For this story, I upgraded a 15-inch 2013 MacBook Pro with Retina Display that originally came with 256GB of storage. I purchased a 480GB OWC Aura 6G SSD + Envoy Pro Upgrade Kit, which costs $288.
- Best Upgrades For Mac Pro
- Best Upgrades For Macbook Pro
- Mac Pro Best Buy
- Best Upgrades For Macbook Pro 2012
- 2009 Mac Pro Upgrade
When most of us think of where our Macs store data, we are used to saying “the hard drive”.
But the truth is, not all drives are physically spinning HDDs anymore, and the Solid State Drive (or SSD) is becoming an increasingly common upgrade for MacBook Pros of all ages.
Because SSDs have a number of advantages compared to HDDs, they are more speedy, reliable and quieter — yes, you won’t hear the click sound from a spinning hard drive. However, SSDs are also a little bit expensive than HDDs though the price difference is diminishing.
In this guide, we’ll walk you through picking the best SSD drive to upgrade your MacBook Pro’s old hard drive or existing SSD and point out how we chose the favorite products along the way.
Need a brief summary of our top picks? Here’s the best SSD replacement for your MacBook Pro depending on your specific needs.
- For general users who want a quality, affordable SSD, you won’t go wrong with Crucial MX500 — which has exemplary read and write speeds, with awesome energy-saving features that will keep your MacBook from overheating or using up excessive amounts of battery.
- For those of you who want to shop an SSD from a reputable brand, get SanDisk Ultra 3D — which will be able to keep up with your work all day, every day with all-around improvements to your booting, loading, and processing times.
- For power users who want a drive that’s durable and built to last, pick up Samsung 860 PRO — which allows you to make the most of every gigabyte, and meet your need with a great warranty and optimized processing technology.
Who Should Get This?
It’s a digital world, and we all like to have the shiniest gadgets on the market. But do you really need to install a new internal flash storage and dump the old hard disk drive? Well, it all depends and here are our suggestions.
You should consider upgrading your MacBook Pro with an SSD if:
- You work with large files regularly.
- Your MacBook starts up very slow or performs sluggishly in general. This is common for old MacBook Pros such as 2009, 2010, 2011 and 2012 models.
- The internal hard disk drive is showing its age and might die out any day. Here’s a guide that shows how to determine if it’s failing.
- You often use resource-intensive apps such as Adobe Photoshop for photo editing, or Premiere Pro for video editing, etc.
- You need the greater reliability of file storage or want to minimize negative experiences with overheating and potential damage.
- You want to upgrade your MacBook without purchasing an entirely new machine.
You may NOT need an SSD replacement if…
- You mainly use the Internet and document editing functions on your Mac and do not make use of heavier applications.
- You use your Mac fairly carefully or do not keep important or sensitive files on the drive.
- You are using a new MacBook (with Retina display), because “removing the SSD is possible, although it’s not an easy job. For starters, the bottom aluminum side is harder to remove. Then, the SSD is kept in place under the speaker module and has a very strong tape covering the interface port.” as pointed out in BGR.
Internal SSD Upgrade for MacBook Pro: What to Consider?
When making a purchase, you may find yourself willing to compromise on storage capacity because of the cost compared to an HDD. Don’t do this! Because storage capacity is a key factor that determines how much use you get out of your new drive, and as computers progress, you’re going to want to have the space to keep up. Additionally, using external drives can slow down your Mac, so it’s best to splurge for extra space now rather than regret it later.
Reading and Writing Speed
Every disk drive is rated with a certain set of speed that describes how fast it can read and write files. The range of a good product usually stays between 500MB/s and 550MB/s. The higher these numbers are, the better. Please note that the advertised numbers are not representative of real-world conditions though, in which you’ll probably experience speed about two-thirds of those rated.
Memory Type – MLC and SLC
SSDs have two types of memory: multi-level cell and single-level cell. The first is cheaper to make and stores more information, but the later has a lower rate of error. However, some SSDs come with error-correcting features to minimize this difference, so it’s up to you to decide which best fits your needs.
Best Upgrades For Mac Pro
While judging a book by its cover is generally frowned upon, when it comes to flash storage, it’s perfectly acceptable to judge performance and reliability from the brand name alone. Well-known companies usually have good reputations for reliability and quality control of their products, and you’ll want that name-brand security when it comes to something as critical to daily functions.
The Best SSD for MacBook Pro (Internal Upgrade): Our Picks in 2019
Note that the SSD drives we recommend below are rated based on our own opinions and preferences. They are by no means made in this order.
