Macbook Pro Retina 2012 Wi-Fi Upgrade

MacBook Pro (Retina, 15-inch, Mid 2012) System Board. The Broadcom BCM94360CS Wi-Fi/Bluetooth adapter with 802.11ac is at the lower left, next to the fan

The Apple Macbook Pro is generally thought of as not too upgradeable but since my MacBook Pro (Retina, 15-inch, Mid 2012) is past its 8th birthday, I’ve had to do a few mods and repairs to keep it going. I bought the computer new in 2012, with the 2.3 GHz Core i7 (i7-3615QM) and 8 GB of RAM.

Though it is showing its age, it’s still adequately snappy. Currently, I have three partitions on the SSD with Windows 10 Insider Preview Build 20241, macOS Catalina 10.15.7 (19H2) and (the unsupported) macOS Big Sur 11.0 developer beta 10 (20A5395g). My 2012 Macbook Pro Retina Geekbench 5 (MC): 2588 score is only marginally lower than the 2020 Apple MacBook Air “Core i7” 1.2 Geekbench 5 (MC): 2944.

Because I use a Windows Boot Camp partition, I am hoping that Apple will release one more 16″ Macbook Pro with a Comet Lake i9-10980HK before the switch to Apple Silicon Arm Macs.

Over the years, I’ve upgraded the SSD from 256GB to 1TB, replaced the keyboard after a coffee spill, realigned the lid after dropping the computer, replaced the battery and today (and hopefully last), I changed the Wi-Fi/Bluetooth adapter to a Broadcom BCM94360CS so I could get 802.11ac speeds.

Speedtest with Macbook Pro (Retina 2012) BCM94360CS Wi-Fi adapter, the same speed I get with the Apple Thunderbolt to Gigabit Ethernet Adapter

With my mesh network anchored with an Asus RT-AX92U (#ad), I was only able to get <30-60 Mbps downloads on Wi-Fi with the stock BCM94331CSAX adapter (802.11n) compared to >200 Mbps with the Apple Thunderbolt to Gigabit Ethernet Adapter (#ad). In late 2012/early 2013, Apple added 802.11ac capability to the Airport/Bluetooth board which is a simple drop-in replacement for the 2012 802.11a/b/g/n board. The part number for the board is BCM94360CS or similarly, BCM94360CSAX. I bought mine on eBay.

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