Ridiculous idea? (swapping macbooks)

Discussion in 'MacBook' started by ETID, Mar 26, 2008.

  1. ETID macrumors regular

    Jan 6, 2008
    Hey me and my bro are thinking about swapping macbooks over just because of individual needs. They are both core 2 duo 2.0ghz combos but one is pre SR and the other is Santa-Rosa. All I'm wondering is:

    Is it possible to merely swap over the hard drives or will this be a very bad idea, I'm guessing the latter but worth a shot.

    One macbook has a 250gb drive the other a 80gb and we still have a spare 80gb drive. We don't want to lose any data and I want to keep my 250gb drive. Can anyone think of a relatively quick way of swapping the HDDs over between the two macbooks.

    If anyone gets what I'm roughly on about?
  2. CanadianDonkey macrumors member

    Feb 15, 2008
    I really don't see why simply swapping the drives won't work... but then again, I'm no expert...
  3. ETID thread starter macrumors regular

    Jan 6, 2008
    I'm not sure really. On the one hand they are quite similar machines and most things of value to the mac will be on the hard drive. But on the other hand I'm guessing things like the machines MAC address and ID no. would be wrong and there may be things on the hard drive that may use these.

    I'm not an expert as you can probably tell.


    All I've come up with so far is to put evrything that i can on the spare 80gb and then reinstall on both machines wiping the hdd contents but this seems like a long way round.
  4. filthandfury macrumors member

    Mar 18, 2008
    I've done similar swaps on g3/g4 towers before; I think it worked from what I remember. I say give it a shot;worse that can happen is you would have to put them back in originals and back up manually.:cool:
  5. za9ra22 macrumors 6502a

    Sep 25, 2003

    The MAC address is encoded into the network adapters and the system's ID is encoded into the logic board - thus neither will be affected by swapping the drives. The only issue with a straight swap would be whether there are any hardware device drivers NOT common to both systems, causing resources to fail, or not function correctly.
  6. pattman247 macrumors regular

    Nov 13, 2007
    that is a good question, but only depends on what operating system you are using. as you may obviously know, the macbook with the santa rosa platform came standard with osx leopard. this means that if your other macbook runs tiger it will not run, because there is no way to downgrade to an older mac system. the santa rosa only supports leopard. which means if you would like to switch harddrives, upgrade to leopard first, then you may switch.
  7. ETID thread starter macrumors regular

    Jan 6, 2008
    Both systems are now running leopard but one of them was originally a tiger machine.

    I think it might work except for perhaps the different graphics systems between the two models, i.e gma 950 and x3100.

    I really want to try it but I'm unaware of the real dangers of this, I mean could I break my mac doing this?
  8. za9ra22 macrumors 6502a

    Sep 25, 2003
    No. Swap the drives over and see if both systems work correctly. At worst, one or other will fail to boot or won't appear to function correctly due to potentially even minor hardware differences. If that were to be the case, you then have the choice of either swapping the drives back, or performing an archive and install on each, using the correct install disk for each MB.
  9. logana macrumors 65816


    Feb 4, 2006
    Swap the disks over - will only take 5 mins.

    The only problem would be as some other posters have pointed out is that the SR machine will not run any variation of Tiger - Leopard only but that does not seem to be the issue here.

    They should both work fine - failing that clone the hard drives with SuperDuper to an external and then restore to the wrong machines (if you know what I mean !)
  10. myuserid08 macrumors 6502

    Mar 15, 2008
    Its only windows machines that are effected when you swap drives, they dont seem to like the different hardware setups.
    Mac/Linux machines are fine, I've got several linux (CentOS) servers in the office, I swap the drives all the time without any issues. Tiger/Leopard is a similar OS and should not be effected even if your hardware differs slightly.
  11. ETID thread starter macrumors regular

    Jan 6, 2008
    Thanks for all the help, I'm looking forward to doing this now:)
    Will probably wait for a slow day though just in case problems arise.

  12. SFStateStudent macrumors 604


    Aug 28, 2007
    San Francisco California, USA
    Definitely keep us posted...

    interesting thread. :cool:
  13. shoulin333 macrumors 6502a

    Jun 26, 2007
    just curious, the video card is almost no better than the gma950

    ... so what is the reason to switch?
  14. Jpoon macrumors 6502a


    Feb 26, 2008
    Los Angeles California
    haha, interesting thoughts.

    I bet there's like a fat scratch on the casing on yours, so you want his for the prettiness... hehe
  15. ETID thread starter macrumors regular

    Jan 6, 2008
    basically when I bought my macbook I didn't really think about all of the apps I would be using it for now. I was just going to use it for uni stuff and emails, itunes a bit of garageband etc. Now though I find myself using logic pro, photoshop, matlab and games all of the time and especially in logic things get a little slow.*My brother however does just use his for email etc and doesn't really care whether its a mac hes got or any other laptop.

    So I'm in the thought that since his can go up to 4gb instead of 3 and has a marginally better graphics unit its worth a shot. Plus like many people on this site I just want to see if the idea will work.
  16. krye macrumors 68000


    Aug 21, 2007
    For that, I'd eBay the thing and upgrade to a MacBook Pro.
  17. OZMP macrumors 6502

    Feb 18, 2008
    you should be able to swap drives then do a fresh install but keeping old user data... that is what i would attempt.
  18. ETID thread starter macrumors regular

    Jan 6, 2008
    I would get a macbook pro if I could but the wallet says no. Plus I do love the macbook and personally I think its a little underrated. Even with the standard 1gb of ram it still manages to do quite a lot of things on logic and mainstage with very few slow downs, its just I'm getting more ambitious with things now.

    Regarding the clean install without wiping the user data. How?
  19. MacDaddy08 macrumors regular


    Feb 13, 2008
    swapping the drives if both are running Leopard will cause no problems and will be like booting up your computer normally. It only takes a couple minutes. I really don't see a reason you would swap though.
  20. ETID thread starter macrumors regular

    Jan 6, 2008
    I was under the impression the SR macbooks out perform their predecessors with the extra ram capability and slightly better graphics but maybe I'm expecting too much of a difference for the effort.

    any thoughts
  21. heatmiser macrumors 68020

    Dec 6, 2007
    You won't notice any kind of difference unless you were constantly pushing both cores to 100% in your previous MB. In fact, there's a slight chance graphics/gaming performance might be worse, due to the crappy x3100 drivers used in Leopard.
  22. ETID thread starter macrumors regular

    Jan 6, 2008
    hmmm. When I'm using logic and some others the cpu and ram are both at 100% but I guess this won't change that much between the two machines (except for when i upgrade the ram). I was unaware of driver issues. Maybe I'll just keep mine for now then:)
    I'm sure there would only be a slight difference between 3.2 and 4gb of ram anyway.
  23. NC MacGuy macrumors 603

    NC MacGuy

    Feb 9, 2005
    The good side of the grass.
    I've done this a few times and it worked just fine. It may take a while for bootup first time around to initialize and recognize hardware. You should run a sftwre update right after to get any system specific updates.
  24. logana macrumors 65816


    Feb 4, 2006
    Well.....any news ?

    I have just tried booting a newish MacBook (3,1 x3100 SR ?) from an external USB from a 1.83 Core Duo (2006 1,1 machine) and it works fine...

    That was the one I was not convinced would work.
  25. ETID thread starter macrumors regular

    Jan 6, 2008
    I should be trying it tomorrow so I will post any developments then. If anyone has any tips etc I welcome thee, though I have done HDD replacement on a macbook before just not like this.

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