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How To Upgrade To An Internal 2.5" SATA Solid State Disk (SSD)

Article ID = 171
Article Title = How To Upgrade To An Internal 2.5" SATA Solid State Disk (SSD)
Article Author(s) = Graham Needham (BH)
Article Created On = 17th August 2016
Article Last Updated = 17th August 2016
Article URL = http://www.macstrategy.com/article.php?171

Article Brief Description:
Instructions for upgrading to an internal 2.5" SATA Solid State Disk (SSD)

Upgrading To An Internal 2.5" SATA Solid State Disk (SSD)

Additional information on upgrading the internal drive in an Apple MacBook (Pro) / Mac mini is available in a separate article.

Points To Note About SSDs

  • SSDs are much faster than traditional spinning hard drives - even an SSD on a SATA 1 (1.5Gbps) connection will be faster than a hard disk
  • SSDs are lighter, use less energy (great for laptops) and more durable than spinning hard drives
  • Prices have come right down/are now affordable and the £$ per GB ratio has become reasonable
  • 2TB+ capacity SSDs in a 2.5" form factor are now available (from summer 2016) which is bigger than 2.5" hard disk capacities
  • SSD reliability has dramatically increased over the last few years
  • SSD manufacturers now support Apple computers / OS X

Data Storage

SSDs store data in a completely different way to spinning hard disks. However, this can cause problems down the line such as capacity reduction, speed decreases and the fact that some data written to SSDs may never get erased (which might be a security issue for some people).
  • Capacity reduction - manufacturers use various technologies to prevent this such as Over Provisioning, Garbage Collection and TRIM
  • Speed decreases - manufacturers use various technologies to prevent this such as Wear Levelling, Garbage Collection and TRIM
  • Data security - Apple's OS X has an encryption security feature known as FileVault which can be used on the SSD before you copy any data to it that you want to keep secure
So, this leads us to…

Considerations For Buying An SSD

These are quite different to traditional spinning hard drive considerations:
  • Make sure the manufacturer states Apple / OS X support
  • SSDs may require firmware updates down the line - it's worth checking to see if the manufacturer releases firmware updates that can be installed by an Apple Mac and aren't Windows only
  • Check that the SSD supports the version of the SATA interface you have in your computer
  • Make sure the SSD supports S.M.A.R.T, Garbage Collection and TRIM
  • Consider the Total Bytes Written (TBW) / Wear Level ratings - the higher, the better, especially if you regularly work with large files and/or copy a lot of data on/off your boot drive. Professional/higher-end models may have better ratings but will be more expensive - you get what you pay for.
  • Check the length of the limited warranty (some manufacturers offer 5 or even 10 year limited warranties!)

What You Need Before You Start

Step By Step Instructions For Upgrading Your Disk (Migration method)

  1. Backup or clone your boot disk
  2. de-authorise/deactivate any software/services
  3. Make sure you have plenty of time and space to perform the upgrade - use a clean, flat surface (a towel can be useful to prevent scratching/movement)
  4. NOTE: A good tip is to use an ice cube tray for tracking screws that you may have to remove.
  5. Prepare your tools and unpack your new disk
  6. Upgrade the disk in your computer as per the individual instructions for the computer that you have
  7. Boot your computer from your removed, now external hard disk using either an external drive enclosure or drive dock
  8. If you get an error message about the SSD not being usable with OS X click "Initialize" or alternatively go to Macintosh HD > Applications > Utilities > Disk Utility
  9. Format/partition your SSD as Mac OS HFS+ Extended (Journaled) with a GUID partition map
  10. Quit Disk Utility
  11. Install your required version of OS X to the SSD.
  12. When creating the initial user account use "setup" for the username and password.
  13. Boot to the SSD and login as the "setup" user
  14. Turn on TRIM if the SSD supports it:
  15. NOTE: TRIM for third party SSDs are only supported with OS X 10.10.4 or later.
    • Go to Macintosh HD > Applications > Utilities > Terminal
    • Enter the following commmand:
    • sudo trimforce enable
    • Enter an administrator password
    • NOTE: This Terminal command takes a moment to take effect - be patient. Then the computer will automatically reboot.
  16. If necessary install the latest combo update for the version of OS X you installed:
  17. Once OS X (and any combo update) is installed keep running Apple menu > App Store > Updates tab or Apple menu > Software Update to install all other required Apple updates.
  18. Install Apple Java 6 (Java for OS X 2015-001 download) if required e.g. for older Adobe Creative Suites
  19. If you want to encrypt the SSD do so now:
    • Turn on FileVault
    • Reboot and let it fully encrypt the SSD before continuing
    • Store the encryption key somewhere safe if you are not using iCloud
  20. Go to Macintosh HD > Applications > Utilities > Migration Assistant to migrate required users/data from your removed, now external hard disk using either an external drive enclosure or drive dock
  21. NOTE: If you have encrypted the SSD passwords will be required for all user accounts you want to migrate.
  22. Finish the migration by following the on screen instructions and booting back into your primary user account (not the setup account)
  23. Delete the "setup" user
    • Go to Apple menu > System Preferences > Users & Groups
    • Unlock the preference pane if required (bottom left)
    • Select the "setup" user in the list on the left
    • Click the "-" button at the bottom of the list
    • At the warning message select "Delete the home folder" and untick "Erase home folder securely"
  24. Install Apple and or third party printer drivers if required as they don't always migrate
  25. re-authorise/reactivate any software/services

