Model A1181: 1.83, 2, 2.1, 2.13, 2.16, 2.2, or 2.4 GHz Core 2 Duo processor

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Added Memory (now at 4G) but won't run properly


I am helping a friend (former student).

His Early 2008 Macbook has been running like a dog with 10.6.8

Here's the specs:

Block Image

I suggested some added memory and bought some from OWC and installed it.

The machine boots up and recognizes the memory but once an app or two are open it bogs down and has to be crashed. The pinwheel of death...

I PRAM'D it a few times -- no joy.

I took that memory out and got some from another company -- just in case memory was the issue.... same problem. Old memory, it runs fine.

I also booted it from a different hard drive -- that runs into the same problem.

I've tried a few things: cleaned up hard drive, done the SMC powerdown, PRAM'd again and again.

I just can't get it sorted for him.

I don't have a way to do a clean install of the operating system.

Has anyone seen this phenomenon? I'd love to get him back on track so that his machine -- which otherwise is in fine shape -- can speed back up.

I can only get brief access to it as he's in grad school and using it to view Powerpoints and such.

I have a few days before I return the memory chips to the two vendors.

The memory is the RIGHT MEMORY (at least according to the vendors and a check w OWC technical support)

Thanks for any help.

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Chosen Solution

Let's make sure your RAM is correct first:

RAM Type: PC2-5300 DDR2 Min. RAM Speed: 667 MHz

Details: Supports 667 MHz PC2-5300 DDR2 SDRAM. Also see: How do you upgrade the RAM in the MacBook? How much RAM of what type does it support?

Standard RAM: 2 GB Maximum RAM: 6 GB*

Details: 2 GB of RAM is installed as two 1 GB modules, no slots free.

*Apple officially supports a maximum of 4 GB of RAM but third-parties have been able to upgrade the system to 6 GB of RAM using one 2 GB and one 4 GB memory module.

This other hard drive you booted from, did you install it internally or was it external? Was system was on it? Do you have an original system installation DVD to run the AHT from?

Also try booting in Safe Mode by holding down the Shift key and see how it runs.

Personally I would drop in a 500 GB SSHD Seagate to double the perceived speed.

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I thought I'd replied to your answer but it seems to have been lost.

Memory: definitely correct.

I tried SAFE MODE -- no joy.

I tried mixing the old 1G and new 2G chip to make 3G -- no joy.

The other drive was booted from a USB connection. It booted up fine, it could see the 4G of RAM... same thing happened.

I don't have access to original DVD -- darn it.

The SSHD idea was one I tried but the cost is so much more ($30 for memory; $100 or less for new battery which is needed) Would an SSHD get the same improvement as the memory did?

Thanks for your help.


Seagate 500GB Gaming SSHD SATA 8GB NAND SATA 6Gb/s 2.5-Inch Internal Bare Drive (ST500LM000)

I have been very pleased with the speed results on using the SSHD drive. The cost is only $60 so it's reasonably priced.


@mayer - 'peed results' I hope you meant p_iss'a good ;-}


Booting up under the external drive what does Disk Utility tell you about the internal drive?

You may want to clean out some of the old junk on the drive giving it some breathing room. A drive that is better than 75% full starts to slow down (as well as the systems general performance) often the drive gets so frag'ed it can't leverage the virtual RAM it needs. Older system drives really need a good defrag.


speed results


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