How to make your MacBook ultrafast for $90 (for non tech-savvy people)

I can’t make your MacBook thinner or lighter, but I can show you how to make it insanely fast for a mere $90 instead of $1200 for a new MacBook Air.

1. Get one of these SSDs. Best money you have EVER spent, guaranteed.

2. Flip around your macbook, with a dime/quarter coin, open turn that thing around to open the battery slot.

3. Open sesame! Remove the battery.

4. See that L-shaped metal bar? There’s 3 screws in this thing – they’re TINY. Remove the screws: you need to have a decent toolbox. Even then it took some effort – Apple really knows how to make it difficult for DYI projects.

5. Metal bar out! These are the guts of your MacBook. Careful now – discharge your body’s static electricity by touching metal frequently (not on your Mac, on some other non-painted metallic surface). It’s just for the safety of your mac, you don’t want to fry any pieces.

6. Enter your awesome new SSD. SSDs are faster than HDDs because they’re not mechanic spinners looking for sectors: it’s flash memory, AKA instant read operation. I wholeheartedly recommend Intel drives, ALWAYS. They’re much better than the competition. This guys is worse than the one I suggested at the beginning – it’s a 3 year old 80gb x25-M SSD that still manages to kick any HDD’s butt (literally, it’s hundreds of times faster).

7. OK, so metal bar removed. See that plastic around the HDD? Pull it out – don’t break it!

8. Now pull back and take the HDD out.

9. Look at that! An old Fujitsu custom-made for Apple. These don’t even exist anymore 🙂

10. See how the old and new drives have the same connector? This is called SATA. It doesn’t matter if it’s SATA 1, 2 or 3. They just get faster, but they’re backwards compatible (so you can use a SATA3 drive on a SATA2 computer, you will just be limited to SATA2 speeds – which are really fast anyway)

11. Again, leave it to Apple to make DYI a living hell. The HDD has a metallic protective layer (to avoid electricity naughtiness). Not even I had the appropriate mini-star tool for these little guys… no matter, long pliers did the trick. It was more difficult and annoying than getting them loose with the appropriate tool, but it wasn’t the end of the world.

12. That said, it’s not like I don’t have enough tools. Stop being a tool, Apple – make DYI users’ lives easier please.

13. Metallic protector is out! Now put it in your new SSD and screw the little guys in again – a pain in the neck if you do it with pliers like I did, but it can be done.

14. Put the SSD back in place, push it in – carefully, but at the end it will resist (since you need to put the connector in). When it’s almost entirely in, then you can push worry-free, until it goes in completely.

15. Screw the metal bar once again. Put the battery in. You’re done! Now you need to install OS X and there’s a few tricks you need to know.

16. Boot from whatever OS X media you have – I had a DVD, put the mac on and press the OPTION key until this screen shows up (I don’t know how to do it if you don’t have a DVD, figure it out or just burn your OS X media to a DVD).

17. Before installing, you gotta format your SSD. Go to disk utility.

18. Select your drive, go to Erase. Make sure you format as Extended Journaled.

29. Go to First Aid, Verify disk. It doesn’t hurt.

20. Now we’re good! Click continue.

21. Oops! Maybe not. We need to partition the SSD as GUID table. No worries. Back to Disk Utility.

22. Click on the SSD drive, not the partition (the upper option, basically). Now you can see it says Partition among the menu options

23. Go there, name your disk however you want, go down to options, select GUID partition table.

24. Apply changes! Wait for the formatting to be done – a few seconds. Close and go back to installer.

25. Now we’re good! Click install.

26. Sadly, as fast as the SSD is, the DVD sucks. Those 28 mins? Yeah right, try 48 instead. DVDs are the worst. When you’re done, just update OS X and install your programs as you normally would. Done! A lightning fast MacBook that’s as fast as the latest MacBook Air – though much fatter/heavier – and it cost you just $90. You now have a speedy MacBook that boots in about 20 seconds and executes everything quite fast. Congrats!


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