MacBook Pro 15" Unibody Upgrades

MacBook Pro Unibody MacBook Pro Unibody (front)

History

This page covers the Unibody MacBook Pro 15" machines. These were introduced in October 2008, and replaced the earlier MacBook Pro 15" 2006-08. All models dealt with on this page have a black keyboard, the 2006-08 models have a silver keyboard. We also have pages on the MacBook Pro 13", MacBook Pro 17" 2006-08 and MacBook Pro 17" Unibody.

In October 2008 the first Unibody 15" MacBook Pro was sold, with a redesigned case, upgraded graphics card, upgraded memory bus, a move to a SATA optical drive and the loss of the FireWire 400 port (FireWire 800 still present). Apple specs here. There was an unnanounced revision in March 2009 with a slightly faster processor, which subsequent testing has shown could also take up to 8GB of RAM, rather than the 6GB of the Early 08.

In June 2009 there was an update which officially increased the maximum memory to 8GB. The ExpressCard expansion slot was also removed. An SD memory card slot was added. Apple specs here.

In April 2010 another updated upgraded the processor options from the Core 2 Duo to the new Intel Core i5 at 2.4GHz or 2.53GHz, or the Intel Core i7 at 2.66GHz. The graphics card was also upgraded. Compatibility on upgrades remained unchanged. Apple specs here.

In February 2011 the new revision moved to quad core Core i7 processors across the range (2.0, 2.2 and 2.3GHz), upgraded the graphics card and added the new Thunderbolt connection. Memory type was also upgraded to DDR3 PC10600 (1333MHz) and the machine can take up to 16GB RAM in 2 x 8GB modules. Apple specs here.

In October 2011 a minor update increased the CPU speed options to a quad Core i7 2.2GHz and 2.4GHz (with a build-to-order 2.5GHz also offered). Compatibility on upgrades remained unchanged. Apple specs here.

In June 2012 the line was updated. A new range of MacBook Pro 15" with Retina display models with a very high-resolution display was launched. An update to the standard machine was also announced, with CPU speeds boosted to options of a 2.3GHz quad core i7 and 2.6GHz quad core i7 (with a build to order option of 2.7GHz). Memory speed was upgraded to DDR3 1600MHz (PC12800), with the maximum RAM being 16GB in 2 x 8GB modules. Specs for this model here.

How to Identify these Machines

The Unibody MacBook Pro 15" can be distinguished from the earlier MacBook Pro 15" 2006-08 model by the colour of the keyboard - models dealt with on this page have a black keyboard, earlier models have a silver one. Other similar MacBook Pros are the MacBook Pro 13", MacBook Pro 17" 2006-08 and MacBook Pro 17" Unibody.

There are multiple revisions of the MacBook Pro 15.4" Unibody , and while compatibility is similar there is a difference in the amount and type of RAM they can use and a few other differences.

To tell the difference between revisions, check the CPU type and speed in System Profiler, and compare to the below.

1st Revision: released October 2008 with a 2.4GHz, 2.53GHz or 2.8GHz Intel Core 2 Duo. This was a major revision of the older MacBook pro 15" with a new case, upgraded memory, a SATA optical drive and no FireWire 400 port (800 only). This MacBook Pro has the SuperDrive slot on the right-hand side, all previous models have the SuperDrive slot in the front. Apple specs here. This was refreshed without announcement with a slightly faster CPU, and unoffically more RAM capacity.

2nd Revision: released June 2009 with a 2.53, 2.66, 2.8 or 3.03GHz Core 2 Duo CPU. Has FireWire 800 across the range, but no FireWire 400. There is no ExpressCard expansion slot on this revision, although there is an SD card slot. Maximum RAM 8GB (2 x 4GB modules) . SuperDrive slot in the right-hand side. Apple specs here.

3rd Revision: released April 2010 with a 2.4GHz or 2.53GHz Core i5, or a 2.66GHz Core i7 CPU and upgraded graphics processing. There is no ExpressCard expansion slot on this revision, although there is an SD card slot. Maximum RAM 8GB (2 x 4GB modules) . SuperDrive slot in the right-hand side. Apple specs here.

