Swapping out optical drive - questions.

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by charpi, Feb 24, 2010.

  1. charpi macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Sep 30, 2006
    #1
    Hi guys, as you can see, I have not been here for a very long time - ever since I was camping out at the "waiting for macbook core 2 duo thread". (I got a core duo one that time :( )

    So I'm going to get a new MBP whenever the new ones come, but I have a few questions on replacing the optical drive with another hard drive. Please bear in mind that I'm not a person very experienced in "modding" computers. (I have not even tried changing RAM on my macbook before!).

    - I heard stuff like "RAID 0" when changing the optical drive, what does that mean? Is is any better than normal?

    - Lets say I want to have an SSD to store the OSX and applications in, and a normal high capacity HDD to store data in. What order would be advisable?
    Eg, SSD in normal hard drive bay and HDD replacing optical drive or SSD in optical drive area and HDD in the normal hard drive bay. I guess the orders matter right? Since I guess the connection speeds for HD and optical bays are different. My priority would be to get the SSD to the faster connection.

    - I found this thread here.

    http://forums.macrumors.com/showthread.php?t=680228

    I'm assuming that if I use this method to install the hard drive, if it was a normal one it might rattle much right? If I were to install an SSD, would this method then be variable?

    - Is Optibay the only commercial option I have? Anybody knows if there is a reseller or importer in my area? (Singapore). I know there is online ordering but my parents are paying, and they don't really trust online transactions and it would be a hard time convincing them.

    Lastly, a very very off-topic question (you were warned ;))

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O8uBuduJdA0&feature=related

    Found this while researching SSD v HDD, anyone knows the name of the first piece of music? :eek:


    Ok, that is about all. I understand that there are many questions, and I really appreciate all the help that you guys can give me even if you can answer one or two of my queries.

    Thanks a bunch! :)
     
  2. Jaro65 macrumors 68040

    Jaro65

    Joined:
    Mar 27, 2009
    Location:
    Seattle, WA
    #2
    It makes most sense to replace your HD with SSD, and then get an HD adapter for your HD and place that in your SuperDrive bay. You can find the optical bay adapters (or second HD adapters) on eBay. Some of them were shipping from Asia (not sure if China or HK), so you should be able to get one pretty easily.
     
  3. charpi thread starter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Sep 30, 2006
    #3
    Is there then a difference between a SSD at the harddrive bay, and a HDD at the optical drive bay, or the other way round - SSD at optical bay and HDD at harddrive bay. Will there be a difference in the order?

    Thanks for your replies. :)
     
  4. sinistarjab macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Feb 15, 2010
    #4
    Okay, so this will be my first post. The forum logged me out and ate my first response to this, so I'm going to type one again -- this time shorter and less in depth. I'm sorry.

    Who am I? I'm a computer scientist waiting for a MBP refresh so that I can throw 3 grand at a 17" portable research rig to get me through grad school and keep me sane in labs+libraries. My current mobile machine is a dying 12" Powerbook G4.

    Lets begin!

    I had a long explanation, but on rewrite it's gonna be short: Don't. Certainly not in a laptop, and really -- probably never.

    To describe the popular types of raid:
    Raid 0 - Striping, provides slightly less than 2x throughput of read/write... for more than 2x power draw, 2x failure rate... no hardware support for RAID, will be done in software, requiring more cpu cycles and possibly contributing to power draw.

    Raid 1 - Mirroring, provides increased read throughput and redundantly stores data -- negligible benefits for a mobile platform for increased power draw and the backup benefits can be addressed via time machine or other backup methods.

    Raid JBOD - Spanning, treats multiple disks as one partition/drive, provides none of the benefits for all of the drawbacks of raid 0.

    Raid 5 - Not an option, but it's like a mixture of 0 and 1 and for multiple drives in servers... read about if you want.
    Alright, SSD... I will probably build to order a SSD. Aftermarket SSD's have been reported problematic in apple notebooks, due to weirdness either in drive firmware or apples firmware.

    You need to know:
    SSD's have a limited read/write lifespan for individual sectors. Performance degrades throughout the lifespan of SSD's as a result, and after even a few months of heavy use the performance increase afforded by SSD can fall significantly, and after a year (can) be little better than conventional magnetic disc HDD's. (I should look more into this, as it may be less prevalent in current generation SSD's) To prevent uneven wear of the drive, an operating system can implement TRIM to distribute wear more evenly over the disk and prevent unnecessary writes, such as deletions. Linux and Windows 7/Server2008 both provide TRIM support, but MacOS does not yet. Just something to be aware of.

