Mac replace optical drive with SSD

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by Matt3o12, Jul 10, 2014.

  1. Matt3o12 macrumors newbie

    Dec 12, 2013
    this kind of question has probably asked 100 times but I couldn't find a post that helped me. I've also read the "SSD Buying Guide" but it didn't help me either.

    I want to replace my Macbook Pro (late 2011)'s optical drive with an SSD. So far, I've found out that I need kind of an adapter so that the SSD fits into my MacBook Pro. Ifitit offers such an adapter for about $60 (including shipping excluding taxes) which is kind of much but I would buy it if necessary. I will probably buy Samsung's 840 EVO SSD unless you wouldn't recommend it at all.

    So far, I've come to 3 problems:
    1. On Amazon, there are 3 options of my SSD: Basic, Desktop Kit, Laptop Kit. Where are the differences (except the price)
    2. Will the SSD mentioned above fit into ifitit's "SSD Adapter" (I have no idea how to call it, sorry).
    3. Is there another, cheaper version of the adapter? On amazon I only found some that had bad reviews. I would prefer to buy it on Amazon since taxes and shipping is included. Taxes can be a hassle because I live in Austria, so I'd prefer them to be included, which amazon always shows. If you only find an adapter in the US Amazon store, don't worry, I will likely find it in the Austria (German) store as well.
  2. Weaselboy Moderator


    Staff Member

    Jan 23, 2005
    The EVO is a good choice. Another good choice is the new Crucial MX100. I would get whichever you can find the cheapest.

    1. They are all the same drive, just with different mounting and cable kist depending on how you intend to use the drive. For your usage, you need none of that, so get whichever is cheapest.

    2. Yep

    3. There is a long thread here discussing some cheaper alternatives.
  3. nitromac macrumors 6502

    Jul 29, 2012
    Search "optibay" on ebay and find whichever one is around $20 (make sure it fits your specific MBP model). It's a piece of metal with a SATA connector -- there is absolutely no need to spend $60 on one.

    I did this in my MBP and it works flawlessly -- just remember to download/install TRIM Enabler and enable TRIM support the moment you install your drive. Otherwise your SSD will get pretty slow pretty fast since OSX doesn't enable TRIM support for third-party SSDs out of the box.

    And go for the Samsung.

    Last tip: I would recommend putting the SSD in your "main" slot (where your drive is now) and putting your old hard drive in the Optibay. I'm fairly sure the main disk slot's SATA is faster than the one going to the optical bay.
  4. Matt3o12 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Dec 12, 2013
    Thank you both for the answers. I went for the Samsung SSD Evo (108.70€/$147.92) and HDD/SSD SATA III Caddy for Apple MacBook (Pro) 13" 15" 17" (replaces SuperDrive) for 17.95€ ($24.43). I hope both will work fine but I have no doubts.

    Still, I got one question, @Weaselboy: What is "mounting and cable kist"? Can you send me a link where I can learn more about it? Google couldn't help me. I'm just curious what it means.
  5. T5BRICK macrumors G3


    Aug 3, 2006
    He meant "mounting and cable kits". To install a 2.5" drive into a desktop, you need a 2.5" to 3.5" adapter bracket. Some laptops need spacers so the thinner SSD doesn't move around.

    You aren't going to need any of this stuff in your MacBook Pro. Just buy the model that is the best deal. I bought a desktop model for my 13" MacBook pro and just tossed the extra parts into a box.
  6. bennynova macrumors member

    Jun 6, 2014
    as said a couple posts up

    put your SSD in your main drive and put your HDD in the optibay

    the main drive in your specific macbook pro has SATA III speeds
    the optibay only has SATA II speeds.

    your SSD needs SATA III to max out it's potential
    your HDD won't even touch the limitations of the SATA II
  7. Matt3o12 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Dec 12, 2013
    That's what I'll also do, although my macbook has 2 SATA 6 slots:
  8. glenthompson macrumors 68000


    Apr 27, 2011
    Are you aware that the 2011 MBPs have problems with a SSD in the optibay? Some get it to work but many have problems. Seems the cabling for the superdrive can't handle the SATA III speeds. Works fine for slower devices but a true SATA III drive pouches it too hard.
  9. airattack111 macrumors member

    Dec 9, 2008
    Hi I was about to make a post about this but saw this thread.

    I have a late 2008 unibody macbook pro. The cd drive no longer works so I was going to replace it with a hard drive.

    Negotiated speed in hdd slot is 3gbs, speed in optical slot is 1.5gbs. The hard drive is a seagate momentus XT hybrid drive.

    The solid state should go in the hard drive spot, and the hybrid should go in the optical slot correct?

    Any recommendations on a reliable 128gb ssd?
  10. simonsi macrumors 601


    Jan 3, 2014
    My 2011 works fine with the SSD in the Optibay and an HDD in the original drive bay but if you have any issues just swap them around, no big deal.


    The optical drive will only negotiate a 1.5Gbps speed, a faster drive will probably negotiate 3Gbps if the controller is capable.
  11. airattack111 macrumors member

    Dec 9, 2008
    Does that mean I can put the SSD in the optical bay without any performance loss compared to the HD spot?
  12. simonsi macrumors 601


    Jan 3, 2014
    If your Link Speed on the optical controller is 3Gbps then likely the SSD would negotiate 3Gbps just as it would in the main drive bay.
  13. alex0002 macrumors 6502

    Jun 19, 2013
    New Zealand
    One word of warning... when the SSD maker creates a firmware update to fix a critical bug, there is a very good chance they will create the firmware updater as a bootable iso image, to be burnt to optical media.

    In some cases it is possible to write this image to a syslinux bootable USB flash drive, which should boot the FreeDOS based firmware updater. But quite often the mac will not boot the updater from USB flash. You might think that you could boot the optical media from a USB connected optical drive, but for some reason that doesn't work either.

    In many cases, the only reliable method of updating the SSD firmware is booting from an internal SATA connected optical drive.

    I believe that these problems have been observed with both Crucial and Samsung SSD firmware updates, but perhaps others too.
  14. smithrh macrumors 68020


    Feb 28, 2009
    You are entirely correct; however, this issue can be sidestepped by getting an SSD that's been on the market in volume for a while, ex the Samsung 840 series.

    The chance of a firmware bug needing to be fixed on an 840 is pretty small now.

    SSDs have matured rapidly as well, the amount of firmware updates needed has come down quite a bit.

    In any case, this is really good advice for people a bit more on the cutting edge, ex the new 850 line from Samsung.
  15. Matt3o12 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Dec 12, 2013
    I just upgraded to my new SSD and I have enabled TRIM support. Although my SSD is in the main Port, I have pretty poor write results: about 250 Mbytes (writing). Reading seems to be ok (about 500 Mbytes).
    The only thing I did was creating a Mac OS Extended Disk Partition. There is no os running on it... I used Blackmagic Disk Speed to measure the speed but the program seems to be working fine (I was getting about 2Gbyte read and write results using an RAM Disk).

    Do I need to upgrade the Firmware? Or is my SSD defect? It's brand new and I haven't used it before. I bought: Samsung SSD 840 SSD (250GB).

    Or did I install it wrongly?
  16. niteflyr macrumors 6502a

    Nov 29, 2011
    Southern Cal
    That's almost exactly what I get with same drive. Slower write speeds in the smaller drive sizes.

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