Adding a SSD to MacBook Pro (early 2011)

mjohansen

macrumors regular
Original poster
Feb 19, 2010
182
23
Denmark
Hey

I have a MacBook Pro 13", early 2011, 2,3 GHz Intel Core i5 with a normal HDD. It might not have a fast gfx card, but the worst part of it, is that it is incredible slow when starting apps and feels unresponsive.

I am considering adding a SSD (256gb) to fix the issue - will it help?

What kind of performance improvements am I going to see?

I have no idea which SSD fits the MacBook Pro, so can anyone give me some guidance?

Is it easy to replace the HDD with a SSD or will I need help from a Apple certified dealer?
 

medienlampe

macrumors newbie
Oct 18, 2014
3
0
Hi!

An SSD is indeed very helpful and will enhance boot time, starting of apps and overall responsiveness. It's like night and day. I've been using a Samsung 830 SSD in my 15" Early 2011 since two years.

As far as I'm concerned the Samsung 840-Series is fitting your needs and also quite affordable.

The replacement is fairly simple - you have two choices:
  1. Simply replace your HDD with a SSD (Guide here)
  2. Replace your HDD with a SSD an replace your SuperDrive with your HDD (Guide here)

Since I am from Germany, I used the hardwrk-Kit containing all necessary parts and tools.
 

mattjohnson78

macrumors member
Aug 6, 2014
71
4
Southern California
I have the Early 2011 MacBook Pro and I upgraded it. Here is what I did:

1. Changed out the RAM, went from stock 4gb to 8gb.
2. Changed out the stock 750gb HHD to a Samsung 840 Pro 128gb SSD. Went with the smaller drive since I store everything in the cloud and use iTunes Match, which saved me over 30gb of space. I might take out the optical drive and add a SSD there.


After all this the computer is so much faster and smoother than before. Well worth the money and the computer can go a few more years, but I do plan to pick up a new MacBook Pro Retina when the new Broadwell chips come out.
 

Fishrrman

macrumors P6
Feb 20, 2009
17,170
5,529
OP wrote above:
[[ I have no idea which SSD fits the MacBook Pro, so can anyone give me some guidance?
Is it easy to replace the HDD with a SSD or will I need help from a Apple certified dealer? ]]

You can do it yourself.
Ifixit.com has excellent installation guides.

I think almost any (SATA) SSD will do -- the form factors are the same.

IMPORTANT:
BE SURE YOU HAVE THE RIGHT TOOLS.
Ifixit will tell you which tools you need. (probably just a Phillips screwdriver and a TORX driver, but BE SURE the sizes you use are the correct ones).
You can get these tools at most hardware stores, HomeDepot, Lowe's, etc.

You didn't say which version of the OS you're using in the original post.
If it's Mavericks or Yosemite, an SSD will make things considerably faster.
From experience, I've noticed that Mavericks yields poor performance on spinning HDD's...
 

Weaselboy

Moderator
Staff member
Jan 23, 2005
29,137
8,806
California
Is there a big difference between Samsung 840 and Samsung 840 Pro?
I assume you mean the Samsung 840 EVO?

The Pro is a little faster, but the main difference is the Pro uses MLC NAND chips inside that are rated for more write cycles. Unless you are making the next Pixar movie on there and incurring a REALLY high amount of write cycles, the EVO is fine and will likely outlast your computer.
 

snaky69

macrumors 603
Mar 14, 2008
5,903
480
Hey

I have a MacBook Pro 13", early 2011, 2,3 GHz Intel Core i5 with a normal HDD. It might not have a fast gfx card, but the worst part of it, is that it is incredible slow when starting apps and feels unresponsive.

1. I am considering adding a SSD (256gb) to fix the issue - will it help?

2. What kind of performance improvements am I going to see?

3. I have no idea which SSD fits the MacBook Pro, so can anyone give me some guidance?

4. Is it easy to replace the HDD with a SSD or will I need help from a Apple certified dealer?
1. Yes.

2. A SSD is about 5-6x faster at reading and writing than a traditional HD, so the difference in performance is night and day.

3. Any 2.5'', SATAII or SATAIII(you're better off with SATAIII in your 2011) SSD will fit right in with no problems.

4. If you can operate a screwdriver without poking your eyes out in the process, you have all the necessary skill to replace your hard drive with a SSD.
 

benji888

macrumors 68000
Sep 27, 2006
1,741
341
United States
I highly recommend OWC SSD: http://eshop.macsales.com/shop/SSD/OWC/Mercury_6G/

I did a DIY fusion drive, but, if 256GB is enough for you, you could just keep your HDD and get an external enclosure.

• If you do want to add SSD and use the optical bay for internal 2-drive set-up or a DIY Fusion Drive, you replace optical drive with a HDD/SDD drive bracket, keep in mind, some 2011 models do not support 6G/SATA III in the optical slot, you have to have a 3G/SATA II device in there, so, put a new SSD in HDD slot, put your old HDD in optical bay w/data doubler. Do not get a 6G/SATA III drive for the optical bay w/data doubler, it may not work at all. (I experienced this when I helped a friend upgrade his 2011 MBP 17") http://eshop.macsales.com/item/OWC/DDAMBS0GB/

OWC also has a lot options for different things, such as an optical drive enclosure to keep using your optical drive as an external USB device, etc.
 

mjohansen

macrumors regular
Original poster
Feb 19, 2010
182
23
Denmark
You don't need an optibay, an external USB 2.5 enclosure with the new SSD connected boot off the recovery partition by holding down option at boot and use disk utility to the copy the HDD partition to the SSD.

http://eshop.macsales.com/tech_center/index.cfm?page=/manuals/mac/clon_data.html

That 2.5 enclosure you can stick your original drive in to make an external HDD.
What USB 2.5 enclosure do you recommend?

If I just want to install OS X on the new SSD, how do I do that?
 

Gav Mack

macrumors 68020
Jun 15, 2008
2,192
17
Sagittarius A*
What USB 2.5 enclosure do you recommend?

If I just want to install OS X on the new SSD, how do I do that?
I use the orico snap fit tool free usb 3.0 types, quite cheap and work ok. Best performer would be the Samsung 850, though a crucial m550 will do and is cheaper. You can install a fresh OS X by running the installer in applications and select your ssd in the external to as the target disk, though you will have to format it in disk utillty first as hfs+ journaled.

Personally I would just clone your existing one by using disk utility off the recovery partition it's quite straightforward to do. One done just power off unscrew the bottom case and you will see the drive on the left. Be very careful removing the cable from the drive that goes to the logic board, early 2011 in particular are delicate.