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Showing posts from 2015

Q&A: Installing an SSD in a MacBook

I've installed many SSD drives in MacBooks.  Here are some answers to about the best approaches for a MacBook SSD upgrade:

Q: Should I bother to install an SSD, or just get a new MacBook?

New Macs can be mighty expensive, so I suggest you look into an SSD upgrade if you have a traditional hard drive.

I have found that replacing a hard drive with an SSD results in a substantial increase in performance.  I guesstimate that a MacBook with an SSD "feels" more than three times faster then a MacBook without an SSD.

Q: Which SSD drive do you buy or recommend for a MacBook?

I think that most any good laptop SSD will do.

These days, I have been buying SSD drives that are about 250 GB, as they are often well under $70.  In particular, I have installed these SSDs with great success:
Crucial BX100 @ 250 GBKingston SSDNow V300 @ 240 GBPNY CS1111 @ 240 GB When shopping around, look for bargains.  I found a special deal and bought this great SanDisk 1 TB SSD for about $165. I'm using…

LanceJ's Ultimate Mac Boot Stick

After a few years of fooling around, I decided to make up my own ultimate Mac Boot USB stick.

My goals:  When I administrate computers, I want to have most everything I need on a single boot device so I don't have to fool around downloading, installing, or searching.

My boot stick includes the software that I need most frequently.  It isn't that complicated, but it took a while to actually figure it all out.  Best of all, you can easily make your own!

Required Stuff:

A 32 GB (or larger) USB 3.0 "thumb drive".  These devices are inexpensive, portable, fast, and readily available.  I use something like this PNY USB 3.0 stick.

What not to use:
Small thumb drives.  You may be able to get away with a 16 GB device, but anything less than 16 GB will limit your flexibility.  Hard disks or SSDs.  They're more expensive, bulky, and HD's are less reliableSD Cards.  An SD card is an option, but the truth is that a standard USB 3.0 thumb drive is more universal.  They work …

iMac and MacBook Upgrade Tips

I'm the type that tries to get the most bang out of a computer - where many consider a 3 year old computer "end of life", I can easily double that lifespan.

A lot of people ask me what I've done for upgrades to the Macs I manage.  Here are some examples of what I did.

2009 MacBook (6 years old)
1 TB Hybrid Drive (originally a traditional 120 GB drive)Seagate 1TB Laptop SSHD4 GB memory (originally at 2 GB) G.SKILL DDR2 RAM2009 MacBook Pro (6 years old)
250 GB SSD (originally a traditional 250 GB drive) Kingston 240GB SSD4 GB of memory not upgraded.  I find 4 GB to be plenty powerful.2010 MacBook (5 years old)
250 GB SSD (originally a traditional 250 GB drive)Kingston 240GB SSD8 GB memory (originally at 2 GB)G.Skill DDR3 RAM Although 4 GB is powerful enough, I was upgrading it from 2 GB.  So using the principle of upgrading as few times as possible, I moved it to 8 GB. 2011 iMac (4 years old)
8 GB memory (originally at 4 GB)This iMac had two empty memory slots, so I was …

Easy 2011 iMac Memory and Hard Drive Upgrade

My iMac (2011, 21.5-inch model) was feeling down.  It was running out of disk space and everything was slowing down to a crawl.

So a about six months ago I decided to upgrade my iMac with a larger hard drive and increased memory, restoring performance to be faster than ever.  It was far cheaper to upgrade my Mac, and it was much easier than I expected.

It took me about 30 minutes to do the upgrades, and my iMac is much, much faster.

Here are the specific parts I used for my upgrade: Hard Drive I went with this 4 TB Seagate Hybrid drive for a few reasons:
It's HUGE.  At 4 TB, it is eight times bigger than the stock 500 GB hard drive.It is affordable.  Per GB, it is far cheaper than any SSD.Being a "Hybrid" SSD/Hard drive device, it is FAST.  The modern OS really expects fast disk devices. This sped up my Mac a lot.It is a one-for-one replacement for the old device.  It easily fits inside the case.[Update: this driver has remained fast and reliable for over a year now]  Th…