Upgrading MBP Harddrive

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by mrtekkid, Aug 12, 2008.

  1. mrtekkid macrumors regular

    Sep 28, 2006
    I bought my 15.4" MBP about a year or so ago in June and have loved this thing. Best decision I have ever made. Anyhow, it has as 150 GB Hard drive @ 5400 RPM.

    Anyhow, I am into digital media work , and I am down to 51 GB free. Granted, 50 GB sounds like a lot, but when you start working with images, movies and music, that space zaps up quite rapidly.

    So my question is this, I read that you can upgrade the hard drive with voiding the warranty as long as you replace the default drive before you take it in for Applecare.

    I am looking to get a 320 GB drive or a 500 GB drive. What is the best reliable drive that would fit into the MBP? Should I look at getting a 7200 RPM drive while I am at it, or should I just stick with the 5400? Is there that much of a difference?

    I'm at an internship that currently orders in bulk lots of different hard drives and electronics and they told me they would be able to get me a decent drive at a semi-decent price so I figured I would look into it and price shop.

  2. merl1n macrumors 65816


    Mar 30, 2008
    New Jersey, USA
    You can get either a 320GB 5400 or 7200 RPM or 500GB 5400 RPM drive. Just make sure that it is a SATA drive and no more than 9.5mm in height. Remember that this is a 2.5 inch drive.

    Also I would recommend you get an external fire wire case for the old drive and download Carbon Copy Cloner. Take out the old drive and put it in the case. Install the new drive into the MBP. Then boot off of the external drive.

    Run Disk Utility and select the new drive device name. Click Partitions tab, change "Current" to "1 Partition" (this enables the Options button). Click the Options button and change the Partition map to GUID partitioning. Click OK. Name your disk and click Apply.

    After the formatting is complete, use Carbon Copy Cloner. Select your old drive as the "Source" and new drive as your "Target". Then go ahead and clone. Once it has completed, go to System Preferences -> Startup Disk and select your new disk as the startup volume. Reboot, run Disk Utility again and Repair Permissions on the new volume.
  3. carybrown macrumors newbie

    Aug 13, 2008
    I was up against very similar size constraints with the default 7200RPM 160GB HD in my 17" MBP, which I've had for almost a year. I successfully installed a 5200RPM 500GB Hitachi drive and it works great! However, one thing to consider is the height of the replacement drive. While I don't have a 15.4" MBP I've heard that the larger capacity 500GB drives which comes in at 12mm in height do not fit in the existing 15.4" MBP hard drive bay. There is however the head room in the 17" MBP models. Another note regarding spindle speeds is to take a look at the capacity. Since the density of the platters his much higher... the relative throughput on reads and writes is higher at slower speeds. This was a concern of mine since I did not want to sacrifice performance since I often run different virtual machines in OS X.

    If you are interested in how I replace my drive which had both OS X and Boot Camp partitions installed I've outlined the process of HD replacement here:


    I also outlined how I backed up, increased the partition size of the new drive, and subsequently migrated both boot camp (NTFS) and OS X (HFS+) partitions here:


    Good luck with your efforts
  4. mrtekkid thread starter macrumors regular

    Sep 28, 2006
    Thanks for the excellent replies!!

    I am definetly looking at drives right now and seeing what I'll be able to do. Maybe I'll go with the 320 GB if it will fit better than the 500 GB.

    I appreciate the help, thanks!

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