My RAID 0 setup, MBP Mid-2009

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by rebby, Aug 31, 2010.

  1. rebby macrumors 6502

    Nov 19, 2008
    It took me a lot of time to research all of this so I thought that I'd spell out exactly what parts I used for my RAID 0 setup in a single post.

    First of all, my Mac is a mid-2009 17" Macbook Pro. It came stock with a 5200 RPM 500GB drive that I had quickly filled due to a few virtual machines and a pretty extensive Aperture library. Wanting more disk space AND 7200 RPM made getting a larger drive more of a waiting game than a reality. Additionally I wanted a cost effective solution. Thus, I decided to get 2 500GB drives and building a striped array. After all, I seldom use my SuperDrive, I can live with an external solution.

    I ended up playing it safe and stuck with 9.5mm drives. I'd heard that the 12.5mm drives do fit but I didn't want to order parts only to exchange them later. Besides, I could get exactly what I wanted in a 9.5mm drive anyway. The hard drives that I ended up going with were "Seagate Momentus 7200.4 ST9500420AS 500GB 7200 RPM 16MB Cache 2.5" SATA 3.0Gb/s Internal Notebook Hard Drive -Bare Drive." I paid $59.99 for each drive with free shipping.

    Next, I needed to find a drive caddy to replace the SuperDrive. I wanted something that would hold the drive in a secure manner and utilize the stock mounts if possible. During an extensive Ebay search I found exactly what I was looking for. It uses the stock MBP mounts and holds the drive in a very secure manner. It's typical China quality, as expected, but I can deal with lightweight plastic for a part such as this. After the initial install, I won't handle it much later anyway (other than future upgrades of course). You can't really tell by the seller's images but the drive bay fits exactly where the SuperDrive went and uses all of the same mounts that the SuperDrive did. Furthermore, it provides a mounting location for all of the stock hardware/wires that used to connect to the SuperDrive as well. Shipping was fast (about 9 days), the transaction was painless and it was pretty inexpensive ($19.99 + $5.99 shipping). I was pleasantly surprised since I'm pretty tentative when dealing with an overseas seller.

    To replace my SuperDrive, I ended up getting a "Samsung USB 2.0 8x DVD Writer External Optical Drive for Mac and PC SE-S084C/RSBN." At only $46 shipped, I liked this much better than a cobbled together external case for my stock SuperDrive. Drive has worked very well. One gotcha though is playing DVD's via the DVD Player app. Although you can download other apps to do this, there is a pretty simple work around to "fix" this.

    Once I got the hardware installed, I used an external SATA -> USB adapter that I had laying around the house with my old hard drive and booted off of it (hold "Option" during power on, choose your old drive and boot). I then initialized the drives and built my RAID 0 via Disk Utility. I then used SuperDuper to copy my old drive to my new RAID. This took about 4.5 hours to complete and my computer, while slow via USB, was fully usable during this period (although, I'd suggest just letting it be and waiting out the disk copy). After the copy was complete, my new RAID volume was made bootable and selected as the boot device. My Macbook then rebooted.

    Upon reboot I was greeted with the dreaded "Circle-Slash." Grr... No problem, reboot via my old, USB connected, hard drive. Once booted, I launched System Preferences and selected the RAID volume as the boot device and rebooted. This worked as desired (initially my Mac was trying to boot from one drive or the other instead of the software RAID volume, by doing it this way, my MBP now saw, and booted from, the RAID volume as desired).

    After fixing the boot "issue" I was greeted with a faster than usual system boot. Launching applications and performing disk intensive operations have been much more bearable. No longer do I sit and wait for Aperture to draw and redraw my 18 MP RAW images (.CR2's from my Canon 7d). Disk intensive operations on multi-Gig PhotoShop files have been much faster as well. I don't have any benchmarks but I was looking for real world performance, not hard numbers.

