What you really need to know when adding a SSD to your Macbook Pro!

By installing a SSD to your Mac you will be gaining a fast booting and snappier app running beast. It is very nice to have a system that runs so fast.

If you want to add a SSD to your Mac you just can’t install the drive and away you go. There are a number of things to consider before you dive into this. You should start by knowing that if you install a third-party non OEM (APPLE) drive into your Macbook Pro, It will void the warranty. If it’s still under warranty that is. Next you should decide on what size drive you want to go with, but most important you should look into a drive that is not only compatible with Mac but also has TRIM Support. Here is some info on TRIM. In short TRIM will add needed performance and more to a SSD. If you simply run the TRIM Enabler just restart your Mac and it will be enabled. While there are many different drives to choose from, I decided on a OCZ Vertex 3 and it has performed flawlessly.  The next thing to look at would be if you want to use only one drive in your mac (the one being the SSD) or you can go with two drives and really maximize the capacity of your lap top. If you decide to use both drives you will need to understand that the optical drive will need to be removed with this installation.

I would recommend using both drives and ditch the optical. I did this with my Mac and don’t regret for one minute, not having an optical in my Mac! If you do this you will need to install your optical drive in an external enclosure. You can find these in a number of places, but I recommend this one from OWC. What is also needed is a place to mount the SSD. If you choose to go with just the SSD drive you can keep the Optical drive in place otherwise you will need a Data Doubler also from OWC. The advantage about using two drives is that you can use the SSD for all of your apps and your OS. Then using the HDD for home folder and all of your other files and iTunes library stuff.

Here is a very good article about replacing these drives and using two drives in your Macbook Pro from app storm.net

“ALWAYS BACK UP AND OR CLONE YOUR DRIVE BEFORE DOING THIS” it will save you the headache and trouble to say the least, with any data loss. you can use Time machine to back up, but I also recommend using Carbon Copy Cloner to make a clone of your drive should anything go wrong. Carbon Copy Cloner is very easy and straight forward to use, Once you have a drive that will be used as a destination drive with just a few clicks you can clone your Mac HDD.

When all of the hardware installation is complete, you can focus on moving your home folder. If you cloned your HDD to your new SSD or even if you did a fresh install of your OS as I did, the home folder must be moved so all of you files can be saved to the HDD. To move your home folder just click on your Mac’s HDD in the Finder and copy it. Then paste it in your  new SSD. You then go to “System Preferences>Users&Groups>Right click on the Admin User>select Advanced Options” you should see the “Home Directory” and the path of where it is currently located. If you click on the “choose” button you can navigate to the location you moved it to. Don’t forget to delete the original home folder in your HDD. What’s also good about this is that only the OS and Apps will be stored and installed on the SSD.

After the drives are installed and the home folder is moved you can migrate your iTunes library to the HDD and TRIM can now be enabled for the SSD. If you did not use an Apple sanctioned drive you will need to use a hack to enable this. Currently there is Trim enabler 2.0 Beta 2 you can use this to enable trim on your SSD and this is compatible with Snow Leopard and Lion. After this is done if you update your OS you will need to run this again to re-enable Trim.

There are also other things that you can do to decrease cached data that is written the SSD an in turn maximize performance. Here is a link to a few of these optimizations.

So to sum this all up in order…

1. Choose a Mac compatible drive that has TRIM support.

2. Decide if you want to use two drives or just the SSD.

3. Get the Data doubler and or the external optical drive enclosure.

4. Back up and clone your HDD before installing new hardware. You can also boot from the cloned drive by holding the Option key upon boot up then select the cloned drive after installing the drives.

5. Once the new hardware is installed you can boot from your clone to format the installed drive(s) if needed.

6. Install or clone your OS and Apps to the new SSD

7. Move your home folder.

8. Enable trim.

9. Optimize your SSD.

10. Enjoy your snappy new Mac!


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One Comment on “What you really need to know when adding a SSD to your Macbook Pro!”

  1. Mike November 26, 2011 at 6:02 am #

    This would probably work good on a MacBook as well 🙂 Also if you have a desktop just share the optical drive and the laptop will be able to see it, if you find a reason to need a optical drive.


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