4th Revision: released February 2011 with a 2.0, 2.2, or 2.3GHz Quad Core i7 CPU. No ExpressCard slot but there is an SD card slot. The Thunderbolt connection was added in this revision. Memory upgraded to PC10600 DDR3 1333MHz. Maximum RAM 16GB (2 x 8GB). SuperDrive slot in the right-hand side. Apple specs here.

5th Revision: released October 2011 with a 2.2, 2.4 or 2.5GHz Quad Core i7 CPU. No ExpressCard slot but there is an SD card slot, as well as Thunderbolt. Maximum RAM 16GB (2 x 8GB). SuperDrive slot in the right-hand side. Apple specs here.

6th Revision: released June 2012 with a 2.3, 2.6 or 2.7GHz quad core i7. No ExpressCard slot but there is an SD card slot, as well as Thunderbolt. Maximum RAM 16GB (2 x 8GB). SuperDrive slot in the right-hand side. Apple specs here. NB: This is the standard, non-retina model. The retina high-resolution display model does not have upgradeable RAM and storage - specs for it can be found here.

Memory Upgrades

Memory listed here is for the MacBook Pro 15" Unibody. Follow the relevant link for memory for the: MacBook Pro 13", MacBook Pro 15" 2006-08, MacBook Pro 17" 2006-08 or MacBook Pro 17" Unibody.

The Unibody MacBook Pro 15" has 2 memory sockets.

The October 2008 MacBook Pro 15" can use up to 6GB of DDR3 PC3-8500 (1066MHz) in 1 x 4GB and 1 x 2GB SODIMMs (use the OWC kit not the individual modules).

Models released from June 2009 can use up to 8GB of DDR3 PC3-8500 in 2 x 4GB SODIMMs.

Models released from February 2011 can use up to 16GB of DDR3 PC3-10600 in 2 x 8GB SODIMMs.

Models released from June 2012 without the "retina" high-resolution display can use up to 16GB of DDR3 PC3-12800 in 2 x 8GB SODIMMs. However high-resolution "retina" display models cannot have their RAM upgraded.

See the How To Identify this Mac section above for details on how to tell the difference between these revisions.

There is no need to install RAM in pairs in this machine.

Installation Service

INSTALL SERVICE - RAM in an Apple LaptopStock: Available£10.00 + vat (£12.00)

DDR3 1600MHz PC12800 for June 2012 Revisions

Kingston DDR3 PC12800 SODIMM - 4GBStock: Available£32.33 + vat (£38.80)1
Kingston DDR3 PC12800 SODIMM - 8GBStock: Available£58.76 + vat (£70.51)1
OWC DDR3 PC12800 SODIMM - 16GB Kit (2 x 8GB)Stock: Available£94.61 + vat (£113.53)1

DDR3 1333MHz PC10600 for February 2011 June 2012 Revisions

OWC DDR3 PC10600 SODIMM - 8GB Kit (2 x 4GB)Stock: Available£51.02 + vat (£61.22)2
Kingston DDR3 PC10600 SODIMM - 8GBStock: Available£58.76 + vat (£70.51)2
OWC DDR3 PC10600 SODIMM - 16GB Kit (2 x 8GB)Stock: Available£95.45 + vat (£114.54)2

DDR3 1066MHz PC8500 for pre-February 2011 Revisions

Corsair DDR3 PC8500 SODIMM - 4GBStock: Available£35.20 + vat (£42.24)3
OWC DDR3 PC8500 SODIMM - 8GB Kit (2 x 4GB)Stock: Available£51.44 + vat (£61.73)3
1Suitable for models released after June 2012 (memory speed of 1600MHz), which do NOT have the high resolution "retina" display.
2Suitable for models released after February 2011 and before June 2012. These models have a Thunderbolt port and all have quad core i7 CPUs.
3The original Late 08 MacBook Pros can only use up to 6GB (4GB + 2GB), models from the March 2009 refresh can take up to 8GB (2 x 4GB).

Any fitting information below is intended as a guide before purchase ONLY, when fitting these products you should refer to the original manual for your computer, and any instructions that come with the item. Please see this page for more information, or here for information on our fitting service.

Difficulty 3 / 5 - Reasonably easy.

