(Credit: John Scott Lewinski/CNET)
With the economy still struggling, a lot of consumers are looking to upgrade their computers rather than drop a couple grand on a new machine.
If you want to upgrade your existing setup, you need to swap out the guts. The major organs are the hard drive, motherboard, and RAM. Sure, there are other bits and bobs, but these are the primary elements. Of them, the motherboard is usually the most difficult to mess with due to its silicon construction.
But if we're looking at just the RAM and hard drive, the average consumer can effectively remove and install both with some basic tools, a deft touch, and a little patience.
So we attempted a two-phase plan. First, upgrade a 2009 13-inch MacBook Pro with three different hard-drive and RAM configurations. Then, test the resulting Frankenbooks against the same make and size of laptop, circa 2012. (More recent MacBooks, especially Airs and the new 15-inch Retina Pro, are virtually impossible to disassemble, so this process works better the older your MacBook is.)