Mid 2009 Model A1278 / 2.26 or 2.53 GHz Core 2 Duo processor EMC 2326

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Replaced my hard drive, but the connection still appears to be broken?

I bought a replacement hard disk, but the computer won't register any disk I put inside. The old drive still works perfectly, when I use an external adapter. Is there an easy, outboard way to determine if the problem is just with the cable, or actually with the logic board?

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Have you tried doing the reverse here, putting your old HD inside and then plugging in your new HD via the USB/Firewire case/adapter? I think you'll find the new HD is working just fine.

You see your new HD is likely a SATA III (6.0 Gb/s) drive. But your system was not designed to support such a fast drive it's I/O being SATA I or II (1.5 Gb/s or 3.0 Gb/s) depending on the firmware level and the controller chip it has. If you research your original HD specs and your new drive you note the SATA speed difference.

Thats not to say your new drive won't work here it's just you'll need to see if it offers a compatibility mode (SATA I/II jumper) and you should also make sure your firmware is up to date. Here's the link to a Apple TN that will help you on that EFI & SMC firmware updates for Intel-based Macs.

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The new drive works fine through the external. It's the internal connector that is apparently faulty. Just wondering how to tell if this can be fixed by replacing the hard drive cable, or will I need to get a new motherboard?

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If your original drive won't work internally (but works externally), then the HD cable is likely bad as Mayer pointed out (This is an easy fix). If was working internally then the issue is the HD's SATA I/O speed. You could also have both issues here as well.

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Cable failure is so prevalent on this series of machine that I keep two each of the 13" & 15" replacement cables. Apple has widened this cable on the 2012 machines but I've even seen those fail.

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