Building the Ultimate $200 MacBook


– Hey, guys, this is Austin. You may have caught a video where I tried to game on this $200 MacBook, and it actually kind of worked, but today, we’re here with part two, where I’m going to give
it a few choice upgrades. So this is a 2009 white MacBook, outfitted with a blisteringly
fast Core 2 Duo processor, four gigabytes of RAM, and currently NVIDIA
GeForce 9400M graphics. That might not sound impressive, but this guy’s actually
still fully supported on the latest version
of MacOS High Sierra, which got me thinking, can we actually make this
a usable MacBook for 2018? Thankfully, this is back
when Apple made MacBooks that you could kind of work on. So the first thing we see
is our 250 gig hard drive, which that guy’s definitely
gotta get out of here. There’s also the optical drive, which we’re going to be replacing. The battery, it still technically
works in this machine, but it’s pretty old, so
we’re going to replace that. We’ve got the memory. This is not that bad looking to work on. Now, depending on what you’re doing, normally you don’t actually
have to remove the battery but because we just need
to swap it out anyway, it’s just going to make
it a little bit easier to get at some of the
other components here. With that out of the way, now I’m going to remove the hard drive. So, even though the 250
gig hard drive in here actually does work just fine, we’ve got something just
a little faster in mind. Next step is to remove the optical drive. Now, while it is kind
of nice to have it here, I actually want to go with RAID SSDs because you know we do
practical things on the channel. There we go. Now, we just pull this cable out, and we have one optical drive that has been freed from our MacBook. Now we’re ready to start
rebuilding the $200 MacBook. So the main reason to
remove the optical drive is to use an OWC data doubler. The idea here is that
instead of being able to waste all that space on a DVD drive, which honestly, I’m never going to use, we can actually put an
additional SSD inside. The idea here is that
we should just be able to drop it right into place, if I can flip it the correct orientation, and it should just sit like
that and give us our SSD. One of the main things that
makes an older computer like this feel slow is
the mechanical hard drive, but we can fix that with a pair of 500 gigabyte WD blue SSDs. Now one of these by itself
would probably be pretty quick, however, two of these in a RAID, it’s going to be a little goofy. So I think with that, we
have our first SSD installed. All I need to do is put
this bracket back in place, and we can move on to the next one. Perfect, so now we have one terabyte of SSD storage in our lowly $200 MacBook. The next step is to upgrade the memory. So this laptop originally
shipped with two gigs of RAM, and at some point someone
upgraded it to four, however it does technically
support eight gigs of RAM. I’ve got to say, there’s something cool about the idea of taking a MacBook that for most people is kind
of considered old and obsolete and actually giving it some love. It’s kind of weird to
think that in the future new computers really
are not this upgradable. It’s pretty much you get what you get, and that’s all that there is to it. Now we have the fun part. This is a replacement battery. So this original battery is
totally fine, but the issue is because it’s so old and
it has so many cycles, while it does keep a charge, it’s going to last 20-30 minutes, and a lot of MacBooks at this age, the battery’s just completely flat, but the good thing is you can still order
replacements off of Amazon. Now generally speaking, I don’t recommend getting third party batteries for laptops. However, in this case, you’re not going to have any luck getting
one straight from Apple, so this should actually work just fine. Alright, it is moment of truth time. Let’s plug this guy in, in case the battery is
actually dead out of the box. Shows charging. (yells happily) So it should give us the disc error because there’s no OS installed, but that looks like we might actually have a working MacBook. Now comes the fun of
replacing the keyboard. Now there’s nothing
wrong with the keyboard that’s on this right now. However, it’s the older white style, whereas what we ordered here
is a set of MacBook Pro keys, which should look a little cooler. There are a couple of ways
of doing the keyboard swap, but what we did was we just
removed a bunch of the keys and swapped them out with the black ones, and if you really want
to go crazy with it, you actually can replace
the entire keyboard all in one piece,
