MacBook Pro 15'' 2011: From dead to living beast
My girlfriend's old MacBook Pro 15 2011 was dead, and she hadn't turned it on in the last 3 years. I put my hands on it and tried to figure out what was wrong. That computer is more powerful than my current MacBook Pro Retina 13 2015, so I decided it was worth investigating.
I first tried to figure out what the problem was. The battery indicator was giving a sign of dead battery, so I decided to order a new battery from iFixit. But also the hard drive was corrupted, so I ordered a Samsung 500 GB SSD. Since I thought it was worth it, I also ordered 16 gigabytes of RAM 1600 MHz.
The old battery was swollen, and also the trackpad was not working properly. After removing the old battery, I unscrewed the trackpad, cleaned it, and put it back in place, calibrating the little screw until I got the expected behavior. I replaced battery, hard drive, and RAM. The keyboard was also missing a few keys, so I ordered the five missing keys and I put them back on.
After a couple of hours of work, and an overall investment of $350, the computer is now working like a beast. It has an i7 quad core processor @2GHz, 16Gbytes RAM 1600MHz, 500GB SSD, and a dedicated ATI video card, and it is more powerful than the most recent MacBook Pro 13'' 2016 (which, by the way, costs $1,800).
If your old MacBook Pro is not working, check online and follow the instructions. Many times it's a hard drive or battery problem, and you can bring your laptop back to life with minimal expense (in the order of $100-200). Also consider that an old MacBook Pro 15 (pre-retina generation) is much more powerful than the most recent MacBook Pro 13, so it's totally worth the investment.