RTFM Education – Virtualization, VMware, Citrix

Jun 29 2011   3:51AM GMT

Upgrading MacBookPro 13″ with SSD Drive – Stage 1

Michelle Laverick Michelle Laverick Profile: Michelle Laverick

First, let me say why I wanted to add SSD to the MBP. I’ve been a McUser for just over year. Generally, I love it. But lately the rainbow circle of hell has been coming up more often than would like – and the once boot time has become slow. So for me the performance was the key reason. What also triggered my decision was that there is a new version of Mac OS X (Lion) on its way, and also a new version of Microsoft Orifice 2011 to consider as well.

So my plan wasn’t not buy a big SSD and transfer my existing MacOS configuration to it. Instead I wanted to do a clean install of Mac OS X (Snow Leopard), run a software update – and then wait for Mac OS Lion to be distributed by Apple. Rather oddly they have decided to offer it only as iTunes only distribution method for a moment – there won’t be a separate DVD of Mac OS (Lion) until Apple backpeddles under user and reseller demand.

So my plan was to buy a SATA II craddle – fit the SSD to it, partition and install Mac OS X Snow Leopard, ready for the Lion release. I wanted to keep the DVD player inside the MBP for the moment to ease the deployment process – and bought between the internal SATA and SSD until I was ready to pop-out the DVD, and a fit the SSD as permanent feature. It also allows me to clone the SSD drive to .DMG as build along. This will allow me to roll-back to clean state should the system develop an error, or slow down because of the dreaded “TRIM” issue, which I’m hoping Lion will handle intelligently.

So what I’m aiming for is SSD for OS & Apps, and SATA for data. That will allow me to occasionally wipe the OS build on the SSD when I deem it is “slow” or has become screwy through use. I also run VMware Fusion on the MBP, so I plan if there is enough space to put my Window 7 VM on that SSD, to speed it up its boot/resume process – and performance generally. I might occasionally use the SSD as a scratch drive when ever I’m doing something disk intensive – with an awareness that probably the CPU will then become the bottleneck…

Here’s what I bought to do the upgrade:

A no-name SATA II cadddy (compatible with 2.5″/3.5″). I plan to use the caddy to assist in the upgrade process, and then later by some humongous SATA drive to be used for backup purposes, and to hold large files like my DIVX movie collection.

UPDATE: This turned out to be a POS (Piece of Sh**). Give it a wide berth, would recommend a no-name SATA caddy of ebay that costs less than £5…

A no-name SATA External Optical Drive Enclosure – SuperDrive.

MCE Optibay Altn. 2.5″ 9.5mm SATA Unibody for MacbookPro

and then I bought the OCZ Vertex SATA II 180GB drive

Oh, and reluctantly I bought Microsoft Orifice 2011 for the Mac. This is my LAST MS Orifice purchase, if this doesn’t work. I’m never using Orifice again. My dislike of Entourage is what triggered this move…

First thing I did was a backup. I used Apple TimeMachine (even though I’m not a fan) to NAS on my network, and also to IDE drive in a USB caddie. Should something horrible happen, I would have two options for restoring my system.

I then plugged in the SATA II Caddy, and the SSD drive. Before you begin the install of Mac OS X its worth putting a partition on the SSD, and I did this using the disk utility in the Utilities. I called the partition “MacIntosh SSD” to make easy to ID in the system and to fit in with the standard naming convention.

I then rebooted the MBP holding down the “Option Key” – doing this during the boot process then allows you control which device the MBP boots from by default.

Note: If you have the bluetooth keyboard & magic mouse. You will need to work from the laptop keyboard & pad, as these won’t be recognised when you boot from the DVD

This presented me with 3 devices – the MacIntosh HDD, MacIntosh SSD, and the DVD

I select the DVD, and then select the MacIntosh SSD as the a target device to install Mac OS X to

From this point onwards the install was very much familiar process for anyone who’s ever installed any OS in the life. The install wasn’t blistering going as it was via USB to SATA caddy. But you would be suprised how quickly it boots up from a SSD using the USB caddy. I take this to be a measure of how much quicker SSD is, but also given it is clean fresh build. But I must say I was suprised it beat the internal SATA drive.

I decided to install the second DVD of applications (movie and so on), I probably didn’t need to do that – and I guess I could saved some space by not adding these things in. But I know as soon as deviate from a standard factory build – I would want the damn applications, or something might go pear shapped in the upgrade from Snow Leopard to Lion. After these applications were installed I ran a standard “Software Update” to make sure my copy of MacOS was as up to date as possible.

The next thing I did was boot back to the MacIntosh HDD, and use the Disk Utility to create an .DMG image of the disk…

Note: This image was about 7GB in size…

My next step will be to take the back of the MBP off, and fit the MCE Optibay Altn. 2.5″ 9.5mm SATA Unibody for MacbookPro together with the SSD. Once I’m happy its booting properly, I will re-home the DVD in the SATA External Optical Drive Enclosure. Then the next step will be to wait for Apple to release Lion, and update SSD build.

I will probably take yet another image of SSD, before embarking installing all the applications. Whilst I’m engaged in this process I will keep the Mac OS X build on the SATA disk until I’m happy that the build is good. Once that’s happened, I want to redirect all the folders (Desktop, Documents, UserFolder) to the SATA disk. That way I can be sure that if I wipe the SSD that I won’t loose any data at the same time.

Essentially, the build I’m making here is very similar to what I used to do with my Windows Laptop builds. Wipe OEM. Create a C: and D: partitions – relocate all folders/metadata (.pst and so on) to D: – and then use Symantec Ghost to reset the Windows system when it got clunky. The only difference here is that its SSD drive, and its an Apple OS instead….

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