however, that requires you to basically take apart
the entire computer. If you guys caught our first video, one of the biggest
problems with this guy is that not only is the back
panel a little scratched up, but there’s also a crack in
the actual screen assembly. So while we could actually
swap out the entire shell, that’s also a lot of work, and instead, we can just cover it up. So this is a semi-transparent shell, so first of all, it’s
going to look a lot nicer than the scratched up
bottom that we have here, but in addition to the keyboard cover, which we don’t need, because
we have a legit keyboard now, we also have a bottom shell for it. So while maybe this isn’t
the best-looking MacBook in the world, it’s a lot
better than it was before. But my real question is
what exactly can you do on this MacBook in 2018? After using the MacBook for a week or so, I’ve got to say, it’s
actually surprisingly usable. For normal stuff like
listening to Spotify, writing things up in Google Docs, and juggling a few tabs,
it feels downright snappy. I’ll totally admit using two
SSDs is complete overkill. So I wanted to run them both in RAID, however, the way that High Sierra actually handles RAID right
now is a little bit buggy, so I ended up just installing
the OS to a single drive, but it still makes a huge difference. It’s so much faster. Jumping up to eight gigs of RAM
also makes a big difference. MacOS, especially the
most recent versions, really do appreciate at least eight gigs. One of my big worries going into this was that the Core2 Duo just
wouldn’t be able to hold up, and while yes, a processor
from 2009 in a laptop doesn’t sound too impressive, when you actually run it
through GeekBench, it’s not bad. It’s right up there with
modern day lower-end parts, such as Celerons and Pentiums. Now don’t get me wrong. Throw more than a few
different tasks at it at once, and it will definitely start to slow down, but as long as you treat
it with the respect that a 2009 MacBook deserves, you can definitely get
work done on this guy, and a big part of that
is because it is running a fully up-to-date version
of MacOS High Sierra. Sure, who knows if it’ll ever receive another major MacOS update,
and some apps don’t like the Core2 Duo, but for the most part, it’s just like using a modern MacBook. You’re pretty much getting
all of the features, including iMessage and even Siri. What’s especially impressive is that even some high-end
apps like Final Cut work, and I’m being serious. You can load up some 1080p video, 4k is a little bit too much
for the MacBook to handle, and even the most recent
version of Final Cut 10.4 is actually able to handle it pretty well. Now you will need some patience when it comes to the
render side of things, but again, this is a 2009 MacBook that I bought off of Ebay for $200, and I’m editing actual HD video
inside Final Cut, so yeah. While our keyboard swap
really isn’t for anything besides show, it does still hold up today. So not only does it
have a lot more travel, but it just feels a
little bit more natural than the newer butterfly
switches in current MacBooks. I’ve also been pleasantly
surprised with the trackpad. Somehow, almost ten years later, this is still better than
most Windows laptops. So you’re getting everything you like, including that solid tracking, you’re getting plenty
of multi-touch gestures, like three fingers to
swipe between spaces, and more importantly,
it just feels natural, something that so many
trackpads do not get, especially when you’re
paying $200 for them. Port-wise, while I do miss USB 3.0, Mini DisplayPort is nice
if you want to go out to an external monitor, up
to 2560×1600 in resolution, and MagSafe is still
one of my favorite ways of charging a laptop ever. Even with that fresh battery though, you shouldn’t expect 2018
levels of battery life. So I’m averaging about 3-4
hours with moderate usage. You can get a little bit more if you turn the screen brightness down, but it’s just kind of okay. So should you go out
and load a 2009 MacBook with a terabyte of SSD storage? Probably not. But unlike a lot of our builds,
this actually makes sense. Picking up a used MacBook and
investing in some upgrades like the battery, memory,
as well as an SSD, really will get you an experience that’s going to be better
than a lot of budget laptops. Honestly, I would rather use this. So, what do you guys think about our super awesome
ultimate 2009 MacBook? This has actually taken
a turn I didn’t expect, but it’s actually kind of cool. Anyway, let me know what you guys think, and I will catch you in the next one.

