Help requested... Having a HD/HD Cable related with my Early 2011 MBP.

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by Spencer Reynen, Nov 20, 2014.

  1. Spencer Reynen macrumors member

    Apr 3, 2011
    Haven't been on these forums in a really long time, but I'm having quite an ordeal with my 13" Early 2011 MBP.

    I was using my Mac last night, and all of a sudden it stopped responding. I think to myself, "Well, that's inconvenient," but I proceed to hold down the power button so it turns off so I can turn it back on again. I turn it back on, the Apple logo does not come up, and I get the ol' question mark folder.

    Great, my hard drive isn't being recognized. I restart it again, holding down the option key this time so I can access the System Startup Manager, or whatever it's called. Thinking I can just select the drive once it appears, the only option available was "Internet Recovery" and my drive was nowhere to be found. Knowing what internet recovery does, I didn't choose the option.

    Figuring it was either the hard drive cable or hard drive itself that was causing the issue, I shut it down again, and opened up my MBP to "inspect." I've had an issue similar to this before, and when I took it to Apple, they determined it was a HD cable issue, so I paid them to replace that, and thinking it was an issue with the HD, I had purchased a 1 TB HD- so in addition to replacing the cable they installed my new HD as well.

    This means that I have the original 320GB hard drive that shipped with my Mac, it's contents exactly the way I left it before I upgraded. I pulled out my 1TB HD, put in the old one, and after a few startups, the old HD surprisingly worked, and my computer booted up again. At this point, I assumed it was the 1TB HD that was the issue but since then, I have encountered problems which lead me to believe this might not be all there is to it.

    After booting up with my old original HD, I removed it again just to see if by any chance the 1TB HD that I was using worked. Unfortunately, it didn't boot up, but I could hear and feel the HD spin. This leads me to my first and second question:

    1. If a hard drive is dead, can it still spin?
    2. The HD cable is obviously supplying power to both drives I have used, but can it still supply power while being damaged in the data transfer aspect of the cable?

    I put the old HD back in, and it worked. But, as I've been using it, I've been noticing really slow behavior every now and then, particularly when waking from sleep sometimes, it either does it really slow, or I have to restart it completely, and it can't even find the drive at all. Sometimes, when I turn it on, I get the question mark screen, or sometimes it starts to boot but I get the x-out symbol. Sometimes, to get it to turn on, I have to restart it multiple times, or boot into the startup manager screen, where the drive is recognized sometimes, and other times not.

    At this point, I'm extremely frustrated. I thought it was the HD, but now it may be a HD cable issue. I've ordered one of those enclosures you can put your internal HD in and hook it up to a computer via USB and it should be here within the next two days. I think I would be correct in assuming that (this is where I also need your expertise:

    • If the hard drive works inside the USB enclosure, it is safe to assume that the problem is not with the HD, but with the hard drive cable.
    • If the hard drive does not work, the problem is with the HD, but the cable could also be screwed up as well.

    I'm firm on the fact that I'm not going to take it into the Apple store. I don't want to get overcharged for parts, get charged for labor, and wait for them to do it all when I have the internet (and forums such as these, included) to help me figure out the problem, learn how to replace/fix the problem, and not to mention, the parts are cheaper.

    I've held out on purchasing a new 1TB HD as a replacement, and a new HD cable until I can decide on what the problem is. When I get the USB enclosure I'm sure things will be clearer right?

    I'll put helpful information below here if I remember anything that's useful:
    • A ran a full system diagnostic test (the extensive one) by holding down "D" at startup and the results came back with nothing helpful- it said everything was OK. This is with my old original HD in.
    • Also with the old original HD in, I ran disk utility and when I verified the disk it came back OK.

    TL;DR- I can't figure out whether the issue I'm having lies with the HD cable or the HD itself and I'm going crazy trying to diagnose/fix the problem. Is there a way I can find out which one (even if it's both of them) is the culprit?
  2. asriznet macrumors regular

    Dec 21, 2013
    Wow, this is one long post.

    I have to be honest, I didn't read it all but based on your issue.

    This is what I would do to isolate the issue....

    Test for HDD
    - Remove the internal HDD from the MBP
    - Connect the internal HDD to your MBP via a SATA to USB adaptor
    - If it runs okay, your HDD is good
    - if not, your HDD may have 2 issues:
    Software corruption: Reformatting the HDD will fix this
    HDD faulty: no hope, you'll need to replace it

    Test for HDD cable
    - Connect another 2.5" laptop HDD into your MBP
    - boot up into the OS linked the HDD connected via SATA to USB adaptor
    - If disk utility is able to detect the HDD connected via the HDD cable, the HDD cable is okay
    - if not, you'll need to replace it.

    I believe the cost of a HDD cable is about $40, be careful when you replace this as it's very filmsy.
  3. Lucas Godfrey macrumors 6502

    Lucas Godfrey

    Jul 12, 2010
    Somewhere between Here and There

    I'm a qualified ACMT dealing with around 100 laptops per week, if your laptop is a 13" macbook pro 2011-2012, then its the cable. trust me.

    you'll need the following part if your using a late 2011/12 923-0741
    Or a 922-9771 if you have a early 2011.


    INB4 Apple REP.
  4. Spencer Reynen thread starter macrumors member

    Apr 3, 2011
    Thanks for the replies.

    Considering that the 1TB drive doesn't work at all and the original HD works under maybe 20% of the time, I think it's safe to assume it's the HD cable.

    I'll be driving past an Apple store tonight... does anyone know if they sell hard drive cables in stores? Or will I have to order it online?

    Any other opinions on my original question are always appreciated.

  5. Lucas Godfrey macrumors 6502

    Lucas Godfrey

    Jul 12, 2010
    Somewhere between Here and There
    they won't sell you the part.

    you'll have to get it from another vendor. call any local AASPs if they'll see you the part, i wouldn't pay more than $50 for it mind you.
  6. asriznet macrumors regular

    Dec 21, 2013
    You can get the HDD a cable online as well.

    Check and make sure you got the correct part when purchasing.

    If you confirmed it's a 13" MacBook Pro Early 2011 then this is the one you looking for -

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