Turn off the machine and remove the power cable and battery. The RAM is accessed by removing the bottom case. See chapter 3 of this Apple user guide (pdf).

See OWC installation videos here.

CD/DVD/Blu-ray Drive Upgrades

The Unibody MacBook Pro 15" use a SATA optical drive unit. We are not currently supplying this product. We do have enclosures that are suitable for optical drives that have been removed (for example to fit a second hard drive) so they can be used externally. Not suitable for the high-resolution June 2012 "retina" models.

Optical Drive Enclosure - USB 2 enclosure for 9.5mm & 12.7mm SATA Optical DrivesStock: Available£20.00 + vat (£24.00)
Internal SATA DVD-RW 9.5mm for most unibody MacBook Pros and MacBooksStock: Available£59.00 + vat (£70.80)1
External USB 2.0 CD/DVD-RW Drive - Bus PoweredStock: Available£29.00 + vat (£34.80)
OWC Slim 6x Portable Blu-Ray Burner, Bus-Powered - Blu Ray, DL DVD+/-RW, CD RW/RStock: Available£104.87 + vat (£125.84)2
1Not compatible with the original Late 2008 revision, will fit in all the rest.
2Blu-Ray is not fully supported in OSX. Disks can be mounted and read, but movie playback requires third party software.

Any fitting information below is intended as a guide before purchase ONLY, when fitting these products you should refer to the original manual for your computer, and any instructions that come with the item. Please see this page for more information, or here for information on our fitting service.

Internal Hard Drive & SSD Upgrades

Hard drives and SSDs listed here are for the MacBook Pro 15" Unibody. Follow the relevant link for memory for the: MacBook Pro 13", MacBook Pro 15" 2006-08, MacBook Pro 17" 2006-08 or MacBook Pro 17" Unibody.

To get an idea of the performance differences between a hard drive and an SSD, see this video from OWC - the SSD used is the OWC Mercuary Extreme Pro 6G which is listed below.

The MacBook Pro 15" Unibody uses a 2.5" SATA optical drive, and can use drives up to a height of 12.5mm. All of the following drives are compatible with all 15" Unibody MacBook Pros except the "retina" display model released in June 2012 which does not have an upgradeable drive (non-retina June 2012 models can be upgraded fine).

If you don't want to fit a new hard drive yourself, you can take advantage of the MacUpgrades Installation Service. Add the installation service from the list below to your cart along with your chosen hard drive. We can also clone your existing hard drive onto the new one, simply add the Clone Original Hard Drive service below to your cart.

Once you have booked the service, send your machine to us, we will carry out the work and return it to you. Alternatively, we do offer a Collection Service with our courier, please see here for details.

Installation Services

INSTALL SERVICE - Internal Drive in a PowerBook or MacBook/MacBook ProStock: Available£29.00 + vat (£34.80)
INSTALL SERVICE - Clone Original Internal DriveStock: Available£25.00 + vat (£30.00)
INSTALL SERVICE - Fit Customer Supplied PartStock: Available£17.50 + vat (£21.00)

Hard Drives Spinning at 5400RPM

Western Digital Scorpio Blue 500GB 2.5" 7mm SATA 5400RPMStock: Available£41.07 + vat (£49.28)
Seagate Laptop Hard Drive 2TB 2.5in SATA 600 5400RPMStock: Available£78.87 + vat (£94.64)

Hard Drives Spinning at 7200RPM

Western Digital Scorpio Black 500GB 2.5" SATA 7200RPMStock: Available£54.90 + vat (£65.88)
Hitachi Travelstar 7K1000 1TB 2.5" SATA 600 7200RPMStock: Available£56.10 + vat (£67.32)

Hard Drive/SSD Hybrids

Seagate FireCuda 5400RPM 1TB 2.5" HYBRID 8GB SSDStock: Available£59.59 + vat (£71.51)
Seagate FireCuda 5400RPM 2TB 2.5" HYBRID 8GB SSDStock: Available£93.55 + vat (£112.26)

