Dual Hard Drives in Unibody Systems

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by ayeying, Mar 27, 2009.

  1. ayeying macrumors 601


    Dec 5, 2007
    Yay Area, CA
    Okay, so I've got some PMs from users asking if I do have 1TB of storage space in my system.

    The simple answer is YES.

    The long answer is, I removed my Optical Superdrive and replaced it with a mount provided by MCE Technology called OptiBay (http://www.mcetech.com/optibay/).

    My configuration is: Dual (That means 2x) 500GB Western Digital Scorpio Blue 5400RPM w/ 8MB Cache hard drives. I have them set up as Software RAID 0 with OSX (so 2x500GB together gives 1TB of hard drive space, give or take).

    The dual hard drive configuration can be used on any size of the Unibody and even previous generation systems. The mount I have can fit on both my 13" MacBook and 17" MacBook Pro. It is just more prudent for me to store it on the 17" because its my personal system. The 13" is my work system therefore I don't need the hard drive space or even valid to alter the system to my own benefit.

    From what I've used so far, my OSX Install has been cut in half. My boot time is not that much faster but it is faster. A few seconds counts right? Overall the entire system feels more snappy, faster than my 320GB Seagate 7200.3 hard drive running at 7200RPM w/ 16MB Cache. I have not had the chance to run any benchmarks but this is what I felt. Therefore, it is not concluded as fact just personal opinion.

    I ordered the bay along with the drive from MCE instead of just ordering the bay and ordering the drive elsewhere. I was a bit concerned on what brand MCE would give me but I was surprised that they gave me Western Digital Scorpio Blue because that is what I originally wanted.

    Now the downsides:

    You lose the Superdrive, thats a bit obvious.

    If one of the two drives fails, all my data is lost. I have a constant 1TB external Western Digital (If you haven't noticed yet, Western Digital is my favorite line of brand for Hard Drives) MyBook Essential backing up via Time Machine and I have iDisk storing some of the more important PDF (I work with a lot of PDF files) files incase the probability Time Machine fails me also.

    The MCE bay is not entirely secured by the 3 screws that hold a Superdrive down. It is, however, held down by a single screw on one side. Therefore, there is some minor movement but once the lower panel is secured the movement is gone. I applied two layers of Electrical Tape to secure the bay to whatever part of the chassis possible. I might apply a thin layer of padding to "squish" the bay more securely but I haven't done that yet.

    So far, the drive seems to be very secure. I have put my system repeatedly in my Jansport backpack and transported it via on my CBR600RR on bumpy roads. The mount/housing for the 2nd drive has not moved or shifted positions whatsoever.

    I will post up pictures next week when my 8GB (2x 4GB DDR3-1066) comes in the mail. Until then, I'm too lazy to open up the bottom casing or even turn off the system lol.

    Please post any questions or concerns in reply. I don't regularly check my Private Messages and majority of the times, unless I'm trying to sell something I would ignore my PMs.
  2. bossxii macrumors 68000

    Nov 9, 2008
    Kansas City
    I have a few questions about this setup :)

    1) Do you notice any additional heat, sound or vibrations?

    2) While I know the 500gig 7200 seem to be "out of stock" everywhere, any reason someone looking to upgrade would avoid 7200 rpm vs 5400 for the reasons I listed in number one?

    3) Battery life, any effect?

    4) Do you have to do a full reinstall on your system to setup the Raid? I've used a couple machines with it, but never set it up to know how.

    Thanks in advance for any answers/opinions :)
  3. ayeying thread starter macrumors 601


    Dec 5, 2007
    Yay Area, CA
    1) I have not noticed anymore heat, sound or vibrations. It is surprising because the mount itself is not secured 100%. The 2nd drive runs at a cool 30-35 deg C compared to the primary drive running closer to 40 deg C. The Scorpio Blue is a very quiet drive so sound is not an issue. This varies with different brands and/or models.

    2) I personally prefer a 7200RPM drive over 5400RPM. However the only model with a 7200RPM w/ 500GB is Seagate. I'm personally not a favorite with Seagate since my first Seagate hard drive (The one currently in the MacBook) is not a very good one with major annoyances.

