Tuesday, 17 July 2007

Macbook Pro Upgrade

Ive finally finished the last (for now) of the upgrades to my first gen core duo Macbook Pro and I have to admit that I'm quite happy at the moment.

The first upgrade was a few weeks ago, when I exchanged the superdrive that came with the laptop for another one, specifically an 8x speed, dual-layer burner (a step up from the 4x burner that came with the Macbook). The model is a HL-DT-ST DVD +- RW GWA4080M, which I found on eBay and is supposedly an authentic Apple replacement part (the sticker on the drive has the Apple logo on it). So far the drive has been working fine, Im playing with the idea of upgrading the firmware on it but on the other hand I'm thinking, if its not broken... I guess I need to do some more research first.

My second upgrade was a new hard drive - I installed the Western Digital Scorpio 250GB WD2500BEVS-11UST0, it formats to around 232GB which is still a big jump from the standard 100GB drive that came pre-installed.

I performed both upgrades following the guide available on www.ifixit.com which was a great help. There were a couple of points that they missed in the case of the hard drive installation though.

The first is that the bluetooth module is stuck to the side of the case with glue. This matters because the module is next to the drive and you need to be able to lift it up in order to get at the screws to remove the drive. A credit card or some other similar tool that you can slide down between the bluetooth module and the case in order to break the bond should do the trick.

The second issue is that you will need a Torx 7 screwdriver to remove the supporting struts from the original pre-installed hard drive, you will need to mount these onto your new drive to ensure that it stays snug and doesn't bounce around.

Neither of these are major sticking points but I thought Id share them with you so if there are any brave souls out there planning to do this you'll know what to expect.

For me both of the updates took 45 minutes to 1 hour but that was because I was being incredibly careful about it, I took time so that I wouldnt scratch the case, I made a labeled diagram and placed the screws on it in the correct location so Id know where to put them back later and so on. I think the extra care was worth it as both of the upgrades worked first time.

Afterwards I created a 170GB partition for OS X and a 62GB partition where I installed Windows Vista - but I'll save that for a later post.

Any questions let me know...


stask said...

Hi Andrew,
Did you notice any speed increase after upgrading your HD?
I also have a first gen MBP with 100GB and thinking about upgrade.


Michael & Marion Meyers said...

hi andrew

have you experienced any kernel problems as mentioned in this article? http://www.macspecialist.org/content/articles/macbook_pro_owners_beware/

Andrew Proudlove said...

Hi Guys,
Apologies for the late response but I recently became a father and the baby has kept us quite busy.
To answer your questions though;

I cant say I noticed a speed increase as I think my original drive was also 5400RPM as is the 250GB Scorpio, so access times etc seemed to be the same to me. The big advantage though was the capacity increase.

I havent experienced any problems as a result of upgrading to this drive, no kernal panics or unexplained issues.
Ive since upgraded from Tiger to Leopard and everything is still working away quite happily.

Hope that answers your questions and if youd like to know anything else, please let me know.