1 pointreplacing the boot disk with an SSD will make the mac feel like a new thing. ditch the optical dive replacing it with a sled to hold a spinning disk. move your user folder to the spinning disk using the "click the user name with the options key held down" then it to your spinning disk folder. this lets you use a "tiny" SSD instead of some large expensive one. when SSDs cost lots more money I config'd Macs using the hybrid of disks like I suggested. using a tiny 32 or 64G as a boot SSD then using the spinning disk as the home for applications, music, and all the user data. I never wrote up the steps but essentially you make a SYMLINK from the SSD boot to /Applications on the bigger hard drive. there are tools that do this in a GUI or you can CLI an incantation. some of the 2009 MBPs actually support 16G memory. YMMV. I just up'd a 2009 white Mac Book and it worked. the idea was that if the RAM didn't work I was going to send it back exchanging it for something else or pay the 15% restock fee shrugging "we had to try." either way it was a cheap enough experiment with no downside to either outcome.
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