Previous 1 2 Next 18 Replies Latest reply: May 26, 2009 3:09 PM by Kappy
sdschramm Level 3 Level 3 (500 points)
Well, I'm thinking on upgrading my hard drive in my MacBook to something like this one:

But I was wondering if my MacBook can handle it. I'm sure it would be able to take advantage of the faster 7200rpm drive (vs the 5400 in their now) but what I am really wondering is if it will read the 3.0 GB/s SATA, or if it will only read as fast as the older, 1.5 GB/s drives.

Any ideas?


Black MacBook 2.0Ghz CoreDuo/2GB RAM/120GB HD & 500MHz iBook G3/640 RAM/160GB HD, Other OS, OS X 10.5.x Leopard on the MacBook, and OS X 10.4.11 Tiger on the iBook
  • Kappy Level 10 Level 10 (262,720 points)
    You can install a SATA 3.0 drive, but MacBooks only support SATA 1.5, so there's no speed advantage from the SATA 3.0 drive. It will function as a SATA 1.5 drive.

    The drive you referenced will work in your MB given the above limitation.
  • CIA Jones Level 1 Level 1 (65 points)
    I upgraded my MacBook's hard drive to a 7200RPM & there was a minor speed boost, but nothign incredible. I only honestly notice it using VMWare Fusion to run Vista. Otherwise the normal use inside of OS X seems unchanged.

    Also be aware that the 7200RPM drive will reduce battery life (that is, how long it holds a charge; not total life span) & your unit will get hotter. To combat the heat use a program called SMC FanControl; it lets you create custom fan speeds to keep the system cool. Mine runs between 38C & 42C in normal usage.
  • Kappy Level 10 Level 10 (262,720 points)
    The power consumption of a 7200 RPM vs 5400 RPM drive of the same capacity is negligible. Some 7200 RPM models consume less power than their 5400 RPM counterparts. One Seagate 7200 RPM model uses 2.4 watts maximum compared to 2.8 watts for the equivalent 5400 RPM drive.

    As for heat there's little noticeable difference as well given the relatively similar power dissipations.

    Faster drives will only manifest themselves in use when there is a high level of drive access. This is not typically the case for normal use. However, backups will be faster on a 7200 RPM drive as an example.
  • xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxy Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
    Note that a SATA 3.0Gbps (a.k.a SATA II, SATA2, SATA 300MB/sec) drive has to switch (somehow) to 1.5Gbps mode in order to function on a SATA 1.5 bus (which all the current Macs except the Mac Pro seem to have).

    This was a problem with older SATA 1.5 controllers and older SATA 3.0 drives and you had to use jumpers on some drives for example.

    Western Digital tells me their current 3.0 drives auto-switch to 1.5, and run optimally. The drives can't be explicitly set using jumpers (anymore), and they have no configuration utility.

    Hitachi tells me their current 3.0 drives should be set to 1.5 using their Windows-only utility for "optimal performance" especially under "heavy load like video editing". They still have SATA 1.5 models available, but they're harder to find and (perversely) more expensive.
  • sdschramm Level 3 Level 3 (500 points)
    Thanks everyone for you help.

    So your saying I should stick with a 1.5 GB/s dirve rather then a 3 (because the 3 will only run at 1.5 anyways) So then I see no need to pay more for a 3.0GB/s drive.

    And what about the 5400 and 7200? I plan on running XP in Vmware fusion, so you say I should get the faster drive for that? I also plan to do some light HD video editing in iMovie 09. Any preference in drives for that?

    Now I'm concerned about battery life. I just got a brand new battery, and currently it gets an amazing 4:00 to 4:30 hours! But, if I got a faster drive, how much more power would it take? If I loose an extra 10 mins off the drive, then thats fine, but I don't want to go from 4 hours to say, half of that just because I have a faster drive using more electricity.

    So I guess i'm looking for a 320GB (or bigger) had drive that is 7200rpm but is LOW POWER, and runs at 1.5GB/s. Price should be less then $75.

    Anyone have recommendations to meet that guideline?

  • CIA Jones Level 1 Level 1 (65 points)
    According to Kappy: power consumption is often negligible & as a result so is heat.

    I'm just going off my own personal experience with my MacBook (which I did put a SeaGate 320GB 7200RPM drive in). Battery life went from ~5 hours to about 4:30. Depending on where I keep my screen brightness though I can still get 5 hours w/o running a VM if I want. Even with a 7200RPM drive a speed increase in a VM is minor. Don't expect to see it & have your shorts blown off. That being said, there is a slight increase. If you follow Kappy's logic, this is due to the high hard drive access; which does make sense.