Internal Solid State Disk (SSD) Drives

OWC Mercury 120GB Electra 3G 2.5" SATA 300 SSDStock: Available£46.99 + vat (£56.39)1
OWC Mercury 250GB Electra 3G 2.5" SATA 300 SSDStock: Available£70.66 + vat (£84.79)1
OWC Mercury 500GB Electra 3G 2.5" SATA 300 SSDStock: Available£129.45 + vat (£155.34)1
OWC Mercury 120GB Extreme Pro 6G 2.5 SSD SATA 600 Read 559MB/s Write 527MB/sStock: Special Order£81.13 + vat (£97.36)2
OWC Mercury 480GB Extreme Pro 6G 2.5 SSD SATA 600 Read 559MB/s Write 527MB/sStock: Special Order£174.66 + vat (£209.59)2
Samsung 860 EVO 250GB SSD SATA 600Stock: Available£64.35 + vat (£77.22)
Samsung 860 EVO 500GB SSD SATA 600Stock: Available£89.60 + vat (£107.52)
Samsung 860 EVO 1TB SSD SATA 600Stock: Available£194.88 + vat (£233.86)
Samsung 860 EVO 2TB SSD SATA 600Stock: Special Order£381.72 + vat (£458.06)
Samsung 860 EVO 4TB SSD SATA 600Stock: Special Order£825.93 + vat (£991.12)

HDD Mounts for Optical Bay

Optical Drive Bay Hard Drive Caddy SATA - SATA for 9.5mm DrivesStock: Available£19.00 + vat (£22.80)
Optical Drive Bay Hard Drive Caddy 9.5mm SATA + Enclosure for Optical DriveStock: Available£32.00 + vat (£38.40)
1Recommended for models up to the Early 2011 (models without Thunderbolt). These have a SATA 300 controller.
2Recommended for the Early 2011 model and later (models with Thunderbolt). These have a SATA 600 controller.

Any fitting information below is intended as a guide before purchase ONLY, when fitting these products you should refer to the original manual for your computer, and any instructions that come with the item. Please see this page for more information, or here for information on our fitting service.

Unlike the earlier MacBook Pro 15" machines, the Unibody models are designed for user replacement of the hard drive. For instructions, see chapter 3 of this Apple user guide (pdf).

See OWC installation videos here.

Graphics Cards and Displays

The graphics card in the MacBook Pro is part of the main logic board, and is therefore not replaceable.

Replace C9560 Tantalum Capacitor on MacBook Pro 2010 15inStock: Available£120.00 + vat (£144.00)1
REPAIR SERVICE - Graphics Card Reflow for MacBook Pro 2011 Dual GPU ModelsStock: Available£85.00 + vat (£102.00)2
REPAIR SERVICE - Replace LCD Panel on any MacBook Pro Unibody with glossy display - Fitting & PartStock: Available£169.00 + vat (£202.80)
REPAIR SERVICE - Replacement Glass Panel for any MacBook Pro Unibody - Fitting & PartStock: Available£89.00 + vat (£106.80)
REPAIR SERVICE - Replacement Glass and LCD Panel for any MacBook Pro Unibody with glossy display - Fitting & PartsStock: Available£189.00 + vat (£226.80)
1For MacBook Pro 15in 2010.
2For MacBook Pro 2011 dual graphics cards models with graphics card issue.

Any fitting information below is intended as a guide before purchase ONLY, when fitting these products you should refer to the original manual for your computer, and any instructions that come with the item. Please see this page for more information, or here for information on our fitting service.

Expansion Card Upgrades

The following expansion cards are available. NB ExpressCard expansion cards are only suitable for pre-June 2009 models, or models with a Thunderbolt port when using a Thunderbolt to ExpressCard adapter.

INSTALL SERVICE - Expansion Slot Card in a Laptop MacStock: Available£15.00 + vat (£18.00)
Sonnet Tempo eSata Edge Express 34 Card 1 port with MultiplierStock: Special Order£19.00 + vat (£22.80)1
Sonnet Tempo SATA Pro 6Gb/s ExpressCard/34 2 port eSATA CardStock: Unavailable£80.00 + vat (£96.00)2
Sonnet 4 port USB 2.0 ExpressCard/34Stock: Special Order£23.00 + vat (£27.60)2
Sonnet FireWire 800 ExpressCard/34 (2-port FireWire 800)Stock: Special Order£48.00 + vat (£57.60)2
Sonnet FireWire/USB 2.0 ExpressCard/34 (2-port FireWire 400 and 1-port USB 2.0)Stock: Available£40.00 + vat (£48.00)2
1Not compatible with models released from June 2009, since these do not have an ExpressCard expansion slot. Not compatible with Windows Vista or Windows 7 on Unibody MacBook Pros.
2Not compatible with models released from June 2009, since these do not have an ExpressCard expansion slot.

