Macbook a1181 Build

Macbook a1181 Build

I wanted to see how hard it would be build out a Mac and get the most out of it. I started with an older version a1181 2008 2.4 GHz Macbook, as I did not want to spend too much money on my first attempt.  Turns out it is pretty easy.

Parts List

  • Macbook a1181 2.4GHz Core Two Duo, 4GB, 2008 – $74
  • Kingston 120GB SSD – $57
  • Mushkin 1x4GB & 1x2GB 667 (PC2 5300) 200 pin Ram – $113
  • Generic 3rd Party MagSafe T 60W Charger – $18
  • 2x (10.8V, 5600mAh/61Wh, Li-Polymer) Laptop Battery – $39
  • OSX 10.7.5 Lion – $20

Total Cost: $321

The Process

The laptop came with 4GB Ram, a dead battery, no hard drive, and no charger. It was pretty dusty, but I disassembled it and gave it a good cleaning. Adding the hard drive and new ram was very simple, only had to remove the battery and a couple screws.  There are detailed guides for how to replace every component of any Apple product on iFixit.  I found a tool called TransMac to create a bootable USB drive from my newly downloaded OSX.  I plugged in the drive and held the option key while booting, selected to boot from USB, and installed the OS.  It installed in about 20 minutes, I confirmed all 6GB of memory were detected, and then I downloaded the latest updates.


This particular model can support up to 6GB of Ram, but as I ordered all of the parts in one shot, I could not confirm the latency of the memory that came with the machine.  They ended up being the same, so I could have saved $40 and just purchased one 4GB stick.  It runs pretty hot as far as laptops are concerned, but there is no noticeable decrease in performance after several hours of use.  The retail for a stock, used, a1181 is about $500.  There seems to be some on eBay for over $1000… not sure if anyone is actually buying those…  I’ll post details back here if I end up selling this one.

EDIT: Sold at cost to a friend in need of a laptop.