What kind of hard drives will work in my White MacBook?
All MacBooks currently use 2.5″ Serial ATA drives. The size 2.5″ refers to the diameter of the platters within the drive. This is the standard size for a laptop drive. Only a handful of SATA drives are currently available, but the selection will grow as more laptop manufacturers start replacing IDE drives with SATA.
What is the difference between 5400 RPM and 7200 RPM?
RPM stands for Rotations Per Minute. To say that a drive has 7200 RPM would mean the platters within the drive rotate 7,200 times per minute. The difference between a 5400 RPM and 7200 RPM drive could be significant depending on the type of work you do.
Where hard drive speed matters – Video editing, graphic design, music editing, editing or moving large files.
Where hard drive speed is not as important – Listening to music, watching a DVD, browsing the Internet, iChat or iSight.
Check out these benchmarks for a real-life comparison between 5400 RPM and 7200 RPM laptop drives.
What’s the largest drive I can get?
The Toshiba and Fujitsu 200Gb drives are currently the largest laptop drives that will work in the MacBook.
Is there a difference between manufacturers?
Certain drives have a higher chance of failure than others. None of this is written in stone, so my recommendations are based mostly on personal experience. After several years of repairing servers, desktops, and laptops, I’ve found Seagate drives to be the most reliable. Seagate drives have 5 years of warranty, which is 2 years longer than the average 3 years you get with other drive manufacturers.
Where can I find the best deal?
Shopping for a desktop drive is much simpler than shopping for a 2.5″ Laptop SATA drive. The selection is smaller so it’s harder to get a good deal.
If you’re in the states, check Newegg before you check everywhere else. Their hard drive selection has doubled since I’ve first written this guide.
Amazon also sells several laptop SATA drives, but most of them aren’t in stock or aren’t sold directly from Amazon. Out of all the drives “for sale” on Amazon, only this 100gb Hitachi and this 100gb Apricorn were actually in stock.
Not to be left out, OWC recently added several laptop SATA drives to their online store, so check them out.
Internal vs External
One overlooked option is to purchase an external drive. This has its advantages and disadvantages.
The disadvantages are fairly obvious, it’s not very portable and rather cumbersome. You’ve got the USB Cable, the power block, and the drive itself.
On the bright side, external drives are more versatile. Moving 100Gb of data from computer to computer is pretty simple when all you need to do is unplug the drive from one machine and plug it into the other.
There’s also the aspect of capacity. There are no 300Gb drives that would fit in the MacBook, so the external drive is your only way out. You may store your 300Gb of data on a network, but you can’t take your network with you, so that’s not really helpful.
Installing the new Hard Drive
After you’ve purchased your hard drive, check out this guide for help with installation.