    3) I have seen a slight improvement but it is so minor that its hardly worth mentioning. I've seen an average of about 5 minute improvement. Battery Life depends on what the system is being used for/how it is used/configuration.

    4) What I did was back up the system (before RAID) via Time Machine. Afterwards, I installed the drive, boot up the system using the Restore Disk 1 on a external DVD drive. Here, I set up the RAID via Disk Utility. Afterwards, I restore it using Time Machine Restore available on the Restore Disk 1.

    RAID setup, software based via Disk Utility, is actually easier then one might think. CNet has a link (I can't find it in my history for some reason) that shows how to set up a RAID using external hard drives, but it is the same concept.
  4. bossxii macrumors 68000

    Nov 9, 2008
    Kansas City
    Very cool! Thanks for the information. I've been looking to do a similar setup. I would much rather have ALL my data with me and of course backed up at home, but I hate carrying an external drive on a and try to work from a USB port.

    I have a superdrive already from a MBA a while back so for me it's no biggie considering how little I even use it. I'm going to search for some 7200 rpm drives, see if any show up over the next few weeks to a month. I just purchased my 17" a couple of weeks ago so still lots of stuff to migrate over. The stock 320g 5400 rpm is nearing 80% full though and I have zero of my own video's and pictures. iTunes and movies/videos I enjoying having them all handy when I do have to travel overnite somewhere.

    Thanks again!
  5. RKpro macrumors 6502

    Oct 27, 2008
    I didn't know RAID was possible on MBPs, cool! I've only used the optical disk drive like one time since I got the computer (and it was to test if it works).

    So now I want dual Intel X25 SSDs in RAID 0, once the price is reasonable, hopefully in a few months.

    I know you said you haven't bothered benchmarking, but if you have spare time could you please run a simple geekbench score, and post it up.
  6. kastenbrust macrumors 68030


    Dec 26, 2008
    North Korea
    1) its a SOFTWARE raid not a hardware raid, theres no room for a hardware raid card inside a laptop, so its not a real raid 0 system, but works in the same way, learn the difference before jumping into bed with it.

    2) Its unreliable and often results in lost data, although i have it in my 17" Unibody and have personally never experienced this and would consider it worth the risk.
  7. RKpro macrumors 6502

    Oct 27, 2008
    I'm aware of the difference, thanks. I'm not really worried because I have Time Machine + external HDD on a daily basis with my current setup.

    You've got two 7200rpm disks in yours? Are you annoyed by the extra vibration? I couldn't stand having a single 7200 drive in mine, so I returned it and decided to wait for SSDs.
  8. Tallest Skil macrumors P6

    Tallest Skil

    Aug 13, 2006
    1 Geostationary Tower Plaza
    I want to see someone shell out for dual 2.5" 1TB SSDs and hook those suckers UP! :p
  9. Guy Mancuso macrumors 6502a

    Mar 28, 2009
    New Member

    Hi everyone new here but not new to Macs . I am a Professional photographer and since folks been asking about Raid 0 thought I would share this. Just bought the New MBP 15 with 2.93 box and have 6gb of Ram which i will add the other 4gb chip from OWC in a couple days. I have on this 2 Intel XM-25 80gb SSD drives running Raid 0 . I bought the optical bay hardware at Maxupgrades and installed that along with the second SSD drive. My one issue is I Migrated over from my older laptop a 2006 2.4 and still having some clear out issues so this X bench test may get better and certainly will with 8gb but it is pretty fast and I am on target with my late 2006 2.66 MacPro which I just sold. I am running the new laptop through the 30 inch display and YES I do have a blinking issue with it. All points lead to graphics card but I will switch the 2gb and 4gb chip and see if that has any effect. I do think we should be running in pairs on Ram and i expect better performance yet when I add the 4gb ram chip. Anyway Hello and I have been reading but not posted . BTW if your interested in Photography I own a great forum that you may want to visit. I also teach workshops http://forum.getdpi.com/forum/index.php

