The last quarter of 2013 was a truly exciting period for us Apple fanboys. With the launch of the new iMac, MacPro, iPhone and iPad – I was utterly white-knuckled from the sheer anticipation of seeing the line-up for the new MacBooks. But much to my dismay, none of the new MacBooks (either from the MBA or the rMBP line) tickles my fancy. It would’ve been a real treat if Apple launched a 13-incher that packs a quad-core i7 and/or a discreet video card. Sigh…
idiots purists who’d say that such specs should only belong to the bigger 15″ rMBPs “because you can’t design anything serious with a small 13-inch screen“; well… isn’t that what big-ass external monitors are for?! There are lots of professional designers, like me, who adore the portability of a 13″ MacBook Air/rMBP — how it allows us to perform ‘less serious’ tasks on the go while knowing that that the machine is always ready to handle serious design work when we need it to.
So instead of just sulking while waiting for Apple to launch the next MacBook line-up, I’ve proactively decided to proceed in further upgrading my ageing Unibody MacBook White (late 2009): I’m resolved to install a Solid State Drive in it. Why? Because seeing how those new Macs in the applestores boot up in under 10 seconds and open applications like file folders was something that really made me covetous.
Here’s the plan…
My plan though, was not just to swap the original HDD with a spanking new SSD. It was to extract the internal (DVD) SuperDrive and turn it into an external USB SuperDrive and then in its place, install the SSD (using an HD caddie) — where all of my OS and applications will be moved and be used as the startup disk. Sounds complicated? Well not really, there’s a lot of online resources which show you how to do this — I followed the instruction from iFixit.com (Installing MacBook Unibody Model A1342 Dual Hard Drive).
Here’s the breakdown of what was needed:
- Hard Disk Caddie
- Optical Drive Casing
- Tools needed to dismantle and to put back together my MacBook
For the Solid State Drive, I’ve opted to purchase OWC’s Mercury Electra 3G (120GB for US$99.97) specifically for two reasons: First, because it’s in my best interest to NOT use a 6Gbps SSD because my MacBook model is equipped with a SATA 2.0 interface, which optimally works with 3Gbps drives; and because I’ve read so many good reviews and feedback from people who’ve used drives made by OWC.
For the HD Caddie, I got it from a mom-and-pops IT shop at Sim Lim Square for S$30.
And for the SuperDrive casing, I ordered it online from simplymac.sg for S$38.00.
As for the tools needed, namely they are: Phillips #00 Screwdriver, T6 Torx Screwdriver, T8 Torx Screwdriver and a nylon Spludger for poking/prying the connectors safely (I dind’t have one though, so I used my guitar pick).
Solve et Coagula
As it was my first time to actually perform surgery on my Mac, I made sure that I didn’t skip to make the mandatory backup of my system, and solemnly prayed to God that I wouldn’t do anything sinister and end up with a totally f*cked up machine.
So I unscrewed and popped open the bottom cover of the Mac and went to carefully extract the SuperDrive.
After that I slotted-in the SSD into the HD caddie and proceeded to install them into the partition where the optical drive used to be.
Now for the optical drive. The casing I’ve bought is pretty straight-forward to assemble. Much like playing with lego contraptions, I cracked open the casing to find a connector of the SuperDrive. I carefully connected the SuperDrive and snap-closed the casing.
After testing whether the thing works, finally finding a use for it, I placed one of my Apple logo stickers into it. And viola! My Handy-Manny itch has been satisfied and my OSX fires up faster than I can finish my first sip of cafe latte in the morning.
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