SSD and HDD in 2010 MacBook Pro 17?

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by Daze & Confuse, May 10, 2015.

  1. Daze & Confuse macrumors member

    Jul 22, 2011

    I have a MacBook Pro 17 that I love for the screen (17 inch, obviously, but anti-glare too). It's just perfect for photo editing. The only trouble is that I keep totally swamping the 750GB HDD with RAW files.

    So I was thinking of removing the DVD drive, and putting in a 256GB SSD, and replacing the HDD with a 2TB one for storage.

    The OS, applications, and photo editing cache will go on the SSD; files on the HDD.

    I was thinking of a 256GB Samsung 850, but not sure if the EVO or PRO is the one to go for. I'd like the fastest, most reliable option, but only if my machine can actually use that extra speed. I'm not going to spend 30% extra for a PRO if it'll perform the same as an EVO in my case.

    The only 2TB 2.5 inch drive that I can find that fits is a Samsung M9T. It's only 9.5mm thick - the others all seem to be 15mm. It's 5200RPM, so should stay cool and quiet enough, and the comparative lack of performance shouldn't be that much of a problem, because once a photo I'm editing is loaded up, the SSD is going to do all the heavy lifting.

    I will stick to Mavericks, as I can then use the Trim Enabler app. (Doesn't work in Yosemite, and I believe it's worth it for the extra performance.) I only need Mail, Safari, Lightroom 6, Pixelmator and a few other bits and bobs, so Yosemite doesn't strike me as necessary.

    The battery is also rather old at this point, so I'll probably take the opportunity to swap it over at the same time. Where can I get one in the UK without waiting a week and paying the extra to have a 'genius' do it for me?

    (As an aside, I don't think that I really need to upgrade to the last of the 17" models (late 2011), as the spec I have is decent - 2.8GHZ, 8GB RAM. The HDD is clearly the bottleneck in my setup. I use PC express cards for USB 3 and SD card reading, so the lack of Thunderbolt and USB3 ports isn't really an issue either. Plus the 2011 models only have 750GB HDD anyway, so I'd still be looking to upgrade. Shout if you disagree.)

    Does that sound sensible? I'm still not 100% on the whole Trim Enabler thing, but I'd prefer to play it safe than be running the very latest OS features I won't use (I don't have an iPhone or iPad), which I think my choice gives me.

    Any suggestions or tips before I drop £200 on this would be greatly appreciated.

    Many thanks!
  2. alex.m90 macrumors member

    Nov 14, 2008
    Leicestershire UK / San Francisco USA
    Don't know how confident you are messing with system settings/terminal but I found this.

    I know its extreme, but the retina macbook pro is second to none when it comes to photo editing. Apple don't look likely to release another 17" model any time soon so you will have to bite the bullet eventually!
  3. theluggage macrumors 68040

    Jul 29, 2011
    You need to look up the full specs on your MacBook Pro and see if it supports SATA III (6 GBps). The 2011 MBPs do,but a 2010 or earlier MBP may only support SATA II (3Gbps).

    If so, its probably not worth paying top dollar for a "Pro" SSD. However, its still worth having a SSD - it will still be a lot faster than spinning rust, and much of the speed improvement in general use comes not from peak transfer speed, but the reduced seek times when accessing lots of files.

    If it does support SATA III the other thing to look out for is that not all Macs support SATA III in the DVD bay, and even when they do, some people have had problems (google a bit), so it might be safer to put the hard drive in the DVD bay and the SSD in place of the original drive.

    I updated my 2011 Mac a couple of years back, replacing the original 750G HD with a 256GB Samsung 840 Pro, and moving the old drive to the DVD bay. That worked fine - the Samsung is running at 6Gbps. The old drive is only 3Gbps anyway, so its not really testing the DVD port.
  4. quyifeioe macrumors newbie

    May 11, 2015
    the Samsung is running at 6Gbps. The old drive is only 3Gbps anyway, so its not really testing the DVD port.[​IMG]
  5. davegoody macrumors 6502


    Apr 9, 2003
    Reading, Berkshire, England
    WELL worthwhile

    I would totally do this. I have one of the LAST 17" MBP, 16GB RAM, 750GB HDD. I removed the Optical drive, and put the HDD in an adapter into this, and put the SSD (250GB in my case) into the now vacant HDD slot. Better this way round. I then created a 1TB Fusion drive and have not looked back. VERY fast (not noticeably slower than a full SSD most of the time), and so far at least very reliable.

