MacBook Pro 17 with 2 SSD drives - anyone done that yet ?

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by CHSeifert, Mar 30, 2011.

  1. CHSeifert macrumors 6502


    Dec 28, 2010
    Copenhagen, Denmark - Scandinavia
    Hey MacBook Pro people :)

    I'm contemplating getting an extra SSD fot the optical bay, once I receive my precious MBP 17 with 256 Apple SSD and 8 GB RAM, but not sure what SSD I should get for the optical bay :confused:

    As far as I know the optical bay SATA slot only supports SATA 2, which means that I would be wasting my money if I bought a SATA 3 based SSD, UNLESS I plan on exchanging the Apple SSD with my new SSD drive and instead place the Apple 256 SSD in the optical bay slot.

    I have heard of issues with the new Intel 510 SSD SATA 3 drive, so don't dare to buy that drive as it stands right now.

    But Intel has just released their succesor to the very stable and MacBook Pro compatible SATA 2 Intel X-25 M SSD drive, the new SATA 2 SSD drive from Intel is called Intel 320 and comes in a nice 300 GB size, which I'm contemplating to get.

    My plan is install my 2 OS (OSx + Win 7) and Office 10 for Win 7 and iWorks/iLife for OSx and all my Adobe Design programs on the fastest SSD and then my data on the slower runinng SSD (my 2 TB music and movie collection is on my 2 TB TimeCapsule and my 2 TB Studio Book ext. HDD's)

    What are your thoughts about having two SSD's in a MacBook Pro ?
  2. nonameowns macrumors regular

    Apr 24, 2010
    personally go with big ssd and harddrive. you shouldnt get apple ssd but get intel or ocz. fast and very good

    app and osx on ssd, files and images on hdd

    speed + storage

    that what i did on my 15 mbp

    i dont see the need for 2 ssds but hey per person's preference.
  3. Jiten macrumors 6502a


    Jul 16, 2008
    If you have the cash go for it. Just get an external HD to store all your big files.
  4. CHSeifert thread starter macrumors 6502


    Dec 28, 2010
    Copenhagen, Denmark - Scandinavia
    I get the MacBook Pro 17 through a friend, who buys it on a special work account, so I get it pretty cheaply and financed over 2 years, so only pays like 50% of the normal price for the Apple SSD.

    I need something that supports TRIM right away and Apple SSD do that.

    Not sure OCZ has that support - will probably be here with Lion, but I need the TRIM support right away !

    The largest HDD drive I can find for MBP is 750 GB in size - I have no use for more than a 300 GB drive, the rest will be on my external HDD anyway, so might as well get two SSD drives for max performance in my MBP 17 :cool:

    However I am thinking of buying the OCZ Vertex 3 240 GB SATA 3 and swap it with the 256 GB Apple SSD and place the Apple SATA 2 256 GB SSD in the optical bay, which only supports SATA 2 - just not sure of how stable the new Vertex 3 drive will be....... :apple:
  5. NikFinn macrumors 6502a


    Jun 22, 2009
    You can get a 1TB 2.5" drive that fits in the MBP, the only thing is I believe it only fits in the Hard drive bay, as it is too tall for the Optibay. I'm not entirely sure if that is the case for the 17" though
  6. CHSeifert, Mar 31, 2011
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 24, 2011

    CHSeifert thread starter macrumors 6502


    Dec 28, 2010
    Copenhagen, Denmark - Scandinavia
    Oki but only HDD size interesting for me is a 2 Tb HDD - smaller than that and I go for SSD from now on :)

    My setup if Vertez 3 supports Trim with Lion will be like this:

    SATA 3 bay: OCZ Vertex 3 240 gb for OS x and Win 7
    SATA 2 Optical bay: Apple SSD 256 gb for programs
    LaCie Thunderbolt 2 x Intel 510 240 Gb for programs
    TimeCapsule 2 Tb for music and movies
    Western Digital Studio Design 2 Tb for backup
  7. walshlink macrumors regular

    Oct 21, 2007
    I'm doing's nice for bragging rights, but little else (and bragging rights last for a day before no one gives a *****)

    There is a sucky part though; I have yet to load Windows into Bootcamp from either an external firewire or usb dvd-rom...for whatever reason Bootcamp and Windows does not like this setup.

