Early 2011 MBP upgrade HDD to SSD

kentbrad

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Mar 9, 2018
2
0
Sorry if this is a recurring question, but trying to get people's opinions rather than a 'solution'.

I have an early 2011 MBP which is becoming increasingly slow (loading programmes, scrolling through large albums of photos, system struggling when carrying out larger tasks).

I am assuming my HDD is becoming old and struggling, I was thinking of cloning my HDD on to a Samsung 860 Evo SSD and installing that. Do people think this will give my Mac a new lease of life? Or is the whole device getting old and it will be a wasted effort?

Any opinions/experiences would be greatly appreciated.
 

robvas

macrumors 68040
Mar 29, 2009
3,044
510
USA
Yes, it will be a huge improvement. I have a 2009 15" and 2011 13" with SSD's (and 8GB of RAM), they were almost unusable with the factory spinning hard drive.
 
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Maxx Power

macrumors 6502a
Apr 29, 2003
861
332
Have personally done two of these. I upgraded each with a SSD and 16GB of 1600 Mhz RAM. The SSD made a huge difference to both users. Both were saying that the machines felt like new or better.
 
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Twariq

macrumors newbie
Mar 7, 2018
3
3
London
I have just done the same on my 2012 13.3" MBP, I installed a Samsung 850EVO 500GB SSD and the RAM was upgraded to 16GB and its now very responsive, I'm very happy with the results.
 
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ls1dreams

macrumors 6502a
Aug 13, 2009
554
189
I've had an SSD in my 2011 for around 3-4 years now. It's a huge improvement, but at this point even the 2011 + an SSD is quite slow. One other major pain point is that the intel HD3000 graphics are no longer supported by Chrome, so you'll be forced to use Safari or Firefox.

(Chrome runs but abysmally slow and with the fans cranked because it handles graphics in the cpu instead of gpu)

Other annoying limitations of the 2011 model that you may not be considering:
- No retina screen
- 802.11n only (450Mbps at 5ghz isn't so bad though)
- USB 2.0 only
- No bluetooth compatible with continuity / airdrop
- Very quiet speakers

At this point I'd probably just save my money and put it into a 2018 MBP model with 2 extra cores. If you don't plan to sell the 2011 though and want to keep it for a backup you could just pickup a super cheap 256gb SSD to keep it alive. Just buy one that's on sale for $70 or so.
 
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Fishrrman

macrumors Core
Feb 20, 2009
19,020
6,484
Upgrading to an SSD will be a MAJOR improvement.
As in, "big time".

BUT...
You DON'T need the fanciest highest-speed Samsung drive, because the 2011 model's SATA2 bus can't take advantage of it.

ANY SSD will do.
I'd suggest a Crucial, and not the expensive ones.

This is an easy repair -- ANYONE can do it.
Go to ifixit.com to see what's involved, they have an illustrated guide.

Use THE RIGHT TOOLS.
You'll need a Phillips #00 driver and a TORX T-6 driver.
Find these online, or at a hardware store.

Here's the most important tip you're going to get in this thread:
Buy one of these, as well:
https://www.amazon.com/Sabrent-2-5-...478&sr=1-2-spell&keywords=sabremt+usb3+to+ssd
(I have one myself, cheap and useful peripheral)

Use it to "prep and test" the new SSD BEFORE you attempt to install it.
That way you'll know it works BEFORE you commit to it.
And if you have any problems, you'll STILL HAVE A MACBOOK THAT BOOTS AND RUNS so you can work things out.
Afterwards, you can use the adapter/dongle with the original HDD as a backup drive, extra storage, etc.

Again, the SSD will be a great improvement.
Any problems, get back to us and we'll help.
 
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dzlfreak

macrumors newbie
Oct 9, 2011
6
3
St. Louis, MO
I would like to upgrade to 8GB of ram and a SSD in my early 2011 MBP. I have read Crucial and Corsair are good brands for memory - is that still true? What about SSD - good brands and other specs when buying one?
 
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Brian Y

macrumors 68040
Oct 21, 2012
3,608
740
I would like to upgrade to 8GB of ram and a SSD in my early 2011 MBP. I have read Crucial and Corsair are good brands for memory - is that still true? What about SSD - good brands and other specs when buying one?
For a 2011, pretty much any SSD will work. Stick to a known brand, but only get the basic model. No point getting a super high end one when your computer won't be able to take advantage of it.
 
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ajcgn

macrumors regular
Oct 19, 2014
156
98
Toronto, Ontario
Upgraded my 2011 MBP to an SSD a few weeks after I had it reballed. That was about two and a half years ago, still works great.
I plan on keeping it until it dies, prices are way up in Canadian dollars and while the new machines are obviously better, at least I don’t have to worry about dongles and bright sunlight.
 
