SSD: Lots of Bang, not too many bucks

For Christmas this year, I was gifted with money, given the stipulation that I must spend it in the coming week. Of course, after having viewed this Screencast on installing an SSD in a MacBook Pro, I decided to emulate the procedure and give my laptop a boost of speed. As noted in the linked page, SSD's are fast, but expensive. Larger capacity drives cost upwards of $500, an amount I wasn't looking to spend. Since I have a decent amount of data on the laptop, doing a full-on replacement of the drive would normally mean trimming out a bunch of data and being constrained by a small drive. However, a company called MCE sells an adapter bay called OptiBay that allows you to install an auxiliary hard drive in the optical drive slot. One of those and a 64GB SSD later, I was ready to install :D

The steps were pretty easy to follow, although the installation was slightly tricky when replacing the optical drive

  • Mount the SSD into the OptiBay with 2 screws (included)
  • Follow the instructions on iFixit on replacing the optical drive.
  • Use SuperDuper to copy your old hard drive to the new SSD (Note that if you have too much data in your home folder at the moment, you will need to delete enough of it to fit and recover it from backup later)
  • Boot up off of the new SSD (and be amazed at the boot time)!
  • If you want to wipe off the old drive (and make it non-bootable, just storage), go to Disk Utility and reformat the old drive.
    • Use the following command to recopy your home folder over to your old drive
    • mkdir -p /Volumes/<VolumeName>/<username> && ditto -rsrc /Users/<username> /Volumes/<VolumeName>/<username>/

      This will make a folder on the old hard drive to store your local data then do a full clone of your home folder over to it.

  • From the User Accounts Preference Pane, Alt-Click your username, then click Advanced Options... Click Open in the dialog, then point to your home folder on the old drive. Reboot your computer, then voila!


Now you have a super-fast boot drive (and applications), while keeping a larger storage for all your mail, documents, etc.