Two must-have MacBook Pro upgrades: SSD and OptiBay

Two must-have MacBook Pro upgrades: SSD and OptiBay

Summary: Two essential upgrades for the MacBook Pro: Mercury Extreme Pro SSD from OWC and the OptiBay Drive Kit from MCE Technologies.

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Two must-have MBP upgrades: SSD and OptiBay - Jason O'Grady

I took some time this weekend to upgrade my wife's MacBook Pro 15-inch and hooked her up with two essential upgrades that give the MBP the best of both worlds.

First, I removed the stock 500GB hard drive -- which was a dog -- and replaced it with a scorching-fast 480GB Mercury Extreme Pro SSD from OWC. The Extreme Pro SSD is the best upgrade that I've ever installed in a MacBook Pro because it was like instantly doubling its speed. I couldn't put it in my 13-inch MacBook Air, so my wife's the lucky recipient. 240GB costs $395, 480GB will set you back $860.

Second, I yanked the stock optical drive -- which practically had cobwebs in it -- and replaced it with an OptiBay Drive Kit from MCE Technologies. The OptiBay costs $99 blank (or $199 with a 1TB hard drive) and gets you a whole second drive worth of internal storage inside your MBP. Opting for the 1TB OptiBay offsets some of the pricey storage you might have to sacrifice by going with a SSD as your primary drive.

Two great upgrades that are essential for the MacBook Pro.

Topics: Laptops, Apple, Hardware, Mobility

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31 comments
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  • Advertorial

    How generous of ZDNet to continue in their tradition of promoting Apple products in this way.

    Not only are these extras beneficial; they earn more money for the corporation too.
    Tim Acheson
    • RE: Two must-have MacBook Pro upgrades: SSD and OptiBay

      @Tim Acheson <- What a douche!
      General C#
    • RE: Two must-have MacBook Pro upgrades: SSD and OptiBay

      @Tim Acheson How does Apple make money off some aftermarket add on?
      eyecoin
    • RE: Two must-have MacBook Pro upgrades: SSD and OptiBay

      @Tim Acheson You are a twit. Get off your preconceived ideas horse and read the article. Perhaps you can't read and that's your issue.
      mattmuir
  • The SSD alone costs more than a Dell Inspirion.

    It only proves again that Macs are for the rich only.
    cym104
    • RE: Two must-have MacBook Pro upgrades: SSD and OptiBay

      @cym104 yeah and some sell their organs to buy an iPad. Apple gear is alluring. Some go to great saving lengths to buy stuff like this. It the Apple DNA. Some see the merit in buying more expensive stuff because they see the benefits.
      marcomar
    • RE: Two must-have MacBook Pro upgrades: SSD and OptiBay

      @cym104 Nope. For the rich, yes. But also for those of us who use our laptops professionally. One lens for my camera can cost the same as four MacBook Pros. Get some perspective. If you're buying a laptop to play Rage, that's one thing. But professionals need professional tools. And when you compare laptops with the same specs as MacBook Pros, you'll find the MBP comes out rather competitive.
      ewelch
    • RE: Two must-have MacBook Pro upgrades: SSD and OptiBay

      @cym104 Thanks, I needed a laugh. The Optibay device is overpriced, I'll give you that much, but $100 for a notebook 1TB hard drive and $860 for 480GB of SSD storage is about the going rate for OEM-branded and non-name brand devices, respectively.

      On a side note, I installed a 240 GB SSD in my wife's MBP and it's made a huge difference.
      Champ_Kind
    • RE: Two must-have MacBook Pro upgrades: SSD and OptiBay

      @cym104 Ya but who would want one of those?
      eyecoin
    • RE: Two must-have MacBook Pro upgrades: SSD and OptiBay

      Yes thats right. Statistically Mac buyers tend to be better educated and financially better off. Unlike their Dell owning cousins who tend to be lowly educated trailer park types
      eyballgouge
  • WOW!

