Pick a Harddrive for my mac
March 11, 2009 11:07 AM   Subscribe

Can anyone help me pick a new hard drive for my first generation MacBook?

I have a first generation Intel MacBook, the 1.83 GhZ white model. It has an 80GB hard drive. These are not enough gigabytes, I'd like more (250GB/500GB/1TB)

I'm comfortable cloning my existing drive and popping a new drive into my machine. What I'm not comfortable with is picking the replacement drive. My hardware knowledge is weak at best; there's a reason I buy Macs.

I currently have one of these in there. So

1. What drive do I want

2. More importantly, how do I do this myself? What specs are important to match and how can I make sure the drive is going to work with my Macbook.

Thanks in advance, oh wise IT metafilterites.
posted by alan to Computers & Internet (8 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
You want a 2.5" SATA 3.0GBps (SATA II) drive, these come either as normal drives or solid state drives (no moving parts, crazy fast, crazy expensive). I recommend you go to newegg.com and looking at the drives that fit your needs. Here's an unsorted list of drives starting at ~160GB in size. I've bought many drives from newegg and I recommend them. I suggest you select the size you want and then sort the list by price, go to the range you want to spend and then look for drives that have a high number of reviews and a good star rating.
posted by Science! at 11:17 AM on March 11, 2009

Science! is right. I would add one thing: you want to think about drive speed. Basically (for magnetic hard drives) your options are 5400RPM and 7200RPM. The tradeoff is performance vs. battery life (and money). If you're happy with the performance of the 5400RPM drive in your machine now, you should probably pick up a new 5400RPM drive.
posted by grobstein at 11:24 AM on March 11, 2009

What they said: 2.5", SATA II, make sure it's low profile (though very few will not be). I'll put in a plug for Other World Computing, macsales.com. Reliability of the various brands varies over time, but these days I think Hitachi is better than average. They have several of them; $57 will pick you up a 250 GB 5400 RPM version, while $10 extra will get you 320 GB, and $107 will get you 500 GB.
posted by raf at 11:44 AM on March 11, 2009

(Oh, and low-profile mans 9.5 mm high. One of the reasons I like OWC is they don't carry things that are too tall or that don't interact well with Macs, as some bleeding-edge hard drives can.)
posted by raf at 11:45 AM on March 11, 2009

(Oh, one more thing: if you get an off-the-shelf hard drive, you need a Torx T8 screwdriver to get the EMI shield off the original drive and onto the new one.)
posted by grobstein at 12:57 PM on March 11, 2009

Response by poster: Thanks raf, I had no idea on the low/high profile thing; knowing my hardware jinx I'd have bought the wrong drive.

Science!, what's the "3.0GBps" part of your recommendation mean?
posted by alan at 1:34 PM on March 11, 2009

FWIW, I recently upgraded the drive on my 1st Gen 1.83GHz MacBook from the original 60G 4200RPM to a 160G 5400RPM, and the battery life has actually increased. Newer drive = lower power consumption, generally speaking.

The 3.0GBps is the interface speed of the drive (how fast it can transfer data from its internal cache to main memory). The original SATA spec was 1.5GBps, almost all drives now are 3.0GBps, but that's academic as your Macbook only has a 1.5GBps SATA interface. A faster drive still works, but only at the slower transfer rate.

Oh, and if your Macbook is anything like mine, be careful of the rubber guide channel along the front of the drive bay - it's only glued in place, mine had come unstuck, and it's (almost) impossible to get back in place without pulling the whole lower case apart ;-)
posted by Pinback at 2:01 PM on March 11, 2009 [2 favorites]

(Damn, and I tried not coping & pasting that particular error! 1.5Gbps and 3.0Gbps, not GBps...)
posted by Pinback at 2:03 PM on March 11, 2009

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