13″ MacBook Pro (Mid 2009)

The long-awaited replacement for the 12″ PowerBook has finally been delivered. The 13″ MacBook Pro takes the successful Unibody Aluminum MacBook, ups the speed a bit, and adds an SD Card slot and FireWire, a feature the Unibody MacBook lost (in this case, it’s FireWire 800).

13" MacBook ProFollowing the example set by the Early 2009 17″ Unibody MacBook Pro, the entire MacBook Pro line now has built-in batteries. In the case of the 13″ MacBook Pro, the battery is rated at 7 hours.

The new model puts all the ports on the left side, leaving the right side for the SATA SuperDrive.

The glass trackpad is the same one found in the previous generation of MacBook Pro models. It supports 1-, 2-, 3-, and 4-finger gestures. The entire trackpad functions as the mouse button.

The 13″ MBP uses the same keyboard as the MacBook Air, complete with backlighting. The black keys look sharp with the aluminum enclosure. The 13″ MacBook Pro only comes with a glossy screen.

The new model comes in 2.26 GHz and 2.53 GHz versions. 160 and 250 GB hard drives are standard. 2 GB of RAM is standard on the 2.26 GHz model, 4 GB on the 2.53 GHz one (8 GB is the maximum the MBP supports). Memory and the hard drive are easily accessed from the bottom of the computer.

Although it is not officially supported, the Mid 2009 MacBook Pro can run macOS Sierra using Colin Mistr’s Sierra Patch Tool. See our macOS Sierra page for more details and a link.

The Apple Remote is a US$20 option.

Editor’s note: The next two paragraphs are from the profile of the previous version of the MacBook Pro. At this time we do not know if they apply to the new Unibody model.

Note that the built-in display is only capable of 18-bit color, not the full 24-bit color you might expect.

Unlike early MacBooks, where every USB port could provide 500 mA of power, only one USB port provides full power – the port closer to the front.

Closed Lid Mode: All Intel ‘Books support “lid closed” (or clamshell) mode, which leaves the built-in display off and dedicates all video RAM to an external display. To used closed lid mode, your ‘Book must be plugged into the AC adapter and connected to an external display and a USB or Bluetooth mouse and keyboard (you might also want to consider external speakers). Power up your ‘Book until the desktop appears on the external display and then close the lid. Your ‘Book will go to sleep, but you can wake it by moving the mouse or using the keyboard. The built-in display will remain off, and the external monitor will become your only display. Since all video RAM is now dedicated to the external monitor, you may have more colors available at higher resolutions.

To resume use of the internal display, you need to disconnect the external display, put the computer to sleep, and then open the lid. This will wake up your ‘Book and restore use of the built-in display.

Intel-based Macs use a partitioning scheme known as GPT. Only Macintel models can boot from GPT hard drives. Both PowerPC and Intel Macs can boot from APM (Apple’s old partitioning scheme) hard drives, which is the format you must use to create a universal boot drive in Leopard. Power PC Macs running any version of the Mac OS prior to 10.4.2 cannot mount GPT volumes. PowerPC Macs won’t let you install OS X to a USB drive or choose it as your startup volume, although there is a work around for that.

Details

  • introduced 2009.06.08 at US$1,199 (2.26 GHz, 160 GB hard drive, 2 GB RAM) and US$1,499 (2.53 GHz, 250 GB hard drive, 4 GB RAM); replaced by Intel Core “i” model 2010.04.13.
  • Part no.: MB990 (2.26 GHz), MB991 (2.53 GHz)

Mac OS

Core System

  • CPU: 2.26/2.53 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo, soldered in place, no upgrade options
  • Bus: 1066 MHz
  • RAM: 2/4 GB, expandable to 8 GB using DDR3 SO-DIMMs
  • Level 2 cache: 3 MB shared cache
  • Performance, Speedmark 6: 107 (2.26 GHz), 123 (2.53 GHz)
  • Performance, Geekbench 3:
    • 32-bit single core: 1248 (2.26 GHz), 1364 (2.53 GHz)
    • 32-bit multicore: 2200 (2.26 GHz), 2412 (2.53 GHz)
    • 64-bit single core: 1344 (226 GHz), 1469 (2.53 GHz)
    • 64-bit multicore: 2379 (2.26 GHz), 2617 (2.53 GHz)

Video

  • GPU: Nvidia GeForce 9400M
  • VRAM: uses 256 MB of system RAM (add 16 GB when used with an external display)
  • Video out: Mini DisplayPort (VGA and DVI video supported with optional adapters)
  • display: 13.3″ glossy 1280 x 800 18-bit 113 ppi color active matrix
  • supports 1280 x 800, 1152 x 720, 1024 x 640, and 800 x 500 pixels at 16:10 aspect ratio; 1024 x 768, 800 x 600, and 640 x 480 pixels at 4:3 aspect ratio; 1024 x 768, 800 x 600, and 640 x 480 pixels at 4:3 aspect ratio (stretched); 720 x 480 pixels at 3:2 aspect ratio; 720 x 480 pixels at 3:2 aspect ratio (stretched)
  • allows mirroring to external display or extended desktop mode

Drives

  • Hard drive: 160/320 GB 5400 rpm Serial ATA standard, 500 GB and solid state drive (SSD) options (128 GB or 256 GB)
  • optical drive: 8x dual-layer SuperDrive writes DVD±R and DVD+R at up to 8x, DVD-RW at up to 4x; dual-layer DVD±RW at up to 4x; reads DVDs at 8x (double-layer at 6x), dual-layer and DVD-ROM at 6x; writes CD-R at 24x, writes CD-RW at 16x, reads CDs at 24x
  • drive bus: SATA 1 (1.5 Mbps)

Expansion

  • expansion bays: none
  • USB: 2 USB 2.0 ports
  • FireWire 400: none
  • FireWire 800: 1 port, backward compatible with FireWire 400
  • Ethernet: 10/100/gigabit
  • WiFi: 802.11n AirPort Extreme built in
  • Modem: No longer offered by Apple
  • Bluetooth: BT 2.1 built in
  • ExpressCard/34: none
  • SD Card slot: 1

Physical

  • size: 8.94 x 12.78 x 0.95″ (227 x 325 x 24.1 mm)
  • Weight: 4.5 pounds (2.04 kg)

Online Resources

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