Any fitting information below is intended as a guide before purchase ONLY, when fitting these products you should refer to the original manual for your computer, and any instructions that come with the item. Please see this page for more information, or here for information on our fitting service.

Difficulty 1 / 5 - Very Easy (Express34 slot only).

Install any supplied software, turn off the machine and insert the ExpressCard into the socket on the machine.

Restart machine and away you go.

Keyboards & Mice

The following keyboards and mice are compatible with this Mac.

Power Supplies & Batteries

Listed below are power supplies, batteries and related products we supply for this Mac.

Third Party 85W AC adapter for MacBook/MacBook ProStock: Available£39.00 + vat (£46.80)
Battery for MacBook Pro 15" Unibody Late 2008Stock: Available£59.00 + vat (£70.80)1
NewerTech Battery for MacBook Pro 15" Unibody Mid 2009 & Mid 2010Stock: Available£89.00 + vat (£106.80)2
Battery for MacBook Pro 15" Unibody (2011 and Later)Stock: Special Order£69.00 + vat (£82.80)3
NewerTech Battery for MacBook Pro 15" Unibody 2011Stock: Available£82.50 + vat (£99.00)3
1For the 1st revision (Late 2008) only. Unibody 15" models which have an ExpressCard slot and no SD card slot.
2For 2nd (Mid 2009) and 3rd (Mid 2010) models. Modes which have an SD card slot and no ExpressCard slot, and use 1066MHz DDR3 PC8500 RAM.
3For the 2011 and later revisions of the MacBook Pro 15in Unibody (non Retina display).

Any fitting information below is intended as a guide before purchase ONLY, when fitting these products you should refer to the original manual for your computer, and any instructions that come with the item. Please see this page for more information, or here for information on our fitting service.

Cables & Tools

Listed below are cables, tools and related products we supply for this Mac.

Cables & Adaptors

OWC Thunderbolt 2 Dock - Thunderbolt to Firewire 800, USB 3.0, Gigabit Ethernet, HDMI and Audio in/outStock: Available£198.05 + vat (£237.66)1
Thunderbolt 2 Cable (White) - 1mStock: Available£31.78 + vat (£38.14)2
OWC Thunderbolt 2 Cable (Black) - 3mStock: Special Order£39.24 + vat (£47.09)2
USB 2 to 2.5in SATA Drive Cable (for accessing a 2.5in SATA drive via USB)Stock: Available£6.49 + vat (£7.79)
FireWire 400 - 800 Adaptor Cable M/M (6pin - 9pin) 6 ftStock: Available£11.00 + vat (£13.20)
Mini DisplayPort - VGA M/F Video AdaptorStock: Available£15.72 + vat (£18.86)3
Mini DisplayPort - DVI M/F Passive Video AdaptorStock: Available£12.50 + vat (£15.00)3
Mini DisplayPort - DVI M/F Active Video AdaptorStock: Available£28.00 + vat (£33.60)3
Mini DisplayPort - HDMI M/F Passive AdaptorStock: Available£14.00 + vat (£16.80)3
Mini DisplayPort - HDMI M/F Active AdaptorStock: Available£26.15 + vat (£31.38)3

Tools

Torx Screwdriver Set - 20mm T6 T7 T8 T9 T10Stock: Available£5.00 + vat (£6.00)
Screwdriver Set - 20mm Phillips #00, #0, #1 - Flat 1.4mm, 1.8mm, 2.4mmStock: Available£5.00 + vat (£6.00)
Anti Static Wrist StrapStock: Available£7.50 + vat (£9.00)
1Only for models with a Thunderbolt port, running OSX 10.9.5 or later.
2Only suitable for models with a Thunderbolt port.
3For models with a Mini DisplayPort video output port.