    Anyway here are the scores Raid 0 2 Intel SSD drives

    Results 242.46
    System Info
    Xbench Version 1.3
    System Version 10.5.6 (9G2133)
    Physical RAM 6144 MB
    Model MacBookPro5,1
    Drive Type Guys Master Hard Drive
    CPU Test 197.27
    GCD Loop 341.25 17.99 Mops/sec
    Floating Point Basic 166.26 3.95 Gflop/sec
    vecLib FFT 138.08 4.56 Gflop/sec
    Floating Point Library 244.53 42.58 Mops/sec
    Thread Test 356.36
    Computation 432.71 8.77 Mops/sec, 4 threads
    Lock Contention 302.91 13.03 Mlocks/sec, 4 threads
    Memory Test 190.52
    System 229.81
    Allocate 295.33 1.08 Malloc/sec
    Fill 193.95 9430.13 MB/sec
    Copy 221.63 4577.76 MB/sec
    Stream 162.71
    Copy 152.26 3144.97 MB/sec
    Scale 157.78 3259.69 MB/sec
    Add 172.40 3672.50 MB/sec
    Triad 170.11 3639.11 MB/sec
    Quartz Graphics Test 244.39
    Line 226.84 15.10 Klines/sec [50% alpha]
    Rectangle 292.37 87.29 Krects/sec [50% alpha]
    Circle 242.82 19.79 Kcircles/sec [50% alpha]
    Bezier 237.84 6.00 Kbeziers/sec [50% alpha]
    Text 232.16 14.52 Kchars/sec
    OpenGL Graphics Test 188.89
    Spinning Squares 188.89 239.62 frames/sec
    User Interface Test 391.46
    Elements 391.46 1.80 Krefresh/sec
    Disk Test 262.69
    Sequential 165.56
    Uncached Write 255.90 157.12 MB/sec [4K blocks]
    Uncached Write 130.50 73.84 MB/sec [256K blocks]
    Uncached Read 91.11 26.66 MB/sec [4K blocks]
    Uncached Read 619.42 311.32 MB/sec [256K blocks]
    Random 635.52
    Uncached Write 545.02 57.70 MB/sec [4K blocks]
    Uncached Write 342.81 109.75 MB/sec [256K blocks]
    Uncached Read 1224.63 8.68 MB/sec [4K blocks]
    Uncached Read 1378.03 255.70 MB/sec [256K blocks]
  10. sukanas macrumors 6502a


    Nov 15, 2007
    sorry if this is a noob question.

    would it make sense to have one drive be an intel x25 system and a 500gb hd for music, photos, etc..
    or does Raid 0 make everything 'shared'
  11. xoggyux macrumors 6502

    Dec 4, 2008
    One thing though, since one HDD is in the optic bay then (presumably) the sudden motion sensor built in the MBP would not work correctly which (I think) would increase the chances of failure (and data loss.) Tough in the other side I think if you buy 2 HDD with the motion sensor and then disable MBP's built in (so that both HDDs "stop" working simultaneously making failure less probable) anyway this is just a theory and since I have not hear about anyone complaining yet probably I am wrong...
  12. percival504 macrumors regular

    Feb 10, 2009
    2 x X25-E RAID 0 = 540 MB/s read; 420 MB/s writes; 18,000 reads p/s

    I use these as a boot drive in my 17", 2.93 (8GB RAM, etc, etc). I'm using a 32k stripe (AppleRaid). I tried 16k and 64k, but I noticed erratic performance with those stripes. I have the OptiBay, but I'm going to return it and get slimline SATA adapter(s); I don't think the OptiBay's quality justifies $120.00. Frankly, the dual X25-E(s) setup seems to be overkill; a single X25-E is pretty effective on its own. I wanted to try it b/c I wanted a UMBP that would perform as closely to a Mac Pro as possible (since I have to have a mobile workstation).

    The XBench disktest was disappointing @ ~520 -- my best disktest score for a single X25-E was ~380. Part of the problem w/ benching the X25-E is that it will only perform its best under a heavy load. The best score for the single happened when I ran a test while I was doing the things that I normally do during the day (running 5-10 intensive apps at the same time and throwing around 2-300 GB of data). I don't think that I'll be able to tax the X25-E RAID similarly. My Xbench scores were already at the top of the MacBook Pro Core 2(s) w/ a single X25-E (~255). We'll see what happens now...

