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Hard drives for a 2010 15" macbook pro, Help

Created by UrbanGt on Nov. 19, 2012, 9:32 a.m.
  • Hi everyone, so my MacBook decided to have some hard drive failure and the only thing I can write this post on is a macbook air in the apple store. I was wondering if someone could recommend some large hard drives and ssds that would be compatible with my MacBook and links since ill have to order through my phone. The hard drive that has failed is a 320 Gb, so I would like something larger, I've also never done anything like this but I guess there's a first for everything. I thank you very much in advance for all the help and recommendations. I was also wondering is there something I could buy to place my old semi functional hard drive in to connect via USB to try and get data from? Thanks again.

  • basically 2.5" HDD will do, or even an SSD (which are basically all 2.5" too). You can usually get 2.5" HDDs up to and including 1TB in size if you want. There is also the RPM factor for picking a harddrive; the two most common speeds you see will be either 5400 RPM or 7200 RPM. 5400 RPM is the speed for the drive that came in your Mac is. They're slower but use slightly less battery power and are cheaper. 7200 RPM are faster but use more power and cost a bit more. I would just go with 5400 personally. As long as it is a SATA drive (Almost all harddrives available now are. They don't sell many IDE drives anymore so basically anything available will work as long as it is 2.5") you will be fine. I've changed HDDs on Macs before, it is incredibly easy. You just need a screw driver. The instruction manual that came with your laptop has instructions on how to do it (at least the manual in my 13" Pro from 2010 did).

    The only choice you really have to make for picking a harddrive is brand. They're all similar but some people have certain affinities. You could always just go with what is cheapest unless you have a preferred brand (I always use Western Digital but Seagate is fine too, or Samsung. It doesn't really matter). There isn't really any specific harddrive you have to use for Mac since you will have to format the drive to HFS+ anyway. There is instruction on how to do this in your manual. You just need your install disk to do this (you put in the new drive and boot to the install disk. Again this should be in the manual if I remember right). It basically formats the drive as part of the OSX installation process so it keeps things nice and simple. You essentially put in the disk, pick how much of your drive to partition (normally you just pick the entire thing), and then leave the computer as it installs OSX.

    For the second question, yes they do sell those. It referred to as a 2.5" external drive enclosure and you can get them for like $20. I put the HDD from my Mac in one when I replaced it with an SSD. It is also a fairly simple task.

  • Drive: http://www.amazon.com/Seagate-Momentus-Internal-Notebook-ST9750420AS/dp/B004MME0N0/ref=sr_1_7?ie=UTF8&qid=1353348831&sr=8-7&keywords=sata+2.5+hard+drive

    Enclosure: http://www.amazon.com/Vantec-NexStar-2-5-Inch-External-Enclosure/dp/B002JQNXZC/ref=sr_1_9?ie=UTF8&qid=1353348831&sr=8-9&keywords=sata+2.5+hard+drive

  • @UrbanGt: For a HDD, I'd recommend the WD Scorpio series (had good experiences with two of these drives myself). The Blacks are 7200rpm, but get a Scorpio Blue if you only need 5400rpm. For SSDs, the Crucial M4, while a bit old at this point, is still good (and usually cheap), and the Samsung 830 might be getting some price reductions soon for the recent release of the 840 (which I have a slightly harder time recommending, as it's been reported to have some reliability problems and failures in the 840 Pro variety, but has also reviewed extremely well for the slightly lower performance vanilla 840).

    For the old drive, you can just stick it in a cheap USB enclosure.

  • @AwesomeAndy: Dang, I should've looked on Amazon for the enclosure--that's dirt cheap!

  • @PillClinton: There's another one that's a couple bucks cheaper, but it doesn't have Prime shipping, which is probably helpful in this situation.

  • You guys are the best, thanks so much for all of the recommendations and info. So I was looking at a 1 tb drive and was wondering if this would be good to get. I do a lot of work with adobe programs at college(speaking of which, I'm glad the drive failed just as I started my thanksgiving break, as opposed to being in the middle of classes) and those file sizes can get pretty large and I also have a windows partition for obscure windows programs I may need to use, aside from gaming, link: http://www.amazon.com/gp/aw/c/ref=aw_d_c_electronics


    I was also wondering if someone could point me in the direction of a ram upgrade, I currently have 4gbs of ram but adobe programs eat up a lot of that and would like to upgrade to 8 and this seems like as great a time as any, is there anything specific I should be looking for to match my MacBook. Thanks again for all of the help, I am eternally grateful as I type away on my phone.
  • @UrbanGt: I think that link may be broken, for me at least. For the RAM, unfortunately you can't look at the specs on your Pro right now, but I also have a 2010 Pro, so I'm guessing it's 1066MHz DDR3 memory. Something like this would work. But to be sure, you should either open up your MacBook and check, or go to everymac.com and make sure you find your specific Pro and its specs.

  • That link doesn't work. There's no reason not to get 1 TB if it's in your budget, however.

    This RAM looks like it'll work: http://www.amazon.com/Kingston-Technology-Notebook-KTA-MB1066K2-8G/dp/B001PS9UKW

  • Another question for those that are familiar with replacing the hard drive is what is the process to getting Mac OS onto the new hard drive. I can't find my manual but I have found two DVDs, one that is the Mac OS X install, and the other is the applications install. When I got my MacBook it was running snow leopard which is probably going to be the first DVD. I was running mountain lion which I bought off the Mac App Store, I'm assuming I can just redownload it for free and do the upgrade.
  • Apologies guys, http://www.amazon.com/gp/aw/d/B005DVJJWQ maybe that works, it's a western digital Scorpio blue 1 tb, and thanks for the info about the ram, ill be sure to check it out now.

