardware test, and I took my Macbook to a Genius Bar last week. They concluded after an overnight test that I had some corrosion or 'failing' Voltage Sensor, which concurrently caused a 360% CPU Kernel_Task spike, rendering the Macbook useless when the MagSafe AC adapter was disconnected.

However, after the Genius Bar cleaned out my Macbook interior, the Kernel_Task issue has resolved itself. Though I am weary of the Logic Board essentially failing, instead of replacing the macbook with the same version Logic board, I was wondering if I could possibly install a Early 2011 with a better processor, Mid to Late 2011 or Mid 2012 Logic Board? Even to go as far to ask if I could get a logic board with a dedicated GPU; additionally, if it would be compatible with my macbook. If I am spending $500+ CAD, I rather upgrade my logic board if possible.

Cheers, and thank you!

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First thing here is the 13" (pre-retina) models don't offer dual graphic services only Intel's imbedded HD Graphics 3000 or 4000 services (part of the CPU chip).

As to swapping logic boards It's always smart to stick within the model series. As an example your system is part of this series: MacBookPro8,1.

The problems you can face as an example is the mounting studs can be in a different location preventing the logic board to lineup. Sometimes the ports are changed (FireWire to Thunderbolt) so it really can't be used.

I would be careful using one of the MacBookPro9,2 logic boards while the ports lineup, the heatsink is different. I don't know of anyone attempting putting in this series board in the older case.

Update (06/11/2016)

Deciding on which board to go with is never easy. One needs to look at ones wallet as well as what it needed.

The best thing is to get a comparison using a known test suite here's what EveryMac has:

Processors (2 Cores) - i5 2.3 GHz - i7 2.8 GHz

  • Geekbench 2 32 - 5883 - 6973
  • Geekbench 2 64 - 6448 - 7722
  • Geekbench 3 SC 32 - 2189 - 2553
  • Geekbench 3 MC 32 - 4335 - 5082
  • Geekbench 3 SC 64 - 2375 - 2769
  • Geekbench 3 MC 64 - 4794 - 5655

As you can see there is an improvement in performance. So from the face of it you do gain, but, the balance of the systems other elements as well as the OS and the apps being used will all have a bearing here.

In your case you've already upgraded to a SSD so that a good start. Next is the RAM 8 GB maybe on the lean side depending on what you are up to. The next is the level of the OS I would make sure to be at Mavericks or newer. Last thing here is the apps you are running. Only you can decide if the investment is worth it.

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So are you saying that I could switch to a Late 2011 Macbook pro with a 2.8 ghz CPU? in my early 2011 macbook pro ? 13"?


Yes, it would need to be this one: MacBook Pro 13" 2.8 GHz i7 ( Late 2011)


What would be the benefit of replacing it with that one instead of sticking to the original i5 2.3ghz? In terms of performance etc.


I'm not familiar with the numbers above in the Geekbench, could you possibly clarify what they mean, other than one being higher and the others lower?


Boy! I could write a book on it ;-} I think the better way to understand all of this is you want to dig deeper is to read up on Geek Bench} and here's anther good source: [

But simply put the architecture of the chip and the faster clocking of the chip can offer more performance (higher number). So between these two systems (i5 & i7) the i7 is a better architecture and in this case it also runs just a bit faster.

So the i7 board is the better board but! It also cost more and the balance of the other elements of the system also effect performance so it you have to think about them as well here. If you are not a power user I would stick with the original board. If I was doing a lot of picture or video editing I would go with the faster board.

But you should add more memory to really gain better performance with either choice.


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I have the opportunity to buy for a few bucks an old Early 2011 MacBookPro (model 8,1) which case and keyboard are really messed up. If possibile, I would like to swap the internals in my older MacBookPro 5,2 (Mid 2009) 13" MacBook Pro. Is it possible?

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