Does a 3 mm height difference matter for Macbook pro hard drives?
December 4, 2009 10:45 AM   Subscribe

Will the 15" Macbook Pro 4.1 (early 2008) be compatible with a 2.5" Form Factor internal hard drive that's 12.5mm rather than the standard 9.5mm?

I can't find this information anywhere and I'm asking for a friend. He ordered this hard drive not realizing at first that it was thicker than normal, and now he wants to know if he should go through the rather arduous process of cancelling the order and getting a new one or if the Macbook chassis will accommodate the extra height. Thanks in advance!
posted by Phire to Computers & Internet (10 answers total)
I don't have an answer for you, but you might try a post in the Macbook subforum of Macrumors. Someone has undoubtedly been in the same situation as your friend.
posted by sharkfu at 11:01 AM on December 4, 2009

It almost certainly won't be compatible. I can't guarantee that 100%, but even if it did somehow squeeze in I'd personally be much more comfortable following the standard, especially for something as vital as a hard drive.
posted by jaffacakerhubarb at 11:05 AM on December 4, 2009

I doubt there's 3mm to spare in the housing so at best you'd have to do some sort of MacGyver type of rigging which is ill-advised since you want every bit of engineer protection around the hard drive as possible.

Have the friend return the drive and get one that will fit.
posted by birdherder at 11:13 AM on December 4, 2009

12.5mm drives fit in Unibody MBPs, as far as I know, but the only pre-Unibody MBPs that accommodate 12.5mm height drives are the 17" models. Frustratingly, I haven't been able to find a page on the Apple site that documents this (though I've tried before).

Is your friend installing the hard drive himself? He should be aware that it's not a 1-2-3 process like it is in the MacBooks. If he's got the skill, he could just pop it open before he breaks the seal on the hard drive and check the clearances. Otherwise, I'd return it to be safe.
posted by aaronbeekay at 11:21 AM on December 4, 2009

I've had mine (Macbook Pro 3,1) apart several times for drive swaps, and although I haven't actually tried to fit a 12.5mm drive in there, I'm 99% sure that it wouldn't fit. It's pretty tight in there.
posted by hackwolf at 1:42 PM on December 4, 2009

12.5mm drives fit in Unibody MBPs

They don't. At least, it's never been advertised as a possibility.

Looking at repair guides for that era of MBP, I can't imagine a 12.5mm drive fitting in there. I guess it's possible in theory, but who knows. The ribbon cable seems to be molded to the form of a 9mm.
posted by Rendus at 2:32 PM on December 4, 2009

Apparently they do.
posted by gergtreble at 3:24 PM on December 4, 2009

Oh wait. Is yours a unibody?
posted by gergtreble at 3:25 PM on December 4, 2009

Make sure the drive isn't a server drive and/or doesn't need 12v power. Laptops rarely have that in the SATA port.
posted by gjc at 5:18 PM on December 4, 2009

According to the documents I have access to here, the 15" MacBook Pro (Early 2008) is not a unibody, so it definitely won't fit. 12.5mm drives also have a tendency to be kind of packed in anyway — that extra 3mm gives enough room for an extra hard drive platter. What I remember is when 500GB hard drives first came out, they were of the 12.5mm variety whilst the 9.5mm drives only went up to 320GB. Then, a few months later, 9.5mm 500GB drives were available. I'm pretty sure the biggest 9.5mm drive right now is the Western Digital 640GB, so I'd go for that.
posted by jaffacakerhubarb at 9:23 PM on December 4, 2009

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