When I purchased this computer, I was torn between having a super-fast solid state drive (an SSD, made of microchips only) versus a much higher capacity rotary drive (an RD, you know, the traditional platter/moving-head type we've been using for decades).
This is a legitimate dilemma . . . ultimately, I decided to purchase the smallest RD I could, because, let's face it, Apple charges WAY TOO MUCH for the crappy drives they put in to their otherwise wonderful equipment:
Seriously, who the fuck would want to have a Hitachi in their computer (or any 5400RPM drive, for that matter)? But I digress... I immediately pulled whatever stock crap was in my MacBook Pro and replaced it with a 200GB, 7200 RPM Seagate (similar to this 320GB Seagate). This configuration was sufficient, but after playing with Twin's similar MBP (which has a solid state drive), I realized HOW MUCH FASTER my laptop could be (more on this, later). The only problem with SSDs is that they're expensive and just don't have the capacity of RDs... OH THE DILEMMA.
After playing around with her insides, I realized a couple things:
1) I didn't really need an optical drive (Like a MacBook Air user, I had to accept I only use CDs a few times per year)
2) Said optical drive operated on the SATA bus (albeit with a strange mini-adapter)
3) When extracted, lots of space opened up in the MBP
4) Who gives a shit about warranties when you could have TWO internal SATA hard drives
OK, so you might see the problem I had in just plugging in my SSD hard drive (above): the optical drive, although on the SATA interface, uses its own unique connector, where the power connector is for some reason smooshed from the standard 15 pin setup to a custom six pin layout (who know why, but OK). Unfortunately, I couldn't find a simple Apple-proprietary-motherboard-SATA-slot to proprietary-optical-SATA-slot adapter online, so I had to make my own . . .
Yeah, it's not pretty, and yeah: I honestly didn't know if it would work, but such is life. Fortunately, it did, and YOU only need to purchase TWO adapters to install that second internal hard drive you've always wanted:
1) A Sata M/sata LP4 Adapter from Amazon
2) A standard MOLEX to 15-pin SATA power adapter from Amazon (or Fry's electronics, where I got mine for $2.00)
Now, get out your wire clippers, and cut off the orange and/or yellow wire (you may not have both) plus one of the black wires on item #2 (they're both ground...). You only need the red wire and one black wire, which will supply your new hard drive with the necessary 5 volt connection. Now, wire these to the black and red wires on item #1 (above).
OK, so before you get all excited and think you can just cram everything in there and go, please notice (above) how close the motherboard connector has to be to the hard drive connector. DO NOT JAM THE CASE BACK TOGETHER. Take note of how carefully I have routed the cables around the drive... the CD-ROM slot is a great place to tuck the cable, as it gets it out of the way AND prevents you from accidentally trying to insert a CD (I love double-whammies).
Can you imagine how relieved/excited I was to see two hard drive icons on my computer when I booted up?! Now, I have my main drive configured with an 80GB Intel device, and store things like iTunes Music, photos, movies, porno, whatever on the 200GB secondary. Why, you might ask, is this worthy of warranty-voidin' ?!
Really, it's quite simple: my SSD boot drive is SEVEN TIMES FASTER than my (already upgraded) rotary hard drive . . . but I also have enough space on my laptop to actually store all the information I probably don't actually need (280GB total). In total, I spent $8.00 on parts (plus $6.00 S/H), $200.00 on the SSD, and $100.00 on the RD. So, FOR LESS THAN APPLE CHARGES for the single 128GB SSD upgrade (which really is a POS, if you ask me), I got 280GB of reliable hard disk space. FmyWarranty!
Happy Hacking! Oh, and don't forget to upgrade your firmware EMI to v1.7 (this updates from SATA1.5 to SATA3.0). Doing so gave my hard drive an 18.3% performance boost, as tested averaging two runs each on XBench, both before and after the update. Just run Software Update, and it'll let you know if you need it or not (if nothing shows up, you've already got SATA3.0 configured).
Don't limit yourself to just SSD/RD combos - say you need to house a freaking Terabyte (1000GB) in your MacBook Pro (or want to MirrorRAID 500GB for data integrity), just get yourself two of these for $250.00 and BAM... you're an instant celebrity (Apple charges $200.00 for a single 500GB drive... how awful).
How might this affect battery life? Well, at 92% charge, and with the display brightness at 50%, I get 4:11 remaining. At full charge, this is a little bit higher (4:45ish)... before this mod, I never saw more than 5:00 (under normal working conditions - with brightness fully reduced and no hard drive spinning it does just break the five hour mark)
Update from Reddit user 'eyesee.' MCE sells a device for around $150.00 that will brace your hacked-in drive (to keep it from bouncing around). I must say, however, that my method above was $10.00, and with an SSD drive and cable in place, the drive is PERFECTLY SNUG and you don't need to worry about microchips, really. But sometimes people need protection (or definitely if you're planning to use a RD(aka HDD)). Thanks for the heads up!
This is shameless self-promotion (added after the initial surge of visitors, but so was the wiring diagram above, so eFoff): if you'd like me to add a second internal hard drive to your MacBook Pro, I'll do the hardware install for just $35.00 . . . that's a great deal to some people, and probably a rip off to others (but if you don't like opening up computers, then a GREAT DEAL). Just send me a heads up, a check, a second sata drive*, and your MacBook Pro (with a tracking #, PLEASE) and I'll return the computer to you a day after it arrives (UPS $14.00).
I've also had people asking me to just send them the homemade adapter - I've already shipped several orders, and the asking price seems to be hovering around $30.00 - I'll throw in free shipping, as well, just because that always seems to be a deal-closer : ) These will be heat-shrunk-protected for extra-sure data fluency (in the bottom of your solid-medtal MBP, this is better suited than wire caps IMHO) - rest easy, I'm good with my hands, and have passed the Apple Certified Laptop Certification with exceptional proficiency [I'm currently applying to Dental School 15 Dec '09 - yes, these are still available, and yes I'll do large scale installations - refs available]!
If you need data transfers, etc. just drop me a line and we can negotiate a fair price . . . I have clients all across the USA who mail me their computers for servicing . . . if this sketches you out, then don't do it (always go with your gut feeling). firstname.lastname@example.org
No, this isn't me, and no, I wouldn't recommend using masking tape, but here's one implementation of my adventure:
Friends occasionally email me letting me know that "this idea got ripped off by some guy at [MAGAZINE X]." While I appreciate the concern, imitation is both flattering and rewarding: 1) I see a surge in traffic (personal pride only, as I don't generate ad revenue) 2) People voluntarily support my creativity by buying more adapters, particularly when they google anything to do with 'macbooks, hard drives, mac os x, insanity,' or any combination therein. 1+2 = more revenue. So thanks for the concern, thanks for posting my URL in those 'rip-off's' comment section. Thanks for buying shit. Support local guys. Keep your city Weird.
Update (over a year later): At least Apple is trying with the iMac line... trying. Heck, you could probably fit THREE drives in the MacBook Pro 15" for the same price ( I don't have this ATM, but I've spec'ed it out :[ ).
*Or I can purchase a drive for you and install it.