I can’t believe it’s been nearly 7 years since I bought my mid-2009 MacBook Pro brand new from the Apple Store in January 2010. It’s a top-end 13” model, which came with the 2.53 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo processor, 4GB of RAM, 512mb HDD, and a NVIDIA GeForce 9400M 256 MB GPU. It was starting to become very slow and lethargic about two and a half years ago, so I threw 256MB SSD and 4 more GB of RAM into it and it’s like a brand new machine. It runs Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator with ease, and I’ve been doing 3d modeling and rendering on it since day one with FormZ. It’s been the perfect tool to help me build my businesses!
It’s held up flawlessly over the past 7 years, never once having an issue with it. Well, there was that time when I was upgrading the OS a few years ago and it crashed half way through the install. I thought it was all over at that point, but luckily I managed to bring her back to life and she’s been running trouble free ever since.
There’s so much to love about this aluminum-body MacBook Pro, but I’d like to highlight the three things that still make me grin from ear to ear about it today:
Reason 1: The ports!
Ok, that was an easy one, I know. But really, I never knew how much I love the ports in this thing until Apple unveiled the 2016 MacBook Pro last month. That new device has eliminated everything except for 4 USB-C ports and a headphone jack. Seriously. That’s all we get in Apple’s new flagship computing device.
I use nearly all the ports on my 2009 MacBook Pro on a daily basis. I take a lot of photos and shoot a lot of video so the SD card slot is very important to me. I also listen to my headphones while working, as well as running backups to my external HD via the USB 2 ports. The mini-display port comes in handy for connecting to projectors in the conference rooms at work, but I will admit that I can live without FireWire and the LAN connection. The MagSafe power cord connection is magical, however. It boggles my mind that Apple chose to eliminate that in their new notebook line.
Reason 2: The power
This MacBook Pro is 7 years old, and I’m still doing 3d modeling and rendering on it with no issues nearly every day. No, I’m not rendering Hollywood movies in 4k or anything like that, but I am working with highly detailed models rendered out at very high resolutions (5000×3750).
Moderate photo edits in Photoshop are also possible, and I’m not having any issues editing and rendering 1080p HD video in Premiere Pro.
Keep in mind that I did upgrade to an SSD and maxed out the RAM to 8GB three years ago, but that made all the difference in the world to keep this little laptop chugging on for so long.
Reason 3: The size
This isn’t the smallest laptop that Apple makes (the Air, and even the new MacBook hold that honor), but I’m still amazed that something this small can do so much. Apple is a master at making things small, and yes sometimes they go too far, but the balance of size vs. power is just about perfect with this version of the MacBook Pro. It is a bit heavy compared to the laptop standards of today, but I like that bit of weight – it helps to make it feel like a precision piece of machinery.
For anyone looking to pick up a used mid-2009 MacBook Pro, I can’t recommend it enough. Assuming it has an SSD in it with 8GB of RAM, it’s more than powerful enough for light to moderate design work. Running office apps are not an issue for this thing obviously, and it doesn’t lag at all when running Microsoft Office.
I’d plan on keeping this thing for several more years if I wasn’t in need of a machine that I can edit 4K video with. There’s no way this little guy can handle that (it even chokes on 60fps 1080p footage) so unfortunately it’s going to be replaced very soon. That doesn’t mean I’m getting rid of it though. This is the best computer I’ve ever owned so you can bet I’m keeping it around as a spare machine when the new one comes in.