NewmodeUS Optibay alternative

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by r00fus, Aug 6, 2010.

  1. r00fus macrumors regular

    May 23, 2009
    I just bought a relatively cheap OCZ Vertex 2 EX 60GB SSD (ie, Sandforce, so native, built-in GC/TRIM), and am planning to convert my 2010 Macbook Pro 13" from a current:

    500GB HD + Superdrive
    60GB SSD + 500GB HD

    I'm looking at the NewmodeUS 9.5" no-bezel model here:

    Called them and they confirmed many customers with 13" MacbookPros have ordered this one, but don't claim to have tested it.

    Gonna try this out because the Optibay is quite expensive (double price!).

    Any suggestions? I do plan to put the HD in the optical bay, despite the lack of dampers.

    I will need to get an external bay, but it's not important as the last time I had to touch optical media was sometime last year.
  2. Baral macrumors member

    Jun 26, 2010
    Two things:

    1. There are cheaper alternatives on eBay. If you're paying more than 20, you're paying too much.

    2. Just so you know, Sandforce controllers DO NOT have "built in TRIM." There is no drive that can do TRIM independent of the OS. So until Apple decides to implement TRIM into OSX, no SSD (without exception, absolutely none) will be able to carry out the TRIM command.
  3. Baral macrumors member

    Jun 26, 2010
  4. Eddyisgreat macrumors 601

    Oct 24, 2007
  5. Baral macrumors member

    Jun 26, 2010
    It works.

    Just because something is more expensive doesn't make it better. An HDD caddy merely has to be the right size and have the right connection (in this case, SATA). There is no reason you need to be paying so much for one. It's not like it can get any better.
  6. sn0warmy macrumors 6502a


    Mar 26, 2009
    Denver, CO
  7. farmermac macrumors 6502a

    Jul 23, 2009
    I ordered the same one from the same seller last weekend. Im glad to hear that it came to you in 7 days (gives me hope that mine will come as soon too!)
  8. Argon21 macrumors member

    Jun 25, 2010
    Алейск, RUSSIA
    I have the Optibay. Very nicely well made product and includes an external USB slim chassis that holds your slot-loading Superdrive for free. It also includes the tools and screwdrivers you need for installation, for free. Also includes a money-back guarantee, free telephone and email tech support, and a 3-year warranty. You don't get that from a Chinese ebay seller...
  9. farmermac macrumors 6502a

    Jul 23, 2009
    That's a valid point, there is definitely a market for those that don't have a set of tiny tools and would rather get a complete kit. But for the cheapskate crowd nothing beats $20 shipped. Probably has the same sata connector as the optibay
  10. Meever macrumors 6502a

    Jun 30, 2009
    I got that same one and it didn't fit. I had to cut off like half an inch off it. It took like an hour.

    For people that got it in without modifying it could you please post pictures?
    Btw, I did this on the 2010 MBP 13"
  11. r00fus thread starter macrumors regular

    May 23, 2009
    Although I could get it cheaper, I wanted to be able to speak with someone from the company and assure what I was purchasing was going to work. I could have gone with eBay, but I'd rather pay a few more $ and be able to return it if it didn't work. btw, it's working now, I'm going to post my results in a reply.

    Also Sandforce has native GC (garbage collection) as well as TRIM. TRIM is an OS API for GC, allowing the OS to schedule it. They both do the same thing, which is to clear up previously-used sectors. TRIM is not better than native GC, it's just everyone is asking for TRIM when they want GC... if you have more info, please do reply as there's too much noise and not enough signal regarding the state of TRIM/GC (esp regarding OSX or Sandforce).
  12. r00fus thread starter macrumors regular

    May 23, 2009
    Results after 3 days of usage

    I finally went and did it. I now have the following:

    2010 MBP 13" 2.4Ghz w 4GB RAM and
    500GB disk in standard HD location
    60GB Vertex2 SSD in a no-bezel newmodeus caddy (replacing the superdrive)

    Before starting, I backed up my whole system with SuperDuper (CCC is good too) onto my external backup drive.

    First off you'll need a multi-tip screwdriver like this:
    (got it at a local Fry's Electronics for a decent price.. this thing is invaluable for my mac, as it fits all the different screws. Only downside is that the metal isn't super-hard, you can strip a tip if you use the wrong size)

    I had originally wanted to move and mount the HD in the caddy, but every caddy I saw just seemed woefully inadequate to handle the vibration characteristics of a hard drive, while the existing HD mount looked quite nice for that purpose... I've got sensitive ears and I was an avid tinkerer and fan of before I got macbook fever and never looked back.

    So I finally decided that I would take my chances with SSD/caddy the SATA bus (there are known issues with some MBP models and the Superdrive SATA connector).

