Just installed upgrades for Macbook Pro 15" (Early 2011)

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by dolak, Jun 30, 2012.

  1. dolak macrumors newbie


    Jun 30, 2012

    Been a long time lurker here but today I decided to post my upgrade story to add to the pile.

    I just upgraded my Macbook Pro 15" (early 2011) 2.2 Ghz to 16 GB of Corsair 1333 Mhz 1.5V DDR3 RAM (I got the "Apple" RAM from Corsair) and with a Crucial m4 512 GB SSD.

    What a learning experience it has been! I was a bit scared to open my Macbook Pro because it is a >2000$ computer. I was sweating due to stress and I usually don't sweat unless I am running hehe.

    Anywho, the first thing I did was to hook up the Crucial m4 as an external hard drive and formatted it as Mac OS Journaled. Then I burned the Crucial m4 firmware 0309 on a bootable CD-ROM (firmware 000F that came with the drive is reported to cause problems for Macs I read). Then I proceeded to open the Macbook pro remove the old hard drive and ram and installed all the new components. Thankfully all my upgrade modules went in with no problems. I used iFix it diagrams and YouTube videos before hand to help me.

    I closed up the Macbook Pro and booted from the CD-ROM containing the 0309 firmware and I installed this over 000F (in other words, downgraded it). Then rebooted, ejected the CD-ROM, and put in the Mac OS X Snow Leopard install DVD and installed MacOS X which took about 30 minutes.

    Once that was done, I checked "About This Mac" and Mac OS X said I had 16 gb of RAM. Then, I ran Rember to test the memory and Blackmagic Disk Speed Test to test my SSD performance. I got reads of over 500 MB/sec and writes of 260 MB/sec which is what you would expect from an m4 drive. Rember told me that all the tests were passed so the RAM should be good.

    Now I had a dilemma about whether to use the TRIM enabler or not on the Crucial m4. There seems to be a lot of confusion about this but I managed to find an article that showed that the Marvel controller (which is what the m4 has) can recover quickly from performance degradation by just using the built in garbage collection compared to the SandForce based SSD's, so I decided that TRIM is not needed here.

    Right now, as I am typing this, I am in the process of recovering all my research data from my Time Machine backup using Migration assistant. It's a little slow (taking 1h 15min) because I'm on USB 2.0 but I figure I don't need to do this too often so it's all good.

    So far so good! The SSD makes things quite snappy like what I was used to when I had a Macbook Air 2010. The MBA just was not powerful enough for my research so I had to get a MBP but I just couldn't swallow the extra price of "Apple" SSD which only had 256 GB at the time anyway.

    I'm usually optimistic and I do hope that this Crucial m4 won't fail too early as I'd like to keep this Sandy Bridge until Skylake or Skymont.

    I also noticed that under similar work loads, my MacBook Pro runs in the high 40 degrees C (according to SMC fan control) whereas before the SSD installation I would be running at low 50's to mid 50's. It is not a huge temperature difference though, maybe 3-5 degrees C.

    The only bad thing that happened in my story is that once I took out the stock drive that came with my MBP and tried to plug it in as an external hard drive, OS X said it could be not recognized. I tried the Disk Utility and the Repair button was greyed out. So I guess the drive failed once I took it out? Maybe someone can help. I had Mac OS X Snow Leopard but also a bootcamp Win7 partition on it... But thank God I still have my Time Machine Backup, otherwise a whole year of research data would be gone and that would certainly be very bad indeed!
  2. magbarn macrumors 68000

    Oct 25, 2008
    Congrats on the install. I've turned trim on about 5 different osx machines and none of us have had problems.

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