    If you stripe the drives, sequential transfers are sick, but for day-to-day ops, you won't notice a difference. One drive setup boots faster than a striped drive setup...striped drives array take time to initialize.

    I am currently not striping my drives as I am using one drive for the Lion Preview (and the Lion Preview won't run on a striped array...yet.)
  8. rnb2 macrumors regular

    Jan 23, 2006
    West Haven, CT, USA
    I did this with a 2008 Unibody MacBook - Intel 80GB X25m G1 in HD bay, with a 128GB Patriot KOI in the optibay. This was enough space for what I used the laptop for, which is holding RAW photos while traveling - the Intel was for OS/Apps, the Patriot for user data. The nice thing about using two SSDs is the battery life - I noticed a pretty big jump in battery life when I replaced my system drive with the X25m, but it dropped again when I had normal HD in the optibay. The second SSD took care of that :)

    It looks like you are wise to avoid the Intel 510 for now - it failed to format in a new MacBook Pro in testing, and performed well below spec in a Mac Pro (details at Let's hope that the 320 fares better.

    If you want guaranteed Mac compatibility, you can go with the biggest drive (currently 480GB) from They're only SATA2 right now, but they're very solid drives.
  9. Macsavvytech macrumors 6502a


    May 25, 2010
    Wirelessly posted (Mozilla/5.0 (iPod; U; CPU iPhone OS 4_2_1 like Mac OS X; en-us) AppleWebKit/533.17.9 (KHTML, like Gecko) Version/5.0.2 Mobile/8C148 Safari/6533.18.5)

    You don't need trim. Sandforce drives are built with firmware garbage collection which effectively makes trim useless anyway so there is no necessity.
  10. cvs macrumors member


    Feb 23, 2011
    I haven't done it but I'd like to once the 500GB SSDs get cheaper, say $400.
    That is more than half the price as of now, so I may have some serious waiting...

    The reason?

    My optibay Scorpio spins up and down all the time. I try to access my files there and have to wait for the spin up although I the same thing happened a minute ago.

    I do not like that, a day with 2 SSDs would be much quieter with no half-second waits for the spin ups when I want to browse at a photo.
  11. pat2 macrumors newbie

    Apr 10, 2011
    replace optical drive?

    So you are saying that you would replace the optical drive with an SSD or there is an HDD bay beside the optical drive?:confused:
  12. NikFinn macrumors 6502a


    Jun 22, 2009
  13. johnnyturbouk macrumors 68000


    Feb 9, 2011
    on the yellow [oled] brick road to tech nirvana.
    get x2 ocz vertex 3 and put them in raid 0...:D
  14. MacBookPro.User macrumors newbie

    Apr 7, 2011
    I have an early 2011 MacBook Pro and have a OCZ Vertex 3 240GB SSD in the SATAIII and the stock Apple 7200rpm 500 GB hard drive in an OWC Data Doubler in the SATAII.

    I've been using the OCZ Vertex 3 240GB SSD for a few days without any problems. I've been thinking about getting another SSD. I don't know how running a RAID 0 when one SSD is on SATAIII and the other is on SATAII would turn out. I've asked other forums and the replies generally aren't positive about trying that configuration, but it may be something I have to try on my own to verify the results.

    If I get another SSD I'll be happy if I use them as 2 separate SSDs or in a RAID 0, so if I get another I'll probably try the RAID 0 to see how it turns out.

    I think a 2 SSD configuration in a MacBook Pro is worth doing if the capacity is fine for you and the price is something you can afford. They say you don't need TRIM on SSDs like the SandForce ones like the Vertex 3 because it has other techniques to handle maintenance (e.g. DuraClass).