    Your idea of using a SSD for your system drive, and a larger HDD for mass storage has merit. I don't know the architecture used in the current unibody mbp's, especially not the yet-unreleased ones which will no doubt use new chipsets.

    I can't tell you which to use in which slot because I don't know if they're on the same controller. I assume they are. Open Firmware shouldn't care. They should be equally fast. They /should/ be. The earlier cd and c2d mbps used PATA for the cdrom though, so I don't know. Somebody with experience will need to step in. I know that last year there were issues with sata drives running at 1.5gbps instead of 3 fixed by firmware, so their chipset stuff is all kinds of crazy.

    I'm thrifty with a soldering iron and mod consoles, build nixie tube clocks, etc as a hobby. I feel that if you're buying a MBP and you're buying a secondary drive, and wanting to do something unconventional, you can probably afford the slick pre-manufactured solution. From what I've found about the Optibay, it seems legit and comes with a nice enclosure for the superdrive you'd be removing. Definitely worth it. Could you just electrical tape it in there (if it's a SSD) and splice some wires together? Yes. Should you? Nah.
    Just do it. There might be, but just hold their feet to the fire. If they won't ship internationally, perhaps somebody might be kind enough to 'forward' it... I might if I knew how to ship /anything/ internationally. :p
    Thanks for asking a legit question, and not "why is apple raping me for money because dell makes a ****** machine which is worse but has bigger numbers on this sheet here?"

    I may make more comments later.
     
  5. charpi thread starter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Sep 30, 2006
    #5
    WOW that was VERY informative. Thanks alot for the effort to type it all out :)

    Now all we are left with is the waiting... ;)

    Meanwhile I guess I'll have lots of time to do more research on the topic.

    Thanks again.
     
  6. joaoferro37 macrumors 6502

    joaoferro37

    Joined:
    Jul 31, 2008
    Location:
    Vogon Planet Destructor
    #6
    put 8 SSD on Mac Pro optical bay

    I got this from RAIDON.
    I will post some testing report when I got my SSD.
    It works for sure but don't know how fast it is.
     

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  7. sinistarjab macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Feb 15, 2010
  8. DarthSnuggles macrumors member

    DarthSnuggles

    Joined:
    Feb 10, 2010
    #8
    The X-25M is in my current MacBook and it's stupid fast. The problem with the BTO SSD is that it's just not up to par with other SSDs on the market. Theoretically speaking, unless the SSD in question has some sort of wonky Windows optimized garbage in the firmware, these things are going to be standard compliant and it should all be effectively the same.

    If you're *truly* concerned about firmware weirdness, you can grab this:
    http://www.ocztechnology.com/produc...ocz_vertex_series_mac_edition_sata_ii_2_5-ssd

    which will be lightyears ahead of the BTO SSD.
     
  9. seepel macrumors 6502

    seepel

    Joined:
    Dec 22, 2009
    #9
    I don't want you to feel that I'm attacking you (I know that over the internet this can sometimes seem to be the case) but I read your post and found that I had a lot of opinions.

    I would recommend against this strategy, everything I've read is that with SSDs you want to stick with either an Indilinx or Intel controller. Apple uses drives with a Samsung controller. If you spend a bit more you can get a much better drive. I've been using both (you can see in my signature) in apple notebooks without a single problem.

    I think drives have improved a lot recently. Even without TRIM if you get a good drive I don't think you'll see a huge drop in performance. I think the thing that people forget is that with ANY drive you are going to see a drop in performance. And MLC SSDs typically have 10,000 writes per cell, this is not such a small number. These drives are rated to last 5-10 years, so they will last longer than the lifetime I expect from my Macbook Pro. Limited write time, wear leveling, etc. are all really interesting to technophiles but I think they scare some people off when they really shouldn't. Of course drive manufacturers should mitigate these effects, and they do, but I'm not so sure how much you'll notice in the real world.