    Here's how I did it:

    1. Find nice big flat area (desk) and a pad of paper or foam to place your MBP on, to protect it's beautiful aluminum.
    2. Remove the backplate of the MBP
    3. Disconnected both sata wires to the motherboard (they look soldered, but they are removable)
    4. Unscrewed the black fan thing towards the back of the case (2 black screws), and loosened the tightly bound wires
    5. Unscrewed the Superdrive from it's mounting (smaller black screws)
    6. Carefully lifted the Superdrive from it's mounting, being extra careful with the delicate SATA wiring (take your time with this)
    7. Unscrew and take apart the caddy (3 small silver screws), insert the SSD, and reassemble.
    8. Carefully insert the caddy into the area where the superdrive existed
    9. Note: you won't be able to secure the NewModeUS caddy like the superdrive was, since it doesn't have the mounts... this was concerning, but I've come to live with the idea, since it doesn't have a lot of play.
    10. Screw the black fan thing back in (this secures the caddy a bit) and make sure the wires are stuffed back in.
    11. Plug the SATA back into the motherboard.
    12. Put the backplate on, power up the MBP and do all the benchmarking and testing you want on the SSD (see below)
    13. Once you're satisfied the firmware/SSD/SATA connector work, remount the backplate of the MBP.

    Configure the software (there are better guides for some steps of this all over the net).
    Note: This theoretically doesn't change anything on your old HD, so you can revert easily if things don't work out.
    I did this in step 10a so I wouldn't have to unscrew the backplate again if I wanted to change things around.

    1. Open Disk Utility format the drive and name the drive (I'll use "yourSSDname" here). GUID partition is default, and that's all thats necessary.
    2. Create a new user with administration rights using System Preferences > Accounts (I called it Migration User).
    3. Use CCC (or SuperDuper, I found CCC to be easier in this task) to make a bootable subset copy of your HDD to your SSD
    4. Select all directories but your user (ie, /Users/yourusername).. this *should* result in than 30GB copied, I came up with about 24GB (I've used xSlimmer and installed all sorts of macports, so YMMV)
    5. Start the operation, and go for lunch (should take about an hour)
    6. When done, reboot, and hit the option key to select the SSD to boot.
    7. Login as Migration User
    8. Open System Preferences > Accounts, and right (or control) click yourusername, and select Advanced Options
    9. Change your user directory from /Users/yourusername to /Volumes/oldharddiskname/Users/yourusername
    10. Logout, and login as yourusername
    11. Open System Preferences > Accounts, and delete Migration User
    12. Open Terminal and issue the the following command to get your shared directory back (this fixed problems I had with iTunes not syncing with my iPhone and with Starcraft2 not starting)
      • sudo rm /Volumes/yourSSDname/Users
      • sudo ln -s /Volumes/oldharddiskname/Users /Users
    13. This will remove your Users directory on your SSD, and replace it with a symbolic link to the REAL users directory on your old HD.
    14. Open System Preferences > Startup Disk and choose yourSSDname as the starup disk.
    15. Do the following to prep your system to be more efficient for SSD:
      • turn off sudden motion sensor - your HD will be at risk, but keeping it on will cause your SSD to stutter if you move your laptop
      • set noatime on your new boot drive "/" to prevent excessive writes to your SSD. Not sure why OSX uses atime at all ever.
      • install SmartSleep or set hibernate to off (I prefer SmartSleep at 10%)
    16. Benchmark! I used xBench, geekBench, and AJA system test.

    In the end I have a VERY fast system for common tasks (~240 SSD xBench vs. 46 HD xBench = 6x disk speed), and 500GB of disk for storage and bigger apps. I even had enough room left over on my SSD to move Starcraft2 onto it, and now it's much faster for those load times (was horribly long).

    Things I might have changed and random notes:
    • If optibay has the superdrive screw-holes, and maybe even vibration damping, I would have gladly pay more to get that, as I could have moved the HD to the caddy.
    • I'd love to hear if the $10/$20 ebay options are as good or better in terms of fit and performance... I'd pay that to test it out if other folks have success stories with better data rates.
    • Again, optibay has somewhere to mount the superdrive, which would be nice, as now I have a bare superdrive, and also was forced to download Starcraft2 even though I have the DVD as I have no optical drive support anymore.
    • Installing Starcraft on the SSD after download the massive 8GB installer binary to my HD took much longer than I thought and the system would sometimes lock up for 20 seconds or so... perhaps this is highlighting that SATA bus issue on MBPs? I haven't been able to reproduce lockups outside of that single case.
    I'll take pictures if I ever open up or reconfigure my device, or if there's enough feedback on this.
  13. AlphaDogg macrumors 68040


    May 20, 2010
    Boulder, CO
    wasnt there like a huge thread about this topic?
  14. Nago macrumors member


    Feb 25, 2010
    Madrid, Spain
  15. MacModMachine macrumors 68020


    Apr 3, 2009
  16. Tortri macrumors 6502a


    Aug 30, 2010
    How so? I just ordered one myself and would like to know what problems to look out for.
  17. Baral macrumors member

    Jun 26, 2010
    I too would like to know why you consider them garbage? I researched weeks upon weeks on this topic, and all I heard were good reviews about the cheap ebay caddys. I went ahead and bought one, and have had 0 problems whatsoever for the past 3 months.

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