Late 2011 model, A1278 / 2.4 GHz i5 or 2.8 GHz i7 processor.

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Installing and managing SDD and HDD in MacBook Pro


I am looking to upgrade my macbook pro with a new Samsung 850 Eve 500gb and a HGST 1 tb 5400 rpm HDD. I am going to replace my optical drive with either the SSD or the HDD.

I need to know the easiest way to manage and set up these two hard drives. The SSD will be my boot drive that will hold all of my applications like video and photo editing software. My HDD will be holding all of my large media files (photos, videos, music, and downloads).

I am currently using the stock 500 gb hard drive that has around 400gb stored on it.

I am wondering what the best way to manage all my data is. Should I completely clone my drive onto the SSD then manage my data from there or should I do a clean OS install then work from there.

Also I have read a few things here and there, was wondering should I put the SSD in the optical bay slot instead of the original spot in order to keep the other HDD safe from any damage.

Again I would like to reiterate that I want the easiest method of this. I have the ability to physically install these drives into my macbook but I do not have the technical knowledge of writing commands or overly complicated methods.

Thank you for your help.

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You may want to re-think this.

There is a known issue with the optical drives SATA port. It is unable to support a SATA III (6.0 gb/s) device or an auto SATA speed sense drive.

Review this from OWC: OWC Data Doubler text in Red:

  • Testing has demonstrated that Apple factory hardware does not reliably support a 6G (6Gb/s) Solid State Drive or Hard Disk Drive in the optical bay of 2011 MacBook Pros (ModeI ID8,1; 8,2; 8,3). If your OWC Data Doubler bundle comes with a 6G drive, you should ONLY install that drive in the main drive bay and utilize the Data Doubler to re-task your existing drive or install a new 3G SSD or HDD in the optical bay. PRE-2011 models can utilize a 6G drive in the optical bay, but will do so at a reduced 3G (3Gb/s) speed.

Bottom line here you will need to get a fixed SATA II (3.0 Gb/s) SSD device for the optical drive SATA port.

You may want to look at just going to a SSHD drive to replace your current HD like a Seagate SSHD

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Hello I well I ended up putting the SSD in the original hard drive location and but a new HDD in the optical bay slot and now it is unable to format the HDD


Sadly, the HGST drive is SATA III (6.0 Gb/s) so you are facing the same issue just a different device. Here is the spec sheet for your drive: Travelstar. You'll need to find a SATA II (3.0 Gb/s) drive. You also want to make sure the drive you get has crash guard as the optical drives SATA port does not offer it (only the HD SATA port has it). Remember you need a fixed speed drive. Auto sensing drive won't work in the optical SATA port.


Do you have any recommendations for a drive that is compatible?


We don't do dual drives on this series any more as getting a SATA II SSD or HD is just too difficult to find the correct drive. Which is why I had pointed you to a SSHD instead.


Ive talked to a few other people and it sounds like this hard drive will be compatible with my optical drive.

I was thinking about getting an SSHD but I already purchased my SSD and set it up with all of my data. SSD is performing great and I am quite happy with it


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@danj I have a macbook pro (13-inch) end 2011 (still Lion working), and I will insert a ssd (a samsung 850 pro) inside, instead of the hd. Reading the comments it seems impossible to do, or am I wrong?? So it's better to keep the HD in this case, and not substitute anything?

Thanks for the help!

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Not so simple, yes you can swap out your HD for a SSD. You just can't do a dual drive setup which was the direction here with this model. Review the OWC link with you model info to see if yours could support a dual drive. Frankly, I would go with a SSHD hybrid drive so you gain the speed of the SSD but hang onto the deeper storage of the traditional HD.


@danj - I've bought a Samsung 850 Pro 512 GB SSD.

I have substituted the HD with the SSD and restarted the Mac using an external USB stick with El Captan installed. However, the machine is not seeing the SSD at all.

Therefore I could not install the operational system on the new SSD.


Its best to create a fresh question with your systems details than trying to manage your issues here.


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Kai Nodera will be eternally grateful.
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