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Apple SSD upgrade


I purchased a new MacBook recently and although it is very quick and responsive, I needed a more durable solution for the hard drive.  I am tough on my machines and don’t always have time to follow my own advice when moving them.  It’s always best to turn off your laptop when moving around or at the very least, put the computer into hibernation.


Do you toss your laptop around and not think twice about what could happen?  I see the effects of “abused” equipment all the time and it’s not pretty.  What is the answer?  Reducing the moving parts in your computer is one way.  The primary and most critical component that can be replaced is the hard drive as it is the heart of the laptop.  Regular hard drives have tiny moving parts inside, and if the laptop is writing to the hard drive, and the laptop gets jolted, it can cause errors to occur and could render your laptop inoperable

Off I go to the local computer store to purchase the best SSD – only took 1 week of research time – anyone who knows me knows that was quick.  But why am I going to the local computer store? Doesn’t CUI sell parts?  We do and I will get into why we buy local later.  So as usual I try to test the local computer sales person’s knowledge.  First question for the Apple representative at Micro Center was, can I upgrade my MacBook to an SSD?  The answer from the sales person, “No”.

I decided to purchase an Intel X15 drive from Micro Center and as I mentioned earlier the sales person told me that I could not upgrade my MacBook.  So being the average home owner wanting to buy some parts I ask, “can I change the hard drive in my MacBook to an SSD?”  The saleswomen stumbles a bit and finally tells me that Micro Center does not sell a drive that will work in my MacBook.  I asked twice to be sure and she confirmed that it cannot be done

Why an SSD?  What is an SSD?  SSD is short for solid state design and is the latest in hard drive technology.  There are no moving parts in an SSD.  It uses similar technology to the flash memory you use in your camera.  There is very little heat and best of all the response time when reading from the drive is incredible. IMGP3046


Going to the local computer store has the advantage of instant gratification as well as an easier return policy.  More importantly I was headed out of the country and needed to do this quickly.  But I digress.  So I was off to the hard drive section to buy what I was told would not work.  I am always trying to buck the system and prove them wrong.  To be fair I had already read the instructions from many other users who had replaced their MacBook hard drive with an SSD.

Back at the office I begin the process.  First thing I needed to do was back up my current hard drive and make an image that I could put on the new SSD.  Seems easy enough but having never done this on a Mac before I was a little skeptical.  Jason, CUI tech extraordinaire, had already done this but for me it was the first time.  At this point I took some time to review the Apple forums and then narrow down my choices of programs to copy my data from the old drive to the new drive.  After what seemed like an eternity, actually about 5 minutes, it was clear the winner was SuperDuper! Next I downloaded and installed the program.  In no time it was ready to go.  As this was a test I did not read the manual and turns out that was not a problem.

Finally I was ready to unpack the SSD and connect it to the MacBook, allowing me to make an exact copy of my current hard drive on the new SSD.  For this I used my Cables to Go USB to SATA adapter.  Plugged in all the pieces and nothing happened.  Why?  Simple answer – no power.  So off to the Computer Umbrella tech bag and retrieve the power source for the adapter.  Once I set up the power the MacBook recognized the new SSD drive right away.  Started SuperDuper!! and selected the new hard drive as my target drive and selected back up all files.  Now the waiting.  Wow was I surprised.  A mere 15 minutes later my new SSD was ready to go and best of all SuperDuper!! made it bootable.  All I needed to do was install the new SSD in my MacBook.

Flip over the MacBook to find 8 screws that needed to be removed to get access to the current hard drive.  I then removed the current drive which was held in by 2 screws.  So of all the things I did so far the hardest part was the next step.  The original MacBook hard drive had 4 posts that screw into the side of the drive.  They needed to be removed so I could use them in the new SSD.  I have just about every tool for computers and nothing was working.  In the end I used a small pair of pliers to remove each post.  Now that I was back in business I installed the new SSD into the MacBook and closed up the bottom.  Flipped it back over, plugged in power and turned it on.  Nothing happened.  Was this failure?  No.


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I just needed to wait a little for the new drive to be recognized by my Mac.  Once it did the speed was great.  Instant startup of any program.  It has been 3 weeks now and all is good.  I traveled to our office in Vietnam and back and was very rough with the MacBook.   No problems and speed is still great.  I made the right decision.

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