Step By Step Instructions For Upgrading Your Disk (Cloning method)

  1. Backup or clone your boot disk
  2. de-authorise/deactivate any software/services
  3. Make sure you have plenty of time and space to perform the upgrade - use a clean, flat surface (a towel can be useful to prevent scratching/movement)
  4. NOTE: A good tip is to use an ice cube tray for tracking screws that you may have to remove.
  5. Prepare your tools and unpack your new disk
  6. Upgrade the disk in your computer as per the individual instructions for the computer that you have
  7. Boot your computer from your removed, now external hard disk using either an external drive enclosure or drive dock
  8. If you get an error message about the SSD not being usable with OS X click "Initialize" or alternatively go to Macintosh HD > Applications > Utilities > Disk Utility
  9. Format/partition your SSD as Mac OS HFS+ Extended (Journaled) with a GUID partition map
  10. Quit Disk Utility
  11. Clone your old hard disk
  12. Boot to the SSD and login
  13. Turn on TRIM if the SSD supports it:
  14. NOTE: TRIM for third party SSDs are only supported with OS X 10.10.4 or later.
    • Go to Macintosh HD > Applications > Utilities > Terminal
    • Enter the following commmand:
    • sudo trimforce enable
    • Enter an administrator password
    • NOTE: This Terminal command takes a moment to take effect - be patient. Then the computer will automatically reboot.
  15. If necessary install the latest combo update for the version of OS X you have:
  16. If you want to encrypt the SSD do so now:
    • Turn on FileVault
    • Store the encryption key somewhere safe if you are not using iCloud
  17. re-authorise/reactivate any software/services

2.5" SATA Solid State Disks (SSDs)

If you are upgrading to a Solid State Disk (SSD) see our article on upgrading to/using SSDs.
  • Samsung 850 EVO
    • Samsung 850 EVO SSD 4TB (part code = MZ-75E4T0) Buy it now at Amazon UK Buy it now at Amazon USA
    • Samsung 850 EVO SSD 2TB (part code = MZ-75E2T0) Buy it now at Amazon UK Buy it now at Amazon USA
    • Samsung 850 EVO SSD 1TB (part code = MZ-75E1T0) Buy it now at Amazon UK Buy it now at Amazon USA
    • Samsung 850 EVO SSD 500GB (part code = MZ-75E500) Buy it now at Amazon UK Buy it now at Amazon USA
    • Samsung 850 EVO SSD 250GB (part code = MZ-75E250) Buy it now at Amazon UK Buy it now at Amazon USA
    • Samsung 850 EVO SSD 120GB (part code = MZ-75E120) Buy it now at Amazon UK Buy it now at Amazon USA
  • Samsung 850 PRO
    • Samsung 850 PRO SSD 2TB (part code = MZ-7KE2T0) Buy it now at Amazon UK Buy it now at Amazon USA
    • Samsung 850 PRO SSD 1TB (part code = MZ-7KE1T0) Buy it now at Amazon UK Buy it now at Amazon USA
    • Samsung 850 PRO SSD 512GB (part code = MZ-7KE512) Buy it now at Amazon UK Buy it now at Amazon USA
    • Samsung 850 PRO SSD 256GB (part code = MZ-7KE256) Buy it now at Amazon UK Buy it now at Amazon USA
    • Samsung 850 PRO SSD 128GB (part code = MZ-7KE128) Buy it now at Amazon UK Buy it now at Amazon USA
  • Toshiba/OCZ TR150 SSD
    • OCZ TR150 SSD 960GB (part code = TRN150-25SAT3-960G) Buy it now at Amazon UK Buy it now at Amazon USA
    • OCZ TR150 SSD 480GB (part code = TRN150-25SAT3-480G) Buy it now at Amazon UK Buy it now at Amazon USA
    • OCZ TR150 SSD 240GB (part code = TRN150-25SAT3-240G) Buy it now at Amazon UK Buy it now at Amazon USA
    • OCZ TR150 SSD 120GB (part code = TRN150-25SAT3-120G) Buy it now at Amazon UK Buy it now at Amazon USA
  • Toshiba/OCZ VT180 SSD
    • OCZ TR150 SSD 960GB (part code = VTR180-25SAT3-960G) Buy it now at Amazon UK Buy it now at Amazon USA
    • OCZ TR150 SSD 480GB (part code = VTR180-25SAT3-480G) Buy it now at Amazon UK Buy it now at Amazon USA
    • OCZ TR150 SSD 240GB (part code = VTR180-25SAT3-240G) Buy it now at Amazon UK Buy it now at Amazon USA
    • OCZ TR150 SSD 120GB (part code = VTR180-25SAT3-120G) Buy it now at Amazon UK Buy it now at Amazon USA

External 2.5" SATA disk cases/enclosures

External 2.5" SATA Drive Docks and Connectors

Universal 2.5"/3.5" PATA/SATA Drive Docks and Connectors
NOTE: Special information on using drives that are larger than 2TB.
Thunderbolt Hard Drive Enclosures and Docks
NOTE: Special information on using drives that are larger than 2TB.

Authorised/Activated Software and/or Services

NOTE: If you know of any other Macintosh software that requires activation please contact us.

Article Keywords: install new replace replacement upgrade upgrading MacBook Pro Mac mini macmini hard disk drive HDD 2.5" SATA solid state SSD upgrade hard disk upgrade hard drive Macintosh

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