Model A1286. Released February 2011 / 2.0, 2.2, or 2.3 GHz Quad-core Intel Core i7 Processor

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Upgrading to SSD on 2011 MBP, is it worth it?

Hi All,

So here is my situation: Great MacBook Pro 2011, I love it, and I believe it is one of the better series of machines Apple has produced; due to its upgrade ability and longevity. Now I am considering an SSD upgrade!

What's happening?

My boot up speed is very slow. I am guessing around 3-5 mins. It maybe longer, I will need to time it to verify. It is just noticeably slower than before as things happen with older laptops, and I am ready to see about addressing it.

Additionally, it slows down when running multiple applications, so when using resource heavy applications such as Firefox, or League of Legends (game software), I tend to close everything else.

What do you want to do?

I want to make the machine perform quicker. Definitely boot up faster again.

What have I do so far?

  1. I currently have the original 500G HDD as my boot up disc. It has around 48GB of available storage.
  2. I have replaced the optical drive with a HDD kit for a 5400 RPM 1.5TB drive. This is just for media storage, photos, movies, music, etc. This was done several years ago.
  3. I have replaced the RAM with 16GB. This was done about 2 years ago.
  4. I have replaced both fans. Last year.
  5. I just bought a new battery this month, and plane to replace it as I received the replace soon sign a few months ago, now have the replace battery warning.
  6. I have done some clean up to the machine, but any articles or references on how to "clean" the machine, I do welcome. I have removed all necessary apps from the boot up list.

What I am thinking about with regards to SSD?

I understand SSD is fast for boot up. There are hybrids SSHD drives, but I am not sure if it is really worth spending the money, so unless someone wants to make a real case for it, I am thinking of just sticking with replacing to a SSD.

Questions: There are a ton of SSD options

Is it worth going to a SSD at this point in the life span of a MacBook Pro?

My understanding is the next macOS is going to be compatible with my machine, so I think this machine should be good till 2020-2021, is this a bad assumption?

If this is true, what is the opinion on how much to invest in a machine that is aging with technology?

I see some SSD that are 600-700, for only a few hundred dollars more you could buy a brand new MacBook Air.

I am assuming that part of the variance in prices I see is due to speed and storage capacity. I am thinking 1TB instead of a 500GB since I am already reaching capacity.

What is a reasonable speed SSD? I know this is opinion, but I would assume any SSD is faster than what i have now.

What SSD should I stay away from?

Final question:

I read in another forum that if I replace the SSD I need to replace the hard drive/IR cable. Anyone know if it is sold on iFixit? Or another source?

My understanding is to use the 2012 cable, correct?

Thank you for your time.

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You appear to store a lot of stuff on your system currently with a dual drive config. So if you are considering upgrading to either a MacBook Air or even any of the current MacBook Pro's you'll have to put most of your stuff onto an external drive. So keep that in mind as we go through things here.

The MacBook Air GPU services are quite limited as its using the integrated graphics engine within the Intel CPU unit. Unlike the MacBook Pro you currently have and depending on the newer MacBook Pro you may be also limited to that Intel graphics engine. So depending on what you're needs are you may need to think this through as well.

OK, now onto the elephant in the room... We don't have any crystal balls on what Apple will do with newer OS's but I wouldn't let that be your driver. Apple supports their OS's at least five years after a new OS is released, so if you are using High Sierra you've got at least 2024 before you will lose security updates.

Now the last issue is apps unless you are looking for the next wis-bang app, what you now have is working for you then that's not likely to be a problem either (even the updates)

So is it worth upgrading ?? I would say Yes! You still have quite a long life in your system (as long as you treat it with TLC).

I have a 2011 17" which I put in a 2 TB SSD for photo editing on the road. I have a 2012 15" which I use for writing and on the web, it has a 1 TB SSD.

When I service MacBook Pro's when replacing drives, I always replace the HD SATA cable as they tend to wear as they rub along the uppercase. In fact I place electicans tape where the cable rests. On the 15" models I also make sure the midplane plastic clips to support the bottom cover are also on good shape. I also add some foam tape to the sides of the cable as it crosses the optical drive to help protect it from being crushed.

I would look at moving the SSD into the optical drive location and putting the HD back into the HD bay. The HD crash guard protection is only on the HD SATA port.

Here's the IFIXIT guide you'll need to follow: MacBook Pro 15" Unibody Early 2011 Hard Drive/IR Sensor Cable Replacement and here is the better part: MacBook Pro 15" Unibody (Mid 2012) Hard Drive Cable

MacBook Pro 15" Unibody (Mid 2012) Hard Drive Cable Image

Product

MacBook Pro 15" Unibody (Mid 2012) Hard Drive Cable

$34.99

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Comments:

Thank you Dan!

Great points to think about. I am a little concern on foam tape, and taping the cable, in making sure I do it right. However, I see there is ifixit guide on replace it so I'll read that more before asking further questions.

This was very helpful.

Would you replace the cable first, make sure it works, and then replaced the drive? Or just do it all at one time?

If you just doing it at one time, I am assuming the logical order of replacement is cable then drive.

Thanks again. Now picking out an SSD, there are ones that range in the $600-700, is there article you would recommend reading? If not, no worries. I appreciate the time you made in your answer.

Cheers!

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I replace the cable at the same time when I do the drive (true, the cable is mounted in first). Keep in mind I would swap your drives around. Making the SSD as my boot drive and placed in the optical drive carrier.

The SSD you chose here is dependent on what your Model ID is. Some MacBook Pro's have a messed up optical drive SATA port it won't support SATA III (6.0 Gb/s) drives. Review the compatibility guide here: OWC Data Doubler The issue is the system, not the carrier. To find your systems Model ID, locate your system here: EveryMac - MacBook Pro Index. Once you know tell me I'll guide you to the correct drive.

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Hi Dan,

The Model ID is 1286, MacBookPro 8,2 Unibody 15" Early 2011, i7 core, 2.2 Ghz.

It looks like iFixit is recommending the following as an only option for 1TB.

1 TB SSD

OWC has several different 1TB options:

$229

https://eshop.macsales.com/item/OWC/S3D7...

$279

https://eshop.macsales.com/item/OWC/S3D7...

$348

https://eshop.macsales.com/item/OWC/SSD7...

It is hard to tell the difference. It looks like the $348 has more security features and encryption?

Also, having trouble finding the right part for the HD Sata Cable.

Thanks,

Todd

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IFIXIT carries the cable - MacBook Pro 15" Unibody (Mid 2012) Hard Drive Cable. Just click on the URL link here to get it.

As for your choices on SSD's The IFIXIT kit is what they offer it's not the only option in SSD size. If you need something larger there are larger SSD's but they do get expensive! Sadly, the drives you've selected won't work in the optical bay carrier. As I stated before your system has a defect in the optical drives SATA port so you need to use a SATA II (3.0 Gb/s) SSD. You will need one of these: OWC - Mercury Electra 3G SSD.

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Thanks.

I was going to put replace my BOOT drive (500GD 7400 RPM) with the SSD, I was not going to touch the Optical Drive, which is currently a 1.5TB 54000 RPM drive.

Does that make a difference?

At this time, i think I will go with the 500 GB drive, as I have about 65% space available on it still, and over 50% available on the 1.5 TB available.

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