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100 thoughts on “Building the Ultimate $200 MacBook”

  1. xRAREx MSP says:

    I have this macbook, and it's wonderful

  2. Vinylworks. c says:

    Next time tell us the prices and links

  3. heroshyma69 says:

    How is it you're running high Sierra on it?

  4. I Hate My Country says:

    Lol, I got a FREE 2018 MacBook Pro 13 from my parents lol

  5. TechZr says:

    welp… i guess im buying an ssd to put in my 300 euro 2010 macbook pro XD

  6. spitersut5000 413 says:

    Play fortnite on it!!!!

  7. Imo Gaming says:

    It looks almost as if the left shift and caps lock keys are lifted a bit…
    Time stamp: 6:23

  8. Laythyboo says:


  9. JB YOURHIPHOPTv says:

    I have macbook air 1.1 I need update it… any advice link where should I get those ssd, 8gb ram and others things… pls

  10. Mar River says:

    I got a 2009 but how do I activate the full screen on it and it does not have the red , yellow and green circles how do I activate these and lastly how do I clone the hard drive.I am a novice on this !

  11. Brian says:

    trying to download fortnite on a (old) macbook pro. and says [YOUR MACBOOK PRO IS 2 YEARS TO OLD]. and me OOOOOOOOOOOF lmao

  12. Marco Poletti says:

    I have this (ssd 128GB, 4GB Ram)

  13. Francis Librojo says:

    Can we do a 2007 macbook

  14. Kevin Cartlidge says:


  15. Rob says:

    Misleading title, douchebag.

  16. CppEngi says:

    Put a 50 buck t9900 cpu on it? Just gotta know how to desolder

  17. O Hernandez says:

    I have this and you don’t have to spend as much as he did. I bought mine used on eBay for under 100. Did the 8 gig upgrade and ssd for under 100. Though it was just one ssd. Works fine. Fast enough to run Starcraft 2 on lowest settings. Surfing the web, watching movies and running Microsoft word works beautifully. Just don’t expect 4K 😂. Does all the tasks that need to be done reliably without all the viruses of windows or dealing with chrome for the same price range

  18. Naveen Surya says:

    Im in very much need of a Mac, would be really happy if u give away

  19. UwU PinkMilkyWayCat says:

    200$!!!!!! The one I got (witch is the one I use) was 75$!!!!! Mine works just fine without at added things

  20. NM2011CNBCTV18 says:

    My Mac repair guy insists that it can only be upgraded to 6gb but I know from your video that it holds 8. How do I go from 6 to 8 if I diy? Also I have the old track pad w the button — how I change it? Thanks

  21. David Rudley says:

    How much money would it be now??? I would actually buy it from you if I had the money

  22. johnnycappacino says:

    How's the heat working out for that SSD? My i5 MacBook fried 2 SSD's in 2 years and I keep it clean! No ventilation and they can't take the heat!

  23. Adan Guigon says:

    Hey guys this is Austin makes me want to block this channel and yes this is all me hating

  24. TheYootz Media Group says:

    paint over the backlight keys

  25. Michael Neild says:


  26. Portal64 says:

    Really really wished you listed the upgrades in the description so it was easier for people to find and buy them ourselves

  27. Jesse James 10 says:

    Although if it comes down to it it’s a dream for me to have any computer because they’re just too expensive

  28. Grey Shows Gaming says:

    Currently watching on the Mid 2010 MacBook Pro 17 Inch i7 2.66 GHz, planning to switch to a SSD and see what this thing is capable of. For a 9 year old laptop, it is still killing it with speeds, much less me switching over to a SSD.

  29. M3rlin says:

    How could you put Sierra in a 2009 macbook pro ? I cant, doesnt allow it.

  30. Bartek pl says:

    J m poland

  31. dhanu driya says:

    Sometimes austin look likes peytr baelish

  32. Some Person says:

    Or u could just buy a used Mac…

  33. Zafer Guz says:

    I can just water cool my 2015 13.3in MacBook Air and get 4K Videos up and going no problemo. Without watercooling, it is a little choppy.

  34. AJ Arguello says:

    Had a question. I’m passing on my old white 2010 Macbook to my daughter & I want to upgrade the ram to 16gb and add a 1tb ssd. I can only do one upgrade this payday. Which one would make the most difference in performance? Here are the specs…. 2.4ghz Core 2 Duo Processor, 3gb RAM, & Hard Drive 250gb.

