Anyone running an SSD in 2011 MBP Optical Bay?

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by Applelad, Jun 29, 2014.

  1. Applelad, Jun 29, 2014
    Last edited: Jun 29, 2014

    Applelad macrumors member

    May 22, 2014
    There is a well documented problem with running a 6Gb/s SSD in the Optical bay of the 2011 15 and 17 inch macbook pros but apparently you can run a 3Gb/s SSD (i.e. a sata II version) fine but I haven't actually read of anyone doing it.

    I'm about to spend a lot of money on importing an OWC 960Gb Electra 3Gb/s SSD from the US to England so would love to hear of anyone that is running one successfully (that is any 3Gb/s SSD).

    There is one other point to make though. Apparently Apple varied the optical bay connection on their 2011 MacBook Pros (15 and 17 inch) between 3Gb/s and 6Gb/s connection speeds (i.e. sata II and sata III). I have the 6Gb connection speed (which ironically is the one that definitely won't work with a 6Gb/s SSD but should work with a 3Gb/s SSD - I think some of the 3Gb/s connections ones will work with a 6Gb/s SSD but running at 3Gb/s!).

    Hope this all makes sense and would be great to get confirmation.
  2. sakuragi, Jun 29, 2014
    Last edited: Jun 29, 2014

    sakuragi macrumors newbie

    Jun 29, 2014
    I run a 256GB SSD in my early 2011 15" MacBook Pro - however I run it in the original HDD bay and have moved the HDD into the optical bay. This ensures that i get the SATA III speeds from my SSD.

    I've been running this setup for about 18 months, and all has been working 100% smoothly.

    Hope this helps!

    edit: sorry, just read that you're only after 3GB/s speeds. In that case it will work absolutely fine in the HDD bay at 3GB/s, so go right ahead.
  3. Applelad, Jun 29, 2014
    Last edited: Jun 29, 2014

    Applelad thread starter macrumors member

    May 22, 2014
    Thanks for the reply. I'm already running a 6Gb/s SSD in the main bay - and it's running fine at 6Gb/s speed.

    I presume the HDD you have in your optical drive is of the spiny variety. It's useful to know that it runs OK but as it runs so much slower than even a 3Gb/s SSD I don't think it means we can be sure a 3 Gb/s SSD will run properly in the Optical Bay - not sure though!
  4. sakuragi macrumors newbie

    Jun 29, 2014
    No need to worry - it will work absolutely fine, just that any SATA III drive (6GB/s) will only run at SATA II (3GB/s) speeds. Just like USB 3.0 drives will happily run at USB 2.0 speeds!
  5. Applelad thread starter macrumors member

    May 22, 2014
    No, I'm afraid that's not the case in this case! As I mentioned, the optical bay actually has a 6Gb/s link so if you were to put a 6Gb/s SATA III drive in it you would hope that it would work at 6Gb/s but it doesn't, it simply starts failing (randomly stopping dead every few seconds - I, and may others have tested it). Ideally, it would simply drop down down to 3Gb/s but it doesn't. Read all about it here:

    Some of the early early 2011 MacbookPros were equipped with 3Gb/s SATA II links and in those, I believe, you can happily put a 6Gb/s SATA III and they behave as you described. But those of us with SATA III connections are left with only being able to use 3Gb/s SATA II SSDs - theoretically anyway. I say theoretically because that's what every one says but I haven't actually read anyone say they have actually done it and it works - hence that is my question here, is there anyone that can confirm that they have a SATA II SSD reliably running in a 2011 15 or 17 inch MacBook Pro optical drive? (the 13 inch models apparently don't have any of these issues for some bizzar reason).
  6. AlexMaximus macrumors 6502a


    Aug 15, 2006
    A400M Base
    two short points...

    Hi there,

    for us Europeans, OWC has an European subdivision, just to let you know. This may save you a couple bucks. Check it out for price comparison!

    On the 6GB/s SATA Problem, I remember some posts about additional shielding of the internal flat SATA cable. OWC had a shielding kit for a short time which I bought for my 2010 MBP 17'. Its not available any more. You may send OWC a short mail regarding that. Maybe they have a kit left over or at least are familiar with that 6GB/s SATA III problem.
    Another cause could be the SATA controller on your DataDoubler. There has been at least four different models of DataDoublers from various brands that are different in speed. If you have an early version with a slower SATA chip on the Doubler, your transfer is slowed down because of that bottle neck.
    If you have an OWC DD version, make sure you check the firmware version. Ask those guys about firmware versions on the chip of the DD.

    Good luck,


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