    With the pair of 7200 RPM drives I have noticed a little more vibration in my case and just a touch more drive noise. Both of these are very minor and likely wouldn't have been noticeable had I not been looking for them. I haven't noticed an impact on battery life although I'm sure that there is some additional measurable drain. If you constantly push your battery to the limit, this may not be the best option for you. Heat has been a non issue as well. With a final cost under $200 this upgrade was well worth the effort.

    Anyway, that's a quick (well maybe not so quick) overview on my RAID 0 configuration. Next project; 8GB RAM upgrade (I really should have done this when I had the case open, oh well)... I hope that this "guide" proves useful to others that are attempting the same upgrade. Please let me know if you have any questions.
  2. ridnhard19 macrumors member

    Aug 24, 2009
    Great post. I was looking at an Optibay as well but the price is stupid for what it is. What i like about what you found was a ebay caddy that mounts well in the apple cases. The RAID solution you've got going is HOT as well.

    Nice post.
  3. HighTopFade macrumors regular


    Jul 7, 2010
    Daly City
    Nice post. I gotta try this if I run into some cash.
  4. ridnhard19 macrumors member

    Aug 24, 2009
    Well, just ordered my caddy from the seller the OP bought from. Hopefully my experience will be as good. I'm planning on purchasing a i7 MBP mid oct to mid nov. Hoping apple will do there small speed bump before the holidays.
  5. WardC macrumors 68030


    Oct 17, 2007
    Fort Worth, TX
    My question is -- would your dual 7200rpm RAID 0 array or a single SSD drive be faster?
  6. rebby, Sep 25, 2010
    Last edited: Feb 28, 2011

    rebby thread starter macrumors 6502

    Nov 19, 2008
    No idea. I/O "feels" faster on my Mac than my Dell (which has an SSD). To many variables there though to say one way or another.

    I needed far more disk space than I could get with a single SSD anyway.

    ETA: SSD is faster. Can't offer near the disk space for the price however. ;)
  7. kolax macrumors G3

    Mar 20, 2007
    I have upgraded previous Macs to 7200RPM disks, and didn't notice a huge difference in vibration, but I can imagine having two 7200RPM disks might be a bit more noticeable. I'm thinking of situations where I'm in a silent library.

    Or is it barely noticeable at all?

    Also, for the Optibay enclosure, I was looking at these guys but they charge $90 as opposed to $30 in the eBay listing.

    How easy was it to install the optibay? I'm fairly confident with a screw driver, but it isn't the swapping I'm worried about, it is leaving any traces that I've tinkered that may void my AppleCare.
  8. rebby thread starter macrumors 6502

    Nov 19, 2008
    People who are unaware of the upgrade that I've performed have no idea at all. It's really not noticeable. Vibration of the disks is pretty minor. I've always run with 7200RPM disks anyway and I haven't noticed any difference. I suppose if you got some loud disks though, the noise might be noticeable. I've been running the Seagate drives that I linked to above with no issues.

    I wouldn't buy the MCE myself. If I were to do it over again, I'd get another one just like the one that I have. It does the job just fine and as plenty durable for the job it's doing. I've had no problems at all. My drive links up at 3Gbps as it should, I have no issues with data transfers and the drive is held in a secure manner. That's all that I can ask out of an enclosure and the Chi-Com enclosure has delivered.

    It's easy as long as you have the right tools and have some basic knowledge/experience working inside of electronics. If you're careful, take your time and use the correct tool, you're going to be just fine. Some of the screws are tiny however. I suggest lightly magnetizing your screwdriver before you start (and as you work if needed) to minimize loss of screws. On my C2D, I did need to remove one tiny little torx screw to gain access to one of the 3 ODD screws. Just something to be aware of before getting started.

    I cannot stress having the correct tools enough. Make sure that your screwdriver is the correct size for the screws and you shouldn't have any issue with marring things up. When you put things back together be sure to keep in mind that you're running steel screws into aluminum. Do not over torque. Better to leave something a touch light that needs to be tightened the next day than to strip something out.
  9. phassat macrumors member

    Dec 19, 2010
    Booo... Seagate in RAID-0 and it's not momentus XT? It will be slow.... What's the X-Bench score?

