Cost/Worth of Hard Drive Replacement?

Discussion in 'Mac Basics and Help' started by SamVilde, Jul 6, 2015.

  1. SamVilde macrumors regular

    SamVilde

    Joined:
    Oct 18, 2008
    Location:
    New York City
    #1
    I have the October 2008 aluminum Macbook - the one not called pro, the one with no backlit keyboard. A little over a year ago I had the RAM upgraded from 2GB to 6GB (they said that was the max, and although I've read otherwise I trust the shop) and replaced the battery.

    I never expected the computer to last this long - but the longer it lasts, the more I love it. I'm watching friends' 2010 MBPs and 2011 MBAs die, and mine keeps on working. Sure, my processor ramps up sometimes and the computer gets hot, and the 1.4 year old battery replacement seems kind of pathetic - but really, this machine is a reliable and functional beast. It works as well as my BF's 2014 MBA. So what if its airplay and airdrop functionality is limited? I've got a good thing going, with no assurance that a replacement would mean an improvement in quality.

    Questions:
    1. How much would it cost to replace the hard drive with an SSD? What (exactly) would I need to get?
    2. Would hard drive replacement guarantee a longer life for this machine, or is there another piece that is likely nearing the end of its natural lifespan?
    3. Is this a good idea? Or should I accept the fact that this computer is nearing the end of its life, and money sunk into it at this point would be a waste?
    Thanks.
     
  2. Dark Void macrumors 68030

    Dark Void

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    #2
    Hi,

    1. The cost will be equivalent to the brand and storage amount of the SSD that you will choose. If you are new to SSDs, I recommend Crucial. They are a very reputable company that makes very reliable SSDs. The BX100 is currently one of their better drives. To give you an idea on price, the 256 GB Crucial BX100 is $90-$100. This is just a suggestion of course, but I'll venture to say that a good amount of other users here will recommend Crucial as well. I've had one of their older drives in my notebook for about 3 years now without a single issue whatsoever, and it's very quick and snappy.

    I'll also mention that if you're new to this, you're going to need tools - typically smaller phillips and torx bit screwdrivers. Use iFixit (a popular teardown and repair website) to look up a detailed guide for your model. I'm including this point in #1 as if you don't have the drivers already then they are going to be a part of the cost - but you can find the ones you're going to need for $5-$10 or so. To find exactly which screwdrivers you will need, iFixit will give you a tool layout on the guide for your machine.

    2. Nothing will guarantee a longer life unfortunately - there are only things that you can do to try to help it along - and replacing the hard drive is a good idea as they are one of the first hardware components to go typically. There is no other piece of hardware that would be "likely" to be nearing the end of its life in comparison to another, but on a 2008 machine I would be open to the likelihood of hardware failure generally speaking.

    3. I absolutely think it is a good idea. For about $100, why not? It's not a terrible investment if it doesn't pan out like you hope - plus that drive that you purchase can always be repurposed or used in other computers or as a snappy external drive/bootable OS X installation. You will be very surprised at what it accomplishes if it is your first SSD related experience - it's basically night and day.

    I hope this helps and good luck.
     
  3. Altemose macrumors G3

    Altemose

    Joined:
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    Location:
    Elkton, Maryland
    #3
    1. Crucial and Samsung make some of the best SSDs in my experience. The Samsung 850 Evo 250 GB can be purchased for under $100 and is a fantastic performer with a 5 year warranty! I have an 840 Evo in my machine and it is doing great over two years later.

    2. In my experience doing repairs, I have not seen many issues with the Unibody MacBooks. There were no notorious failures like other machines. That being said, your computer is seven years old and parts can fail at any moment like with a brand new computer. I would run it until it dies or until it no longer meets your needs. If you do work that is taxing the Core 2 Duo or the GPU in the machine, then sinking money into a machine that is no longer doing what you need is silly.

    3. Like I stated, you need to evaluate whether the MacBook is still doing the job you need it to. If you decide it is time to retire the MacBook and upgrade to a newer machine, shoot me a PM and I would love to make an offer on it.
     
