Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Superdrive HDD Upgrade = Supermess?

Time is flying with the Macbook Pro since my last update. I've been a little busy this past week and haven't had as much time to putter around like I was hoping to... But nonetheless, this past week I ordered a new component for my MBP- the Superdrive caddy. Thus a new adventure to blog about.

The superdrive caddy allows you to put an internal sata hard drive in it.  My reasoning is that I will get improved performance of VM's (which will then live on that drive).  Case in point: I am running the Windows 8 preview but it is dog slow, so anything I can do to help eek out performance will be helpful.

I ordered the caddy sometime last week and it arrived yesterday. It was late in the evening (had another soccer game), but upon returning I figured I'd give it a crack.  I had the screws off the case in a few minutes... Everything was going well until I started unscrewing the first screw that was helping hold in the superdrive.  I started cranking my phillips head and noticed the screw wasn't coming up. Instead, it was stripping away the screw head.  I quickly backed off and decided I'd better not do any more damage. I think the head might still be usable but it'll be pretty close if it is.

I didn't think much of it- decided I'd call the near by "Mac Cafe", which is an authorized reseller / repair shop (the closest Apple Store is in Ann Arbor, about 1 hr away). I've been in there a few times and it's not a bad place, but they seem a little pricey and don't have any "non-standard" configurations unless you special order (ie, nothing you could upgrade to on the Apple web site). At any rate, I called them and explained my dilemma... the first thing the guy told me was that I probably voided my warranty.  I almost laughed out loud I was so surprised- what a shocker! He just about lost a potential customer- but then told me he'd check with the technician and see.  Fortunately he changed his tune and told me they could take a look and potentially replace the screw, and depending on how bad it was, possibly even free of charge. Whew, that sounds a lot better.  He rattled me a little bit- so I googled up the Apple Forums and searched for "stripped screw" to see what other people had experienced.  I found a few examples where people had similar worries about violating warranties, but had no problems when they took it in to Apple.  Thank goodness.  If that was really the policy this will be my first and last Mac. I've been handling computer components for quite some time now- and Apple's "high end" but flimsy screws should not be cause for me to have an invalid warranty.  Sheesh.  In retrospect, it makes sense that a company specializing in "professional" service repair would try to scare customers into using their service vs. attempting to do it themselves, but come on. Spare me the sensationalism.

Something he also mentioned was that if I ever did have to send it in to get it fixed and had the Apple Care, they would want me to swap out all the components to the original apple ones. With my current plans, that would mean my system drive and superdrive replacement would have to come out. I was also thinking about buying the cheaper non-apple memory.  That seems a little bit of a hassle and I'm not sure if that is really the case, but I am going to try and find out what the official policy is.

So I am still on the fence about taking it in. I decided to pony up $10 or so to get the OWC toolkit, which comes with all the correct screw drivers. While the one I am using was able to get the case open without issue, I figure it'd be best to get a set that are designed for the MBP. I will give it another shot once those arrive, and if at that point it doesn't look promising, I may take it in.

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