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Switcher Hangout The place for switchers to discuss their new machines, and how to work with OS X. General support can be had here for newbie stuff, like "How do I restart my new iMac?" :)

My experience of upgrading my MBP


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Trolle

 
Member Since: Feb 11, 2009
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For those of you who are considering upgrading your RAM or HDD in your Macbook, here are my experiences. I am neither a super-duper Mac user and have only had the machine for 2 years, nor do I work on computer hardware for a living (just use MS Office daily).

I had a 15", 2.4GHz, 2GB RAM, 250GB HDD machine and wanted more RAM and HDD capacity. The machine was running SL and did regular backups to TM wirelessly.

I bought 8 GB RAM from OWC. The price difference between 8GB and 4GB was marginal. It was originally listed that this machine would only accept 6GB RAM, but according to an article 8 GB was now feasible (MacBook Pro "Core 2 Duo" 2.4 15" (Unibody) Specs (Late 2008/Unibody, MB470LL/A, MacBookPro5,1, A1286, 2255) @ EveryMac.com)

I decided on a hybrid 500 GB HDD. There are numerous threads on this and other boards about the pros and cons of such drives, along with various good and bad experiences. I decided to give it a try with the argument that I could always return it to the seller if it didn't work. I bought this: Newegg.com - Seagate Momentus XT ST95005620AS 500GB 7200 RPM 32MB Cache 2.5" SATA 3.0Gb/s with NCQ Solid State Hybrid Drive -Bare Drive

I bought Lion and made a bootable USB stick as recommended here:How to make a bootable Lion install disc or drive | Operating Systems | MacUser | Macworld
Just make sure you read the whole thing before starting; and put Lion on the USB before you install it on the Mac.

Under my keychain I made note of my password to my router. I ran TM for the last time and then shut the whole computer down and took out the battery. There are plenty of videos on YouTube showing how to replace the RAM and HDD on a MBP, so I just followed those on a PC that is also in the house.

The manual labor took about 20 minutes; make sure you have the right screwdrivers.

I first installed the RAM and restarted. I didn't want to install both the RAM and HDD in the same go, since if either was broken I wouldn't know and I would have to trouble shoot. So, once the RAM was in I made sure that they were working by just restarting. That went fine, so I replaced the HDD next.

I started the MBP and told it to boot from the USB. Installed Lion, which took about 20 minutes. I found my router and logged on. I used Migration Assistant to install the previous accounts, but it did not work. My NAS box (Netgear NV+) was not compatible with Lion, but there is a beta version for Lion compatibility on the Netgear site, which quickly solved that problem.

Migration Assistant took about 8-9 hours to install all the information. The only incompatibility after that was Dropbox (which Migration Assistant told me...thank you ), which I simply downloaded again from their site.

That was it. Amazingly simple. No hassle. I had to sit at the computer for no more than 2 hours (RAM installation to telling Migration Assistant to start), while I let it do its thing overnight with Migration Assistant. My past experiences with PCs and new HDDs or reinstalling the OS has been a nightmare compared to this.

My MBP now runs much, much faster and so far the drive has been stable, quiet, and I don't see much degradation in battery performance. If you are thinking about upgrading don't let any concerns about the installation of equipment stop you...it really is easy.
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chscag

 
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Thanks for sharing your experiences with the upgrades.
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iggibar

 
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My XT was good at first, but got loud after, and started producing a slight vibration, as well as eventually flickering(freezing). The concept of the hybrid drive is excellent imo! Others should try to make it better. I sold my previous configuration with the 500gb-XT and 30gb OXZ, and am using the stock 250gb drive for now. All I'll say is that I have 2 OWC SSDs coming in the mail by tuesday/wednesday

“If you are distressed by anything external, the pain is not due to the thing itself but to your own estimate of it; and this you have the power to revoke at any moment.” Marcus Aurelius
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zacster

 
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Mac Specs: Intel iMac 20" Core Duo 256mb VRam 115gb SSD 2gb Ram Finally!!!

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I went and installed a new SSD in my old iMac, and other than the physical problems of opening it up, and getting the shielding off without totally destroying it, it was a piece of cake. I installed SL on the new drive and had migration assistant do the rest. I wasn't expecting it to work at all, but instead it just worked. If I didn't use windoze at work I'd never use anything but a Mac.
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iggibar

 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by zacster View Post
I went and installed a new SSD in my old iMac, and other than the physical problems of opening it up, and getting the shielding off without totally destroying it, it was a piece of cake. I installed SL on the new drive and had migration assistant do the rest. I wasn't expecting it to work at all, but instead it just worked. If I didn't use windoze at work I'd never use anything but a Mac.
I would highly recommend doing a clean install on a new SSD. You are guaranteed faster ssd performance with a fresh instal since it maps the new files according to how the ssd arranges/reads the files. Using Migration Assistant places the old mapping/file layout of the regular hdd onto an sdd, which is not the way an ssd is used to categorizing files. It will have to fish through files since it doesn't have a needle to drop right next to where the location is suppose to be(like in a regular hdd). Its common to see better performance from clean installs.

“If you are distressed by anything external, the pain is not due to the thing itself but to your own estimate of it; and this you have the power to revoke at any moment.” Marcus Aurelius
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zacster

 
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It was a clean Snow Leopard install. I don't think it is possible to "place the old mapping/file layout" onto the SSD, they are different devices, and different sizes. The OS and the drive controller should be doing that. Sector by Sector copies are only possible on identical drives.
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