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JTToft

macrumors 68040
Apr 27, 2010
3,439
780
Aarhus, Denmark
I would like to upgrade to 8GB of ram and a SSD in my early 2011 MBP. I have read Crucial and Corsair are good brands for memory - is that still true? What about SSD - good brands and other specs when buying one?
- Samsung and Crucial are the best when it comes to SSDs, and I have found no substantial reason to choose anything else. Samsung has the edge in performance.

Samsung 860 EVO, or the older but nearly identical 850 EVO if you can find it on offer.

For a 2011, pretty much any SSD will work. Stick to a known brand, but only get the basic model. No point getting a super high end one when your computer won't be able to take advantage of it.
- Except it will. The 2011s use SATA III, just like all current SATA SSDs.
 
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robvas

macrumors 68040
Mar 29, 2009
3,044
510
USA
For a 2011, pretty much any SSD will work. Stick to a known brand, but only get the basic model. No point getting a super high end one when your computer won't be able to take advantage of it.
Actually, I would stay away from the lowest end models because they are very slow. On example is the HP S700 that has a controller with no DRAM, as does the Sandisk SSD Plus. Be careful buying the lowest priced drives.

Also, I'd avoid anything with a SandForce controller in a MacBook (Except an OWC drive), because they will often have link negotiation issues and stick at SATA 1 speeds. Those drives aren't on the new market any more but they come up from time to time when buying a used drive.
 
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JTToft

macrumors 68040
Apr 27, 2010
3,439
780
Aarhus, Denmark
Actually, I would stay away from the lowest end models because they are very slow. On example is the HP S700 that has a controller with no DRAM, as does the Sandisk SSD Plus. Be careful buying the lowest priced drives.

Also, I'd avoid anything with a SandForce controller in a MacBook (Except an OWC drive), because they will often have link negotiation issues and stick at SATA 1 speeds. Those drives aren't on the new market any more but they come up from time to time when buying a used drive.
- Crucial with their absolutely horrendously slow BX200 had one of the offenders in the low-end category. In some real-world tasks (including file transfers), it couldn't even climb above a mechanical hard drive in performance.

If one sticks to Samsung, there will be no compatibility issues, no bad performance, and no reliability issues. Guaranteed.
 
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kentbrad

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Mar 9, 2018
2
0
I've had an SSD in my 2011 for around 3-4 years now. It's a huge improvement, but at this point even the 2011 + an SSD is quite slow. One other major pain point is that the intel HD3000 graphics are no longer supported by Chrome, so you'll be forced to use Safari or Firefox.

(Chrome runs but abysmally slow and with the fans cranked because it handles graphics in the cpu instead of gpu)

Other annoying limitations of the 2011 model that you may not be considering:
- No retina screen
- 802.11n only (450Mbps at 5ghz isn't so bad though)
- USB 2.0 only
- No bluetooth compatible with continuity / airdrop
- Very quiet speakers

At this point I'd probably just save my money and put it into a 2018 MBP model with 2 extra cores. If you don't plan to sell the 2011 though and want to keep it for a backup you could just pickup a super cheap 256gb SSD to keep it alive. Just buy one that's on sale for $70 or so.
Thanks very much for this, do you know why Chrome has blacklisted that graphics card? Are there any links explaining this? I've had a quick look but it's mostly people talking about issues with it, not any statements from google.
 
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robvas

macrumors 68040
Mar 29, 2009
3,044
510
USA
Thanks very much for this, do you know why Chrome has blacklisted that graphics card? Are there any links explaining this? I've had a quick look but it's mostly people talking about issues with it, not any statements from google.
You can use Chrome, just not WebGL

In order to provide the best user experience, browsers may selectively enable or disable support for WebGL and this is done to work around stability or conformance problems. You can find the blacklist here and looking at that, it appears that the Intel HD Graphics 3000 driver on Mac crashes frequently, and that is why it is on the blacklist. You're not encouraged to override this, because certain graphics cards and drivers are known to contain serious bugs or cause crashes. In very severe cases, these can even cause your entire computer to freeze.
 
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LarryJoe33

macrumors 68000
Jul 17, 2017
1,816
596
Boston
What @Fishrrman said, except I might recommend an externally powered SATA to USB dongle.

See my specs, HUGE improvement, make sure you have at least 8GB of memory while you are in there. Lot's of life left in these machines.
 
