Sunday, 11 February 2007

MacBook hard drive and memory upgrade

Boy, that was fun. Upgrading a Mac Book memory - and the hard drive - yech!

I wanted more memory so I can run the excellent Parallels Desktop for Mac, as well as play with various music tools on the Mac.

Yes folks, just the one, small Intel x86 MacBook with its awesome battery life, and running both Mac OS X and Windows XP at the same time, debugging code on both without any problems whatsoever. Apart, that is, from the strange keyboard mapping when in Windows XP on Mac OS (all sorts of keys useful for programming aren't mapped properly - which gets confusing!)...

Anyways, here are some upgrade tips:

Before you start, take a look at how to take the back off your Mac Book, through this video of taking the memory and hard drive out of your MacBook... excellent!

Before you start to install your memory upgrade (or the hard drive upgrade), you'll first need a Phillips No. 0 screwdriver. Don't bother even getting started without one of these! I upgraded the RAM in my MacBook from the measly 512KB (made up of two 256KB units ... why do Apple provide such a pathetically small amount of memory on a standard MacBook?) to the maximum 2GB (made up of two 1GB units).

If you want to upgrade the hard drive, you'll also need the right size of Torx screwdriver (get a set of the small ones!) or you won't be able to take the hard drive out of its mounting bracket (and fit the replacement into the bracket... before putting the thing back in!).

Oh, and the SuperDuper! software is fabulous/essential for first backing-up your hard drive. I found that I in addition to my new Seagate Momentus 120GB drive (to replace the Seagate Momentus 60GB that was pre-installed in the MacBook), I also needed a SATA to USB adaptor so that I could copy-across the data from the drive in the Mac to the new drive ... I got this one which seemed to do the trick. Oh, and as this was a MacBook upgrade, I was very careful to get a 2.5" SATA drive... and why don't Apple fit a bigger drive as standard so I didn't have to upgrade the drive in the first place?!

Basically, in order to do the upgrade, I first plugged the new drive into the SATA to USB adaptor, then plugged this into my Mac Book. I used SuperDuper to copy the data (after a couple of attempts... the first try hung-up!) from the hard disk in my MacBook to the new disk. Next, I restarted my Mac pressing Opt when restarting to give me the option of which drive to boot from (the internal one, or the newly copied external one). Note: the Opt key on my MacBook is the one between the ctrl key and the key with the Apple logo on it... why Opt isn't written on the key is a good question! Anyways, that allowed me to do a test boot from the external hard drive before replacing the internal one with the new drive.


I hope this info is of some use!


Tom said...

Outstanding, The links to the video and parts needed helped alot.
I see that the OPT key is now labeled

Tim Molter said...

I also upgraded to a 500GB HD and managed to do it for under $100 after I resold my old hard drive. I put up instructions so other people can see how to do it. I hope it's helpful to someone!

Pete Cole said...

Thanks Tom and Tim for your comments! :)