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Unibody MacBook Pro Q&A (MacBook Pro FAQ) @ EveryMac.com

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EveryMac.com's "Unibody" MacBook Pro Q&A answers questions about all MacBook Pro models that are milled from a single piece of aluminum but that do not have a "Retina" display.

13-Inch, 15-Inch and 17-Inch Unibody MacBook Pro Models

Apple refers to these "pre-Retina" systems as the Late 2008, Early 2009, Mid-2009, Mid-2010, Early 2011, Late 2011, and Mid-2012 MacBook Pro models. Regardless of the year, all 13-Inch models share model number A1278, all 15-Inch models share model number A1286, and all 17-Inch models share model number A1297.

Questions range from "What are the differences between the 'Mid-2012' MacBook Pro models?" to "How do you upgrade the RAM in the 'Mid-2009' through 'Mid-2012' MacBook Pro models? How much RAM does each model actually support?" and everything in between.

Please note that the "Mid-2012" 13-Inch MacBook Pro model is shipping currently whereas all other models have been discontinued.

Other Similar Mac Notebook FAQs:

Pre-Unibody MacBook Pro
MacBook Pro Q&A
Pre-Unibody, 2006-2009
Retina MacBook Pro
Retina MacBook Pro Q&A

2012-Present
Unibody MacBook
Unibody MacBook Q&A

Unique ID: MacBook5,1


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Most Frequently Asked Unibody MacBook Pro Q&As:

What are all the differences between the "Mid-2012" 13-Inch and 15-Inch MacBook Pro models? Which is best for my needs?

How fast are the "Mid-2012" 13-Inch and 15-Inch MacBook Pro models compared to one another? How fast are they compared to the models each replaced?

Is it possible to switch between graphics processors on the "Unibody" MacBook Pro models manually? Is it possible to use both graphics processors simultaneously for better performance?

What are the major differences between the "regular" 13-Inch MacBook Pro, the 13-Inch Retina Display MacBook Pro, and the 13-Inch MacBook Air? Which is best for me?

How do you upgrade the RAM in the "Mid-2009" through "Mid-2012" MacBook Pro models? What type of RAM do they use? How much RAM does each model actually support?

What are all the differences between the "Mid-2012" 13-Inch and 15-Inch MacBook Pro models and the "Late 2011" MacBook Pro models that they replaced?

What are the "pros and cons" of the "Mid-2012" MacBook Pro models? Is one right for me?

Are there any adapters or "hacks" that make it possible to connect a second external display to a MacBook, MacBook Air, or MacBook Pro model?

How do you upgrade the hard drive in the "Mid-2009" through "Mid-2012" MacBook Pro models? What type of hard drive do these models support? How do you replace the hard drive with an SSD?

What is the "real-world" battery life of the "Mid-2012" 13-Inch and 15-Inch MacBook Pro models?

Software Compatibility Q&As:

What version of Mac OS X is pre-installed on the "Unibody" MacBook Pro models?

Can the "Unibody" MacBook Pro run Mac OS 9/Classic applications?

Can the "Unibody" MacBook Pro run Windows?

Can the "Unibody" MacBook Pro run Linux?

Comparison & Performance Q&As (Mid-2012 - 13" & 15"):

What are all the differences between the "Mid-2012" 13-Inch and 15-Inch MacBook Pro models? Which is best for my needs?

What are all the differences between the "Mid-2012" 13-Inch and 15-Inch MacBook Pro models and the "Late 2011" MacBook Pro models that they replaced?

What are all the differences between the "Mid-2012" regular MacBook Pro and Retina Display-equipped MacBook Pro? Which is best for me?

What are the major differences between the "regular" 13-Inch MacBook Pro, the 13-Inch Retina Display MacBook Pro, and the 13-Inch MacBook Air? Which is best for me?

How fast are the "Mid-2012" 13-Inch and 15-Inch MacBook Pro models compared to one another? How fast are they compared to the models each replaced?

How much faster are the "Mid-2012" MacBook Pro models custom configured with faster processors than the stock models? Is the extra performance worth the extra cost?

What is the "real-world" battery life of the "Mid-2012" 13-Inch and 15-Inch MacBook Pro models?

What are the "pros and cons" of the "Mid-2012" MacBook Pro models? Is one right for my needs?

Comparison & Performance Q&As (Late 2011 - 13, 15, 17"):

What are all the differences between the "Late 2011" 13-Inch, 15-Inch, and 17-Inch MacBook Pro models? Which is best for my needs?

What are all the differences between the "Late 2011" 13-Inch, 15-Inch, and 17-Inch MacBook Pro models and the "Early 2011" MacBook Pro models that they replaced?

What are all the differences between the "Late 2011" 13-Inch MacBook Pro and the "Mid-2011" MacBook Air? Which is best for me?

How fast are the "Late 2011" 13-Inch, 15-Inch, and 17-Inch MacBook Pro models compared to one another? How fast are they compared to the models each replaced?

How much faster are the "Late 2011" MacBook Pro models custom configured with faster processors than the stock models? Is the extra performance worth the extra cost?

