My MacBook has served me well for 2.5 years. I had been planning to upgrade to a MacBook Pro but after a careful look at my financial commitments – an iPhone 5 upgrade, upcoming renovations and moving in to our new house, plus baby Zack – I decided upgrading to a new MacBook Pro would be burdensome for me. So instead I chose to upgrade the components of my existing MacBook.
I had already upgraded my RAM and replaced the battery, so this time I decided to replace my hard drive with a solid state drive (SSD). Why SSD? A SSD read and writes faster than a regular drive, which results in better performance for doing operations that involve reading and writing files. A SSD also promises better battery life and less heat. Check out this video of a SSD reduces boot times.
Replacing a hard drive in a MacBook is a simple process that only involves 5 screws. See iFixit’s excellent guide for detailed steps with photos. You can use Carbon Copy Cloner or SuperDuper – both of which are free and excellent – to clone your old hard drive to the new SSD before swapping them. Also, make sure you have the right tools:
- Torx screwdriver (left)
- Philips head screwdriver (right)
Click the images for full resolution versions.
First I removed the rear access door and battery. I then had to unscrew the bracket holding the old hard drive in place. After that I could simply pull out the hard drive with my fingers and disconnect the SATA cable.
Here’s why I needed the Torx screwdriver. I had to remove the 4 Torx screws around old hard drive and screw them into my SSD. The screws serve as holders that fit in the orange brackets in the hard drive bay. I then assembled everything back together with the SSD.
For the final (optional) step, I removed the rear panel to dust off the insides of my faithful MacBook. There was a lot of dust gathered in there from the past 2.5 years.
Upgrade if you can afford it!
I’ve only had the SSDs for a day but I already see some initial results. Boot times and launching apps are definitely faster. I can launch Safari and Mail in a single bounce from a cold boot! I didn’t do any real tests, but my old MacBook definitely feels zippier. If you afford to buy a brand new laptop, I think upgrading your drive to a SSD is definitely worth it.
The only catch is that SSDs are more expensive compared to regular drives. I bought my SSD from OWC and had it shipped all the way from the US. The 240GB drive, an enclosure for my old drive and shipping cost me USD533.50, or about RM1650. I also had to throw in another RM166 for custom duties.
However the RM1.8k+ was still cheaper than the price of 240GB SSDs being sold at LowYat, etc – at this point time in time anyway. The price is likely to go down, but if you want to upgrade now I highly recommend OWC’s range of SSDs. OWC has got great prices, frequent discounts and awesome customer service. Best of all, it takes only 5 days for the drives to arrive – no need to battle traffic and hunt for parking at LowYat.. Tempting right? ;)
And now with the money I’ve saved from not buying a new laptop, I have cash for some more fun stuff!