    I will say this though, the NVidia MCP79 is superior and I am so happy that Apple gave us dual SATA 3.0/II bus(ses). 270-272 MB/s on the SATA 3.0 bus is, given the inevitable inefficiencies of signal transmission and other factors affecting actual v. theoretical transfer speeds, quite simply amazing. I am happy with my UMBP and I do believe that it is probably one of the 3 best (if not the best) mobile workstations available.
  13. ayeying thread starter macrumors 601


    Dec 5, 2007
    Yay Area, CA
    You can. But You can't RAID 0 those 2 drives due to the size difference. RAID 0 just makes the computer believe both drives are "one". So 2x 500GB, the system sees it as "1TB". Same with 2x 320GB = 640GB, yadada.

    Theorically the Motion Sensor should pause BOTH hard drives but I haven't been able to set off the motion sensor yet on my system so I can't tell. I mean, it survived a pretty bumpy ride (made me dizzy) on my bike but that was in Standby.
  14. helfo macrumors newbie

    Mar 29, 2009
    I'm going to buy two Hitachi Travelstar 500K.B for my MBP by using Softraid.
    There is a very good article: Macintosh Performance Guide
  15. DaveOZ macrumors regular

    May 13, 2008
    Fail. Just tried my Air SuperDrive in my MBPro. No work.
  16. ayeying thread starter macrumors 601


    Dec 5, 2007
    Yay Area, CA
    Yeah, I was gonna mention this but forgot. The Air SuperDrive only works on the "Air" because the MacBook Air's USB is higher power rated to support the Superdrive. Our MacBook Pros don't have the higher power rating therefore most likely would fail in attempt.
  17. Abstract macrumors Penryn


    Dec 27, 2002
    Location Location Location
    In other words, you'd be screwed if you needed to install something from disk? :confused: That's too bad. I figured it was how you handled DVDs and such.

    Anyway, sounds interesting. I'd probably prefer a RAID 1 setup (mirrored) so that it's kind of like having Time Machine on all the time. It would give me reliability and performance, rather than storage and performance.

    Good thread. :)
  18. MacGeek767 macrumors member


    Mar 31, 2009
    Chicago, Illinois
    I have a question, you did this in your MBP right? You also said that this drive can fit inside of your MacBook...but what about a White MacBook (not unibody) that was bought about two years ago (23 months according to a program I run)?

    I was just wondering cause I was thinking of doing this, till I realized that I have a two year old computer
  19. ayeying thread starter macrumors 601


    Dec 5, 2007
    Yay Area, CA
    there is an option to do this on the white macbook. it uses a slightly different mount. MCE has them.
  20. ohaooa macrumors newbie

    May 26, 2008
    I would never get rid of my superdrive for extra "on the go" storage, but I guess some people wouldn't mind.
  21. MacGeek767 macrumors member


    Mar 31, 2009
    Chicago, Illinois
    ok, thanks dude!
    and thanks for telling us about this!
  22. johnnj macrumors 6502a

    Dec 11, 2008
    Not here
    Guy is an awesome resource on the Leica M8 forum and we're lucky to have him among us here.

    Welcome, Guy!

  23. alphaod macrumors Core


    Feb 9, 2008
    Epic; jealous too.
  24. Guy Mancuso macrumors 6502a

    Mar 28, 2009
    Thanks John .

    Yes the SSD are very nice. If not for a Drobo in my office I could hear a pin drop. The laptop is deadly silent and it stays very cool until I ramp up some processing and than the fans kick in fairly heavy around 6k when you really get them going but cools down very fast. The SSD are great but the write times need improvement , the reads are amazing though. Also the damn prices need to come down a LOT. 720 dollars for 2 hard drives is not my idea of fun and games. LOL

    The one thing not talked about much is there hard to damage so running around in a backpack or flying at high altitudes these will be much better
  25. RKpro macrumors 6502

    Oct 27, 2008
    Hey guys, I'm a bit curious. I'm trying to decide if I want 1 or 2 OCZ Vertex drives, I can get a reasonable price on newegg.

    If I use the software stripped raid 0 config, bootcamp is out of the question, correct?
    Because the raid config is software controlled by OSX, and not the bios, so windows xp installer will just see 2 separate drives...?

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