17″ MacBook Pro (Mid 2009)

Just 5 months after introducing the first 17″ Unibody MacBook Pro, Apple improved it by moving to a 2.8 GHz CPU – and making a 3.06 GHz CPU a build-to-order option.

Unibody 17" MacBook ProAs before, 4 GB of RAM is standard, and it officially supports up to 8 GB of RAM. With the elimination of ExpressCard/34 on the current 15″ MacBook Pro, this is the only remaining Mac notebook with an ExpressCard/34 slot.

By eliminating the space needed to house a removable battery, Apple was able to increase battery life to 8 hours with the GeForce 9400M GPU and 7 hours with the 9600M, which has 512 MB of dedicated video memory.

Although a glossy screen is standard, Apple offers a $50 anti-glare option.

Apple uses a true 24-bit display on all 17″ Unibody MBP models.

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.

Editor’s note: The next paragraph is from the profile of the previous version of the MacBook Pro. At this time we do not know if it applies to the new model.

Unlike pre-2007 models, where every USB port could provide 500 mA of power, only a single high-powered device can be attached to the USB ports, and software will enable one of its downstream ports to supply 500 mA of power. If a second high-powered device is attached, it will behave like a normal bus-powered hub and only provide 100 mA per downstream port.

The Apple Remote is a US$20 option.

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.


  • introduced 2009.06.08 at US$2,499; 3.06 GHz build-to-order option $300 additional; add $50 for anti-glare option; replaced by Intel Core “i” model 2010.04.13.
  • Part no.: MC226

Mac OS

Core System

  • CPU: 2.8 GHz or 3.06 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo, soldered in place, no upgrade options
  • Bus: 1066 MHz
  • RAM: 4 GB, expandable to 8 GB using DDR3 SO-DIMMs
  • Level 2 cache: 6 MB shared cache on CPU
  • Performance, Geekbench 3: (2.8/3.06 GHz)
    • 32-bit single core: 1488 (2.8 GHz), 1603 (3.06 GHz)
    • 32-bit multicore: 2613 (2.8 GHz), 2817 (3.06 GHz)
    • 64-bit single core: 1629 (2.8 GHz), 1732 (3.06 GHz)
    • 64-bit multicore: 2902 (2.8 GHz), 3052 (3.06 GHz)


  • Graphics: Nvidia GeForce 9600M GT and 9400M
    • VRAM, 9600M: 512 MB
    • VRAM, 9400M: 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: 17″ (43 cm) 1920 x 1200 133 ppi color active matrix
  • supports 1920 x 1200 (native), 1680 x 1050, 1280 x 800, 1152 x 720, 1024 x 640, and 800 x 500 pixels at 16:10 aspect ratio; 1280 x 1024 pixels at 5:4 aspect ratio; 1280 x 1024 pixels at 5:4 aspect ratio stretched; 1600 x 1200, 1024 x 768, 800 x 600, and 640 x 480 pixels at 4:3 aspect ratio; 1600 x 1200, 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


  • Hard drive: 500 GB 5400 rpm SATA standard; 7200 rpm SATA drive and 128 GB and 256 GB SSDs optional
  • optical drive: 8x dual-layer SuperDrive writes DVD±R at up to 8x, DVD±RW at up to 4x; reads DVDs at 8x (double-layer at 6x), writes CD-R at 24x, writes CD-RW at 10x, reads CDs at 24x
  • floppy drive: external USB only
  • expansions bays: none


  • USB: 3 USB 2.0 ports, only 1 high-powered device device allowed
  • FireWire: 1 FW800 port (no FW400 port)
  • drive bus: SATA 2 (3.0 Mbps)
  • IR port: none
  • IR receiver: supports Apple Remote
  • Ethernet: 10/100/gigabit
  • Modem: No longer offered by Apple
  • WiFi: 802.11n AirPort Extreme built in
  • Bluetooth: BT 2.1 built in
  • ExpressCard/34: 1 slot


  • size: 10.51 x 15.47 x 0.98″ (267 x 393 x 25 mm)
  • Weight: 6.6 pounds (2.99 kg)

Online Resources

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