    I thought Open Firmware was only used in PPC Macs, don't take offense just a curiosity and please correct me if I'm wrong. In another thread there were some issues with hibernation when the boot drive was installed in the optical drive slot. I believe it had to do with the drive shutting off before the ram was written to disk.

    The current Unibody Macbook Pros do have SATA optical drives (at least according to my "About This Mac". And finally, I bought my Macbook Pro after the famous firmware update and it has said 3 Gb/s all along, no need to worry about this.
     
  10. sinistarjab macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Feb 15, 2010
    #10
    You may be right. I was simply noting that they're not perfect, and are one of the more rapidly advancing techs in terms of capacity and durability. This is one area that it can't hurt to wait and see, especially when you're already considering third party upgrades. I'm a bit sad that ssd's are still so expensive, and with the 17" I can't opt to buy a 'cheaper' drive to replace... I will be making extensive use of bootcamp and virtualization in my workload, so SSD's make me go ehhhh (just a bit) -- maybe I'd be better off upgrading to 8gb of ram... maybe not.
    Sorry, EFI on current models -- it's still not BIOS, and it still shouldn't care. Although apparently macos does draw the distinction if what you say is true. :) I haven't had the pleasure of owning an intel mac yet, so pardon the slip... I've only used them in passing and from my interaction they behaved identically to the open firmware models.
    So, unless apple did something crazy they should both run identically.

    I have read reports of some SSD's causing macos to lock at random intervals. Do you have any more details on this? Are you aware of it? If so, what have you done to avoid it? (ie, which models are unaffected)
     
  11. DarthSnuggles macrumors member

    DarthSnuggles

    Joined:
    Feb 10, 2010
    #11
    Where have you read this? I haven't encountered anything like that, and I really can't see I've run across a good account of this being the case.

    As a side note: the SATA throughput ordeal really only got a hornets nest stirred up because of people doing the SSD upgrades.

    But if you're doing BTO Apple SSD, look at the XBench. It won't saturate 1.5Gbps anyway.
     
  12. seepel macrumors 6502

    seepel

    Joined:
    Dec 22, 2009
    #12
    Of course there were the famous JMicron controllers that didn't handle wear leveling so well and thus locked up. And I seem to recall older Intel firmware (or maybe it was due to Mac firmware, only kind of heard of it in passing) would lock up Macs, but I'm pretty sure this is all a thing of the past. And you can always get the Mac version OCZ Vertex which was tested for Macs for about $20 more than the regular Vertex if you're really worried about it. This by the way is a great drive and I've been very happy with mine.
     
  13. joaoferro37 macrumors 6502

    joaoferro37

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    Jul 31, 2008
    Location:
    Vogon Planet Destructor
    #13
    I would like to build the fastest Mac in the world.
     
  14. Jaro65 macrumors 68040

    Jaro65

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    Mar 27, 2009
    Location:
    Seattle, WA
    #14
    What is the application for this?
     
  15. charpi thread starter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Sep 30, 2006
    #15
    Hi guys, thanks for enlightening me on this issue. A few other SSD related questions.

    1) SSD degrades over time right? I heard that it is possible to do a "secure erase" to restore the full potential of a SSD. Is this true?

    2) This might seem to be a weird idea so I was asking whether it is feasible or not.
    From what I have read so far, SSD degradation is mostly caused by "write" on the SSD instead of the "read". Thus, assuming I have only a few apps which I want to install on the SSD, for example, Photoshop, Maya, Call of Duty. I'm assuming that most of the time, it is the writing on the SSD which causes degradation (like saving a game on COD). Since some apps will be used more than the others, would it be feasible to partition the SSD into separate parts then installing a single app on each part. This way the reading and writing of an app I use alot would not affect the rest of the performance of the other apps. Lets just say my application needs are more or less fixed and I would not very likely need any additional apps.

    Would this be feasible or a waste of time?

    I would like to hear your opinions on both questions. Thanks alot guys

    Cheers
     
  16. DarthSnuggles macrumors member

    DarthSnuggles

    Joined:
    Feb 10, 2010
    #16
    1) Yes.

    2) I don't think that's a good idea. First off, it would be a pain in the butt. Second of all, the performance degrades because the controller can write fastest to empty space. If you segregate a write heavy application (I would not call Call of Duty write heavy, btw) onto it's own partition, yes, everything else will have fast write times, but you will tank that particular app that much sooner.
     

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