Replacement Hard Drive for MacBook Pro of 2009 Vintage

Need a replacement for a failing drive in my MacBook:

My late-2009 MacBook Pro has been acting oddly, with corruptions, suggestive of a failing disk.  I suspect this was caused by the machine coming out of Sleep while travelling by car…

Replace with what kind of drive?

I could simply replace with an identical make and model to the original, which is:

  • According to W7 WindowsExplorer Properties:
    • ST9500420AS ATA Device
  • Printed on disk:
    • Seagate Momentus 7200.4
    • 500GB
    • WWN: 5000C500380A2AC9

On the other hand, I could see if there’s anything better I can rfeplace it with now, e.g. offering greater capacity and speed.  Of course, have to be careful to ensure capacity…

Following a web-search, and due consideration, my plan is:

  • SSD is possible, but may have to be careful about some technical issues in selection and ongoing system maintenance.  Also, given they cost a small number of hundreds of pounds, it is difficult to justify investing such an expensive component in a computer that, due to its age and visible wear-and-tear, is only worth about the same amount itself.
  • Hybrid SSHD is plug-compatible and looks the same to the OS as an ordinary HD, thus no technical complications should arise (no special configuration or ongoing maintenance).  Also, the price is below £100, which is justifiable for the described system.
  • Physically, to fit in the MacBook, the drive must have a SATA 2.5″ form factor and no more than 9.5 mm in height.

A recommended SSHD Drive:

  • Seagate 750GB Momentus XT hybrid
    •  ST750LX003
    • This (unlike larger 1TB variant) comes with 7200 rpm HD
    • It is available from Amazon:
      •  SATA 6Gb/s compatibility with NCQ for interface speed.
      • Product Dimensions    10 x 7 x 0.9 cm
      • Item model number    ST750LX003
      • Shock Tolerance:350 g @ 2ms (operating) / 1000 g @ 1ms (non-operating)
      • Interfaces:1 x Serial ATA-600, Compatible Bays:1 x internal – 2.5″ x 1/8H
      • Spindle Speed:7200 rpm
      • Drive Transfer Rate:600 MBps (external), Average Latency:4.2 ms
      • Non-Recoverable Errors:1 per 10^14
  • There is a 1TB variant but its spindle speed is only 5400 rpm