    The other thing to think about is that SSDs vary in performance even within the same brand and model depending on capacity sometimes and sometimes the performance varies for the same capacity too. From what I gather reading on the OCZ forums, it's because of the configuration and type of NAND that are used for each capacity and because of the controller which causes this differences in performance. Sometimes manufacturer use different NAND in a particular model or across different models and their performance varies. Even using the same type of NAND in different configurations to achieve different capacities can affect performance. For instance the OCZ Vertex 3 240GB has better performance generally than the 120GB version. How much of this difference is only seen in benchmarks versus real life use I can't say. I don't know how the 480GB version of the OCZ Vertex 3 compares to the others performance-wise except for a couple/few manufacturer numbers. I'm waiting a bit before I purchase another SSD. I would like to see more benchmarks of the OCZ Vertex 3 480GB SSD.

    Here's a review of the OCZ Vertex 3 120GB on AnandTech that I think is worth reading.
  15. mattonthemoon macrumors regular


    Feb 25, 2007
    Toronto, ON
    i was thinking of purchasing a 2nd Vertex 3 MAX IOPS drive for my MacBook Pro 2011 i7.

    I currently have a single 120GB Vertex 3 MAX IOPS drive, and the stock 500GB 5400rpm drive where the optical drive used to be with an OWC Drive doubler.

    Anyone have experiences with Raid0 with these drives in particular?
  16. CountBrass macrumors regular

    Mar 17, 2009
    The biggest...

    The biggest problem you'll have will be getting the optical drive out.

    I intended to install a 1TB disk in place of the optical drive in my late-2011 17" MBP. Bought the drive. But when I opened it up I discovered that 2 out of the 3 screws securing the drive are covered by multi-conductor ribbon cables, quite tightly strapped as well, no play so you cannot ease them out of the way. One cable connects to the MB using a delicate connector and not easy to remove. The other has no obvious way to disconnect it.

    The third screw is tucked away and all too easy to lose into the depths of the MBP.

    And there are no guides on the web, not even on ifixit, for doing this task. (ifixit has a full teardown - with the optical drive only removed right at the end - but that's a bit OTT).

  17. mattonthemoon macrumors regular


    Feb 25, 2007
    Toronto, ON
  18. Benbikeman macrumors 6502a


    May 17, 2011
    London, England


    Each is a 1Tb 9.5mm drive, one in the main drive bay, the other replacing the optical drive using an Optibay adapter.
  19. ravenlynch macrumors newbie

    Jul 28, 2011
    Boise, ID
    I have been doing this for awhile now and have had the chance to try it out in two different 17" MacBook Pro machines. The first (Early 2011) had the optical drive removed and an OWC Data Doubler in its place. Both the SSDs were OWC 6G 120GB drives and it worked flawlessly. Performance was a dream (220MB/sec) transfer rates in the SATA3 position and about 140MB in the optical bay. The only problem was that one of the drives died within the first month so I ended up putting the HDD back in the data doubler.

    The latest machine, a Late 2011 17" MBP is not working out so well. I have had it too long to return it or swap it and am not sure if Apple Care will help me if I tell them that I'm not happy with the performance I'm getting from 3rd party SSDs. I'm assuming that the Data-Doubler would void the warranty so I would replace it with the original optical drive if I ever had system issues requiring warranty service... Back to my point: it appears that it's the luck of the draw whether or not a dual-SSD-drive config will provide expected performance. Part of it has to do with the design of the 17" MBP (SATA3/SATA2 optical) and an interference problem that was somewhat resolved with the EFI 2.2 patch. However, I have had some problems beside performance, such as the system freezing up or not booting when I have 2 SSDs in it. It works fine with 1 SSD and the original 7200 HDD in the optical bay, but not when I throw the Intel 320 in there.

    Note that I saved the Intel 320 series drive for last to talk about ;) they were plagued with bugs earlier this year but Intel has addressed them pretty aggressively. The one that I have came from a lot shipped 11/05/11 as in Nov not May. When installed in the main bay I am getting 275MB/sec transfer rates, which is better than the OWC.

