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Install A Solid State Drive In Your Notebook

A Less Elegant, But Effective Solution

Our solution is less elegant, but just as effective as the first two. The problem is simple: Our notebook computer is a 15" MacBook Pro. Apple doesn’t support replacing the optical drive with a hard disk, and this notebook has only one 2.5" slot.

Replace The Optical Drive With A Hard disk

Despite this limitation, there is a solution – the OptiBay from MCE. This is a case containing an adapter that lets you connect a hard disk in place of the optical drive.

Obviously, since our notebook uses an ATA optical drive, the hard disk has to use the same interface. OptiBays exist for MacBook and MacBook Pro, in two versions – for computers that use a slim optical drive (12.5 mm thick) and for ones that use an ultra-slim (9.5 mm) drive. OptiBays are usable on any computer, but need a few adaptations, including to the tray. The OptiBay costs $99, but you can order it with a hard disk or an external optical drive.

Choosing Components: The Hard Disk

Once we had the adapter, we needed to choose a hard disk and SSD. For the hard disk, we needed an ATA model with a decent capacity (at least 120 GB). The speed didn’t matter much since the disk would only be used to store data – all our applications will be on the SSD. We chose a Samsung HM160 (5,400 rpm, 160 GB). Note that the most recent 2.5" hard disks are no longer made in ATA and only in SATA format, which limits the capacity (250-GB models exist, but they’re rare).

Choosing Components: The SSD

The second problem was which SSD to choose. First, it had to be a SATA drive, because the machine’s original hard disk uses that interface. Then, its capacity had to be at least 32 GB so that we could use a recent operating system like Mac OS X Leopard or Windows Vista with no problem and still have all our applications on the SSD. We ended up choosing a 32-GB Mtron MOBI 3000. This fast SSD (the specs claim a 100 MB/s read speed and 80 MB/s write speed) uses a SATA interface and is currently one of most highly reputed SSD models.

  • Is there something about that lenovo adapter that's special to lenovo laptops? Is it not a standard ata adapter with a standard form factor?
    Reply
  • nukemaster
    Good article.
    Reply
  • FHDelux
    I dont usually leave comments, but this article has no point. Anyone interested in an SSD, knows how fast it is and how to put one in a laptop. Also, why all of the sudden is this site being mucked up with rediculous MAC stuff. I could care less how fast a MAC boots up, its useless anyway. I come here to read about real computers, not, ooooo its pretty i wanna buy it cause it has a catchy theme song on the commercial computers.
    Reply
  • nukemaster
    What ever boost they got on there mac. You would get on your pc as well..

    Hell my photo shop still opens faster(within a second of the SSD times). But Quad + Raid will do that.

    What machine they use does not matter much. I do agree they may as well of just slapped it into one of there windows notebooks first since its not too hard to do and then they could get some benches for that, but the speed boosts should be about the same on either OS.

    Any day they gut hardware for upgrades(Even if its a mac) is fine with me
    Reply
  • palach
    I think it's more interesting to show what is the battery time gain by installing the SSD compared to the normal HDD in this or other laptops, since most people will take the laptop to a certified technical support if they want to install a new HDD or SSD.
    Reply
  • TeaCup
    In response to FHDelux, I used to be annoyed by everything Apple/Macintosh, until I actually got to use one. Strangely enough; my Macbook Pro is literally the most stable and capable WINDOWS system I've ever owned. I run Windows XP only, and everything works flawlessly. It's practically silent, and has better battery life than any other laptop I've owned. So you're a bit behind the times bashing the apple system they used. Great article btw.
    Reply
  • laxmidd50
    I think most people who know what a SSD is are capable of installing one themselves.
    Reply
  • boogman
    What's with all this "ATA drives not compatible"???


    SATA is ATA.


    PATA is also ATA.

    Sigh...
    Reply
  • bobloadmire
    i find it funny that my Vista desktop launches word and photoshop froma cold bott in about half the time the SSD mac pro does.But yeah ssd's FTW
    Reply
  • bobloadmire
    i find it funny that my Vista desktop launches word and photoshop from a cold boot in about half the time the SSD mac pro does. But yeah ssd's FTW
    Reply