Installing a SSD into my MacBook Pro (June 2007)

***For those of you that don’t know I am a snowboard photographer. Please take a minute to check out my Photography, follow me on FacebookInstagramTwitter, and take a look at my blog. ***

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What was supposed to be a 30 minute upgrade turned into a huge headache. Below you will read about the problem, attempted solutions, and the final outcome.

Before we get down to details here are the specs on my computer that might be relevant.

  • MacBook Pro 15-Inch Core 2 Duo (June 2007, MacBookPro2,2)
  • This macbook is using SATA 1 (1.5Gbps) controllers inside and cannot achieve SATA II rates)

After much looking and talking with my buddy Jason about possible a SSD for my Mac I found the G.Skill Phoenix Pro 120GB SSD SATA II 2.5″ on sale at Newegg.  With a $100 off the retail price it was too good of a thing to pass up.  Two days later the drive arrived at my house.  I was so excited.

 

I preformed a quick backup via Time Machine and powered off my Mac.  Using a youtube tutorial I opened up my Mac and replaced the old HDD with my new SSD.  I then closed the lid, fired her up, and loaded from a Snow Leopard Installation Disk.  Upon accessing Disk Utilities I attempted to format the new SSD but it failed to show up in the selection window.  Fearing I was sent a DOA I pulled the drive out, replaced it with my old HHD and placed the SSD in an external enclosure.

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I then plugged the external with the SSD into the computer and the SSD mounted on my desktop. YES! It was not dead.  I opened up Disk Utilities and formatted the disk to 1 Partition, Mac OS Extended (Journaled), and GUID Partition Table.  Thinking this might solve my problem I turned everything off and put the SSD back into my Mac and loaded up from the SL Installation Disk once again.

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WTF nothing again!  Having spent most of my day messing with the drive and attempting to reach customer support I gave up and filed for a RMA.  Drive was shipped off to CA and took about 7 days to reach there.  Upon confirmation of delivery a new drive was sent to my house from NJ and arrived in 2 days.

I open the new drive up, crack open my mac, plug in the new SSD, load Disk Utilities from the CD and… NOTHING!  I’m about to freak out.  Pull out the SSD, shove it in the external, load from cd, open Disk Utilities and sure enough there it sits.  This time I decide to load a fresh copy of OSX Snow Leopard from the cd onto the SSD.  Once installation finished I put the SSD back into the computer and fire her up loading from the SSD.  Chime.  Everything is working now.  I watch the introduction video and load some apps to make sure it’s all really working.

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Wow.  Looks like some progress.  I then restart and load from the CD so I can run Time Machine and load everything onto my new SSD.  But what happens?  Once again the drive does not show up in Disk Utilities when loading from the CD.  WTF?  Pull the SSD back out of the computer, into the external and load from disk.  Now I can see the SSD and run the Time Machine transfer and place everything onto the SSD.  SSD back into the mac and fire up.  Everything works great and is right where I left off with my HDD.

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Now my questions are.

  • Do I still have a messed up drive?
  • How long will this drive last?
  • Why wont the drive show up in Disk Utilities when I load from the CD?

Possible answer could be that the build on the OS CD is to old to recognize the newer SSD.  Or that the fact the drive is SATA 2 and my computer has a SATA 1 controller could be a factor.  Although it should not be because SATA 2 is backwards compatible with SATA 1.  Only time will tell but for now I am riding the wave as fast as my SATA 1 controller will let me.  Never can escape the bottleneck can you?

Stay tuned for benchmark and Lightroom Test.

***Update*** It’s been about four years since I wrote this post. The SSD is now in a newer MBP and running with no problems. This drive has really stood the test of time.

For those of you that don’t know I am a snowboard photographer. Please take a minute to check out my Photography, follow me on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and take a look at my blog.

 

5 thoughts on “Installing a SSD into my MacBook Pro (June 2007)

  1. Doesn’t really sound like you “solved” the problem. I wouldn’t consider it solved if you have to unplug the drive and place it into an enclosure to make it work with Time Machine, load the OS, or whatever. The fact of the matter is that G.Skill hasn’t made this drive to be compatible with MAC OS X.

    Just looking at the firmware update page (latest 3.1 as of 12/25/10) it states: “Notes:
    1. The updated software is not support Mac OS and nVIDIA chipset
    We still continue to improve this update software”

    Good write-up and article on a work around… guess that’s the best we can do if we want to use the G.Skill drive in our Macs. I personally own a Mac Pro (tower) and just tried to install my new present into it today to experience the same thing you did.

    The difference is that the Mac Pros have had 3.0Gb SATA connections since they were created back in 2006. So the theory of SATA to SATA2 is blown away due to the fact that I experienced the same thing you did with my Mac Pro (not Mac Book Pro). Simple sad thing is that this drive may not be 100% compatible with MAC OS X and may never be.

    This is thanks to G.Skill, who may only see the benefit of supporting PCs instead (as they have given them higher priorities over MAC). The other side of this is the lack of support on Apple’s end for SSD drives (trim, etc.), which seems it will be supported more in the future release of MAC OS X Lion. So for now, I guess I’ll stick the G.Skill drive in my PC and try to make it work there. Hopefully one of these two vendors will work things out realizing there’s a market for those of us that have a need for speed.

  2. I believe the target for blame is off a little. The controller manufacturer SandForce is responsible for most of the compatibility or issues. While GSkill is not entirely without fault, until SandForce includes more support in its firmware I am afraid there is little anyone else including GSkill can do about Mac compatibility. I believe GSkill is trying to get more from SandForce so hopefully things will improve in the near future. The same problems exist with all manufacturers using the SandFore controllers.

  3. Wondering if you got anywhere with the drive being recognised in the laptop. Ive just encountered the exact same issue

  4. My solution was to place the SSD into a external HD and load everything from my TM onto the SSD. When I would put the SSD back into the computer it was recognized.

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