  • Google:[old 2009 macbook ssd]
      • Title: SSD replacement on 2009 Macbook Pro
      • srini_hyd, 26-Jul-2012:
        • My current Macbook Pro details: 2009 Mid Unibody Macbook pro 15”.  Dual Core Processor + 2.8 Ghz. + 8 GB RAM +  500GB HDD.
        • If I upgrade this existing notebook with an SSD , will the performance be great?  Also, which SSD is the best compatible one for this model?  Please suggest.
      • Bimmer 7 Series, 26-Jul-2012, This helped me:
        • There are a lot of us here using the Crucial M4 with no issues…. There are however, faster ones out there like the Samsung 830 series, Plextor M3 and Sandisk Extreme.  You’ll get a nice performance boost with your 8GB + SSD combo…….  suggestion – upgrade to a SSD and you’ll see how fast your macbook performs….good luck..
        • OWC drives are as reliable as the Samsung and Plextor M3…..  It’s a good idea to buy it from them since their drives are compatible with Macbooks….  Install your SSD in your hard drive bay and install your hard drive in you optical bay.  Doing it the other way will not make use of the SSD’s full speed since your optical bay might have a negotiated link speed of 1.5Gb.
      • srini_hyd
        • One more question : How do I know how much speeds my Hard Drive bay can support? 3Gb or 6Gb. I am not by my Macbook Pro and hence I am asking. I am assuming I should be able to see in the “About my mac” System info section..
      • Bimmer 7 Series
        • click on your apple logo – top left – about this mac – more info – system report – serial ata – left hand side. you’ll see if the link speed and negotiated link speed of your hard drive and super drive…
        • You can still purchase a 6G SSD and it is backward compatible to 3G……..
        • Your Negotiated Link Speed is at 1.5Gigabit right now becuase your current hard drive is SATA1….Once you move up to SATA 2, your negotiated speed goes to 3 Gigabit…..  That is what what happened to my late 08 Uni….went from 1.5 Gigabit to 3 Gigabit when I installed a SATA 2 Drive.
      • msim20
        • I have heard that the HDD noise is much higher given the Optical drive location.
      • berni29
        • I have an HD in my optical bay, and yes it is noisier than when in the standard bay. Also my mid 2009 MBP runs at a negotiated speed of 1.5 gigabit both on the main and optibay although the 2 drives in the machine are SATA 2, the link speed is 3 gigabit and I am on EFI 1.7
        • My Late 2008 MBP runs at 3 gigabit so it is pretty annoying that the later machine will not. I want to get an SSD for the optibay in the 2009 MBP, but will be gutted if it only runs at 1.5 gigagbit.
        • Also i have heard of many people having big issues when using 3rd party SATA 2 drives in 2009 MBP’s.
        • Just as an aside, I did try two 2010 stamped HD cables in my machine and on both it would not even see the hard drive.
        • Actualy I realised that both the drives in my machine are original Apple supplied, I just tried the upgraded main drive from my 2008 MBP an Hitachi 750gb 7200 which runs at 3 gigabit in that machine, in my 2009 MBP and although it runs at 3 gigabit, as soon as I open Safari it hangs giving the spinning beachball pizza and is basically unuseable.  Does anyone know of an SSD or even large SATA2 HD apart from an Apple supplied one that will run at SATA2, 3 gigabt in my MBP?
      • ?
      • Upgrading Your MacBook Pro with a Solid State Drive, by clintonfrombirmingham
      • Many people come to the MacBook Pro forum asking about SSD upgrades, so this user tip is applicable to those, primarily, who have already made the decision to upgrade. Note that I only recommend using a SSD in 2009 and later MacBook Pros with a 3.0Gbps to 6.0Gbps interface speed – and I recommend buying a 6.0Gbps SSD regardless of the fact that models with a SATA II interface won’t be able to use the full-negotiated speed of 6.0Gbps. Why? Because you may want to upgrade your Mac sometime in the future…
      • Crucial is now shipping a 960GB M500 drive that sells for under $600
      • There is, however, a very good “information and buyers guide” website – Sean’s SSD Buyer’s Guide and Information Thread. It’s chock-full of information about how SSDs work, what technology individual manufacturers employ, and includes not only a ‘buyer’s guide’ but an almost endless thread containing users experiences. Beware, though, as it is primarily geared towards Windows users.
      • you can just go ahead and install your SSD into your MacBook Pro (endless number of DIY videos online – see OWC’s Installation Videos – and put your hard drive into the USB enclosure and boot from it. Then just boot from the enclosed drive and use Disk Utility to format the SSD and clone the contents of your hard drive onto your SSD as noted above.
      • Now that you have your cloned SSD in your hard drive bay, you should be able to hold down the option key and boot from the SSD. The first thing you’ll want to do is to go to System Preferences>Startup Disk and select your new SSD as your startup drive.  I would also recommend using Trim Enabler to enable TRIM on your new SSD. Not sure what TRIM does? See this Wikipedia article – Note that with every .1 upgrade to OS X you will have to enable TRIM once again. I just make it a habit when I update my system.
      • The only problem that some people have run into, in my experience, has been with a faulty SATA cable (affecting 2009 models more than any other). If you’re having problems such a ‘beachballing,’ slow speeds, etc., look at replacing your SATA cable first – it’s the most likely culprit. You’ll also want to make certain that you stay up to date with SSD firmware updates – these cannot only eliminate ‘bugs’ in the firmware, but may also make your SSD operate more efficiently.
      • I do not recommend placing your SSD into the optical bay of your MacBook Pro – your start-up drive is meant to be in the hard drive bay and that’s where you want to install your SSD.
    • ?
  • Apple Support Communities > Notebooks > MacBook > Discussions:[hybrid]
      • simon41, 15-Feb-2012 19:44
        • Would I be able to replace the hdd with the Momentus hybrid drive in my late 2008 black macbook?
      • shldr2thewheel, 15-Feb-2012
        • as long as it is a SATA 2.5″ form factor and no more than 9.5 mm in height.
      • What experiences using hybrid SSHD?,  21-Jun-2013
      • RogerLohn, 21-Jun-2013
        • I am looking at a hybrid SSHD by Seagate for my Macmini.  Any known problems with these types of drives?
      • tbirdvet
        • If you are referring to the Seagate 750GB Momentus XT hybrid then it is great.  I installed one in my last mac and it was like night and day loading programs and booting up.  At the moment Amazon is selling this drive for <$100.00.
      • ?
  • Google:[]
  • Google:[ST9500420 specifications idle power]
  • Amazon (Browse to the 1TB variant):
  • ?

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