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SSD on old Macbook 3,1

7799 Views 12 Replies Latest reply: Jan 26, 2013 6:35 PM by gogogut RSS
gogogut Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
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Aug 5, 2012 4:52 PM


I have an old Blackbook Core 2 Duo 2.2 GHZ (3,1) with 4GB of Ram, still with the original 160GB HDD. Running Snow Leopard 10.6.8.

It has definitely slowed down and I am not looking to by a new one it any time soon. So I am considering replacing the old HDD with a new SSD to buy me a little more time. I am obviously not looking for super-performance, just improvement. However, I am not sure what SSD I should purchase.

From what I have read, my Macbook will only work at 1.5Gbps. Most options out there right now are SATA II (3Gbps) and SATA III (6Gbps). Though I know they are both overkill for my current machine, I am wondering if it would be smarter to get the SATA III in order to future proof a little bit. When I finally do upgrade my laptop, I could transfer the SSD to the new machine.

So here are my questions:

1) In the future, would I be able to use the SSD as an external drive, in case I can't put it in the next computer?

2) Would it be smarter to save the money and get a SATA II now and not worry about what I will do with the drive down the line?

3) I am hoping to spend around $100 for ~128GB SSD. What are good SSD options for an older Macbook (Crucial v4/m4, OCZ, OWC, Kingston, Samsung)?

4) I saw a Samsung 830 128GB on sale for $100. Is this over-kill for my set-up? Would it work? I read somewhere they are actually smaller drives. Would they even fit in the older Macbook?

5) What are the key terms/features should I know when making this decision? People talk about the connectors and some causing problems with Macbooks. Others mention firmware updates. I just want to make sure I don't jump on a seemingly good deal and then find out there is a well-known issue.

Thanks in advance for the help. I have done a bunch of reading online but thought these direct questions might give me some clarity.

Hope all is well,


BlackBook, Mac OS X (10.6.8), 2.2 Ghz Intel Core 2 Duo
  • BGreg Level 6 Level 6 (17,500 points)
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    Aug 5, 2012 6:15 PM (in response to gogogut)

    An SSD uses serial ATA connection protocol, so you can use one in your MacBook, and in the future if you buy a system with wired memory (no hard drive) you could certainly move it to an external case. Even an SATA II (3 Gbit/s) SSD in an external case would be quite fast, so I wouldn't worry about that.


    I wouldn't go for an SATA III (6 Gbit/s), rather, I'd go for an SATA II drive. You'll pay a premium on an SATA III drive, so an SATA II drive should be more affordable.


    I just installed an OWC SSD in a mac mini. Originally got an SATA III drive, however, instead of running at SATA II speeds, it ran at SATA 1 speeds. After talking to OWC, they determined the mini needed an SATA II drive to run at SATA II speeds, so they took care of things, paid for return shipping ... net, it worked out well.  Confirms the good reputation OWC has .... so I'd recommend you give OWC a look. Their SSDs are built in the USA, which was a side benefit for me.  Their 120GB SATA II drive is $127.99, with a 3 year warranty.  You could certainly call OWC and talk with them on connectors/firmware needed for your MacBook.


    Remember when you're sizing what size SSD you need, to allow 10% or more free space for systems usage.

  • BGreg Level 6 Level 6 (17,500 points)
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    Aug 6, 2012 10:00 AM (in response to gogogut)

    You might want to look at the reviews at You can search within the reviews for each product on mac or macbook. The 128GB SSD's are here and the 120GB SSD's are here.  Also, I wouldn't get one with less than a 3 year warranty. Some of the Intel's offer a 5 year warranty.

  • Bimmer 7 Series Level 6 Level 6 (10,265 points)
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    Aug 6, 2012 8:26 PM (in response to gogogut)

    Most SATA III SSD will not be backward compatible with SATA I, they are backward compatible with SATA II...


    Suggestion - get a SATA II SSD to guarantee the backward compatability....

  • Bimmer 7 Series Level 6 Level 6 (10,265 points)
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    Aug 7, 2012 2:47 PM (in response to gogogut)

    The samsung 830 series does work with Macbooks but i'm not quite sure if it will support SATA I...


    I'm not sure who you spoke to at Samsung since the new Macbook Pro Retina comes with a Samsung 830 Series Flash Storage.....All Retina Macbook Pro uses the Samsung 830 series - I own a Retina Macbook...


    If you really want to install a SSD in your Macbook - go with a SATA II SSD......That is your only solution...


    good luck

  • BGreg Level 6 Level 6 (17,500 points)
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    Aug 7, 2012 3:12 PM (in response to gogogut)

    Have you talked to OWC? 800.275.4576 or the form to email them is here.

  • BGreg Level 6 Level 6 (17,500 points)
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    Aug 8, 2012 3:56 AM (in response to gogogut)

    I would look at user comments on Amazon and Newegg, and consider the return policy and warranty. OWC is a no question 30 day return and 3 year warranty. Don't know about the other vendors.

  • apwbutterworth Calculating status...
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    Jan 26, 2013 10:30 AM (in response to gogogut)

    Did you ever get anywhere with this?


    I  am hoping to replace the HDD in my dad's macbook pro 3,1 for an SSD but would hate to waste his money giving him the wrong advice.


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