Which Hard Drive for MacBook Pro 5,5?

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by waltervt, Oct 25, 2011.

  1. waltervt macrumors member

    Jun 24, 2011
    Valencia, Spain
    Hi everybody!

    I bought a brand new MacBook Pro 5,5 (13,3", 2.53GHz C2D, 4GB RAM, 250GB HD) from an iStore on December 2009. It was a Xmas present from me to myself. I use it mainly for music-video recording and editing with Logic Express, Final Cut X and Ampeg SVX; also have music and movies and other stuff, so I need the space AND memory. I'm not much of a gamer, but I do play some Star Wars: The Force Unleashed and Tales from Monkey Island occasionally. I like developing apps for iPod/iPhone with Xcode, but I do that very seldom.

    I want do upgrade RAM and HD.


    I'm going all the way for 8GB (2x4GB). I've read that the fastest that my Mac can handle is DDR3 1066GHz, so there is no point in getting DDR3 1333GHz right?

    I'm going for these modules ---> http://eshop.macsales.com/item/Other World Computing/8566DDR3S8GP/

    Hard Drive:

    I've filled up the factory 250GB drive. BTW, I have a 1TB Western Digital My Book Studio that I use for Time Machine and make a clone of my drive before any important upgrade just in case. I want to get a 500GB 7200RPM hard drive. So the question is which one of these three?:

    Seagate Momentus XT ---> http://eshop.macsales.com/item/Seagate/YST9500562AS/

    Seagate Momentus ---> http://eshop.macsales.com/item/Seagate/YST9500420AS/

    Western Digital Scorpio Black ---> http://eshop.macsales.com/item/Western Digital/YWD5000BEKT/

    I've heard that Western Digital makes the best hard drives out there and comparing the Scorpio Black with the Momentus the $20 extra and the 3 additional years in warranty sound like a good deal to me, since they are both equivalent (500GB 16MB 7200RPM). Now, talking about the Hydrid one, 32MB is noticeable? and 4GB of NAND memory will act like more RAM or super cache memory, I guess... I've read that is good for three things:

    1. Booting up: That'll be great, but since I rarely boot up more than once a day, is it necessary?

    2. Load frequently used apps: Also great, but I load everything I need and keep it in another desktop while not in use. Again, necessary?

    3. Better performance?: Now, that's grrreat! If that is true, then the 8GB RAM + 4GB NAND will make my Mac noticeably faster, right? Then I'll go for it.

    The thing is, with non-hybrid drives I've read that all you have to do is install the OS, copy you stuff and you're good to go. On the other hand, I've read a lot of bad things about this hybrid XT drive, stuff like it's unstable, you have to install a Firmware (how do you do that before installing the drive?), and even some guy using a jumper wire (what is that) to limit the drive's speed from 3Gb/s to 1,5Gb/s!!! (how the hell do I do that? is it really necessary?) And also good things as well, that the booting time is a LOT faster and also it's very fast at loading apps.

    Well, I hope you can help me!

    Thank you for reading


    MacBook Pro 5,5 (13,3") Mid 2009; 2.53GHz Intel Core 2 Duo Processor; 4GB (2x2GB) RAM; Factory 250GB 54000RPM HD; OS X Lion 1.7.2
    iPod Touch 3rd Generation 32GB; iOS 5
  2. Mersailios macrumors regular

    Oct 23, 2011

    Your MacBook Pro supports DDR3 memory running at 1066MHz, and the memory that you have chosen from OWC should work great with your computer. There's no need to install 1333MHz memory as your computer doesn't support it (some older MacBook Pros can encounter crashes and other oddities if you install 1333MHz memory in them, so I would avoid doing so).

    As far as the hard disk upgrade is concerned I can't speak for the Seagate disks as I don't own them, however I do have the Western Digital Scorpio Black in my MacBook Pro and it is an excellent disk, it performs well and has made a noticeable difference in the overall performance of my computer. From my experience, I've also found that it's extremely quiet (which is very important to me) and doesn't exhibit any vibration.

    Just make sure that you have the correct tools to upgrade the computer, including a good set of precision screwdrivers (you'll require a Philips #00 driver as well as a Torx T6 for removing the mounting screws from the hard disk).

    Hope that helps, have a great day! :)
  3. waltervt thread starter macrumors member

    Jun 24, 2011
    Valencia, Spain
    Thanks a lot! That was EXACTLY the information I needed. I'll go for 500GB WD's Scorpio Black and the 8GB DDR3 1066GHz for my laptop. As for the tools needed, I believe everything necessary to do the upgrade comes with OWC's DIY-upgrade-kit, which is what I'd get as I plan to use my current drive to do regular backups for my PC at work.