  4. SamVilde, Jul 6, 2015
    Last edited: Jul 6, 2015

    SamVilde thread starter macrumors regular

    SamVilde

    Joined:
    Oct 18, 2008
    Location:
    New York City
    #4
    Thanks! Your shared confidence has convinced me that I have not much ($100) to lose by trying - and having a (fully functional) 6.5 year old computer feels more and more badass every day, so I think I'll go for it.

    Can I ask for more advice, since I've almost never done anything like this before?

    I found this guide: https://www.ifixit.com/Guide/MacBook+Unibody+Model+A1278+Hard+Drive+Replacement/816

    And I found these two options for drives:
    - Crucial BX100 CT250BX100SSD1 2.5" 250GB SATA 6Gbps ($85)
    - Samsung 850 EVO MZ-75E250B/AM 2.5" 250GB SATA III 3-D VERTICAL INTERNAL SOLID STATE DRIVE ($100)

    The Crucial MX200 is $100 - the same price as the Samsung - isn't that better than the BX100 - or does it not really matter?

    Lingering questions:
    1. Are either of those drives equally appropriate? Is there a difference between them that I should know about?
    2. Is the ifixit site the only place to get that combination of tools? Where else?
    3. My current hard drive is fine; most of the data I care about is on Dropbox; everything is backed up to Time Machine and Crashplan. After I switch out the drive, what is the best way to get my data copied back onto the new SSD?
    Thanks again for your help.
     
  5. kohlson macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Apr 23, 2010
    #5
    Agree that SSD will make your system better than new. Both of those are good.
    You'll need 00 phillips - keep track of where they go. Pay attention to fixit -- not all screws go straight in.
    If you have a complete backup on TM, boot into the restore partition and then choose restore from Time Machine -- easy. But if you've had this drive working for awhile, it may be good to do a fresh install of the apps, then copy over the data - more work.
     
  6. SamVilde thread starter macrumors regular

    SamVilde

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    New York City
    #6
    - Or can I clone my existing drive before swapping it out?
     
  7. Dark Void macrumors 68030

    Dark Void

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    #7
    You can clone it using third party applications like Carbon Copy Cloner or you can just use a simple Time Machine backup.

    I'd recommend the BX100 over the MX200. iFixit isn't the only place to get the tools - I only recommended their guides for help with the swap of course but also just to know what tools you need. Any local department store should have them. The best way to get the data onto the new drive is to either clone it or make a backup.

    Since your 08 doesn't support Internet Recovery (do you have a OS installation disc?) then you'll have to get the OS on there in some other manner.
     
  8. SamVilde thread starter macrumors regular

    SamVilde

    Joined:
    Oct 18, 2008
    Location:
    New York City
    #8
    I have an installation USB with Yosemite on it in an office across town. Will I need that?

    One last question - on one of the "questions answered" threads on Amazon I read about some conflict between Yosemite and third-party SSDs - specifically related to TRIM ... and that's all I understood. Is this something I need to be concerned about? Is there another thing I have to do?

    Again, thanks for your advice and suggestions. This is very helpful.
     
  9. Dark Void macrumors 68030

    Dark Void

    Joined:
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    #9
    Yes. I was going to suggest this to get your install going before your transfer the data. Once you install Yosemite on the new internal drive via the USB installer, you can then use Migration Assistant with your Time Machine backup to basically "apply" your current files, settings, etc.

    What is more than likely being referred to here is TRIM support being added in the most recent Yosemite release (10.10.4) for third-party SSDs. This is presumably a very good thing, but the comment you saw was probably related to an issue with it. So far, not very many issues have been reported with it from what I can see. The alternative before this new inclusion was the use of a third-party "TRIM enabler," but now in 10.10.4 via terminal you can force it on the drive in a more native sense without having to go looking for third-party options.

    I don't think you should be concerned. You don't have to use this method, but I would recommend enabling TRIM to help the performance of the SSD. If you do end up going with the BX100, from what I see it has no issues with the new terminal trim commands.

    You're very welcome.
     
  10. brop52 macrumors 68000

    brop52

    Joined:
    Feb 26, 2007
    Location:
    Michigan
    #10
    Max is 8GB but that's fine 6 and 8 aren't too different. It's been a good machine. I upgraded it to a Seagate hybrid drive a few years back and RAM has had 8GB for a while too. Battery needed replacement a year ago. Had to also replace the power cord as my infant sucked on it!
     