What is the "real-world" battery life of the "Early 2011" and "Late 2011"13-Inch, 15-Inch, and 17-Inch MacBook Pro models? How does the battery life of each compare to the previous "Mid-2010" MacBook Pro line?

What are the "pros and cons" of the "Late 2011" MacBook Pro models? Is one right for my needs?

Comparison & Performance Q&As (Early 2011 - 13, 15, 17"):

What are the differences between the "Early 2011" 13-Inch, 15-Inch, and 17-Inch MacBook Pro models? Which is best for my needs?

What are the differences between the "Early 2011" 13-Inch, 15-Inch, and 17-Inch MacBook Pro models and the "Mid-2010" MacBook Pro models that they replaced?

What are the differences between the "Early 2011" 13-Inch MacBook Pro and the "Late 2010" MacBook Air and entry-level White "Mid-2010" MacBook available when the "Early 2011" MacBook Pro was released?

How fast are the "Early 2011" 13-Inch, 15-Inch, and 17-Inch MacBook Pro models compared to one another? How fast are they compared to the models each replaced?

What is the "real-world" battery life of the "Early 2011" 13-Inch, 15-Inch, and 17-Inch MacBook Pro models? How does the battery life of each compare to the model each replaced?

What are the "pros and cons" of the "Early 2011" MacBook Pro models? Is one right for my needs?

Comparison & Performance Q&As (Mid-2010 - 13, 15, 17"):

What are the differences between the "Mid-2010" 13-Inch, 15-Inch, and 17-Inch MacBook Pro models? Which is best for my needs?

What are the differences between the "Mid-2010" 13-Inch, 15-Inch, and 17-Inch MacBook Pro models and the "Mid-2009" MacBook Pro models that they replaced?

What are the differences between the "Mid-2010" 13-Inch MacBook Pro and the also 13-Inch White "Mid-2010" MacBook and "Mid-2009" MacBook Air models? Which is best for me?

How fast are the "Mid-2010" 13-Inch, 15-Inch, and 17-Inch MacBook Pro models compared to one another? How fast are they compared to the models each replaced?

What is the "real-world" battery life of the "Mid-2010" 13-Inch, 15-Inch, and 17-Inch MacBook Pro models? How does the battery life of each compare to the model each replaced?

What are the "pros and cons" of the "Mid-2010" MacBook Pro models? Is one right for my needs?

Comparison & Performance Q&As (Mid-2009 - 13, 15, 17"):

What are the differences between the "Mid-2009" 13-Inch, 15-Inch, and 17-Inch MacBook Pro Core 2 Duo models?

What are the differences between the "SD/Firewire 800 - Mid-2009" 13-Inch MacBook Pro Core 2 Duo models and the "Late 2008/Unibody" non-Pro MacBook notebooks that they replaced?

What are the differences between the "SD - Mid-2009" 15-Inch MacBook Pro Core 2 Duo models and the "Late 2008/Unibody" MacBook Pro notebooks that they replaced?

What are the differences between the "Mid-2009" 17-Inch MacBook Pro Core 2 Duo and the "Early 2009" MacBook Pro notebook that it replaced?

How fast are the "Mid-2009" 13-Inch, 15-Inch, and 17-Inch MacBook Pro Core 2 Duo models compared to one another? How fast are they compared to the models each replaced?

What is the "real-world" battery life of the "Mid-2009" 13-Inch, 15-Inch, and 17-Inch MacBook Pro Core 2 Duo models? How does the battery life of each compare to the model each replaced?

What are the "pros and cons" of the "Mid-2009" MacBook Pro models? Is one right for my needs?

Comparison & Performance Q&As (15" Late 2008/Early 2009):

What are the differences between the 15-Inch "Late 2008/Unibody" MacBook Pro models?

What are the differences between the "Late 2008/Unibody" 13-Inch MacBook and 15-Inch MacBook Pro models?

What are the differences between the 15-Inch "Late 2008/Unibody" MacBook Pro models and the "Early 2008/Penryn" MacBook Pro notebooks that they replaced?

What are the differences between the 15-Inch and 17-Inch "Unibody" MacBook Pro Core 2 Duo models?

How much faster is the 15-Inch "Late 2008/Unibody" MacBook Pro than the "Early 2008 Penryn" MacBook Pro Core 2 Duo?

How much faster are the 15-Inch "Late 2008/Unibody" MacBook Pro models than the 13-Inch "non-Pro" models?

How much faster is the graphics performance of the 15-Inch "Unibody" MacBook Pro when using the NVIDIA GeForce 9600M GT compared to the NVIDIA GeForce 9400M?

Comparison & Performance Q&As (17" Early 2009):

What are the differences between the 15-Inch and 17-Inch "Unibody" MacBook Pro Core 2 Duo models?

What are the differences between the 17-Inch "Unibody" MacBook Pro Core 2 Duo and the 17-Inch "Early 2008/Penryn" model that it replaced?

How much faster is the "Early 2009" 17-Inch "Unibody" MacBook Pro Core 2 Duo than the "Early 2008/Penryn" 17-Inch MacBook Pro that it replaced? How fast is it compared to the 15-Inch "Unibody" MacBook Pro models?

