Install an SSD into the optical superdrive slot on a MacBook Pro
I find myself never using the MacBook Pro’s optical drive, the only time I have used it was to boot Mac OS from a DVD to reformat and reinstall Mac OS X. Now that it’s so easy to install Mac OS using an external drive though, is having a DVD drive really a good usage of limited hardware real estate on your MacBook/Pro?
If you’re like me, you might consider repurposing the optical drive slot to accommodate another hard drive, like a really fast SSD drive. You can do this using a great product from MCE called the OptiBay, and any internal 2.5″ drive (not just SSD’s). LifeHacker just wrote up a complete walkthrough on the hardware installation process, and it’s really motivated me to do this install myself.
What you’ll need to install a hard drive or SSD into the Optical Bay of a MacBook / MacBook Pro:
* MCE OptiBay for your MacBook Pro (starts around $99)
* A superfast SSD drive, like the Intel X25 SSD, disk space and prices vary from $115 to $430
* Carbon Copy Cloner to make bootable backups
* Patience, and comfort with disassembling computer hardware
It’s really worth mentioning that the $99 OptiBay unit comes with a caddy to turn your once internal SuperDrive DVD unit into an external DVD drive, which is a really great added bonus and allows you to still use the SuperDrive.
The OptiBay unit includes good installation guides or you can shell out $50 to have them do it for you by mailing in your Mac. If you’d like to do it yourself and you want to see in advance what the process involves, I’d highly recommend checking out the LifeHacker article to take a peak at the installation process. As you can see in the below picture from the LifeHacker walkthrough, it involves taking apart the entire back case on a Unibody MacBook & MacBook Pro:
So is this worth it? I think if you don’t use your optical superdrive, and you want more hard disk space – then absolutely yes. Plus installing an SSD on a MacBook/Pro is a really good way to boost performance, it’s a bit dated but you can see MacPerformanceGuide.com for more on SSD’s and Mac’s. I have seen the performance boosts firsthand, a friend of mine recently added a 160GB Intel X25 SSD to his MacBook Pro as the main disk and it absolutely screams. The OptiBay drive really allows for the best of both worlds: using an SSD as the main drive to run Mac OS X and apps off of, and using the OptiBay drive to put a larger standard 2.5″ disk in to use as file storage.