External Drives & Enclosures

The Unibody MacBook pro 15 has FireWire 800 and USB 2 connection types. The February 2011 model also has Thunderbolt. Models prior to June 2009 can have additional connectivity types added via an expansion card.

3.5" USB 3 External Drives

WD Elements USB 3 (USB 2 compatible) 3.5in External HDD - 2TBStock: Available£83.37 + vat (£100.04)
WD Elements USB 3 (USB 2 compatible) 3.5in External HDD - 4TBStock: Available£118.10 + vat (£141.72)

2.5" USB 3.0 External Drives

Buffalo MiniStation 1TB USB 3.0 (USB 2.0 compatible) 2.5in Hard DriveStock: Available£55.03 + vat (£66.04)
OWC Envoy Pro EX 960GB External USB 3.0 SSDStock: Unavailable£370.54 + vat (£444.65)1

Docking Stations

NewerTech Voyager Q Quad Interface 2.5 & 3.5 SATA Hard Drive Docking StationStock: Special Order£64.77 + vat (£77.72)

Thunderbolt Enclosures

3.5" USB Enclosures

Startech USB 3.0 Enclosure for 3.5in SATA DrivesStock: Available£35.79 + vat (£42.95)

2.5" USB Enclosures

Startech USB 3.0 (USB 2 compatible) Enclosure for 2.5in SATA Drive with UASPStock: Available£19.02 + vat (£22.82)

Enclosures for Apple PCIe SSDs

OWC Envoy Pro for Mid 2013 - 2015 MacBook Pro, MacBook Air, Mac Pro SSDsStock: Special Order£82.98 + vat (£99.58)2
1Only compatible with models with a USB 3 port.
2For MacBook Pro Retina Late 2013 - Mid 2015 revisions.

Complete Machines - Refurbished

Any complete machines of this type or similar that we have for sale are listed here. Please note that these are refurbished models with a 3 month warranty, and that delivery is likely to take 3 - 5 working days. These can be purchased online with the standard website courier delivery charge for the mainland UK only. Please contact us for a quote on shipping to other areas.

There are none available.

Repair Services for this Mac

Here are the various repair services we offer for this Mac. You can have us take the machine in for evaluation, or book a fixed-price repair if you already know what the fault is and the service is listed below (for services without parts, please see the relevant tab on this page for compatible parts that we sell). If you know what the fault is, but we don't have a fixed-price repair listed below, please contact us for a quote.

Evaluation Services

Mac Repair - Evaluation ServiceStock: Available£39.00 + vat (£46.80)

Repair Services

Mac Laptop Logic Board Repair Service - NO FIX, NO FEE!Stock: Available£150.00 + vat (£180.00)
Apple Mac Logic Board Connector ReplacementStock: Available£150.00 + vat (£180.00)
Replace C9560 Tantalum Capacitor on MacBook Pro 2010 15inStock: Available£120.00 + vat (£144.00)1
REPAIR SERVICE - Graphics Card Reflow for MacBook Pro 2011 Dual GPU ModelsStock: Available£85.00 + vat (£102.00)2
REPAIR SERVICE - Replace LCD Panel on any MacBook Pro Unibody with glossy display - Fitting & PartStock: Available£169.00 + vat (£202.80)
REPAIR SERVICE - Replacement Glass Panel for any MacBook Pro Unibody - Fitting & PartStock: Available£89.00 + vat (£106.80)
REPAIR SERVICE - Replacement Glass and LCD Panel for any MacBook Pro Unibody with glossy display - Fitting & PartsStock: Available£189.00 + vat (£226.80)

Installation Services (parts not included)

Collection ServiceStock: Available£24.68 + vat (£29.62)
INSTALL SERVICE - Internal Drive in a PowerBook or MacBook/MacBook ProStock: Available£29.00 + vat (£34.80)
INSTALL SERVICE - Clone Original Internal DriveStock: Available£25.00 + vat (£30.00)
INSTALL SERVICE - RAM in an Apple LaptopStock: Available£10.00 + vat (£12.00)
INSTALL SERVICE - Expansion Slot Card in a Laptop MacStock: Available£15.00 + vat (£18.00)
1For MacBook Pro 15in 2010.
2For MacBook Pro 2011 dual graphics cards models with graphics card issue.