  35. Jasper Simkins says:

    Its better than some ultimate tech

  36. Abdullah Ahmad says:

    There's nothing wrong with the old parts but lets replace them anyway, for fun…

  37. icreateapple says:

    i actually got one yesterday and today i updated it to high sierra

  38. Liam Yang says:

    I got a MacBook 2015 ad before this MacBook 2009 video.

  39. Dave OsBeatz says:

    I still got a MacBook late 2008 aluminum body and it’s in mint condition and runs great I updated it a bit and still use it to produce music ..I love that it has a disc drive and more I did same thing with cover and all lol crazy this proves how good Apple is

  40. WLG says:

    Wait… is this Austin?

  41. Ricky Hineman says:

    "New computers really aren't this upgradeable" … that's completely wrong. It's only apple products, specifically macbooks, that aren't upgradeable. Any mainstream Windows-running computers (say Acer, Dell, Asus, etc.), particularly laptops, are extremely upgradeable. It's only apple that has a problem with their customers being in full control of the products they buy

  42. Luka Lameiras says:

    you're the perfect mix between tony stonem from skins and malcolm from malcolm in the middle

  43. Melvin Harris says:

    watching this on my mid 2010 macbook pro 15 inch with the 1050p screen. GREAT laptop for the price, couldnt recommend it more. Upgraded to an SSD and it runs like a brand new macbook pro.

  44. jadhal9280 says:

    Ram is 1600 mhz or 800 mhz ?

  45. Jeanette Moorhead says:

    OMG I’m going to totally do that to my MacBook !

  46. Deruzzi says:

    2010 MacBook Air gang

  47. Henry McCasland-Strachan says:

    Lol why his shoulders so big

  48. Dennis Yeong says:

    I just build a $160 Mid2010 MacBook Pro that I got from Ebay. I added Crucial 120GB SSD, 8GB ram, replace couple of screw. It works perfectly as my daily laptop for word processing, email and youtube.

  49. AlLRun03 says:

    How did you get the case for the ssd and the software

  50. Marc Belmaati says:

    how can a 2009 macbook still be supported on high sierra when my specced out 2009 17 inch macbook pro stopped being supported on El capitan??

  51. stealing content .mp4 says:

    I got one with 2gb of ram for 20$

  52. HARDxCORE MEDIA says:

    Literally my work laptop, found on eBay for around $70 USD. Put in a used 240 SSD with low cycle count and 8GB DSR3 RAM and it works so darn well. Still prefer my early 2015 13” MBPR even through it’s had the issue with the flex cable which has been replaced (such an easy fix btw).

  53. TechID says:

    I have te same mac

  54. TFK Ryzen says:

    my MacBook form 2007 (the first generation) lasts 2 hours 30 minutes and then dies…

  55. ginsengjin says:

    If you're strapped for cash and need a laptop, you can get a core 2 duo laptop for like 30 bucks and add a ssd. The ssd makes a huge difference in performance and for everyday tasks can make a really good budget laptop.

  56. Superjavm says:

    Still usefull than an ipad

  57. Darko Barbu says:


  58. Canaan Perry says:

    Did similar on a mid-2010 Mac Book Pro. Added in a 500gb SSD and 16gb of ram. Runs like an new machine.

  59. 100k subs with no videos challenge says:


  60. Corrupt Human says:

    pimp my MacBook

  61. MultimediaLucario says:

    You can actually load that with up to 16 GB of RAM considering it uses DDR3.

  62. Liam Yang says:

    I lifted up one of these MacBooks
    The next day my hands fell off just because the Macbook 2009 was so heavy.

  63. Ádåm Pieldner says:

    MacBook: 1TB SSD, Core 2Duo


  64. Zaid Khan says:

    I kinda hate how he does the half ass job on the structure such as the keyboard etc. The worst part is mentioning that you "COULD" do this or that amazing work with the half ass video

  65. Brizzy Brizz says:

    So by adding the 2 SSD drives you won't be able to play CD's anymore?