    Thanks again and have a great day too!
  4. Henry Li macrumors member

    Mar 24, 2009
    I recently upgraded the hard drive for my macbook pro. The brand new hard drive is from Seagate. After I installed it, I found the error rate of this hard disk is very high, as shown in the hard drive SMART info.

    Later on, I found that I am not alone, since other models of Seagate hard drive also have been reported by users to have a significantly high error rate. Therefore, I conclude that Seagate does not produce good hard drive. So, I don't recommend Seagate.

    At last, I replaced this seagate hard drive with Hitachi one, and the error rate of Hitachi one is zero. Hitachi is really a good one.
  5. JT123 macrumors member

    Sep 18, 2011
    Ok, I build computers for people and I always use Western Digital drives.

    I wouldn't go near a Hitachi drive, and while I don't use Seagate Drives, I actually haven't heard too much about them- I would still go a Seagate over a Hitachi any day of the week. That model of drive Henry was using obviously wasn't their best.

    But seriously Western Digital>Seagate>Hitachi
  6. Naimfan macrumors 601


    Jan 15, 2003
    And a different recommendation:

    Hitachi 7K750. Fast, silent, and ultra-reliable (they are engineered more conservatively than the WD or Seagate).

    The WD Black is known for being fast but noisy and prone to vibration--so be aware of that. I've not had good luck with Seagate.
  7. macbookproi5 macrumors newbie

    Oct 17, 2011
    Upgrading my Hard Drive

    I might upgrade my hard drive to 1TB. I have a Macbook Pro 13" which I bought earlier this month. I should have waited for a couple of weeks more for the much newer macbook pro. But that's ok. My concern now is how I would upgrade my Macbook pro. First concern is the hard drive. What brand of hard drive is compatible with my mac book pro? I can only select 5400 rpm and not the 7200 rpm hard drive? How do I install OSX Lion again? Do I have to buy the thumb drive? Should I use time capsule to do that? I have and external hard drive. Is this the drive that I would use to back up my hard drive? I need to do some researching first before considering this. any tips?
  8. waltervt thread starter macrumors member

    Jun 24, 2011
    Valencia, Spain
    Thanks a lot guys, I'm gonna get the WD Scorpio Black, thanks again you've been very helpful!

    Now, as for you macbookproi5 here are a couple of answers:

    You don't have to stick with 5400RPM, you can go up to 7200RPM (which is what I'm doing :D) or even get a SSD (Solid State Drive)

    As for the size you want, currently I haven't seen any 1TB @7200RPM only @5400, the largest drive I've seen @7200RPM is 750GB which is also pretty big!

    Now, for the OS X Lion, you're Mac came with Lion, so you don't have a CD (since it doesn't exist), the thumb drive (sold separately) or the InstallOXSLion.app (because you didn't upgrade). What you can do, and is what I'll do (as I'm getting a new drive too) is clone you CURRENT drive to you NEW drive, that way you'll have everything in the new drive, app, OS X, files, EVERYTHING, it will be like having the same drive but with the benefits of the new one, of course. I do sugest that you make a back up before doing that (but I assume you already do with Time Machine & Time Capsule)

    And last but not least, where to get a drive that is compatible with your Mac? The best place is here ---> http://www.macsales.com/ They have everything, hard drives, RAM modules, etc. I'm gonna buy the 500GB HD and 8GB RAM from them.

    Hope this helps and the best of luck!
  9. macbookproi5, Oct 26, 2011
    Last edited: Oct 26, 2011

    macbookproi5 macrumors newbie

    Oct 17, 2011

    Western Digital Scorpio Blue WD7500BPVT 750GB 5400 RPM 8MB. I was wondering if this was a good replacement. I did some researching on youtube. I found out that those people who cloned their mac hard drives used the super duper program. Let's say you've cloned your hard drive and replaced it with a new one. Now you're gonna restart your computer. How would you be able to boot up from an external hard drive? In a windows computer. You just press a button that corresponds to the bios settings of your computer and you would be able to access your bios settings. I don't know how to do that in a mac.
  10. waltervt thread starter macrumors member

    Jun 24, 2011
    Valencia, Spain
    hi macbookproi5, I would use super duper, I rather use the software that come with the Mac, in this case Disk Utility. I used it to clone my hard drive right before upgrading to Lion and I booted it from my external drive (you do that holding the option key right after you hear the chime) and it worked great, then I proceeded to upgrade to Lion. When changing the HD I believe that we'd have to clone the drive, replace it and it should work fine. Anyway, if you get your drive from OWC (or not) there are a lot of helpful videos on their website showing how to do everything you need. BTW, if you plan to use you current drive, you should consider buying a DIY-upgrade-kit.

