George V. Reilly

MacBook Makeover

MacBook Pro drive

Last week, I gave my 2007 MacBook Pro laptop a makeover before upgrading to Leopard, aka OS X 10.5.

A couple of months ago, I bought 4GB RAM for less than $100, to replace the 2GB that it came with.

I wanted to upgrade the drive too, as I repeatedly came close to filling the original 160GB drive. It was no problem to get a 5400 RPM drive that had more than 300GB, but the 7200 RPM notebook drives were topping out at 200GB. Two weeks, I spotted a Western Digital Scorpio Black 320GB 7200 RPM SATA drive on NewEgg for $180. Sold!

I installed it the night it arrived, and it was quite the ordeal. I followed the iFixit in­struc­tions and it took me a solid hour to dis­as­sem­ble the case, replace the drive, and close it all back up. There are eight pages of photos and more than 30 tiny, fiddly screws to deal with. I also needed two special screw­drivers, a really small Phillips head and a Torx T6. The similar Ex­treme­Tech in­struc­tions conclude by telling you how to format the new drive with Disk Utility from the OS installer DVD; I also used Disk Utility to partition the drive.

By comparison, I also bought a 250GB IDE drive for my old Compaq laptop at the same time. (That machine’s problems turned out to be bad sectors on the original drive.) Only two screws have to be removed to get the drive cage out, and another four to take the drive out of the cage. Five minutes work.

My new Mac drive is very favorably reviewed by Tech Report, which gives it the Editor’s Choice award. It seems faster, but I didn’t bother to benchmark the old drive. That drive is now sitting in a USB enclosure, and will do very nicely for Time Machine backups.

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