MacBook RAM and hard drive upgrades

I upgraded my new MacBook to 4GB of RAM and a 320G 7200 RPM drive, which I purchased from Other World Computing. The speedup is dramatic, since it was constantly thrashing with only 2G of RAM when I had 2 large applications open (like Aperture + Photoshop, or anything else with Parallels).

Replacing the hard drive in the MacBook is very easy – you just have to open the battery compartment and remove a single screw. The most difficult part is dealing with the 4 mounting screws on the side of the drive which hold it in place. They’re nearly impossible to remove from the old drive. Luckily I was able to find 4 screws that were exactly the right size. Unfortunately the screws still attached to the old drive prevented it from being mounted properly in the external case.

Drive Removed

Replacing RAM is a bit more involved, since you have to remove 8 screws and the entire bottom of the case. It isn’t too difficult to open, and the RAM is easily accessible and very easy to replace once you get it open.

Bottom of case removed

I highly recommend doing upgrades like this in two phases. First, I replaced the RAM, put everything back together, started up, and verified that the RAM was good. For the second phase, I replaced the hard drive. I then connected the old drive in an external case and used Carbon Copy Cloner to restore the contents to the new internal drive.

I’ve posted a full photo gallery of the upgrade here.

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