    I think the drive you chose will be alright, assuming that you have a 8MB cache drive @5400RPM, it will be and improvement, if you can afford it you could get this one http://eshop.macsales.com/item/Western Digital/WD7500BPKT/ 16MB cache @7200RPM, I'm getting that one but with 500GB and RAM memory (you can check the link in the original post). Here are a couple of options from 500GB to 1TB and @5400 to @7200:

    http://eshop.macsales.com/item/Western Digital/YWD5000BEKT/
    http://eshop.macsales.com/item/Western Digital/YWD7500BPKT/
    http://eshop.macsales.com/item/Western Digital/YWD10JPVT/

    Gook luck with that!
  11. jtara macrumors 65816

    Mar 23, 2009
    The warranty on the Momentus XT is now 5 years, so the warranties are equivalent.

    I've got a Momentus XT sitting unopened that I am trying to decide on. I went to Fry's the other day to pick up a deal on 8GB RAM ($29.95 after rebate!) for my 2008 aluminum unibody MacBook, and decided I'd get a drive too if they had what I wanted. I was looking for the Scorpio Black.

    They were out of stock, but they had the 500GB Momentus XT, which I hadn't heard about, but looked intriguing, so I got it. It was a bit pricey, but I know drive prices are going up due to supply constraints, and then I found it was maybe $20 cheaper than it's typically online now. (I paid $129, and I see them online for $149. If you see it cheaper, it's almost certainly an old price.)

    Got home and read all the horror stories...

    Now, I know they've got updated firmware, and have been praised for their handling of the situation. And they just recently sold the 1,000,000'th drive, so it seems they are intent on fixing it if it isn't fixed yet.

    Seagate had incredible quality in their past, used to be I wouldn't have anything else. Nothing but Seagate 15K SCSI Cheatah's in my Linux system till I recently paired an 80GB flash with a 1GB big/slow SATA in my Linux system.

    Now I'm a bit skeptical about the flash cache, because it is only one chip. So it's not going to approach the speed of my 80GB on the Linux system.

    If you have the recovery partition (if you updated to Lion via the app store, you should) the best way to do the disk upgrade (I've read...) is to move your current drive to an external USB case, install the new drive into the notebook, and using some magic key combination to boot from the recovery partition, which will then walk you through installing onto the new drive and migrating your old data. (Or maybe it clones, I dunno, but it's supposed to be all handled by the recovery partition software.)

    That's what I'm planning, regardless of what drive I use.

    (I already have a USB "toaster" that I can put the old drive in.)
  12. jtara, Nov 1, 2011
    Last edited: Nov 1, 2011

    jtara macrumors 65816

    Mar 23, 2009
    So, I did upgrade to the Momentus XT, and very happy so far! The system just seems much more "snappy". I got some initial disappointing readings from XBench, but that was because it was actually testing the recovery partition, which I think may be compressed? (More Recovery Partition confusion below...) Much better results once I got that straightened-out.

    I know XBench is widely discredited, and I plan on running a test with Quickbench. In any case, XBench tests 2X-3X or better than my original 200GB drive on pretty-much every disk test. The overall score isn't that much higher, but I assume that the score is on some exponential curve. The Mbyte/sec numbers are all 2-3X except for the random ones, which should be expected, since both drives have similar seek times.

    Upgrading is a LOT simpler than a lot of misleading blog posts would have you believe. My head is still swimming in recovery partition mumbo-jumbo.

    I now have a 2GB unused "hole" in my drive due to following the mumbo-jumbo, but I figure that's probably a good thing to have. Never know when it might be handy to be able to create another 2GB partition for some diagnostic software, etc.

    I originally had planned to clone onto the new drive in my USB "toaster". But it turned out the new drive didn't have the latest firmware and I read the horror stories and knew I wanted to update to SD28, so I burned an ISO updater, and discovered that you can't update the firmware over USB. (I had suspected this, but, hey, I gave it a shot.)

    So, I went ahead and removed the old drive and installed the Momentus XT, booted from the CD firmware updater, and updated the drive firmware with no problem.

    Since I already had the drive installed, I decided to just clone from the toaster to the new internal drive. I quickly realized that Carbon Copy Cloner is useless for this, because both drives need to be offline, AND to do a block copy, both drives have to be local (can't do over USB).

    First (and unnecessary!) step was to clone the recovery partition to the new drive. First attempt was to boot into the old drive in the USB toaster and try to copy the recovery partition to the new drive. First had to unhide the partition, then discovered that, sorry Disk Utility can't do this in OSX, you have to boot into the recovery partition...

