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Macbook Pro 13" supports SATA II hard drives or NOT?

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January 27, 2011 12:55:06 PM

I`ve been looking for this answer everywhere and can`t find a straightforward answer - yes or no.

My question is: does Macbook Pro 13" (2.26Mhz, mid 2009) support SATA II hard drives or NOT?

My MBP is currently using Fujitsu 160GB SATA hdd and I am looking to upgrade to 500GB and preferably SATA II.

This is from my System Profiler:

NVidia MCP79 AHCI:
Vendor: NVidia
Product: MCP79 AHCI
Link Speed: 3 Gigabit
Negotiated Link Speed: 1.5 Gigabit

Description: AHCI Version 1.20 Supported

If I am interpreting this correctly, my MBP has potential for 3GB link speed, i.e. SATA II, but since I am using SATA hard drive, it is using 1.5 GB link speed.

I have found many comments of users facing issues upon replacing their SATA drives with SATA II in Macbook Pro`s, although according to the information above (unless I am interpreting the data from system profiler in a wrong way), Macbook Pro`s should be compatible with SATA II hard drives.

Has anyone actually replaced their SATA hard drive with a SATA II on a mid 2009 MBP? Did you have any issues at all or is everything running smoothly?

Again, my question is: does Macbook Pro 13" (2.26Mhz, mid 2009) support SATA II hard drives or NOT?

Thanks! :D 
a b G Storage
January 27, 2011 3:04:31 PM

I replaced my wife's macbook HDD with a SATA II model and it works just fine (late 2007 model). If your macbook has the slower 1.5 GB/s interface, you will not notice a performance penalty unless you get an SSD. A traditional spinning platter HDD will not saturate a SATA I interface.

Edit- FYI, apple released an EFI update that updates your SATA interface to SATA II link speed. Read more here.
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January 27, 2011 7:07:37 PM

@ rwpritchett:

Thank you for your answer! I really appreciate it!

If you don`t mind me asking you one more thing...
Since I will be installing a new HDD, I will obviously have to re-install the OS X.
The OS X is on a CD that doesn`t contain the MacBook Pro EFI Firmware Update 1.7. Could the system be having difficulties recognizing the SATA II HDD, since it is set by default to run on SATA with transfer rates up to 1.5bps?
I wouldn`t want to have problems after clean install and am thus trying to find out more info before I decide to do this.

Thanks again!!!
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a b G Storage
January 27, 2011 7:49:59 PM

You don't have to do a clean install.

For my wife's macbook, I purchased an external USB enclosure along with the hard drive. Then I used SuperDuper to clone the old hard drive to the new one. Then I swapped the hard drives (old->enclosure, new->macbook) and everything works great.

For firmware updates, the firmware should be hard coded into the hardware. It shouldn't matter what OSX you use.
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a b G Storage
January 27, 2011 8:45:17 PM

I read the entire thread in the link. Most people are complaining about the SATA I link speed, which is moot because only SSD's exceed the bandwidth of SATA I. No worries, your upgrade will work fine.

Just a few tips:

Be sure your new hard drive is the right size. There are 9.5mm and 12.5mm laptop drives. I believe macs only fit the 9.5mm size but I'm not sure so you should double-check on that.

Here is the instruction I followed when upgrading my wife's HDD (link)
A unibody macbook pro will be different on the taking-apart steps to access the hard drive bay, but the cloning instruction is the same. The free version of SuperDuper works just fine... you don't have to purchase the software (to unlock additional features) for cloning.

Here is the enclosure I purchased to make the cloning easier (link). Worked great and still houses the old macbook hard drive. After you are certain that the cloning went OK, you can erase your old hard drive and use it for storage.

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January 28, 2011 12:21:56 AM

Thanks again for your help!

I will try and update as I complete the 'transaction'!
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December 10, 2011 3:19:42 AM

rwpritchett said:
I replaced my wife's macbook HDD with a SATA II model and it works just fine (late 2007 model). If your macbook has the slower 1.5 GB/s interface, you will not notice a performance penalty unless you get an SSD. A traditional spinning platter HDD will not saturate a SATA I interface.here.

Quick question (if you're still around):
I also have a 2009 13" MacBook Pro (2.53 GHz--MBP 5,5). Do you know if this supports SATA 2 or 3? (I don't know if that's hardware or software--I'm a bit of a n00b :whistle:  ). If it's II, is it better for me to get an SATA II or III SSD? or to put it another way, will having a III drive have any negative impact on my computer? I only ask because I found a III drive on Newegg with a mail-in rebate that was less than a similar II drive so I wanted to see if this was the best choice no matter what. Google hasn't helped me too much :(  .
Thanks so much for your help!
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a b G Storage
December 10, 2011 1:02:48 PM

SATA is fully backwards (and forwards) compatible as a standard. SATA III drives will work with SATA I and SATA II interfaces. Likewise, SATA I drives will work in II and III interfaces.