    600 dollars for an SSD and a 1TB disk drive ...
    ... now that's what I call a 'must-have' upgrade :-)

    OWC kit is for creative pros pushing the limits of Photoshop and Premiere. Guess J DOG's wife has a bunch of gigapixel holiday snaps and 9GB movies ;-) ;-)
    jacksonjohn
    • MAC Performance

      This site has some useful information ... for both Windows and MAC users ...

      http://macperformanceguide.com/

      ... in particular it gives a good indication of the equipment quality and dimensioning required to process workloads at varying scales.
      jacksonjohn
  • RE: Two must-have MacBook Pro upgrades: SSD and OptiBay

    Very interesting. What model MacBook Pro, please? What speed is the 1TB drive. How much weight and heat did this mod add, if any.
    frank@...
  • RE: Two must-have MacBook Pro upgrades: SSD and OptiBay

    I'd get a smaller, less expensive SSD drive, and then move my user folder onto the second drive. That way you can save money and still have plenty of space. Then an external Thunderbolt drive like the LaCie unit with two 240 gig SSDs would give me all the storage I'd need for any photo trip I'll ever make.
    ewelch
  • RE: Two must-have MacBook Pro upgrades: SSD and OptiBay

    Jason, you're perpetuating the "Apple Elite" stereotype needlessly. The basics of your article make sense, It's a good upgrade. But you're basically throwing away a 500GB stock drive because "it's a dog", then paying a big premium for a 480GB SSD, and adding an Optibay with a 1TB drive (which is 5400 rpm just like the dog you started with).
    A much more practical choice would have been to buy the Optibay with a 128GB SSD included for $399. That would let you put in a 128GB system drive which should be plenty, in my opinion, and then put the stock 500GB drive in the Optibay. I also noticed that MCE is including an enclosure for your stock SuperDrive for no extra cost. That brings your cost down from $1060 to $399. And, for most people, it's much more realistic.
    griffsdad
    • Or ...

      @griffsdad ... get the 240GB OWC SSD for $395 and the blank OptiBay for $99 and stuff the "dog" 500GB drive into it. This just nets you a larger SSD, if that's important.

      But griffsdad's suggestion or this each seem to be more practical and reasonable.

      At least the thought was good: use an SSD for a big speed boost but pair it with a hard drive (instead of optical) for better long-term storage. And you still get to have the optical as an external drive for the occasional need. How cool is that?
      jscott69
    • RE: Two must-have MacBook Pro upgrades: SSD and OptiBay

      @griffsdad

      Agreed. That's going to be my upgrade path once my AppleCare warranty runs out in 19 months (of course, by then, the specs might go up to 256GB for the SSD for about the same price). Right now, I'm okay with my 7200rpm 500GB BTO drive.
      ssaha
  • RE: Two must-have MacBook Pro upgrades: SSD and OptiBay

    Why not opt for the OWC Data Doubler solution and save some extra cash instead of the optibay?
    syazbeck
  • RE: Two must-have MacBook Pro upgrades: SSD and OptiBay

    Is there some advantage of the optibay over the data doubler bracket?
    syazbeck
  • RE: Two must-have MacBook Pro upgrades: SSD and OptiBay

    For me, the whole point of subscribing to this blog is to find out about Apple products and accessories. Luckily I don't need to use Windows, so I don't subscribe to similar blogs for that OS - and I don't see the need to complain about their content. I don't understand people complaining about Apple in general and this blog in particular - if they don't like the company or its products - it's not compulsory buying Apple or reading about it. I agree with a critical attitude to any company or product, but it's computing, not a religion. My custom goes to the best product and changes as a new one comes up elsewhere. I DO want to know about new Apple and compatible products - so keep up the good job, guys. Don't get put off by the complainers. As for the cost, we decide what we buy and in what configuration, depending on our professional or private requirements and our budgets, according to the information available.
    mainvision