Battery, Power, & Function Q&As:

What is the "real-world" battery life of the "Mid-2012" 13-Inch and 15-Inch MacBook Pro models?

What is the "real-world" battery life of the "Early 2011" and "Late 2011"13-Inch, 15-Inch, and 17-Inch MacBook Pro models? How does the battery life of each compare to the previous "Mid-2010" MacBook Pro line?

What is the "real-world" battery life of the "Mid-2010" 13-Inch, 15-Inch, and 17-Inch MacBook Pro models? How does the battery life of each compare to the model each replaced?

What is the "real-world" battery life of the "Mid-2009" 13-Inch, 15-Inch, and 17-Inch MacBook Pro Core 2 Duo models? How does the battery life of each compare to the model each replaced?

What is the 15-Inch "Late 2008/Unibody" MacBook Pro battery life in "real-world" tests? What is the difference in battery life when using the NVIDIA GeForce 9600M GT and the NVIDIA GeForce 9400M?

What is the 17-Inch "Early 2009/Unibody" MacBook Pro battery life in "real-world" tests? What is the difference in battery life when using the NVIDIA GeForce 9600M GT and the NVIDIA GeForce 9400M?

How do you replace the battery in the 13-Inch "Unibody" MacBook Pro models? Is it even possible?

How do you replace the battery in the 15-Inch "Unibody" MacBook Pro models? Is it even possible?

How do you replace the battery in the 17-Inch "Unibody" MacBook Pro models? Is it even possible?

Is there a way to have a "matte" finish applied to a MacBook Pro with a "glossy" display?

How does the MagSafe power connector on the MacBook Pro models work? How is the MagSafe power connector designed to not cause data loss?

What is the MagSafe airline adapter? Does it work with the MacBook and MacBook Pro? Does it work in a car?

How does the "Multi-Touch" trackpad on the "Unibody" MacBook and MacBook Pro work? How does it feel?

Upgrade & Expansion Q&As:

What kind of expansion slots are provided by the "Unibody" MacBook Pro models? Which have ExpressCard/34 and which have SD Card slots?

What is ExpressCard/34? Is it compatible with PC Cards?

What is the difference between ExpressCard/34 and ExpressCard/54? Speed?

Can you upgrade the processor in the "Unibody" MacBook Pro models?

How do you upgrade the RAM in the 15-Inch "Late 2008/Unibody" MacBook Pro? How much RAM of what type does it support?

How do you upgrade the RAM in the 17-Inch "Early 2009/Unibody" MacBook Pro? How much RAM of what type does it support?

How do you upgrade the RAM in the "Mid-2009" through "Mid-2012" MacBook Pro models? What type of RAM do they use? How much RAM does each model actually support?

How do you upgrade the hard drive in the 15-Inch "Late 2008/Unibody" MacBook Pro?

How do you upgrade the hard drive in the 17-Inch "Early 2009/Unibody" MacBook Pro?

How do you upgrade the hard drive in the "Mid-2009" through "Mid-2012" MacBook Pro models? What type of hard drive do these models support? How do you replace the hard drive with an SSD?

Is it possible to add a second hard drive to a "Unibody" MacBook or MacBook Pro?

What are the capabilities of the optical drive provided by the "Unibody" MacBook Pro models?

Video Q&As:

What type of video processor is provided by the "Unibody" MacBook Pro models? Is it upgradable? Which models have "dedicated" and "integrated" video memory?

Is it possible to switch between graphics processors on the "Unibody" MacBook Pro models manually? Is it possible to use both graphics processors simultaneously for better performance?

How much faster is the graphics performance of the "Unibody" MacBook Pro models when using the NVIDIA GeForce 9600M GT compared to the NVIDIA GeForce 9400M?

What is the maximum supported resolution for an external display connected to a "Unibody" MacBook Pro?

Are there any adapters or "hacks" that make it possible to connect a second external display to a MacBook, MacBook Air, or MacBook Pro model?

What is "Mini DisplayPort"? Is it an industry-standard? How is it different from Mini-DVI and Micro-DVI?

Which MacBook Pro models can pass an audio signal via Mini DisplayPort and which models cannot?

What is "Thunderbolt"? Is it an industry standard? What advantages does it offer? Are there any disadvantages?

File Transfer, Networking, & Communication Q&As:

Is there an adapter to convert Firewire "400" to Firewire "800"?

What is "Mini DisplayPort"? Is it an industry standard? How is it different from Mini-DVI and Micro-DVI?

What is "Thunderbolt"? Is it an industry standard? What advantages does it offer? Are there any disadvantages?

Which MacBook Pro models can pass an audio signal via Mini DisplayPort and which models cannot?

What is HDMI?

What is 802.11n? How is it different from 802.11b, 802.11g, and 802.11a?

Design, Configuration, & Purchasing Q&As:

Who designed the "Unibody" MacBook Pro?

Where can I buy a "Unibody" MacBook Pro?

What are the default configurations? What custom configurations are available?

What are the "pros and cons" of the "Mid-2012" MacBook Pro models? Is one right for me?




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