    Check WD Scorpio Black RAID-0... the score in X-Bench is more than 145...

    My old drive 5400 RPM in Raid-0 is 75.....
  10. kolax macrumors G3

    Mar 20, 2007
    Sorry for not responding for your detailed reply, thanks! I'm aiming to do this in the summer, so I'll probably come back with more questions then ;)
  11. couto27, Sep 15, 2011
    Last edited: Sep 16, 2011

    couto27 macrumors 6502

    Nov 10, 2008
    hi all
    I'm trying to use 2 x ocz vertex 120gb in mbp mid 2009 .
    i want to do with a fresh install of snow leo and later upgrade to lion.

    i have a time machine backup where my files are safe for now.

    its my first time doing raid 0, and this have being a bag of hurt.:(
    1-didnt use a super duper or ccc to clone my hard drive at the beginning
    2-create a raid 0 in disk utility take ages.
    3-install osx with external dvd was taking 2 hours + and gave up,

    4-remove second ssd, re-insert superdrive, fresh install of snow leo in first ssd and ccc clone.
    5-put 2 ssd back again and boot from clone .
    6- in clone mode, disk utility is not possible stripping raid 0 (beach ball):mad:
    6-use external dvd drive with osx dvd, to access disk utility and create raid 0 (this time was fast)

    7- boot from clone to copy the hd ( its only 8gb )
    8- it says now:

    data copied :131,58mb
    time elapsed 28 minutes

    is this normal or i have a defected ssd? they both work fine working as ssd,
    one ssd says 120gb available
    second ssd says 115gb available

    this is normal ?

    update : i google it for a few hours and looks like I'm not the luckiest guy .

    theres 2 models and no way you can tell unless you test them.

    1- the ocz vertex 120gb free space 120gb (34mm+fast+cycles+expensive to build)
    2- the ocz vertex 120gb free space 115gb (25mm+slower+less cycles+less expensive to build)

    they are incompatible in raid-0 array

    i need to return one of them.
  12. Prodo123 macrumors 68020


    Nov 18, 2010
    Great, detailed post.
    However, personally I would never set up a portable RAID 0 solution unless it is done with SSDs.
    Now, setting up a dual 128GB SATA-III SSD RAID 0 rig would be amazing :D Imagine the speed you would get with this setup!
  13. rebby thread starter macrumors 6502

    Nov 19, 2008
    At the time that I did this SSD RAID was cost prohibitive. Once 512GB SSD is a bit more affordable, I'll likely do a RAID 0 with that in at least one of my MBP's.
  14. kolax macrumors G3

    Mar 20, 2007
    I'm still considering doing this.

    2 x 1TB 5400RPM hard drives in RAID0.

    How significant a performance boost will there be with that? I'm going for max storage too (want all my movies and tv shows on my laptop) as opposed to maximum performance, but I don't want to be disappointed with the performance either!

    I'm currently on a 5400RPM hard drive, and I'm struggling to accept sluggishness.
  15. BiggAW macrumors 68030

    Jun 19, 2010
    I have to say, that is bad@$$ and I went "WTF?" at the same time! Make sure you back that sucker up, Backblaze would probably be a VERY good idea, considering not only the fragility of a RAID 0 array, but that added with the higher rate of drive failures in a laptop, but due to handling and heat.

    Anyways, I totally agree about the lack of need for a DVD-RW drive (apparently Jobs does too now), I have an Optibay with a 160GB SSD (OS, apps, VMs), and a hard drive in the hard drive bay as a separate volume (iTunes, documents, pictures, internet download, etc). One thing I should mention about the Optibay, is that it included the bay, as well as a very cheap enclosure for the Superdrive that comes out of the machine, so for $100 you get both sides of the equation handled. The enclosure is horrible, and as no front at all, but considering I've used it once since June, its more than enough.

    8GB of ram is excessive, but given the price you should definitely do it. I did. :D

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