    This seems to be my Mac http://www.everymac.com/systems/apple/macbook_pro/specs/macbook-pro-core-i5-2.4-aluminum-15-mid-2010-unibody-specs.html

    Thanks again for all of the help guys, I really appreciate it.
  • If you can, you can download and burn a copy of Mountain Lion and just install directly from that. Whether you get it from Apple or less legitimate places* is up to you. If you don't have any way of doing that, then, yeah, you can just install from your DVD. If it finds no boot sector on your new hard drive, it *should* take you to the EFI bootloader where you can choose the DVD to boot from. I'm not sure if there's any other way to install Mountain Lion if you don't have a recovery partition anymore or didn't burn a recovery disc.

    *As you probably know, there's no CD key or anything that needs to be input, so discs you find on such sites *should* be identical to what you'd get from Apple by downloading the installer and turning it into an install disc.

  • @UrbanGt said:

    Another question for those that are familiar with replacing the hard drive is what is the process to getting Mac OS onto the new hard drive. I can't find my manual but I have found two DVDs, one that is the Mac OS X install, and the other is the applications install. When I got my MacBook it was running snow leopard which is probably going to be the first DVD. I was running mountain lion which I bought off the Mac App Store, I'm assuming I can just redownload it for free and do the upgrade.

    Yes the first DVD will be Snow Leopard. Yes you can get Mountain Lion back from the store. The license for Mountain Lion is tied to your Apple ID. From my understanding, you just install Snow Leopard from DVD, update it so that the App Store is installed (which is 10.6.8 I think?) and then it should just be under the tab for stuff you own. That's how it was for me. They wouldn't make you buy it twice.

    If you need a guide for changing the HDD since you don't have your manual, Tested has an old but still relevant video on how to do it. It is quite simple.

    Edit: If you have trouble booting the disk remember to hold down the 'C' key while booting to get it to boot from the disk inserted in the disk drive.

  • ifixit should have a guide on HDD replacement, as well.

  • Thanks so much guys, you're all a real life saver. It's good to know I won't have to pay again to upgrade to mountain lion. I've also finished ordering everything. I really do appreciate all of the help from everyone so thanks again, I'll be sure to look for that tested video, and ifixit guide to iron out any further questions I may have. Thank you!
  • @UrbanGt said:

    Thanks so much guys, you're all a real life saver. It's good to know I won't have to pay again to upgrade to mountain lion. I've also finished ordering everything. I really do appreciate all of the help from everyone so thanks again, I'll be sure to look for that tested video, and ifixit guide to iron out any further questions I may have. Thank you!

    Here's the Tested video. I have them subscribed on my Youtube so it took 2 seconds to find. Much faster than digging through the video menu on the site right now.

  • @Ben_H:  Thanks! I can tell it's an old video by how much different Will looks, and the chrome icon too haha.
  • Don't know if you purchased yet, but I would strongly recommend getting an SSD. It is incredibly faster and everything on your computer will be faster. To me, it's the difference between a fast computer and a slow computer.

  • @Bloody_El said:

    Don't know if you purchased yet, but I would strongly recommend getting an SSD. It is incredibly faster and everything on your computer will be faster. To me, it's the difference between a fast computer and a slow computer.

    Normally I would too, but he needs tons of space for various editing programs he uses for school so it wouldn't actually be useful in this case.

    I have an SSD in my Mac and when I first got it my mind was blown with how fast it is. But in this case it would be better to just have a larger HDD.

  • @Bloody_El@Ben_H:  I would definitely love to get an SSD but the prices are still out of my range, and not at big enough storage capacities for my needs, at least for the ones that I've seen. I mean I'm definitely not going to get a 1TB or maybe 500 GB SSD for $90, right haha.
  • Ah I didn't read that part. An alternative to 5400 RPM drives is the Hybrid Hard Drives with SSD Cache. There is actually a fantastic deal on newegg.com for it:

    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16822148591

    After promo is $49 for 500 GB storage. That is a good deal before the SSD Cache. I would jump on that!

  • @Bloody_El:  Thanks for sharing, that seems like a great deal, if it was a 1 TB drive or 750 GB I would definitely jump on that in a heartbeat, that seems like an awesome price.
  • @PillClinton@AwesomeAndy:  So I may or may not have a not have a ram dilemma. Thanks to you guys I was able to get my MacBook Pro back into a fully functional state with an upgraded hdd (save for some os updates that will have to wait once I get back to school and have Internet at my disposal that's not the 3G from my phone). So now that I'm actually able to get to my desktop, I saw that the ram in my laptop is 1067 mhz but the ram that I bought is 1066 MHz. Will it be a problem if I put that ram into my machine?
  • @UrbanGt: Nope, it'll be just fine. I have that same exact RAM kit in my Pro, which seems to be the same one you have. OS X just reads it as 1067 for some reason.

  • That's almost certainly a difference in measurement. Even if they're legitimately different, a <0.1% difference is not even going to show up on a benchmark, never mind real world usage.


  • @PillClinton: @AwesomeAndy: Thanks a lot guys, it's working great, and just in time as I've returned to school for classes.