  66. Gallina Brindamour says:

    How can ypu upgrade it to majhavi?

  67. Mk.Jordi Official says:

    Do a motherboards swap

  68. N!klas says:

    I am also interested in doing a build simular to this. One question I got is, if there are any ssd drives that are not compadable with the remaining macbook parts. It would be great if some one with more expierience on this topic could help me out.

  69. Your average gamer says:

    How do you get the os back on there?


    Who else tought there were missing letters on the keyboard seeing the thumbnail?

  71. despacito 2 says:

    Mid 2009 Max RAM?

  72. Ad says:

    What are the links for all of this?

  73. IamJustJP says:

    Anyone know the links?

  74. IamJustJP says:

    What does he mean by there is no os installed?

  75. Teckzus Feralupus says:

    Off topic question: why can't old computers do video editing in 4k? I mean like, couldn't the software lower the resolution while editing, and then improve it via software to 4k while rendering? I'm not familiar with video editing, sorry if this sounds too dumb.

  76. Chris Walesczak says:

    I’d be so happy just to have one. Cool

  77. mahmoud abdelgelil says:

    i want to buy it in any price

  78. S/P/A/C/E/R says:

    But how do you install the iOS on the virgin SSDs?

  79. bladerunner8832 says:

    Wish Macs were this upgradable in 2019 and beyond.

  80. slamdeathgrindmachine says:

    this is back when Apple actually uses video and I wish they would actually keep doing that instead of using them AMD video card if you're going to use an AMD video card issues that AMD processor be done with it

  81. Ahmed Omar says:

    How to wast 5,000$ on the worst laptob

  82. Boba Tea Master says:

    Are you a mama’s boy? Nah I’m a western digital’s boy

  83. Kyle Shephard says:

    Why didn't you do a 2010? Could have gotten 16gb

  84. Papa Ken says:

    Total cost?

  85. jeff zhang says:

    Can you use Xcode on this thing?

  86. remy steel says:

    Which one is the one that u can bring up to date early, mid, or late?

  87. Gabriel Austria says:

    0:17 such a clean mac

  88. Neil Adrian Gomez says:

    hi, is macbook ram the same as windows laptop ram?

  89. Angela Ramos says:

    why did not change the screen of the macbook

  90. Etownmaczilla 1 says:

    Yo your just like me my name is Austin and I love computers

  91. Ronald Campos says:

    Where do you buy a 2009 macbook nowdays?

  92. Kris Cody says:

    I think it's what I'm gonna do to mine. I got an old 2009 that needs a tune up.

  93. Oliver Jackson says:

    What Linus would have done: complained for it being a MacBook
    What Austin DID: Actually gave a frick and didn’t complain and made a good video
    Edit: thanks for the one like, random person!
    Edit 2: thanks for the other 3 likess

  94. mh35 says:

    Watching on my 2010 white macbook 🙂

  95. Asif Shah says:

    Can you build a ultimate hip pro book 6560b ple

  96. Haresh Singh says:

    Be careful. Apple might see this and threaten to sue you because you opened a mac

  97. Gregory Kitchens says:

    I just got one of these white MacBooks for $17. It's the mb403 so it's a pretty good one. I gotta throw a screen, battery and hard drive in it and pump up the ram.
    I also picked up a c2d iMac for $46 nothing wrong with it, and a dead mid 2010 MacBook pro for $70. Won't come on. I got it to swap parts with my current 2010 MacBook pro which is bad as it gets but still works. Screen is cracked, bottom frame is bent so it cracks every trackpad I put in it, speakers are blown replacement battery is nearly over cycle and it kernel panics whenever the Nvidia is used. I'm thinking it'd be best to just get the new one working and retire the old one, it's got better hardware. Anyway just thought I'd share as I have a few Mac projects to play with.

  98. Olof Hansson says:

    Not so good video, why not showing how you did all upgrade?

  99. Eshan Seepersaud says:

    But why?

  100. RubyUmbreon says:

    only switch out w, a, s, and d keys for gaming macbook

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