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Samuelsan2001

macrumors 604
Oct 24, 2013
7,694
2,118
I agree with most of what has been said here, however I see no sign of whether the machine is a 13 inch or not, if it’s a 13 inch then sure go ahead. If the machine in question is 15 or 17 inch then it’s got an inherent gpu issue that makes any money put into it a waste in my opinion and the money would be better spent towards a new computer before your current one dies of the dGPU issue.
 
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ls1dreams

macrumors 6502a
Aug 13, 2009
554
189
You can use Chrome, just not WebGL

In order to provide the best user experience, browsers may selectively enable or disable support for WebGL and this is done to work around stability or conformance problems. You can find the blacklist here and looking at that, it appears that the Intel HD Graphics 3000 driver on Mac crashes frequently, and that is why it is on the blacklist. You're not encouraged to override this, because certain graphics cards and drivers are known to contain serious bugs or cause crashes. In very severe cases, these can even cause your entire computer to freeze.
Sure, but it's virtually unusable without WebGL. Runs insanely slow and fans will spin non stop. I had to switch to Safari.
[doublepost=1521063262][/doublepost]
Thanks very much for this, do you know why Chrome has blacklisted that graphics card? Are there any links explaining this? I've had a quick look but it's mostly people talking about issues with it, not any statements from google.
The HD3000 chipset was causing the vast majority of their crashes, so they simply blacklisted it instead of fixing the bug.
 
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shyam09

macrumors 68020
Oct 31, 2010
2,099
2,079
Yep. Got a new mid-tier windows laptop a few months ago. Barely useable on a HDD. Bought a cheap SSD and it's a 100x better experience.

I swapped out the HDD with a Samsung Evo on my sister and my macbook pro (2010) a few years back. Both ran and still run amazing.
 
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peru9800

macrumors newbie
Jul 12, 2017
1
0
I have an early 2011 MBP (like you) which already has 8GB memory. I am also putting in a Samsung Evo 860 and wondering if you had to replace the Hard Drive Cable. I have read that some MBP need to do this to make the new SSD work properly.

Thank you.
 
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simonsi

macrumors 601
Jan 3, 2014
4,850
734
Auckland
I have an early 2011 MBP (like you) which already has 8GB memory. I am also putting in a Samsung Evo 860 and wondering if you had to replace the Hard Drive Cable. I have read that some MBP need to do this to make the new SSD work properly.

Thank you.
I didn't when I swapped my HDD for a Crucial SSD - I <did> have to change it 2yrs later when my cable failed. TBH I've not heard of having to change it to make the SSD work, only to resolve an issue. I guess if the cable is already marginal it may appear to fail when asked to move the much higher data rates the SSD is capable of...
 
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TokMok3

macrumors 6502a
Aug 22, 2015
618
395
You DON'T need the fanciest highest-speed Samsung drive, because the 2011 model's SATA2 bus can't take advantage of it.

ANY SSD will do.
I'd suggest a Crucial, and not the expensive ones.
MacBook Pro 13 2011 supports SATA3. 2010 MacBook Pro's only SATA2.
[doublepost=1544160151][/doublepost]
What @Fishrrman said, except I might recommend an externally powered SATA to USB dongle.

See my specs, HUGE improvement, make sure you have at least 8GB of memory while you are in there. Lot's of life left in these machines.

What brand and model is you SSD and RAM?

Thank You!
[doublepost=1544160358][/doublepost]
I did my swap today (Crucial 8GB memory, Samsung Evo 860 SSD, and Sabrent SSD-USB) and its like a whole new MBP! Thank you all! :D
What are the reading and writing speeds of that SSD?

Thank you!
[doublepost=1544160492][/doublepost]
I didn't when I swapped my HDD for a Crucial SSD - I <did> have to change it 2yrs later when my cable failed. TBH I've not heard of having to change it to make the SSD work, only to resolve an issue. I guess if the cable is already marginal it may appear to fail when asked to move the much higher data rates the SSD is capable of...
What reading & writing speeds are you getting from that SSD?
 
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simonsi

macrumors 601
Jan 3, 2014
4,850
734
Auckland
MacBook Pro 13 2011 supports SATA3. 2010 MacBook Pro's only SATA2.
[doublepost=1544160151][/doublepost]


What brand and model is you SSD and RAM?

Thank You!
[doublepost=1544160358][/doublepost]

What are the reading and writing speeds of that SSD?

Thank you!
[doublepost=1544160492][/doublepost]

What reading & writing speeds are you getting from that SSD?
I get close to 480 read and write last time I checked them, I have 2x 1TB Crucials onboard and get the same speeds on both, even the one in the Optical bay, both support Sata3 data rates in mine.
 
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