  11. Weaselboy Moderator

    Weaselboy

    Staff Member

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    Location:
    California
    #11
    1. For your machine with its older interface, you will never see close to the top speeds on any SSD, so just get whatever you can find cheapest. Of the drives you listed, I would just get the BX100 for $85.

    2. All you need is a #6 Torx head driver and a Phillips size 00 driver. You can get both at your local Home Depot if you have one or even Amazon if there is nothing local.

    3. If you are on Lion or better and you have a local (USB disk) Time Machine backup, you do not need to reinstall the OS. Just install the drive then option key boot to the TM disk. That will bring up a recovery screen. From there use Disk Util to erase the drive to Mac OS Extended (Journaled). Then quit Disk Util and click restore and wait for it to finish. Then once you have restarted into the new system go to System Prefs and set the SSD as the boot disk in the startup disk pane.

    Lastly, if you are on Yosemite 10.10.4 go to Terminal and type in the line below to enable TRIM. You will be prompted for your password.

    Code:
    sudo trimforce enable
    I agree with the other comments. This is a nice upgrade and well worth it. You will definitely notice the difference. I recently put an SSD in my niece's 2008 white MacBook and it made a big difference. Even though you don't see the raw data transfer speeds the SSD is capable of, you do see the benefits of the SSDs much much faster seek times.
     
  12. SamVilde, Jul 8, 2015
    Last edited: Jul 8, 2015

    SamVilde thread starter macrumors regular

    SamVilde

    Joined:
    Oct 18, 2008
    Location:
    New York City
    #12
    Thanks all, thanks again. I have ordered my BX100 and tiny screwdrivers. They arrive tomorrow.
    I wish I could pay someone (with beer, not money) to hang out next to me while I do this open-heart surgery and tell me it's all going to be fine. It's all going to be fine. And fun!
     
  13. Weaselboy, Jul 8, 2015
    Last edited: Jul 8, 2015

    Weaselboy Moderator

    Weaselboy

    Staff Member

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    Location:
    California
    #13
    You will be fine. I always flip it upside down on a towel then put the screws on the towel near the hole they were removed from to remember where they go. Use a gentle touch on the drive cable. It really is not too bad at all. :)
     
  14. Dark Void macrumors 68030

    Dark Void

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    #14
    Just don't go ham with the screwdriver and start stripping the screws. :p

    If I knew you, I'd do it, or at least hang out next to you - but for snack cakes instead of beer.
     
  15. SamVilde, Jul 9, 2015
    Last edited: Jul 9, 2015

    SamVilde thread starter macrumors regular

    SamVilde

    Joined:
    Oct 18, 2008
    Location:
    New York City
    #15
    Hi - I'll start a new and different thread in a bit, but I'm in small-scale panic mode now. Install of hard drive went okay I think (super easy!), but it doesn't see my USB with Yosemite at all. I hold down the option key and it starts up peacefully with an arrow icon - nothing else. I tried my time machine drive, but that doesn't seem to have OS installing powers. The computer sees it (name and icon of disk with a little UP arrow below it), but after I click the UP arrow it either shuts down or gives me a folder/question mark icon and does nothing. Heart attack. I used BF's computer to re-create the bootable USB (using diskmakerX), but same issue persists: i.e. nothing. Any ideas?

    Possibly important diagnostic sidenote: If I hold down not just the <option> key but also the <command> key, I get a black apple logo (yay!) and a progress bar. It goes for about five seconds and then the computer powers off.
     
  16. Dark Void macrumors 68030

    Dark Void

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    #16
    No worries, I replied in your other thread. I could've helped sooner, quote me or use @ in front of my username and it will alert me.

    You better still be offering beer and/or snack cakes. ;)
     
  17. Altemose macrumors G3

    Altemose

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    Mar 26, 2013
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    Elkton, Maryland
    #17
    Is this USB drive confirmed to be working (used for previous installs)? If not, try to recreate the USB using the createinstallmedia tool.
     
  18. SamVilde thread starter macrumors regular

    SamVilde

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    New York City
    #18
  19. Altemose macrumors G3

    Altemose

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