    Booted into the recovery partition on the toaster, started up Disk Utility, created partition table on new drive, copied the recovery partition, yay! I made it 2GB because of some discussion I'd read about two different ways of creating a recovery partition one is bigger than the other, couldn't really make heads or tails of it. But figured it was a good idea to leave some extra space, so made it 2G rather than 650M.

    Copied the recovery partition using Disk Utility, no problem.

    Rebooted into the new recovery partition to make sure all was OK, and it was.

    Used Restore to copy the main partition overnight.

    Unplug the toaster, boot... hmmm... booted back into the recovery partition! Had to set the boot source, reboot, booted into OSX. Slow startup, but figured there might be some kind of housekeeping.

    Did some tests with XBench, which were very disappointing. Then I noticed the Recovery Partition was mounted! Finally figured-out that XBench was testing the Recovery Partition, and I hadn't noticed. I guess the RP is compressed, and that could certainly account for the disappointing results. (I'd guess that normally there wouldn't be enough free space on the RP to do the test, but remember I made it 2G...)

    Fiddle, fiddle, fiddle, finally figure out that I have TWO recovery partitions. One visible, one not.

    Oy, vay! The upgrade was actually way simpler than I'd imagined: just use Restore. That will copy BOTH the system partition AND the recovery partition! It's just confusing because they hide the RP. And I haven't seen anything explicit explains that Restore actually does this...

    To clean up my mess, I booted into the RP and deleted the extra recovery partition. Not so straightforward, turns out you have to first "erase" it which will create a new HFS+ volume. THEN you can actually delete that volume... Only problem is, it was at the START of the drive, so can't resize the main partition now to use that space. But I won't miss 2G on a 500G drive, and it might come in handy someday...

    To make a looooong story short, the way to upgrade a Lion drive with the recovery partition present is SIMPLE:

    1. Take out your old drive
    2. Install it in an external USB adapter
    3. Install the new drive
    4. power-up, holding down OPTION key or R
    5. Select the recovery partition (if OPTION) and boot into external recovery partition
    6. Use Restore

    That's it. You do get the recovery partition. It will be hidden, though, so not obvious. Test by unplugging the external drive and booting with OPTION or R.
  13. waltervt thread starter macrumors member

    Jun 24, 2011
    Valencia, Spain
    Wow, that is a lot of information, However it sound (to me) like a lot of work to get a hard drive up and running. Please do let us know how are you getting along with the XT over the weeks/months.

  14. Rizvi1 macrumors 6502a

    Mar 29, 2006
    Laurel, MD (Baltimore, MD / Washington, DC area)
    In my 2.4 GHz i5 MacBook Pro (MacBookPro6,2) I'm actually planning on upgrading my hard drive to a larger 5400 or 7200 one (trying to figure out pros and cons). Also planning on taking my optical drive out and putting in an SSD. Just trying to figure out best way to proceed.
  15. waltervt thread starter macrumors member

    Jun 24, 2011
    Valencia, Spain
    Hi! Everything depends on two things:

    1. Your space requirements
    2. Your budget

    I'd suggest getting the fastest drive you can afford, so I'd go 7200 over 5400 always. The ideal thing would be getting the biggest SSD made, but that's depends totally on your budget.

    For example, let's say that you need/want around 500GB (with is what I want) I haven't picked the cheapest nor the most expensive drive, but the drives that I think are the best ones.

    You could go for a 500GB @ 5400RPM for $117.99
    http://eshop.macsales.com/item/Western Digital/WD5000BPVT/

    You could go for a 500GB @ 7200RPM for $169.99
    http://eshop.macsales.com/item/Western Digital/WD5000BPKT/

    You could go for a 320GB @ 7200RPM + 120GB SSD + data double for $349.96
    (With this option you "sacrifice" you optical drive)
    http://eshop.macsales.com/item/Western Digital/WD3200BEKT/
    http://eshop.macsales.com/item/Other World Computing/DDAMBS0GB/

    You could go for a 480GB SSD for $799.99

    Hope that gives you an idea, if not then ask me again and I'll be happy to help, and if money is no object get the 480GB SSD and send me one as well!

  16. jtara macrumors 65816

    Mar 23, 2009
    Wow, hard drive prices have gone through the roof! Glad I upgraded just after reading about the supply shortages.
  17. rubirock macrumors regular

    Aug 12, 2009
    Little Beirut
    yeah, I paid something like $54 for the same 500gb scorpio blue hd less than a year ago
  18. waltervt thread starter macrumors member

    Jun 24, 2011
    Valencia, Spain
    yeah, it's all because of the flooding, I guess I'll have to wait a bit before upgrading mine...

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