You will be limited by the slower component. If you purchase an SATA III drive and plug it into an SATA II interface you will be limited by the interface speed if, and only if, the SATA III drive is capable of faster than SATA II speeds.

Whether or not you have SATA I or II in your macbook, you'll have to check in the system properties:



If it says "1.5 Gigabit", you might be able to update the EFI to unlock 3.0 gigabit speed. Read more here and here.
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December 10, 2011 6:16:38 PM

rwpritchett said:
SATA is fully backwards (and forwards) compatible as a standard. SATA III drives will work with SATA I and SATA II interfaces. Likewise, SATA I drives will work in II and III interfaces.

Thank you so much for your quick reply!
I looked in System Profiler, and I saw that it says "Link Speed: 3 Gigabit" and "Negotiated Link Speed: 1.5 Gigabit"
I assumed that this meant that my computer supports II but the drives currently are only I; is this correct?
Also, about the firmware update: I'm a little confused about whether the SATA versions are hardware, software, or a combination of the two. Was the update because the computers had the hardware but were crippled by software or something?
Lastly, I thought I heard somewhere that using a SATA III drive in an SATA II computer can have a negative effect on battery life or something (vs. II in a II computer). Do you know if this is true (or relevant)?

Again, thanks so much for your help--it's really useful!
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a b G Storage
December 10, 2011 7:11:59 PM

Yes, according to System Profiler your macbook is capable of running at SATA II speed but the current hard drive is SATA I. Don't worry about the EFI firmware update, you don't need it.

SATA III vs SATA II will not have any affect on your battery life. You may have read something about a faster spinning hard drive having an affect on battery life. Your current drive is a 5400rpm drive. If you installed a faster 7200rpm drive that uses more power then you may see a decrease in battery life. It varies from drive to drive.

You most likely won't see a significant shift (increase or decrease) in battery life when swapping out a hard drive... even if it's to an SSD. I'm not an expert on the matter though.
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December 10, 2011 7:34:25 PM

rwpritchett said:
Yes, according to System Profiler your macbook is capable of running at SATA II speed but the current hard drive is SATA I.

You most likely won't see a significant shift (increase or decrease) in battery life when swapping out a hard drive... even if it's to an SSD.

Awesome... just to double-check, there are no problems if you use a SATA III drive in an SATA II computer/mobo, right?
(I know it's a little repetitive, but I just want to make sure--it's a pretty decent-sized investment after all)
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a b G Storage
December 10, 2011 8:53:48 PM

There are no problems using an SATA III drive in an SATA II computer. It will just link up at SATA II speed.
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December 10, 2011 9:06:06 PM

rwpritchett said:
There are no problems using an SATA III drive in an SATA II computer. It will just link up at SATA II speed.

Sounds good to me!
Again, thanks so much for your time and your help! :D 
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January 19, 2012 5:46:31 AM

Hello,

I have a short question concerning a possible SSD Upgrade of my MBP 13" from Mid 2010.

Also Sys Profiler tells me right now, that NVidia MCP89 AHCI supports SATA II. Nevertheless the negotiated Speed with my original Hitachi hard drive is SATA 1 (1.5 Gb), although researches show that it is also supports SATA II. I know that it doesn't matter in this case as the HDD is much slower than the SATA I interface.

But my concern is, whether a SSD, which supports SATA II is then really supported by the chipset with full speed (SATA II) automatically. I am a bit uncertain because sometimes Apple restricts HW to use their full potential and therefore not sure whether they did the same to the SATA chipset!

Thanks a lot for your help!

Kai
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January 19, 2012 6:20:03 AM

1vory said:
Hello,
Nevertheless the negotiated Speed with my original Hitachi hard drive is SATA 1 (1.5 Gb), although researches show that it is also supports SATA II.\

I'm not the expert here, but I'm pretty sure that you want to look at the Link Speed, not the Negotiated Link Speed. I originally had LS 3 Gb and NLS 1.5, but when I installed the SSD, the NLS went up to 3.
So I'm not sure if Apple crippled it in some other way, but I can say that if your LS says 3 Gb, then you should be fine with SATA II--the NLS is just what your current hard drive supports, if I understand correctly.
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January 21, 2012 2:12:37 PM

This topic has been closed by Mousemonkey
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