Pimping Up my MacBook Pro

Blog, Personal, Technology

MacBook Pro InsideI’ve had my Macbook Pro a couple of years now. It’s the 15-inch, Mid 2010 model and it’s working great. Recently, I completed a big pimping up session to improve the speed and capability of my laptop.

The first thing I did was to upgrade it from 4GB RAM to 8GB. Unfortunately, 8 gig is the maximum amount it can take, but it’s still a decent amount. Because the laptop is a couple of years old, this is a fairly cheap upgrade with the parts bought from Crucial.

Whilst you have the bottom of the laptop open, it’s worth spraying parts of it with a can of compressed air. There was a fair bit of dust inside and safely removing this will help with the heat and airflow inside the laptop.

Inside a MacBook Pro

The next step was the improve the hard drive. This laptop came originally with a 320GB hard drive, which for me was not enough, given my large media library and big collection of virtual instruments for my music production. I decided that I would install two hard drives. The first one be a Solid State Drive which would increase the speed of the laptop and another normal SATA hard drive which would replace the optical drive that I don’t use that much.

I opted for a 256GB Samsung (Sorry Uncle Steve!) SSD and a Hitachi 1TB drive. In order to fit a second drive I ordered a caddy from Amazon which was about £15. It’s a bit fiddly to install a second drive, but it’s certainly not impossible as long as you can remember which bits you have unscrewed or moved.

I should point out, that older laptops like my one, have motherboards that are only compatible with SATA II drives. This means the speed of the solid state drive is maxed out at 3GB/s – newer laptops that support SATA III will go up to 6GB/s.

The overall speed of this laptop has increased impressively and the extra storage is obviously much more convenient. One thing you should know before you install a second hard drive to replace the optical drive in your laptop – This eats up your battery big time. Normally an optical drive goes to sleep when you’re not using it, saving battery power. With a second drive running constantly, this has a major impact on how long your battery lasts. Something to consider when you upgrade.

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