Different question about SATA3 in optical bay

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by Mike Boreham, Jun 24, 2013.

  1. Mike Boreham macrumors 65816

    Aug 10, 2006
    I have an 17 inch early 2011 MBP with an SATA3 960Gb M500 SSD in the main bay and a SATA2 1Tb 5400 HDD in the optical bay.

    I would like to fit this new 1.5Tb 9.5mm HDD in the optical bay for more capacity, and it is probably faster too.

    Trouble is this new HDD is 6G, and is therefore, as is well known, not compatible with my optical bay.

    Questions: is it possible to degrade a SATA 3 device to SATA 2 by firmware? Do any manufacturers allow SATA 3 to SATA 2 switching with their utiliies?

    The newest 1 Tb 7200rpm HDDs are also coming out as 6G devices so unless there is a way I am likely to be stuck with 1 Tb/5400 for the optical.

    Might be enough to push me to a 2012 cMBP.

  2. niteflyr macrumors 6502a

    Nov 29, 2011
    Southern Cal
    According to Mactracker, some 2011 MBP'S did come with SATA III in the optibay. Give it a try. Maybe you're the lucky one. Find one that's returnable.

    How about an external drive?
  3. Dalton63841 macrumors 65816


    Nov 27, 2010
    SATA3 drives automatically "down clock" to SATA2 if it is connected to a SATA2 device. If there's an issue, it isn't with the drive.
  4. throAU macrumors 603


    Feb 13, 2012
    Perth, Western Australia
    My late build "early 2011" has SATA3 in the optical bay.

    The issue on the 15s and 17s is EMI causing data corruption on the optical bay cable when run at SATA3 speeds.

    i.e., the chipset will do it, but you'll have problems due to the MBP enclosure.
  5. Mike Boreham, Jun 24, 2013
    Last edited: Jun 25, 2013

    Mike Boreham thread starter macrumors 65816

    Aug 10, 2006
    Thanks, I thought that 'some OK/some not' applied only to the late 2011s not the early. Anyway I have previously tried a SATA 3 SSD in the optical bay and it was simply not seen by the machine.

    External is absolutely the last resort, but if I have to, I have an Thunderbolt Lacie LBD which I have adapted to be bus powered from the FW800 port, and which is quick and large. Ay the moment I have enough capacity but looking ahead...


    Thanks, yes I know I will have problems, unless it is somehow possible to downgrade SATA3 to SATA2. Its the kind of thing that happend with jumpers in the olden days. I have seen the threads about modding the connectors to give more shielding, but don't think I am up for it...yet.


    Unfortunately the optical bay in the 2011 MBPs is an SATA3 connection, it just doesn't work as one. My 2010 MBP is SATA 2 in optical bay so has no probs with an SATA 3 HDD or SSD for the reason you say.

    I have tried an SATA 3 device in the 2011 MBP and it was simply not seen by the machine.

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