Optical drive for SSD on 17" MBP

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by dastinger, Dec 1, 2015.

  1. dastinger macrumors 6502a


    Mar 18, 2012
    Hey guys,

    A friend of mine is looking to replace his faulty optical drive for a 250GB SSD and asked for my help. I tried searching a bit but it has been a bit confusing and I want to make sure I help properly.

    He wants to keep the actual HDD and replace the optical drive for an SSD. Some questions:

    - Am I able to buy any SSD or will I need some kind of special drive or adapter?
    - Which drive/adapter?
    - The SSD goes in the optical drive spot or in the actual HDD spot and the HDD goes where the optical drive was?

    He's looking to spend the lowest amount of money in this btw.

    It's a 2010 17" MBP.

    Thanks a lot

    PS: I'm in Europe btw (in case you want to check for prices and/or provide links)
  2. fleabite macrumors member


    Jul 27, 2010
    I find OWC very helpful for this kind of thing:

  3. dastinger thread starter macrumors 6502a


    Mar 18, 2012
    Sorry for the late reply. Thank you for the link. It's a shame that it ships from the US, customs would ask for a lot more :( Any idea of where I can get such stuff in Europe?
  4. treekram, Dec 27, 2015
    Last edited: Dec 27, 2015

    treekram macrumors 68000

    Nov 9, 2015
    Honolulu HI
    I just installed two SSD's in my 2012 MBP non-Retina and have been involved with some of the recent threads dealing with this issue.

    The 2010 MBP is SATA-2 (SATA-II, SATA 3.0Gb/sec.). Newer models, if they have a SATA interface, are SATA-3. SATA-2 has a maximum of 300 MB/sec. If you can get mid-200's, that's pretty good. Still quite a bit faster than an HDD. The issue of SATA-2 vs. SATA-3 is important.

    The OWC Data Doubler is available on Amazon UK and I presume other Amazon sites. I would use the idiom "built like a tank". I bought it - it's made out of metal and is very sturdy. I also see it's not cheap. You do not need the Data Doubler, similar brackets come up when you do the search on Amazon UK. Some people report that the cheaper brackets don't fit well. Also, there is a connector on the Data Doubler and some people have reported problems when they use cheaper brackets. I think the main problem is that they get SATA-2 speeds when their computer supports SATA-3. This may be less of an issue because you don't need SATA-3. If you don't get the Data Doubler, do some research to make sure people aren't having these issues. Maybe somebody here has a suggestion of a cheaper bracket.

    The bracket is all that you would need to fit an SSD. For the 2010 MBP, I don't think it would make a difference where the SSD goes. (Of course you need tools - a Phillips #00 screwdriver; a spudger and a tweezer for the screws would be helpful.)

    People have reported issues with the NVidia MCP79 SATA chips in this MBP and certain SSD's. To find out if the computer has this chip, press the Apple Logo in the left top corner, press "About This Mac", press "System Report", select "SATA" from the left dock under the Hardware heading. The name of the SATA chip should appear in the top middle portion of the window. If the MBP has the NVidia chip, you'll have to select an SSD that does not have problems with this chip. This involves some research on the web. There was a thread recently about a person who got a OCZ Trion for Christmas - unfortunately, it's one of the drives that don't work well with the NVidia chip.

    In selecting an SSD, you can use a SATA-2 SSD, which should be cheaper than a SATA-3 SSD. However, I don't know if SATA-2 SSD's are commonly sold any more. Most SATA-3 SSD's claim compatibiity with SATA-2 but you're going to have to do research to see if people are actually using the SSD and getting SATA-2 speeds in the 2010 17" MBP (I think if it works in the 13" or 15", you're OK as well). Getting SATA-1 speed (half of SATA-2) in the MBP is a common problem with some SSD's.

    The OWC videos are good - some other repair sites say that you need to disconnect these very small wire connectors in doing the SSD replacement and some people have broken them in doing so. The only cables you should have to disconnect from the logic board are the ribbon cables and the battery cable (optional, probably safer if you do disconnect it).

    EDIT: Taking a quick look at the Amazon UK site, I don't see drives noticeably cheaper than the big name drives - Samsung, Crucial and SanDisk.
  5. Erdbeertorte Suspended

    May 20, 2015
    Just look out on Amazon for things like those in my links. I posted screenshots too, because I don't know in what country you live and the redirection sometimes does not work:




    The first one for just 12.89€ looks like it seems to be what's in my 17" MBP Late 2011 and I never had any problem with it, the SSD is running at the same speed like the second one where the HDD had been in before:

    Bildschirmfoto 2015-12-28 um 05.21.40.png

    Bildschirmfoto 2015-12-28 um 05.23.34.png

    Bildschirmfoto 2015-12-28 um 05.24.19.png
  6. Erdbeertorte, Dec 27, 2015
    Last edited: Dec 28, 2015

    Erdbeertorte Suspended

    May 20, 2015

    Heard about that too, but at least the standard SATA port where the HDD now is connected to should work fine with current SATA-III SSDs. I tried a Samsung EVO 850 in a Mid-2010 MacBook, a Late 2009 MBP and a 2008 MBP.
    In all of them they got full SATA-II speed. So if the problem really occurs you could just change the drives and put the HDD in the optical drive bay.

    Maybe I can also test it in a Late 2009. I have one here, but I am not sure if it is still alive. :oops:

    You will now see in the System Profiler that the optical drive is slowed down from 3 to 1.5Gigabits, but that's just the limitation of that drive, what might hopefully change like on my Late 2011. I can see no difference between both drives anymore:

    Bildschirmfoto 2015-12-28 um 05.51.02.png
    Bildschirmfoto 2015-12-28 um 05.51.12.png

    Edit: I meant that I can see NO differences not NOW. ;) Have corrected it.
  7. dastinger thread starter macrumors 6502a


    Mar 18, 2012
    @treekram @Erdbeertorte

    Thank you both so much for the detailed explanation along with links and screenshots. You're awesome. I'm going to do some research based on the info you provided and make a decision.

    Again, thank you!

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