Is your old Apple laptop starting to struggle? The loading time is so long that you can go and buy a coffee? If so, it might be time to consider upgrading your main system drive to an inexpensive SSD and getting rid of that useless old DVD drive. If it’s an old Macbook, don’t worry. This lesson will be perfect for you.
Today we will open the laptop, remove the DVD drive and replace it with a hard drive. We will then move the current hard drive to this and place the SSD in the position of the main hard drive. This will result in superior load and application launch times, and who needs a DVD drive these days anyway?
You will need
- A set of miniature screwdrivers.
- T6 Torx screwdriver — although you can get away with using a miniature flathead (I did).
- A small plastic spatula for lifting ribbon cables.
- An antistatic wrist strap or many heatsinks in contact.
- SSD — 60GB+ is good, I had about $100 from Amazon, they had the cheapest one.
- DVD to HDD Converter Kit — Optibay is the best option at $49, but I opted for an even cheaper generic model from eBay that needed a bit of modification to fit properly (I will describe this later) . The best choice is the HardWrk adapter that comes with the tools and an external DVD drive cassette that you will remove.
When buying a DVD cassette, be sure to purchase one that converts the disc SATA to interface PATA, used for the DVD drive on older Macs. Newer Macbook models have SATA connectivity to both, so check your exact model first.
I’m working with a late 2006 Macbook Pro — it’s not a unibody aluminum design. However, this can be done on other Macbook models as well. If you’re using a different model, check out the hard drive and DVD removal guides on iFixit.com.
Start by removing the battery through two clips. Then remove the 3 screws holding the memory board in place and slide it out. You can also remove memory, but this is not required.
Unscrew the bottom of the case. There are 4 Phillips screws on the back wall, 2 Torx screws next to the memory and 2 Phillips screws on the inside wall of the battery compartment.
Hint: I’m laying out all the removed screws on a kind of mini-chart showing where they should go back — there are different lengths and threads, so it’s important that you don’t mix them up. Use a piece of paper to actually draw the outline of your Macbook and identifying features if that helps.
Then remove the screws on the edge of the case; There are four on the left and right sides, as well as two on the back loop.
Turn the machine over and carefully lift the screen. Lifting up from the back, you should now be able to remove the entire keyboard section. However, be very careful with the ribbon cable connected to the motherboard. Don’t lift it so hard that it breaks or you’ll be left with a door. The anterior can be difficult to remove — «wiggling» may be necessary. If possible, carefully remove the ribbon cable from the motherboard using a plastic spatula.
Removing the DVD Drive and Hard Drive
There are 4 screws holding the DVD in place — T6 on the top left (next to the cable), 2 tiny Phillips screws on the front and another one on the back.
I would also suggest removing the existing hard drive at this point so that we can install the SSD in place of the main drive and the existing drive in the secondary cassette we are now installing. It’s not strictly necessary though — your SSD will work in the new Caddy, but maybe not the best possible performance.
In the following photos, I did not. It wasn’t until after everything was put back together that I realized that the interface for the DVD drive (PATA) might be slower than the actual SATA interface that the main drive is running on. So I reopened it and flipped everything.