Hardware upgrade for the MacBook Pro 15″ (early 2011)

In this article I will briefly describe the hardware upgrade process on my MacBook Pro 15″ (early 2011). Hopefully, it will help some of you considering to buy similar hardware. After searching for a SATA 3 6Gb/s SSD I came across the recently released hard drive from Corsair. It was relatively cheap and promised a great deal of performance. Here are the specifications of my new SSD and RAM.

SSD Specifications
Corsair ForceGT 120GB SATA 3 6Gb/s Solid-State Hard Drive
Unformatted capacity: 120GB
Read performance (max): 555MB/s
Write performance (max): 515MB/s
Interface type: SATA 3 6Gb/s

RAM Specifications
Capacity: 4GB x 2: 8GB
Compatibility: SO-DIMM, 204 Pins
Technology: DDR3 SDRAM
Speed: 1600MHz

Before the upgrade the first thing I did was creating a clone of my existing HDD in to the new SSD. Since the SSD wasn’t formatted I have created a Mac OS Extended (Journaled) partition with the GUID option. When it was ready I used the Carbon Copy Cloner to copy the content from my HDD.

You can find the instructions on the following video.

iFixit also has a nice guide on its website. Link1 and Link2.

Once everything was put in place, it was time to start the MBP. In my case it took a bit too long for the login window to appear. In fact it was longer than my old HDD. It was perhaps due to hard drive cache. So I reseted the cache following the instructions on Apple help pages. After the PRAM reset the booting up was extremely fast. The large applications such as Photoshop, Xcode and iPhoto loaded instantly.

However when the speed tests were conducted I couldn’t achieve the read/write speeds mentioned on the specs. In fact it was way too low compared to the maximum. Never the less the performance boost I got was enormous and couldn’t imagine why it took too long for the transition.

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Categories: Hardware, Tips & Tricks
  • Julio Moraes

    I have a mid 2012 MBP with retina display, which has a 256GB SSD SATAIII. I ran the same test and achieves identical read/write results. So, it can be a MAC OSX issue, that cant go faster than this.