Installing a Kingston HyperX 240GB SSD SATA Rev 3.0 in a late 2010 MacBook Pro.

You will need:-

  1. A Kingston HyperX 240GB SSD Upgrade Kit
  2. A 00 Philips screw driver bit
  3. A T6 screw driver bit
  4. A blank writable DVD

Introduction

The @kingstontech HyperX is, at the time of writing this, their latest top of the range SSD, offering “Faster speeds for serious users”. I class myself as a serious user as for part of my day job I need to run several VMware Fusion desktops on my MacBook Pro and have always been underwhelmed by performance even though my MacBook is sporting a 2.66Ghz Intel Core i7 and 8GB of DDR3 memory.

I realise that the particular Mac that I have only has a 3Gb/sec Rev 2.0 SATA interface but I wanted to get a drive that I could reutilise in the future if needed and benefit from the higher speeds if the new laptop had at 6Gb/sec interface.

Before you begin

Step 1

Remove all of the old junk and duplicates that you don’t need any more and archive it off to an external drive or NAS device. In my my case I have decided that after swapping to the SSD drive I want to keep all of my iTunes media, iMovies, iPhotos and Documents on an external drive, so before doing anything else I organised and moved these folders to my external USB drive.

Step 2

Once you have tidied up your current drive make sure that you initiate a full Timefinder backup and once it has completed check that you can access it.

Restore or fresh installation?

In my case I wanted to do a fresh install of Mac OS X Lion which I already had installed, but the steps for either are very similar.

Create a bootable Mac OS X Lion DVD

Many people have used the Mac App store to upgrade to OS X Lion and did not receive any boot media. If you already have a Mac OS X Lion boot disc then skip these steps.

Step 1

Locate or download again the Lion install file from the App Store. If you did not make a copy of the file before upgrading to Lion it will have been automatically deleted as part of that upgrade process. You should be able to download it again free from the App Store if this is the case.

Step 2

Right click on the file and choose “Show Package Contents”. Open the folder SharedSupport and copy the file InstallESD.dmg to your desktop.Screen Shot 2011-12-10 at 19.42.38

Step 3

Insert the blank writable DVD in the SuperDrive.

Step 4

Open the Utilities Folder from the Applications Folder and launch Disk Utility.

Step 5

Highlight SuperDrive, Click the Burn icon and when asked select the InstallESD.dmg file that you copied to the desktop.

Once completed you now have a Mac OS X Lion boot disk.

The Kingston HyperX 240GB Solid State Drive

First impressions are that this is a sexy looking SSD that also benefits from using the latest SandForce chipset. I ordered the HyperX Upgrade kit so as well as the drive I got a useful screwdriver, a 3.5” mounting plate and a 2.5” drive caddy.

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Step 1

Switch off your MacBook, allow it to cool down and then turn it over. Ensure you are taking antistatic precautions. Using the 00 size Philips screwdriver remove the screws holding the bottom of the MacBook case.

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Step 2

Using the T6 screw driver bit, remove the two screws holding in place the drive retaining bar.

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Step 3

Using the plastic tab, lift the drive from the chassis and carefully disconnect the SATA cable.

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Step 4

Transfer the retaining screws and the sticky tab from the original drive to the new SSD drive.

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Step 5

Reconnect the SATA cable to the SSD and place in the MacBook chassis. Screw the retaining bar back in place.

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Step 6

Screw the bottom of the case back in place, making sure that the four longer screws are returned to the four holes starting in the top right hand corner and moving left.IMG_0285

Step 7

Job done!

Reinstalling Mac OS X Lion on your new SSD drive

Step 1

Boot the MacBook using the Lion boot disk. It will take several minutes to boot from the DVD.

Step 2

From the Mac OS X Utilities choose the Disk Utility option.IMG_0288

Step 3

Highlight the Kingston drive and choose the Partition option. Click the + sign to add a new partition. Name it something logical and then press the Apply button. Choose Partition and once complete close the Disk Utility, returning you to the main menu.IMG_0291

Step 4

Choose the Reinstall Mac OS X option, press Continue and agree to the terms and conditions if you are happy with them. Note if you actually wanted to restore from your Time Machine Backup then choose that option rather than Reinstall Mac OS X.

Step 5

Choose your newly created partition and select install.IMG_0293

Step 6

After about 20 mins your installation will have completed. Marvel at the fact that there is not disk chatter!

Step 7

After a final reboot you will be asked to select your country, choose your keyboard, enter you Apple ID, create your Computer Account and then Finish up.

Place old drive in caddy

As the HyperX upgrade kit includes a caddy I decided to place the original 500GB Apple drive in the caddy. Use the time during the installation to do the same if required. Once I am happy that I have everything I need I will then delete the content and use this as an external drive for Time Machine.

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Software updates

At this point you have a base install of Mac OS X Lion and will need to check for and install all recommend updates.

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TRIM support

Once all updates have been installed you will need to enable TRIM support.

“In computing, a TRIM command allows an operating system to inform a solid-state drive (SSD) which blocks of data are no longer considered in use and can be wiped internally. While TRIM is frequently spelled in capital letters, it is not an acronym; it is merely a command name.
TRIM was introduced soon after SSDs started to become an affordable alternative to traditional hard disks. Because low-level operation of SSDs differs significantly from traditional hard disks (see details below), the typical way in which operating systems handle operations like deletes and formats (not explicitly communicating the involved sectors/pages to the underlying storage medium) resulted in unanticipated progressive performance degradation of write operations on SSDs. TRIM enables the SSD to handle garbage collection overhead, that would otherwise significantly slow down future write operations to the involved blocks, in advance.
Although tools to “reset” some drives to a fresh state were already available before the introduction of TRIM, they also delete all data on the drive, which makes them impractical to use for ongoing optimization. More recent SSDs will often contain internal idle/background garbage collection mechanisms that work independently of TRIM; although this successfully maintains their performance even under operating systems that do not (yet) support TRIM, it has the associated drawbacks of increased write amplification and wear of the flash cells.”

source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/TRIM

Snow Leopard and Lion introduced TRIM support but only for Apple SSDs. However there is a procedure available to enable TRIM support for all SSDs.

The full procedure can be found here http://www.mactrast.com/2011/07/how-to-enable-trim-support-for-all-ssds-in-os-x-lion/ . Note that it is necessary to swap the special speech mark character for a standard single speech mark otherwise you will get the following error. -bash: syntax error near unexpected token `.{9}’

Once you have completed this procedure you can check that you have TRIM support enabled, by looking at the drive within System Information from the Utilities Folder.

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Congratulations you have a fully functional MacBook with SSD drive.

Performance impression

I am blown away by the performance and I am only using the drive at 3Gbps. Boot times are a fraction of what they were and performance once booted is what I have always strived for with each memory and processor upgrade that I have performed previously.

There are many mixed views on the use of SSDs and the relative performance improvements. All I can say is that for me personally the improvements are definitely worth the money. Running multiple VMs is a breeze and performance on the Mac is generally supercharged.

2 thoughts on “Installing a Kingston HyperX 240GB SSD SATA Rev 3.0 in a late 2010 MacBook Pro.

  1. Great advice, easy to use and saved me many hours of pulling my hair out trying to figure this out, i am by no means tech savy and this page walked me through the procedure step by step, it was a breeze. Thank you!!

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