1. Crucial MX500 250GB 3D NAND SATA 2.5 Inch Internal SSD
If you are on a budget and need dependability and security for your data, this drive from Crucial fits the bill. Its energy efficient features will protect your MacBook from overheating or draining of the battery. This is an SSD that should meet most users’ needs. In our opinion, 250 GB is the best choice, but you may also choose a larger one such as 2TB.
- Pros: It has four different capacities available for you to choose from. The drive is speedy as it’s rated for read and write speed of 560MB/sec and 510 MB/sec respectively. Also, the drive includes energy adaptive features to prevent overheating and excessive battery use — this is especially helpful if you’re still using an old MacBook with a battery under fairly poor conditions.
- Cons: It’s not the fastest drive on the market and some users may need a spacer to make this fit correctly inside their MacBook.
2. SanDisk Ultra 3D NAND 500GB Internal SSD
SanDisk is a world-famous storage solution provider that offers many types of products especially memory cards, flash drives, etc. If you’re a photographer, chances are you’re using or have used an SD card manufactured by SanDisk. What you may not know is that the company also offers solid state drives. If you need a drive that will perform well under pressure, then Ultra 3D NAND SATA III from SanDisk can definitely fill that need. With lightning-fast read and write speeds, improved startups, and shorter loading times all around, this drive will keep up with you throughout a busy working day.
- Pros: It’s very fast as rated at 560 MB/sec in reading and 530 MB/sec in writing. The drive also comes with specialized caching methods to enhance performance while maintaining a cool and quiet operation. Plus, there are a variety of available storage capacities to choose.
- Cons: It doesn’t come with a cloning software which means you need to take some time to transfer the data from the old drive to the new one.
3. Samsung 860 PRO V-NAND 1TB SSD
Boasting a 5-year warranty, cloning software, and a respected name, it’s hard to know where to start with this Samsung drive’s best attributes. You’ll benefit from increased speeds for loading applications and saving files, as well as a variety of options for storage capacity to meet your specific needs.
- Pros: It’s extremely dependable and known for use among heavy users, will work efficiently with your MacBook (reads 560 MB/sec, writes 530 MB/sec), and includes an outstanding warranty. Also, it uses 3D V-NAND to increase speed and rated for 150 terabytes written — more than enough to outlast your MacBook Pro itself.
- Cons: Some users reported that they had problems with the built-in data migration software.
Useful Tips and Resources
Whenever you consider making any significant changes to your MacBook Pro, it’s always a good practice to make sure you have a recent backup of all the important files. See this Apple guide for different ways to back up a Mac machine. Therefore, when it comes to replacing your Mac’s internal hard drive with a new SSD, you’ll want to make sure that everything is backed up properly in case any potential risk.
The SSD installation process is fairly simple to computer geeks, but general users may find it challenging. That’s why this guide from CNET is worth checking out, it features a step by step tutorial on how to upgrade the internal drive and walks you through the precautions and help you stay on your feet.
Using a MacBook Pro with Retina display (most models after the year 2013)? These Macs don’t officially support being taken apart so you should consider carefully whether or not you want to go through with it. However, if you do decide to take a look under the hood, LaptopMag has a great tutorial on how to do so without jeopardizing your Retina MacBook in the process.
Also, if you decide to replace the old drive and install a new SSD all by yourself (aka, DIY), make sure you get the right screwdrivers ready as you need them to open the bottom case of your MacBook Pro. The RION Pentalobe 6 Pentalobe 5 Phillips Tri-wing Screwdrivers is a great choice.
It may seem like SSDs have been slow to take off, but they really are the drives for many laptop computers in the future. They’re generally faster, more durable, and more efficient than any similar-sized HDD, and you can count on them to store your files and applications safely.
If you’ve decided to make the internal SSD upgrade for your Mac, tell us what your experience was like. We’d love to hear which drive you chose and how your MacBook Pro functioned afterward.
Best Upgrades For Macbook Pro
BestCooling Pads for MacBook ProiMore2019
Being tech bloggers, we travel everywhere with our laptops and know how hot they can get, especially when we're running programs with heavy proccesing use. We have tested many and found the perfect way to cool the heat from your MacBook Pro. Our tried-and-true favorite is the Thermaltake Massive TM.
The Massive TM by Thermaltake is a desktop-style cooling pad that's ideal for any size Mac laptop, from the 12-inch MacBook to the 15-inch MacBook Pro (and 17-inch notebooks, too), thanks to adjustable sizers that keep your device in place. It has two separate fans that draw cool air in from the bottom and push warm air out through the sides. You can set up automatic cooling with four separate heat sensors, or you can regulate the temperature manually, including giving it a turbo cooling boost. It also sports retractable feet, so you can adjust the angle of your laptop.
