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Upgrading Macbook's hard drive

Damo

Short One Marshmallow
Sep 7, 2006
4,604
20
French Alps
I have a late 2008 Macbook Pro (unibody) with a 250GB hard drive.

I have just ordered a 1TB 2.5 inch SATA II 8MB 9.5mm hard drive for it thinking 'Man! what I could fit on that!'.

I'm now reading mixed things about putting such a big HD in there. Things like over heating problems and that the system may not be able to use a HD this big.

Any possible reason this will not work?

If it will work, how easy is it to transfer my entire computer over to it and install it?

At the end of the day, if it doesn't work, I have a cheap 1TB hard drive I can have external with a caddy...
 

binary visions

The voice of reason
Jun 13, 2002
21,643
397
NC
Hmm, I've never heard of a hard drive of a similar type (i.e. a different platter drive) causing such severe heat problems that the laptop overheats. I kinda doubt it's possible for a drive to generate that much more heat.

The only problem I can foresee is if the drive is physically too thick to fit; those 2.5" drives come in a variety of thicknesses. Any recent iteration of MacOS should be able to use all 1 TB of space.

You'll have to use some imaging software if you want to transfer drives. Acronis is what I use, but I think that doesn't handle MacOS. Honestly, I haven't done much cloning of Macs so I don't have anything to recommend.
 

Silver

find me a tampon
Jul 20, 2002
10,848
0
Orange County, CA
The 1TB drives are physically thicker, unless they slimmed them down in the last year. I don't know if they will fit, so check that.

It's easy to swap out the drives on a unibody machine. Check out OWC or iFixit for a video to get a quick idea.

Use CCC or SuperDuper! (I use SD) to clone your existing drive, or you can restore from a Time Machine backup if you have one. If you're going to clone, you also need to have a USB or Firewire interface handy. You can always steal a USB SATA interface from a portable hard drive if you have an old small one around you don't use anymore, or you can pick up one of these:

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16812226048
 

Toshi

Harbinger of Doom
Oct 23, 2001
25,819
1,638
If it doesn't work go for a 512 GB SSD. Go big expensive or go home.
 

Damo

Short One Marshmallow
Sep 7, 2006
4,604
20
French Alps
So the hard drive turned up and t fitted just fine.

I used a caddy to make it an external HD, re-downloaded and installed Mountain Lion OS X onto it which treated it like a new computer. I then transferred all files over (part of OS X's new computer set-up routine), installed the new HD into the laptop and away she went!

A whole lot slower now however. 5400rpm vs the old one's 7200rpm makes a huge difference.

I may follow Toshi's advice and get a solid state drive for the laptop and use the 1TB as an external to store everything.
 

bean

Turbo Monkey
Feb 16, 2004
1,338
0
Boulder
So the hard drive turned up and t fitted just fine.

I used a caddy to make it an external HD, re-downloaded and installed Mountain Lion OS X onto it which treated it like a new computer. I then transferred all files over (part of OS X's new computer set-up routine), installed the new HD into the laptop and away she went!

A whole lot slower now however. 5400rpm vs the old one's 7200rpm makes a huge difference.

I may follow Toshi's advice and get a solid state drive for the laptop and use the 1TB as an external to store everything.
Or better yet. Get the SSD and an optibay. The optibay lets you replace your optical drive with a second internal drive. So you can put OS and apps on the SSD and the rest of your data on the HDD. Some kits also come with a case you can put your optical drive in to use it as an external.
 

Damo

Short One Marshmallow
Sep 7, 2006
4,604
20
French Alps
I've actually heard of that being done... That's really not a bad idea.

So the SSD goes where? Where the existing HD is?
And the 1TB HD goes where the optical drive is now?
 

bean

Turbo Monkey
Feb 16, 2004
1,338
0
Boulder
I've actually heard of that being done... That's really not a bad idea.

So the SSD goes where? Where the existing HD is?
And the 1TB HD goes where the optical drive is now?
One goes in one place, the other goes in the other. It should matter which is where because it's a SATA connection to both. Should be pretty straight forward.

The slightly more complicated part will be figuring out what you want to have on which drive. OS and apps on the SSD of course, but then you have to decide if you want to put your entire user directory on the other drive, or just certain directories within it. It's easiest to do the whole directory, but there are some speed disadvantages with that approach. Here's an article with what appears to be decent information about it: http://www.tuaw.com/2012/01/20/ask-tuaw-how-do-i-setup-a-mac-with-both-an-ssd-and-a-regular-hd/
 

Damo

Short One Marshmallow
Sep 7, 2006
4,604
20
French Alps
Right.

