Sunday, January 07, 2007

Second HDD for your Macbook?

I don't really understand why Apple are still shipping laptops with an optical drives. Actually I don't really understand why anyone is shipping laptops with CD or DVD drives or writers anymore, low cost flash disk have made them as much yesterday's technology as floppy disks. When I can have a 4GB USB flash drive for only £24.99 remind me why I want a DVD burner?

So replacing the optical bay with another hard drive on a Macbook or a Macbook Pro seems like a decent idea to me, even if it does inevitably rip your warranty to shreds.

Interestingly, it appears that there is also a kit for my trusty old 12-inch Powerbook. Taking the optical drive out and putting in another disk drive is an attractive idea. Not necessarily for the extra disk space, but having an additional disk onboard for backups could be a life saver, and an especially attractive thought with the appearance of Time Machine later in the year. Also according to MCE's site it'll actually weigh less than the optical drive its replacing, which I'm not going to complain about at all...


  1. I suppose it depends on what you use your optical drive for.

    If you frequently have to give large amounts of data to other people, at times and places where they can't immediately copy it, then a USB drive isn't a good substitute for a DVD. At least, not yet.

    DVDs are a throwaway price, so it's painless to hand them over. USB drives, not really.

  2. I guess it depends on what you mean by "large amounts of data", I've got half a dozen 256MB and 512MB USB drives in easy reach, and I wouldn't even stop to think about handing one of those over to someone. At least at that level they've become as much a throwaway commodity as the biro.

    However at the 1 to 4GB level you're probably right, for now, but probably not for much longer at the rate the price of flash memory is spiralling downwards right now...

  3. I live on my first gen MBP, and I'd find it rather difficult to get by if I had to go to desktop to rip a DVD/CD for a game/music/bit of software/movie to install back onto my MBP.

  4. So for the odd time you want to rip or burn a DVD you want to carry around an optical drive all the time when you're travelling? A rarely used drive is fine for a desktop, but why carry it all the time with a laptop? If you still use your optical drive, surely its better to have an off-board USB or Firewire drive you can use on those occasions you need it, than lug the dead weight of it around all the time?

  5. I am also curious how you would do something like install a linux distro from a USB drive. Some distros have alternate methods of installation like netboot but not all. Is there a generic way to go from a .iso file to a partition on a USB that you could install from? I would love to know this.

  6. Anonymous3:02 pm

    Cheap and quick: