Total MAC Boost! Replacing Optibay + Main Drive + RAM. All at Once.

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by Marcellino, Jul 29, 2014.

  1. Marcellino, Jul 29, 2014
    Last edited: Jul 29, 2014

    Marcellino macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jul 28, 2014
    #1
    Hi,

    just recently, I have bought my first Macbook Pro - the Early 2011/Thunderbolt 17" version w. 2.2 GHz i7 processor, 8 GB RAM and 750 GB HDD.

    I am using this notebook mostly for professional music applications. I have several apps already installed and running, and I am already getting the circle of death with some of them that use slightly bigger chunks of data, fortunately for just a couple of seconds for now. BUT! I have just bought (not installed yet) a huge set of high-quality, memory-demanding plugins in one package that I need to install on my Mac. So there are worries my Mac, as it is configured now, will not be able to handle the software and I will get real freezes etc.

    For this new software to install and run smoothly with my other applications, I need:
    1. A really fast main drive
    2. One external drive for data
    3. Another external drive for samples


    As I have just discovered, my Macbook Pro only has one 5400 rpm 750 GB 2.5" harddrive, which is pretty slow - the response times are just not on par with the new software demands.

    I did a pretty extensive research and here's what I intend to do in order to breathe life into my Mac:

    1. Buy a new SSD - to be my next main drive: Samsung SSD 840 PRO, 256 GB
    2. Buy the OWC Data Doubler Kit w. 1TB Hitachi Travelstar 7200 rpm HDD downclocked to 3GB SATA II for compatibility - to be my first external drive running inside my Mac in optibay ( http://eshop.macsales.com/item/HGST/DDMB7KT1.0/ )
    3. Buy a new thunderbolt external drive enclosure: Delock 42510 2.5" ( http://www.compuland.de/product_inf...5Zoll--6-35cm--Thunderbolt-silber_942991.html )
    4. Buy another 1TB hard drive: the same model as in optibay, 1TB Hitachi Travelstar 7200 rpm HDD SATA III 6GB - to be my second external drive running in the external enclosure and connected via Thunderbolt

    Also, at the sime time, as my Nr.5 item, I am getting the OWC 16GB RAM Memory Upgrade to make my Macbook even more responsive ( http://eshop.macsales.com/item/Other World Computing/1333DDR3S16P/ )

    OK, so with all this new hardware, even though I have read very good things about all of the items above on online forums, the question is how to set it all up so that it runs smoothly and right the very first time - and so that I only have to open and temper with my Macbook once.

    Here is my step-by-step guide I intend to follow:

    1. First, temporarily insert the 256 GB Samsung SSD into the external thunderbolt drive enclosure, and create a 100% clone of my current main drive (complete backup: system, app, data, settings) on it via Super Duper app;
    2. Boot my Mac from the SSD in the external drive to see if everything works OK;
    3. Take out the SSD from the external thunderbolt drive enclosure;
    4. OPTIONAL ?? (not sure about this step): Insert the 1TB Hitachi HDD from the OWC kit (downclocked to SATA II) to the external thundebolt enclosure, and format it from my existing Mac setup in order to guarantee future run - I don't know if this is a good thing to do, though, since this is on thunderbolt, and it will be running in my optibay later on which is known for having some restrictions - hence the SATA II downclocking; remove the HDD from the external enclosure - please advise;
    5. Follow these three instruction videos on how to open my Mac just once and install, all in one session:
    ( http://eshop.macsales.com/installvideos/macbookpro_17_unibody_early11/ )
    - First, the main 256 GB SSD Samsung drive in exchange for my current slow HDD
    - Second, the 1TB HDD optibay replacement from the OWC Data Doubler Kit
    - Third, the 16 GB RAM memory upgrade from OWC
    6. Assemble back the Mac, turn it on - and see if it works !!!???


    Now, the question is - WILL MY MAC BOOT FROM THE NEW INNER SSD AND RUN ALL RIGHT, AFTER THIS RATHER EXTENSIVE 3-STEP UPGRADE, WITH THE NEW INNER 7200 HDD IN OPTIBAY AND THE NEW 16GB RAM?

    From what I hear on the forums as is this one, it should work fine. First boots should be slower due to the SSD indexing itself, then it should really all boost up. But did anyone actually try to upgrade his or her Macbook Pro in this way, and succeeded? The real question is if the optibay replacement won't cause trouble due to freezes reported when doing this kind of replacements, even though most of those seem to be caused by the fact that people put 6GB SATA disks into the 2011 MBP optibay and it just does not work with these.

    If you have any insights, please share them with me. Any idea is greatly appreciated.

    N.B. Of course, as the 7th step, I will finally insert the second Hitachi 1TB to the external thunderbolt drive enclosure and connect it to my Mac after it is upgraded, to reach my goal and have a 1-main-2-side-drive setup. But I do not foresee any problems there, it's just a standard external drive connected to a by that time (hopefully) running Macbook Pro...
     
  2. T'hain Esh Kelch macrumors 601

    T'hain Esh Kelch

    Joined:
    Aug 5, 2001
    Location:
    Denmark
    #2
    Only some tens of thousands i would guess.
     
  3. Marcellino, Jul 29, 2014
    Last edited: Jul 29, 2014

    Marcellino thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jul 28, 2014
    #3
    Thanks for the response, it's epic... but I am really new to upgrading Macbooks (and to Mac computers in general) so slightly more informative answers are welcome :)

    Thx
     
  4. T'hain Esh Kelch macrumors 601

    T'hain Esh Kelch

    Joined:
    Aug 5, 2001
    Location:
    Denmark
    #4
    It has worked for the majority of those tens of thousands I am sure, including myself, so I don't see why it shouldn't work for you also. It is a pretty straight forward thing to do, and doesn't include much know how, except looking at a few youtube videos or picture guides.
     
  5. simonsi macrumors 601

    simonsi

    Joined:
    Jan 3, 2014
    Location:
    Auckland
    #5
    I've done it on my 13", used CCC to clone the drive but otherwise followed similar steps except my SSD is in the Optibay and the (same as your), HDD is in the std drive bay, both run at SATA3 in my case...

    Other than that he is right, 10's of thousands of users will have followed this upgrade path either together in separate steps.
     
  6. Marcellino thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jul 28, 2014
    #6
    Yes, definitely many people have done these, but my question was if it will work when done all at once, in one 3-step upgrade. I believe this multi upgrade can be seen done less frequently...

    Thank you for sharing the info about your 13".

    2 questions:
    1. Did you place the SSD into Optibay on purpose, and if so, what was it? I.o.w. why didn't you place it into the drive bay?
    2. Do you think if I place my SATA III SSD into the drive bay and the SATA II HDD into the Optibay, it will cause incompatiblity issues?

    Thanks,

    ----------

    Also, there is still the unanswered question about pre-formatting the new, downclocked SATA II HDD first in the external thunderbolt drive enclosure before putting it into the Optibay, in order to guarantee future run in the optibay along with the new SSD in the drivebay.

    I am not sure about whether I should format it on thunderbolt first, or just insert it to Optibay and only format it after my upgraded Mac turns on for the first time...

    Which of the 2 above would you prefer?
     
  7. simonsi macrumors 601

    simonsi

    Joined:
    Jan 3, 2014
    Location:
    Auckland
    #7
    The only upgrade of consequence is installing the SSD and installing the OS on it by cloning the old drive. The RAM upgrade and second disk have no consequences to each other. Once you have that SSD confirmed as bootable when external, it should work internally.

    At the time I did my upgrade I had a 1TB Seagate which was a 12mm drive IIRC that only just fitted in the main drive bay and would not physically fit in the optibay caddy, all worked fine at SATA3 speed for me so no issues, when I subsequently replaced it with the 7mm 1TB Hitachi 7200rpm then I just swapped out the main drive bay, leaving the SSD untouched.

    I would just fit the Hitachi and format it in situ in the MBP, don't see any value in formatting it externally first.

    Should the drives exhibit any issues it is only a few minutes to swap them over.
     
  8. Marcellino thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jul 28, 2014
    #8
    Real helpful. Thanks heaps!

    From what I read the Optibay needs to be equipped with a SATA II drive on 15" and 17" Macbook Pros 2011, this restriction might not apply to 13".

    Therefore I am buying a downclocked SATA II version of the Hitachi 1TB HDD and the plan is to insert it into the Optibay, with the pre-cloned SATA III SSD in the main drivebay. Was I to swap these two, they would almost guaranteed fail to work, due to restrictions on the 2011 17" MBP Optibay.

    OK, so I do not need to pre-format the HDD externally. That's a time saver!

    I still have question if the SATA III SSD will work fine along with the SATA II HDD. Any insights on this combo, anyone? thank you in advance
     
  9. simonsi macrumors 601

    simonsi

    Joined:
    Jan 3, 2014
    Location:
    Auckland
    #9
    The 13" largely has the same restriction but I was lucky. The drives are on separate controller ports so differing speeds shouldn't cause any issues whatsoever.
     
  10. Marcellino thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jul 28, 2014
    #10
    Splendid! Real big THANKYOU for your help.
     
  11. simonsi macrumors 601

    simonsi

    Joined:
    Jan 3, 2014
    Location:
    Auckland
    #11
    You are very welcome, hope it all goes well.
     

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