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Installing SSD (Solid State Drive) in your MacBook Pro 13" or 15" unibody

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These days more and more people are switching to using SSD or Solid State Drives in their laptops and you might be thinking about joining them and following the trend. SSD drives have a number advantages over conventional spinning hard drives, the main being their input/output speed. They also don't contain any moving parts and hence are less prone to failures due to vibration. Some people will also convince you that they are more stable, fail less and consume less power, but all those statements are yet to be verified and supported by some actual data.

You can use this same instructable to replace your hard drive with another hard drive, on the outside they are completely identical.

And by the way, I did this at TechShop (www.techshop.ws) as they have a whole bunch of really convenient large tables in the common area with some great lighting and you'll always find some available.
 
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Step 1: Acquire SSD (or conventional HD) for replacement.

Picture of Acquire SSD (or conventional HD) for replacement.
Though still expensive, SSDs became much more affordable lately, so you may consider buying one to speed up your computer's I/O operations dramatically. I have installed a few high speed SSD from macsales.com so far and I'm very happy with them, but if you prefer any other brand, go for it, this instructable is going to be the same for all.

For this procedure all you need in terms of parts is the replacement SSD only. I will talk about tools in the following slides.

Step 2: Prepare your workspace.

Picture of Prepare your workspace.
Having a large space to work on is very convenient and enjoyable experience. For best result and safety I'd recommend using one of those anti-static mats and laying it on one of those big tables (or any other table you can find).

Step 3: Connect the ground.

Picture of Connect the ground.
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Connect the ground wire of your anti-static mat to ground prong of any electric plug.
en2oh1 month ago

your idea of using adheasive tape as a means of organizing hardware is great!

Thanks for the instructable

Nitrous

Alternate title: How to Void AppleCare.

Incorrect. Replacing your hard drive and memory are pretty much the only two things that you CAN do as an end-user without voiding your AppleCare. Check your facts.

modern, good quality SSDs are not less reliable than conventional hard drives, which is especially true for laptops.

Laptop Drivers
JeppeOH2 years ago
Tip;

Boost your SSD to motherboard speed by 20 to 25% by shielding the thing cable from the SSD with a antistatic bag. .. I used one from a old HHD- purchase, cut it up to fit and placed it between the SSD and the cable.. all the way to the motherboard.

Boosted my login-time from 21 to 16 seconds.

The guy who gave me the advice had tested it with some technical stuff and rambled about magnetism and data-corruption.. I can just say it works :-)
Not sure about Macs but I assume you can clone the drives in a cloning dock (very inexpensive these days) just as you can with Windows and Linux.
Your suggestion to "migrate data from your old Hard Drive" sort of suggests (to me at least) that the old drive has to now be put in an external dock. I'm not sure how a Mac handles that but I expect you'd need to install all the OS/applications first.
Surely cloning would be easier?
Looking forward to your next Instructable.
WWC2 years ago
You are keeping your screws all wrong. They need to go on the bench with 300 other screws. Then you sort it all out the following week.
Doctor Jazz (author)  WWC2 years ago
That's exactly what happens most of the time, especially when working on car engines -- those greasy ones don't stick to a tape :)
Easy fix - use an old muffin tray and number the cups from 1.

Fill it up from number 1 and then when reassembling you work backwards to 1.
fatpat2682 years ago
Wow...

Don't take this the wrong way, but you went through A LOT of steps for something minor.

1. You don't need anti-static wrist band or mats, unless you have a penchant for touching bare circuit boards. Just make sure you're not dragging your feet on the carpet, and you're probably fine. I generally work on a hard floor surface (kitchen is usually perfect for this) and I don't move around a lot. You can ground yourself by touching a screw on a light socket.

2. There is absolutely no need for any loctite. I see you have good tools, but for anyone that has substandard screwdrivers (ie the wrong size), putting loctite on small screws like this (red or blue) will likely just cause them to strip the screws. I can't stress this enough.


Doctor Jazz (author)  fatpat2682 years ago
You are absolutely right, most of the steps seem to be optional and can be avoided. What I'm showing here is good work ethics, and your job is to skip steps you think are unnecessary. You sound like a person who knows all these tools and how to use them, but for some people this info can be useful.

