Well I have purchased the bits and pieces needed to upgrade the MacBook Pro. My upgrade consisted of:-
- 16GB Memory ( 2x 8GB chips)
- Crucial M500 480GB SSD Drive
- Unibody MacBook Pro Drive Caddy (Pictured)
The installation of upgraded pieces is a very easy process really. I watched the directions given at a number of sites and then chose which one I would follow for the job itself.
I found MacFixit a great resource. For the replacement of the hard drive with a SSD drive I used the guide from MacFixit. To replace the optical drive I decided to use the YouTube guide by “macmixing” shown below.
My only comment about these videos is that they tell you what kind of screws are in certain locations. CHECK before you use any device. In my case there were Torx screws where they said there would be phillips head screws. You do not want to strip a screw otherwise you are in deep trouble. Apart from that the process is very simple to do.
If you have ever replaced memory chips then you won’t need a guide. Just make sure they are seated properly and all is fine.
Some of the guides tell you about how to copy the contents of the existing hard drive to your SSD, as I was always intending to do a clean install of Mavericks nothing to do here just put the drives in. I placed the old 500 GB spindle drive into the caddy unit for economical reasons. I would have liked to have a bigger and faster hard drive (7200 RPM rather than 5400 RPM) but thought I will wait to see how the rest of the process goes before spending any more money. Changing the drive in the optical bay in and out is only a 15 minute job.
When I bought the caddy I also got a USB enclosure for the Superdrive so that allows me to have an optical drive if I need it. The problem will be finding it when I want to use it in so many years time.
Oh, why the Crucial drive? Well again a balancing act between cost and performance. I looked at a number of reviews about SSD drives and the Crucial was not the best but, definitely not the worst either. It was well priced for the size. I was really considering buying their 960GB model but in the end thought this was really overkill. My virtual machines that I use in Parallels take up about 125GB so I thought 480GB for safety. Without the virtual machines I could have gotten away with around 256GB.
The boot up speed difference is huge. I don’t think you can ever go back to a spindle drive after using an SSD. I compared the boot time of the MacBook Pro with a 2011 13″ MacBook Pro with a 240GB Crucial SSD and found the older unit booted quicker – JUST. I am thinking that the spindle drive in the system might have something to do with this but no race. I have to say though that the data throughput to the SSD is a lot faster than with the Apple SSD units I have had experience with. These are an example of my results to the SSD
The same speed test on the spindle drive that was originally installed is shown below.
The differences are quite amazing. So much so that I did a test to my NAS over the wired network.
And to a Powered 3.5″ 7200 RPM hard drive over USB 3
and finally a USB3 Bus Powered 2.5″ Hard Drive
Reflecting on the results, I would have thought the internal 5400 Hard Drive should have been faster. Unfortunately I don’t have another one lying around to swap it in/out for a test. The speed of the Crucial SSD is rather outstanding though.
Now to do some installation of tweaks for the SSD and some real world usage.