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Model A1297 Unibody: Early 2009, Mid 2009, Mid 2010, Early 2011 & Late 2011

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MacBook Pro late 2011 17' upgrade

Hi there,

What kind of upgrade i can do to my macbook pro late 2011 17’?

I understand:


16gb ram;

Ssd instead of dvd;

Bluetooth from 2.1 to 4.0 ?


It s very hot the transformer and the macbook base. Could you suggesting something to don't have this problem?

It s ok to force the upgrade to catalina?

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You should stick with Sierra 10.12.x on this system. High Sierra and newer uses a newer file system APFS which has issues with SATA based systems like yours. Don’t even go with Catalina!

Yes, you can upgrade to a SSD MacBook Pro 17" Unibody Hard Drive Replacement as well as upgrade the RAM to 16 GB MacBook Pro 17" Unibody RAM Replacement. I don’t recommend replacing the optical drive with a drive. SSD’s are much cheaper today than what we had back in 2011 and are much larger! Best to just get the size you need.

Given the age of your system you should replace the battery as well [prodotto collegato mancante o disabilitato: IF162-035-2] that should help keep the MagSafe charger from running as long. I would recommend making sure your charger is in good shape and the MagSafe connector is clean.

Sadly, both your WiFi and Bluetooth services can’t be internally upgraded, you’ll need external dongles to offer newer services.

Immagine MacBook Pro 17" Unibody Hard Drive


MacBook Pro 17" Unibody Hard Drive Replacement



15 - 30 minutes

Immagine MacBook Pro 17" Unibody RAM


MacBook Pro 17" Unibody RAM Replacement



10 minutes

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Hi Dan but if i insert ssd it s not possible go to catalina?

About wifi card and bluetooyh on ifixit i ve looked that can be replace the 17 inch early 2011

Is different from the late 2011 17inch?


Apple's installer won't install Catalina on your system as the 2012 MacBook Pros are the first models that the installer will work for. Just because you can force it doesn't make it a smart move! I've done the testing its not worth it. I have a 2013 Mac Pro which is more suitable system for Catalina and I found its just too buggy! And it won't run 32 bit apps Stick with Sierra!

SATA is a common interface which allows you to put in a different SATA drive.

Yes, both the WiFi and Bluetooth boards are serviceable parts. But Apple doesn't offer newer versions that will work in your system. This gets into the square peg round hole problem! Square peg fits square hole, round peg fits round hole but round or square peg won't fit in the apposing hole!

Here's the 2011 parts:

MacBook Pro 17" Unibody (Early-Mid 2009) Bluetooth Board

MacBook Pro 15"/17" Unibody (2008-2009) Airport Extreme Card

Here is the one Apple uses in the 2012 15" model MacBook Pro Unibody (Early 2011-Mid 2012) AirPort/Bluetooth Board A very different part its a combo bd and is mounted very differently!


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Tell us more about this heat issue. If you have not replaced the thermal paste do so. Also look for an oily type of stain on the logic board at the crimped end of the heat sink to posssibly diagnose a leaking heat sink.

MacBook Pro 17" Unibody Heat Sink Replacement

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How about using DOS-Dude patcher!

I have 17” MacBook Pro early 2011 model, I disabled the GPU and installed Catalina, it runs really well.

32-bit apps are a problem though

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While this is a possible direction it has its limits! Most people with the 17" models are photo or graphical artist. They need the discreet GPU to be productive. But as you likely encountered the GPU's in this series tends to fail as we tend to push it too hard.

I've played with DOS-Dude's patcher on a few systems I found it is not an ideal solution for what I need, others might find it useful if their needs are simple tasks like writing and web surfing. I still don't like running APFS on SATA drives.


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There is a way to upgrade the WiFi to 802.11ac and Bluetooth to 4.2 on the unibody generation MacBook Pro’s! Check out this airport card upgrade if you are interested; it’s a one-man R&D project (hence the price), and currently out of stock due to high demand. I just wanted to share this so you know it is an option. He has a full page of documentation on the system requirements and the install process as well.

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Josh Gray sarà eternamente grato.
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