    I just wish I could get more facts re: why I am having so many problems with 2 SSDs. I should have just kept the original MBP! Kinda reminds me of that annoying saying "if it ain't broken, don't fix it!" ;)
  20. mattonthemoon macrumors regular


    Feb 25, 2007
    Toronto, ON


    Basically it comes down to the 15" and 17" 2011 MacBook Pro's have issues with SATA3 drives in the optical bay, even though both ports are SATA3 capable. (6 Series chipset).

    I learned this the hard way after buying a SATA3 drive for my optical bay. I ended up having to put in a SATA2 SSD in that bay, which works fine.

    My Hard drive bay has a SATA3 SSD in it currently.

    Funny enough, the 13" MBP's do not have this issue and are able to utilize SATA3 in both ports, which makes me angry, and optimistic Apple may rectify with an EFI update, but i'm not holding my breath, i was quite disappointed.
  21. Artagra macrumors member

    Sep 6, 2007
    I've got a dual SSD setup in a MBP 13" (2011, Intel 320 in the main and Intel X25M in the secondary), works perfectly.

    Seeing as you have a reliable, large and relatively quick SSD that supports TRIM in your main bay, I would leave that as is. I would then get a SATA II drive for your secondary bay that is known to be compatible with the MBPs - either the Intel 320, or the Samsung 470.

    A lot of people have had issues with SATA III SSDs in the secondary bay, so I would stick with the SATA II drive. And let's be honest - the performance will still be great.

    Will be a great setup, enjoy it!
  22. bdodds1985 macrumors 6502a


    Jul 18, 2011
    well i have a 15" 2.2 quad i7 with a 120gb apple ssd. and today i just bought the OWC data doubler, 8GB ram, and another 120GB intel ssd to take place of the optical bay. wish me luck ill post when i get it finished. i know you asked about dual ssd's for your 17" MBP, but i thought i could share my upgrade for my 15.
  23. ivoduran macrumors newbie

    Feb 19, 2012
  24. xxcysxx macrumors 6502

    Oct 12, 2011
    the only real benefit i would see in having two ssd at a time would be for a raid 0 setup, which the macbook pro fall short of. i mean this is why we all choose ssd for right? speed! sure you can set up software raid on lion to run raid 0, but its like a mix bag setup, plus its software raid, unlike hardware raid where it handle data stripping natively, off taxing the cpu. also the sata interface for the optical bay is throttled down to half of that of the main hard drive bay. so you would be having one drive running at full throttle while the other running at half throttle. pretty clunky setup, and when you want to run bootcamp to install win7, it wouldn't work with the raid because lion created the array.
    if the macbook pro would only have a real built in raid controller, it will be so much better. otherwise its just a waste of money since you can't take advantage of the two drive simultaneously at full bandwidth.
  25. bdodds1985 macrumors 6502a


    Jul 18, 2011
    Yes it did, and I forgot about this post! :D

    I don't know what the guy above me is talking about, but my dual ssd set up is tits. I look at it like this. A regular HDD in a mac (for battery life) should be put to sleep when not in use, and have sudden motion sensors enables (both defaults on lion). you cannot enable either of those in the optical bay. While a 120 gb ssd lacks space, it makes up for it in speed (still faster than a "clunky" hdd drive) even if sata II is "half" the speed of the sata III ssd in the normal HD slot. which it is not.

    So, you run your lion and bootcamp partition on one ssd, and use the other for storage. while the only benefit to using raid is transfer speeds and data back up. something you do not need inside a macbook at all. externally, sure.

    I do not use windows at all, I find no use for it because I have Office which is enough for me, as well as photoshop and I do not play games.

    for the OP, if you have a 256GB ssd and want ANOTHER ssd, you have more than enough room for a bootcamp partition on your hdd slot ssd. data transfer from one ssd to the other (regardless of sata II or III) is still going to be faster than using a normal hdd.

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