When our MacBook Pro was new, we assumed that while a 120 GB hard drive wasn’t exactly the largest Apple offered the max was 250 GB, by the way it was plenty roomy enough to last us. Fast forward to two years later, where it seems that every few days our computer is constantly barking at us that the startup disk is almost full, Parallels runs the computer to a halt, and iPhoto was slow enough before we had to move all of our photos to our Time Capsule. Plus we hate toting around an external. There’s got to be a better solution, right?
It turns out that there are a couple ingenious hackers out there who have realized that the space your optical drive sits in is some very valuable real estate space which could easily be repurposed and filled with another hard drive. One intrepid blogger, Reid, has decided to throw his MacBook warranty out the window, removed the optical drive and replaced it with a 256 solid-state hard drive, seeing as they both run via a SATA connector. Check out his blog to see the nitty-gritty of what he did.
While Reid could have just as easily replaced the optical drive with a standard drive did you know they make 1 TB laptop drives now? solid state drives have many advantages over your standard drives. The flash memory inside a solid state hard drive has no moving parts, so they are more durable and last longer than your standard hard drives. Oh, and they’re FAST. How fast do you say? Reid found a seven-fold increase in speed in benchmark tests he ran.
The best part of all these shenanigans is that in the interest of bettering the human race, Reid is offering to help you trick out your laptop too. He’s posted all the instructions be warned, there’s some soldering required and a list of the $10 of parts you need to purchase from Amazon.com. Or for the slightly more adventurous, he’ll ship you the connector for $30. Or, if the whole performing surgery on your laptop makes you feel a bit queasy, you can ship your laptop to him with the hard drive you want installed, and for $35 plus $14 shipping, he’ll do everything for you.
We haven’t handed our laptop over to Reid â‚¬¦yet so remember these caveats: we don’t know Reid, though we’re sure he’s a stand-up guy, so you’re shipping your precious laptop to a blogger while simultaneously voiding your warranty. That being said, comparable services on other sites run $150 plus shipping for an install alone. Granted, MCE will perform a similar service and install a brace that keeps the hard drive from banging around, which might be important if you’re not installing a SSD, but it’s still quite a bit steeper than what Reid is promising.
Either way, with optical drives in notebooks going the way of the dodo, this just may be the life saving hack that will convince us to keep our notebook around for a little while more.