I've ordered an optical drive SATA thingy and a 128GB SSD to fit it.

Once they all turn up, I'll put it all together and let you know.

My plan is to run the OS X and apps on the SSD and all folders on the 1TB HDD.

The whole lot cost me £90/100€/US$140. Not bad if it works.

All this because I bought the missus a new Macbook Air which is making my MBP look like a retarded dinosaur. :(
 

Toshi

Harbinger of Doom
Oct 23, 2001
25,819
1,638
At least you didn't buy her a Retina display MBP. Then you'd be throwing all your gear away. :D
 

Damo

Short One Marshmallow
Sep 7, 2006
4,604
20
French Alps
Righto. If you're all still interested:

I installed the OSX operating system onto the SSD before putting it in the computer by using an external caddy.

128gb solid state drive went into the optical bay easy enough.

The 1tb HDD is sitting where the initial HD is (was).

Holding down the alt button as I powered up, I chose the SSD as the start up drive.

I formatted the HDD, then pointed the Users folder (documents/music/movies/pictures etc...) to that.

Restarted, then reinstalled all applications (Lightroom, Photoshop, VLC etc) onto the SSD.

Loaded the HDD with my photos, music and movies.

It all seems to be happy so far. A lot faster, but with loads of storage.

I haven't opened LR or PS yet, so I'll see how that gets on. Maybe it won't be any faster with the processing of photos as I believe thats all in the processer not the HD.

If anything sucks about what I've done, I'll let you know here.
 

Damo

Short One Marshmallow
Sep 7, 2006
4,604
20
French Alps
It's been a couple weeks now and it seems to be fine.

I wouldn't say it's super fast, but faster than it was before. Not as fast as the new MB Air we have.

One weird behavioural change: If I close the lid and reopen, it will sometimes stay off for up to a minute before coming on. This will only happen once every now and then however. Usually it's pretty quick.

I'll have to keep an eye on that I think.

Any reason it will do that?

Also: Are there fast and slow SSDs?
 

Toshi

Harbinger of Doom
Oct 23, 2001
25,819
1,638
There are indeed fast and slow SSDs. The difference between each should be far less than that between them and a 2.5" 5400 rpm HDD, though. Another problem is that the ones rated highly on, say, anandtech, may well not be the exact model/specification that you get when you order through newegg. Bait and switch with the same model number, shady business abounds.
 

bean

Turbo Monkey
Feb 16, 2004
1,338
0
Boulder
I'm finally doing this. A bigger SSD gets here for my desktop tomorrow. Friday the optical bay caddy gets here so I can take the SSD that's currently in my desktop and put in the MBP.
 

Transcend

My Nuts Are Flat
Apr 18, 2002
18,045
0
Towing the party line.
Or better yet. Get the SSD and an optibay. The optibay lets you replace your optical drive with a second internal drive. So you can put OS and apps on the SSD and the rest of your data on the HDD. Some kits also come with a case you can put your optical drive in to use it as an external.
This is what I have in mine. 500 odd gig SSD as my main drive and things are running as fast as I have ever seen. 1 TB for storage and photo crap. Such a rad combo.

I have one of the fastest SSDs you can get (which my MBP cannot take advantage of - was thinking ahead). When photos/app and OS are all on the same drive, processing in LR and PS absolutely flies, especially reading large catalogs.
 
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Damo

Short One Marshmallow
Sep 7, 2006
4,604
20
French Alps
Fraser: Do you upload your photos to the SSD?

My SSD (126gb) is solely for apps & OS.
My HDD (1tb) is where I upload my photos along with all the other crap (movies, music etc).

I wonder if things may be faster for editing if the app (Lightroom/Photoshop) and photos are both on the SSD...
 

bean

Turbo Monkey
Feb 16, 2004
1,338
0
Boulder
Fraser: Do you upload your photos to the SSD?

My SSD (126gb) is solely for apps & OS.
My HDD (1tb) is where I upload my photos along with all the other crap (movies, music etc
).

I wonder if things may be faster for editing if the app (Lightroom/Photoshop) and photos are both on the SSD...
Yes, it will be faster. Especially for things like loading previews.

I didn't want to spend enough to get an SSD for all my photos. So for now I'll have to live with my pair of striped drives (which were a pretty good improvement over the single HDD I used previously.