Help me upgrade my MacBook HD!
July 3, 2007 5:03 AM   Subscribe

Help me upgrade my MacBook HD! There have been previous threads covering topics around this, and they threw up a few interesting ideas, but I need some specifics.

Basically, I want to upgrade the 80GB drive in my late '06 2GHz Intel MacBook to at least 160GB, but I'm not sure where to go. This link I found on a previous thread seems to be a good option, but I'd like to know if others here have shopped there with good experiences, or whether there might be another, closer, cheaper option for me (I'm in Ireland, by the way).

I don't want to shop blindly -- I want to be sure that whatever I get is going to fit. Which is why I'm asking the hive mind.

Also, regarding the options available at that link above: the less I have to spend the better, so is the Hitachi Travelstar recommended? I don't care too much for HD speed, as I don't use my MacBook for anything too intensive (I'm not a gamer or a film-maker; I just want the extra space for installing XP or Vista with Boot Camp in the near future).

And: what's the best way for me to migrate? Do I need to get an enclosure for the new drive and clone my present disk onto that? Or can I use the external drive I already have for that?
posted by macdara to Computers & Internet (11 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
Step 1: Consult

Step 2: That's it.

Seriously, I've done upgrades via their instructions - including the one you're looking at - and it's worked out fine. While theye may seem to be a whole lot of drives you could use, in practice, the range is limited in the UK (and Ireland I presume), so for choice you'll have to mail order. The important detail is that you need a notebook SATA drive. Any of those will fit.

Remember that you void your warranty by upgrading the drive.
posted by outlier at 5:48 AM on July 3, 2007 [1 favorite]

On preview, exactly what Outlier said. iFixIt (nee PBFix) is the authoritative source for "how to replace doodad x in your mac" tutorials.

For the record, the price your link quotes for the 160gb drive is within ~$5 US of the NewEgg price for a similar drive so I'm guessing that's about the going price. In terms of what's out there in Ireland, I don't know. Whatever computer parts source you have, just ask them for a SATA notebook (2.5") drive. They all follow the same standard, so long as you get the correct interface -- PATA will be cheaper but will not work with your MacBook -- you'll be fine. You need SATA.
posted by Alterscape at 5:59 AM on July 3, 2007

The Macbook hard drive is designed to be replaced by the user, and its very easy to do so. Simply follow the instructions at iFixIt, as suggested above.

One caveat... not all 2.5" notebook hard drives have the same dimensions. Some are 9 mm tall and some are 12 mm tall. Only the 9 mm drives will fit in your Macbook

As for migrating your data to a new drive, buying an external enclosure is the way to go.
posted by pantheON at 6:24 AM on July 3, 2007

Response by poster: I don't mean to be ungrateful, but instructions for replacing the drive aren't exactly what I asked for -- one of the reasons I got a MacBook was so that I could do the job myself.

What I want to know is where can I get a drive that is a) good value (and can be shipped to Europe -- NewEgg unfortunatey doesn't do that), b) isn't regarded as one to avoid by the Mac fraternity, and c) is one that I'm sure will fit (there are so many specifics, it seems, when it comes to MacBook HDs that I'd fear messing up if I went shopping without any knowledge).
posted by macdara at 7:28 AM on July 3, 2007

Response by poster: Remember that you void your warranty by upgrading the drive.

Thanks for bringing it up. Is it absolutely certain, though? I mean, Apple itself provides a PDF with detailed instructions -- they wouldn't do that if it voided the warranty, would they? Or maybe they would...
posted by macdara at 7:39 AM on July 3, 2007

isn't regarded as one to avoid by the Mac fraternity,

My experience is by all means anecdotal, but as a member of the Mac fraternity, I avoid all things Seagate. I've had the worst experience with their external hard drives. I would consider installing a Seagate internal in my MacBook right after I inject myself with some ebola.

I really don't know if they make hard drives that fit the MacBook, but generally I recommend Western Digital, IBM, or Fujitsu drives.

I wouldn't freak out over 7200rpm, or anything higher, as you shouldn't be running anything overly demanding/terribly important on a macbook anyway. Maxing out your RAM is better money spent.

And yes, a replaced hard drive most likely voids your warranty, unless it's done by an Apple/licensed third-party technician. The reason Apple might provide a PDF on how to upgrade their equipment is the fact that many customers are already out of warranty.
posted by phaedon at 8:16 AM on July 3, 2007

Response by poster: Maxing out your RAM is better money spent...

...And yes, a replaced hard drive most likely voids your warranty, unless it's done by an Apple/licensed third-party technician.

Thanks for clearing that up for me. I'm thinking having a computer in warranty would be better than having more HD space but being left out of pocket if something goes wrong. Even so, it's very helpful to know what my options are when I do get around it.

And I've already decided to max out my RAM to 2GB, so I'm fine on that front.
posted by macdara at 8:23 AM on July 3, 2007

There is some confusion surrounding the warranty. It is unclear whether replacing the hard drive voids your warranty, however, the stronger position is that it does not.

First, Apple provides instructions [.pdf] for replacing the hard drive yourslf.

Second, the warranty has an exception clause that reads as follows:

"This warranty does not apply: (a) to damage caused by use with non-Apple products; (b) to damage caused by accident, abuse, misuse, flood, fire, earthquake or other external causes; (c) to damage caused by operating the product outside the permitted or intended uses described by Apple; (d) to damage caused by service (including upgrades and expansions) performed by anyone who is not a representative of Apple or an Apple Authorized Service Provider; (e) to a product or part that has been modified to significantly alter functionality or capability without the written permission of Apple; (f) to consumable parts, such as batteries, unless damage has occurred due to a defect in materials or workmanship; or (g) if any Apple serial number has been removed or defaced.

(a) and (d) are the relevant provisions. They imply that damage caused by the upgrade will void the warranty, but not that the install itself.

Third, anecdotal evidence from many people who have asked this question of Apple Care (including myself) conforms to this interpretation.

Fourth, you can simply keep the original hard drive. If you need to take the Macbook in for servicing, replace the new with the old.

Fifth, the Macbook is so well designed that there is virtually no room for error in upgrading the drive. It truly is plug and play.

Sorry, can't help you find an actual vendor since you're in the UK. However, in the past, Apple has used both Toshiba, Seagate, and Samsung hard drives in their Macbooks. Samsung is my personal favourite.
posted by pantheON at 9:42 AM on July 3, 2007

"not that the install itself" should read "not the install itself".
posted by pantheON at 9:43 AM on July 3, 2007

There's a new Samsung 250GB laptop hard drive that looks like it will fit in the macbook (depth listed as .37 in, which comes out to 9.4 mm, plus a few people have reported that it fits fine). I've read that Samsung drives tend to run quiet and cool, but I have no personal experience with them.

Pricegrabber lists several stores that ship internationally.

The best way to transfer data is cloning the existing disk to an external USB drive, installing the new internal drive, then "restoring" from your backup. I use SuperDuper, which makes the whole process very easy.
posted by letitrain at 10:27 AM on July 3, 2007

Response by poster: Thanks for reminding me about SuperDuper, that certainly looks like the option for me. I should get it anyway and try cloning my drive for the hell of it (I already backup essential files and documents twice over, but I've never cloned or mirrored my system before).
posted by macdara at 10:30 AM on July 4, 2007

« Older Special party for a special gal?   |   how important is body type when it comes to... Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.