Best $200 Macbook Laptop?

Best Budget Macbook
High power Macbook for $350 or less?
by Scott Robert Lim
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I have two daughters, one in middle school and one about to graduate high school and I wanted to buy them laptops that could take them thru high school without breaking the bank and stay within the Apple family. This laptop certainly has enough juice for web, streaming videos, word docs, spreadsheets, slideshow presentations, playing videos, light photo and video editing, etc.

Cry-fest and disappointment…

My daughter spend 4 hours on an assignment on her school issued iPad and accidentally hit a wrong button and erased the entire assignment she worked so hard on. Wow, you should have seen the tears roll. After seeing how difficult it was for her to do basic functions like type, cut and paste, search web, etc on the iPad, her very compassionate and kind father wanted to get her a semi-powerful laptop on a BUDGET and also something she could edit photos or video on since she does enjoy photography. After many, many, many, many hours of research I discovered this gem that you can buy at an amazing price saving me about a thousand bucks or more on two laptops.

My Requirements

I’m a professional photographer and if my daughters wanted to follow in the footsteps of their old man I wanted a laptop that could run Adobe Lightroom, Photoshop, and iMovie if need be. So i needed a fairly powerful computer that would have these features and requirements:
1. Upgrade to 16gb of ram
2. SSD Harddrive for fast write and read times. Many times faster than traditional 5400rpm or 7200rpm drives
3. Run the latest MacOS system
4. Modular so I could replace drives, ram, battery, etc.
5. Easy to find parts
6. Fairly snappy performance

After much research I found an older Macbook that I could upgrade 16gb of ram inexpensively- although it’s original description doesn’t say it can, just 8gb. Looking on Ebay they can easily be found for less than $200. It may be possible to find a gutted laptop without ram or hardrive for around $100 or less. I recommend replacing the ram to at least 8gb and add a newer and faster SSD drive. If you could find the fastest 2.4ghz model with a 500gb SSD (not SATA or HHD) for $300 or less with the latest MacOS already installed I’d get it! Will save you some time. The SSD is a must for faster operating speeds coupled with the larger memory capacity makes it is moderately capable for multimedia editing. Not recommended for heavy lifting but good enough for small projects or perhaps a back up laptop in a pinch.

The downside with these laptops that they are bricks. Unlike my super lightweight 13” MacBook Air but my girls ABSOLUTELY LOVE their Macbooks. They use them EVERY DAY and they’ve held up to the test. I upgraded one to 16gb of ram and the other at 8gb and they have been working flawlessly.

You can even replace the DVD drive and add another hardrive for storage or configure two SSD drives to act as one drive for super speeds and can double access speed with a Raid O (zero) set up Watch this For $50-100 more and a little work you can make this into a pretty decent turbo boosted laptop running RAID O! Techies might want to try this just for kicks especially if you have some old memory and SSD drives laying around collecting dust. Or buy two identical 250gb SSDs for $100! See links below.

Cosmetically, one can always customize this laptop if white is not your thing, buy a cover to change color and they even make matching keyboard covers! I’ve also posted a video on how to clean them to restore to a beautiful white finish if you want. See Below.

NOTE: make sure you get the 2.4ghz model for fasted speed.

I’ve included all the links to help you get started right away. Enjoy!

On Ebay search…
“Macbook 2010 2.4 13”

Macbook 2010 2.4ghz Unibody (white) | A1342 | 2010 mid |
$200 or LESS

Just one listing out of many that can be found!
Apple MacBook A1342 2010 2.4GHZ 13 Laptop / 250GB (not SSD) / 4GB DDR3 / OSX 10.13

Upgrade to SSD Storage

500gb $99
HP SSD S700 2.5″ SATA III 3D NAND Internal Solid State Drive (SSD) 2DP97AA#ABC
by HP
250gb $56
HP SSD S700 2.5″ SATA III 3D NAND Internal Solid State Drive (SSD) 2DP97AA#ABC
by HP
How to install SSD Drive
How it install Mac OS on blank drive

RAM | Memory

8gb $50
DDR3 LAPTOP Memory SODIMM Computer Ram 204 pin PC3-8500 PC3-10600 PC3-12800 SODIMM Genuine A-Tech Brand
by A-Tech Components

16gb $100
Timetec Hynix IC Apple DDR3 1066MHz PC3-8500 memory upgrade
by Timetec
How to install RAM

Battery Replacement $33 (optional)

RayHom Laptop Battery for A1331 A1342 Unibody MacBook 13inch (Late 2009 Mid 2010 Version) Macbook Battery Unibody MacBook 13″ MC207LL/A MC516LL/A – 18 Months Warranty [5800mAh/63.5Wh]
by RayHom
How to replace battery

MacBook Covers $15 (optional) Customize and update look
TOP CASE – 2 in 1 Bundle Deal Rubberized Hard Case + Keyboard Cover for Macbook White 13″ Unibody with TopCase Mouse Pad

How to Cosmetically Clean the White Plastic Case
Remove spots and oil spots with a white magic eraser! See this too. Or you can buy a new cover to give it a fresh look.

June 27, 2018 - 5:29 pm

ChecoVazquez - Actually I did exactly the same with my MacBook pro late 11. The only issue that I experienced is 512mb of video… so as a videographer it’s just sad. But hey great tip!
Saludos Scott!

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