SSD’s or Solid State Drives are a popular upgrade lately due to the very significant difference they can make to even an older Mac’s performance in real world use. Unfortunately, SSD’s are also still prohibitively expensive for those of us who wish to keep large quantities of media on an internal hard drive.
There are a few workarounds for this, but most rely on an external drive or cloud storage. Alternatively, the following guide will show you how to install an SSD and make use of a larger, standard hard drive in the SuperDrive bay. As far as non-standard upgrades go, it’s not too difficult, but is perhaps not best suited for complete novices and may well void your warranty.
The Mac I’m choosing to upgrade is a mid-2012 13″ Unibody MacBook Pro, but other models of Unibody MacBook should be very similar.
Make sure to power off your Mac and let it cool down if necessary, then remove each screw with a small screwdriver and be sure to keep them safe if you don’t want to spend over half an hour of your time searching the floor for that one missing screw, as I invariably do.
Next, touch some metal part of the MacBook’s casing to discharge any static electricity. Since this is a Unibody, we won’t need to remove the battery.
Removing the existing hard drive is a very simple procedure:
The hard drive is located in the bottom left corner of the above photo and should be quite distinctive to spot. To remove the HD, we merely need to remove the two screws holding it in, then slowly lift the plastic strip holding it in place.
Now, slowly remove the hard drive, making sure to disconnect the ribbon as you do so. This would be a good time to put your hard drive into your enclosure if it’s the one you’ve decided to use.
Installing your SSD is equally simple, just place it in the now empty bay and plug it into the ribbon connector, before screwing in the housing again. Once this is done, take care to put your MacBook’s bottom lid on properly and tighten each screw slowly.
Okay, so now we should have a fully functioning and blazing fast OS X installation on the SSD. Assuming all is well, it’s time to put a standard HD into the SuperDrive bay. This step is more tricky so it would be worth working extra carefully.
Open your MacBook again, following the previous steps to ensure it’s cooled down and you discharge any static. Now locate the SuperDrive bay – on my Mac it was directly above where the SSD is now installed.
There is also a ribbon connector plugged into the SuperDrive so remove this now if it’s not too difficult, otherwise do so later. There are three screws which affix the SuperDrive to the Mac’s casing and these need to be removed. I’ve highlighted their approximate location in the screenshot below with yellow circles – the green circles are a couple of extra screws I also had to remove, but you may not need to, as reports I’ve read online seem to suggest it depends on your model of MacBook Pro.
The two screws to the left of the SuperDrive (highlighted in yellow) are in an awkward position so use a magnetic screwdriver in order to make sure you don’t lose them.
It took me a good few minutes of nudging to remove the SuperDrive as it’s a tight fit but you should not use too much force. If you’re having trouble getting the SuperDrive out, then make sure you haven’t left a screw in somewhere.
If both your SSD and HD are now nice and snug, put the bottom lid back on your MacBook, insert the screws and power on the Mac.
I’ve tested my MacBook Pro for a few days and have had no issues whatsoever, keeping all my media in the secondary hard drive, while OS X and all my applications reside on the SSD for an impressively quick Mac. I have never had such a fast mac.
Heres a few links to the parts i used.
Samsung 840 EVO Series 500gb – http://www.ncix.com/detail/samsung-840-evo-series-mz-7te500bw-fa-87762-1342.htm
Sata Hard Drive Caddy – http://www.ebay.ca/itm/290690702524?ssPageName=STRK:MEWNX:IT&_trksid=p3984.m1497.l2649