    Note that the adapter for the optical drive should be an ultra-slimline model, as I made the mistake first time round and could not put the bottom case back on.... I really wish Apple would build a 17" Retina MBP, not going to happen as the 17" was, AFAIK around 10% of the total MBPs sold....
  6. Designer Dale macrumors 68040

    Designer Dale

    Mar 25, 2009
    Folding space
    I plan to do this with my 08 MBP 17. It currently has a 128 SSD and a 750 HDD in the optical bay. I linked it myself and don't recommend it unless you really know what you are doing. When I replace the now full SSD with a 240 I'm going to follow this link:Creating a Fusion Drive lists the OPs system as having a 3 Gb/s HDD bus. I think this is SATA2.

    NOTE: When ordering an optical bay drive adapter for a setup like this, make real sure it has the right connector. My 08 had a PATA port over there and I bought a sled with a SATA port. More stuff in my junk box.

  7. Daze & Confuse thread starter macrumors member

    Jul 22, 2011
    Many thanks.

    Can I ask why it's better that way around? It struck me as more obvious to put there spinning disk where a spinning disk was designed to go, and the SSD where there wasn't provision for a disk spinning 100% of the time.

    And why did you choose to set it up as a Fusion drive? I assume you gain a bit of speed compared to the HDD, but lose some compared to the SSD. Is the data striped across both disks? If so wouldn't 1 disk failure break the data across both drives - essentially doubling the chance of failure?

    Thanks again.
  8. Dimwhit macrumors 68000


    Apr 10, 2007
    I don't know much about Trim, but for what it's worth, a few years back I put a Crucial SSD in my 2010 17" MacBook Pro, it's currently running Yosemite, and it's really, really fast (the 16GB RAM helps). I didn't do anything about enabling Trim, so either it's not important or the Crucial drives support it.
  9. NY Guitarist macrumors 65816

    NY Guitarist

    Mar 21, 2011
    I'm looking at something like this setup too, but in a 2008 15" MBP.

    There's a good chance I have no clue what I'm talking about, but I thought that by mounting the HDD where the DVD was you lose the SMART status and ability to use the motion sensors that protect the HDD from excessive G-forces?
  10. California macrumors 68040


    Aug 21, 2004
    You have 16gbs of ram in a 2010 MacBook Pro 17"? I heard that was impossible?
  11. Dimwhit macrumors 68000


    Apr 10, 2007
    Crap, you're right. I have the early 2011. My bad.
  12. theluggage macrumors 68040

    Jul 29, 2011
    Useful article here:

    TLDNR: Crucial drives have "active garbage collection" which partially compensates for lack of TRIM but works much better if you have TRIM as well. Garbage collection needs idle time - if you don't have TRIM, and the SSD is a system disc so is never really idle, periodically start up your Mac while holding down option and leave it sitting at the 'select startup disc' prompt so the garbage collection has time to do its thing.

    'Overprovisioning' may also help - when you format the drive make the partition about 10% smaller than the extra drive space. Makes sure that the drive always has some spare blocks to do garbage collection and wear levelling.

    Yes, but the optical bay was only designed and tested to take a slow old DVD drive, not a superfast SSD. Some MacBook Pros only support the faster SATA III interface in the 'system' drive bay, not in the optical bay - and where they do it was never official and can be a bit of a lottery (some people have had glitches, I think OWC offer replacement cables that might help). Your typical 2.5" hard drive won't notice the difference between II and III (and the 750GB drives in MBPs were only SATA II anyway), but a fast SSD might benefit from III. In your case, it sounds like you don't have SATA III at all, so this may be irrelevant.

    My HDD is in the optical bay, and its reporting 'SMART status: Verified' so I guess that's OK. AFAIK you do lose the 'sudden motion sensor' - that's the downside - although some new HDs might have their own equivalent built in, and millions of non-Apple laptops survive without SMS.

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