    This is what I've purchased

    Take note that it is a 3G/Bs drive, despite not taking adavantage of that particular feature.
  • Kappy Level 10 Level 10 (262,720 points)
    In reality you may find it difficult to locate a notebook drive that only supports SATA 1.5 GB/s. New drives mostly support both 1.5 and 3.0. How they support both is the main issue. Some use a jumper on the drive and others may simply switch automatically via the drive's firmware. Just determine what the case is for whichever drive you purchase so you will know if you must configure the drive manually because you will want to do that before installing the drive.

    If you can afford it buy the faster drive. Regardless of what you do with your computer a faster drive will improve performance for any type of disk access.

    As for power consumption most 320 GB drives have a maximum power consumption between 2.3 and 2.9 watts. Some manufacturers are now producing so-called "green" drives with lower power consumption around 1.6 watts maximum, but these drives also have somewhat lower performance figures because they use a variable motor speed control that reduces the drive's spindle speed to conserve power.

    If you want such a drive then you need to find the manufacturer's model number that identifies a "green" drive. For example Seagate uses a "G" in the model number to distinguish it's "green" drives. Note that they also tend to be more expensive.

    Determine what drive make and model you want then search via Google for the best available prices.

    The Seagate ST9320423ASG is a 320 GB "green" notebook drive with a maximum power usage of 1.6 watts. I have no idea what they cost, but it's not likely $75. 320 GB notebook drives will likely all cost more than $75 regardless of make or model. Green drives if available will be even more expensive assuming you can find a vendor who stocks them.
  • herthinner Level 1 Level 1 (10 points)
    I put that same HD from New Egg, the Hitachi 7K320 in my late 2006 2.0 ghz macbook last month and have have no problems. The only issues have been a reduced battery time, and the noticeable increased vibration from the faster spinning disk (not really an issue). No increase in temperature from what I can tell. My photos from iphoto load much quicker and I love the spaciousness of the disk. Installation was easy and Apple support talked me through booting up anew from time machine.
  • sdschramm Level 3 Level 3 (500 points)
    thanks again to all for the info.

    Another question - what about buying an EXTERNAL 2.5" drive? I've herd that you can take the (new) drive out of the enclosure, put that in your computer, then take the (old) drive out of your computer and put it in the enclose. Then you would have the extra space on the internal drive, but would still be able to use the old drive for backups, etc via USB.

    You would think the internal drives would be cheaper, however, I've seen some external drives cheaper, and again, that would allow me to swap the drives and still use BOTH.

    Any comments on that thought? Has anyone done this?

    (update: here is an example of ones i've seen):
  • Kappy Level 10 Level 10 (262,720 points)
    Yes, you can do that, but then you have no way of knowing what hard drive you will get. You would be better off buying the drive you want and the enclosure separately. Here are some sources for notebook drive enclosures:

    Just be sure the enclosure you buy supports SATA drives and uses an Oxford chipset.
  • CIA Jones Level 1 Level 1 (65 points)
    You could go that way, but like Kappy said: get a standalon enclosure to do what what you're trying. It's what I did. Link below to see the images. In these my enclosure is open, but I did this to show you that the hard drive in there is, in fact, my old Mac hard drive.


    <Edited by Host>

    1) Use SuperDuper! to clone internal drive to external
    2) Swap drives
    3) Make sure data is on new drive
    4) Put old drive in enclosure. Format old drive to your choice (FAT32, HFS+, NTFS, etc)
    5) Profit!
  • Adrian Clarke1 Level 4 Level 4 (3,580 points)
    Hi. I've been reading this thread with interest as I've just bought a new white MB and will be looking to upgrade the HD sometime in the future. I note that you say that MBs only support SATA 1.5 but having checked in System Profiler I find that the SATA device tree shows a speed of 3 Gigabit. Have I misunderstood something or have Apple surreptitiously upgraded the specs?

    Sorry about the threadjack, it is relevant though

    TIA for the clarification

  • Kappy Level 10 Level 10 (262,720 points)
    The unibody MBs do have a SATA 3.0 capable controller. None of the other MB models do, however.
  • Adrian Clarke1 Level 4 Level 4 (3,580 points)
    Thanks, but I've got a white one...

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