I've been using my Massive TM for a while now and I've really been putting it through its paces. The one thing that makes it stand out from other cooling pads is its ability to track how warm my MacBook Pro is getting and then allow me to turbo boost the cooling process if things get out of hand.
The pad is large — maybe even a little too large. It's big enough to fit a 17-inch notebook, so my 13-inch MacBook Pro has plenty of space. The aluminum panel on top has four adjustable posts that you can slide around to fit your laptop. This keeps my MacBook Pro snugly in place without anchoring it on the cooling pad. The pegs are also spring-loaded, so if you accidentally set your notebook on top of one, it just flattens out instead of making your keyboard crooked.
When you set your laptop on the cooling pad, it senses the temperature. There are four sensor probes, so you can isolate any problem areas. When the fans are running, it'll cool your device by as much as 20 degrees. If you notice that, even with the regular fans running, your laptop isn't cooling down (like, if you're working extra hard with a particularly heavy processing program) you can hit the Turbo button and it will speed up the fans and send a burst of air upward.
Probably my favorite aspect of the Massive TM is the temperature display panel.
Mac Pro Best Buy
When the fans are running, they are relatively quiet as far as cooling fans go. I'm not saying they are whisper quiet, but you won't have to turn up the volume on your computer when they are running.
There are also retractable feet at the bottom of the pad, which allow you to adjust the angle that your laptop sits. The feet themselves have adjustable height, too. So, if you need a sharper angle, like to watch a movie, you can really get some tilt.
The fan is powered by a USB cable. It comes with a very short (I think it's about 8-inches) USB-to-USB cable. If you have the 2016 or later MacBook Pro, you'll need a USB A to USB C adapter, or at least a really long USB to USB cable so you can plug it into a power outlet.
Probably my favorite aspect of the Massive TM is the temperature display panel. You always know whether your laptop is running hot, thanks to the LED display. If you're in the middle of a game and notice that your MacBook Pro is running at about 85 degrees, you can turn on the fans and cool it down.
- Adjustable typing positioning
- Fits almost all size laptops
- Targeted cooling for different areas
- Turbo boost cooling for extra hot spots
- Temperature sensor for auto on/off
Thermaltake Massive TM
The perfect cooling fan for most people
The Massive TM has lots of fantastic features, like a temperature gauge, adjustable feet, and a turbo boost so you can cool things down when you're working extra hard. It's also adjustable for better positioning while you type.
This cooling pad may only have one fan, but it makes up for that with its low price. Its slim design makes it portable and its height adjustment settings provide customizable typing angles. Cable grooves give you nice cable management. Up to a 17-inch laptop will fit on the Cooler Master NotePal X-Slim. It's perfect if you're on a budget.
- Slim and portable
- Adjustable height
Cooler Master NotePal X-Slim
For its price, you really can't go wrong with the Cooler Master NotePal X-Slim.
This is the perfect MacBook Pro cooling pad for traveling. It's got three quiet fans for wide-spread cooling and an ultra-slim profile. There are two holders behind the back which allows two different height levels.
The Havit's minimalist design makes it ideal for travel with your MacBook Pro. It's ultra-slim, but can still handle laptops up to 17 inches. It also comes equipped with additional USB ports so you can use it as a portable hub.
Best Upgrades For Macbook Pro 2012
- Ultra-slim and portable
- Perfect for travel
- Adjustable height
Best for Travel
2009 Mac Pro Upgrade
Portable enough to slip into your laptop bag with plenty of cooling power.
With all of its convenient features, the Thermaltake Massive TM is easily the best cooler/cooling pad for your MacBook Pro. If you're in the market for one, the Massive TM should be your first consideration, since it's effective, ergonomic, quiet, and does its job well.
It has all of the features you'd want, including adjustable height, automatic or manual cooling, turbo boost cooling, and temperature sensing probes. Any laptop up to 17 inches will fit on the Thermaltake Massive TM. You even get an LED display to keep you apprised of your laptop's temperature.
Credits — The team that worked on this guide
Lory Gil works on her laptop about 50% of her day and knows just how hot the MacBook Pro can get. She's a big fan of keepin' things cool.
Luke Filipowicz is one of the coolest people around and knows a thing or two about how to stay that way, especially when it comes to laptops.
Karen S. Freeman spends way too much time burning up the internet. She knows you must keep things cool, though.
We may earn a commission for purchases using our links. Learn more.📱 👀 ❤️
Support your iPad Pro with one of these stands
Drawing or writing with iPad Pro at a desk or table? Check out these stands for a stellar working experience.