MacBook Pro HDD Upgrade – Part 1

When I purchased my 15″ MacBook Pro last year, I optioned for a 250GB 7200RPM SATA drive, as it was not only cheaper, but faster spindle speed then the standard 500GB 5400RPM drive offered by Apple.

I’ve since had numerous issues with space, I’m a huge consumer of (legitimate) television shows and my iTunes library is pretty big. My installed applications also take up some 50GB of space, including the OS footprint.

Suffice to say, I’m well over running out of space. I have a 640GB external Seagate USB HDD which does the job of housing stuff which isn’t 100% required on my MacBook all the time, but copying data on/off this all the time is a bit of a pain in the bum.

So the other day, I found a new (well, new to me) product from Seagate, the Momentus XT hybrid hard drive, which harnesses the power of SSD technology by embedding a 4GB chip on the board of the hard drive. How it works is beyond me, but I had a quick look around, and the price and reviews on the drive just couldn’t stop me from ordering one!

Umart, the “go to” cheap PC shop here in Brisbane, had these at a low $165 for a 500GB drive. I noticed a few posts saying that you *need* to purchase the version which leaves out the G-sensor, which stops the head on the disk from moving when a shock is detected. The G-sensor model actually costs the same, and only has a 16MB cache, compared to the non-G-sensor’s 32MB cache. Oh, and the reason is, the MacBook Pro has a built in G-sensor which does the same thing, running the G-sensor model apparently causes the HDD and the MacBook’s G-sensors to conflict with each other, and the head doesn’t lock…

That said, I ran some benchmarking… It’s pretty rudimentary, but this is the “before”:

aknowles-mac:~ aknowles$ dd if=/dev/zero of=gigabyte.file bs=1024 count=1000000
1000000+0 records in
1000000+0 records out
1024000000 bytes transferred in 17.505867 secs (58494675 bytes/sec)

250GB SATA HDD with 7200RPM spindle speed… ~55MB/s write speed…

Admittedly, it was alot slower when I substituted /dev/zero for /dev/urandom, at a paltry 9MB/s write speed…

Watch this space…

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