With all due respect, I strongly disagree with your comment about NOT using loctite. In most cases it's not a good idea, but with these unibody macs -- absolutely necessary. I deal with hundreds of these guys due to the nature of my job, and I see these machines with loose/lost screws all the time. I'm not sure what's wrong with them in the first place, but after some time of normal use these screws start to loosen up. I even developed a habit of checking the tightness of these screws every time I get one of these in my hands, and you'll be surprised.

Another argument in support of loctite use is that they actually use it when assembling these computers. That little blue spot on the side of the threads you see every time you take a screw out of MacBook pro -- that's the originally applied loctite. Though I'm not trying to convince anyone, just sharing my experience. Good luck and thanks for the comment!
Save some money - a smear of cheap superglue / Cyanoacrylate (sp?) works just as well. And you can pick it up at the dollar store for way less than loctite.

Our local nut and screw wholesaler recommends superglue, but theirs is 12x the cost.
f5mando2 years ago
Wonderful instructable, Doctor Jazz. Clear, concise, and great photography.
Thank you very glad!
valveman2 years ago
I see you are using Red Loctite. I think you should use Blue because Red is too strong. Usually requires heat to loosen screws from Red Loctite.
Doctor Jazz (author)  valveman2 years ago
That is totally true, I shouldn't be using or recommending others to use the Red Loctite, I just ran out of the blue -- my bad. Lemme put that correction in that step before others get into trouble.

Thanks for pointing that out!
I would suggest using no Loctite. Of all the computers I have disassembled/reassembled I have never used it, and never had a problem. Especially on the body since thtere is a chance you might want to get back inside there sometime in the future...
WolfTohsaka2 years ago
That's exactly what I did a few weeks ago to replace a dying hard drive in a white Late 2007 Macbook !

SSD's are the best when it comes to daily use.

Fast boot, fast access to apps, silent computer, the only drawback being the space offered, which varies depending on your budget !

I did use a 60 Gigs SSD, which cost me 60 Euros, for all the "not-so-often" data, they are on a NAS :)

Good Instructable, very nice and clean :)

account3r22 years ago
Wait, wait, wait... (I have already thought about this a few months ago when I was thinking about getting an SSD) If an SSD is flash memory, isn't it almost like a very large flash drive with a ATA connection? And doesn't that mean after a (very large) number of read/writes it will eventually fail? I was also thinking about getting a flash drive for an (Linux!!!) OS, but I thought it would be safer to get a small external HDD instead so it doesn't fail as quickly. So the main point and my question for this comment is:

Doesn't flash memory (eventually) fail after a number of read/writes?
Doctor Jazz (author)  account3r22 years ago
That is true, that flash memory eventually fails after certain number for re-writes, but that number of writes it fairly large and there are various algorithms inside the hardware, that make sure that "writes" ave evenly distributed across the entire available space.

And by the way, the question that you raised is also true for spinning hard drives. They also fail, and there are also algorithms/code in the hardware that takes care of marking bad blocks and moving them somewhere else.

So you may be using your hard drive or SSD and on the surface there would be no indication of any lost cells, but in reality they die (like our brain cells) continuously, until that deterioration reaches some sort of breaking point. That was the long winded version of the answer, sorry about that.

Short answer is this: modern, good quality SSDs are not less reliable than conventional hard drives, which is especially true for laptops.
this is awesome for an os drive, quick boots etc. but its better if there is another hdd that does all the hard work, but its a right pain making sure all the new software installs on the conventional hdd, and not the boot hd.
Doctor Jazz (author)  donhudson2 years ago
Actually that kinda defeats the purpose. Application launch is also an important factor in overall speed perception. In configuration you're proposing, I would rather install all applications and system related stuff on the SSD, but load tons of not-so-often-accessed files (photos, movies, etc) to the secondary drive, basically putting my whole home folder there, except for the library -- you want it to stay on SSD.
also do not do defrags on these it shortens the life of them.
Good point. :)