Skip to content

1 Terabyte raid in my 17″ Mac Book Pro

Ok recently I have been working on backing up my 17″ Mac Book Pro OS X machine (10.5). I am pretty good about backups… but not offsite backups, which would survive theft or server crash or house burning down.

I’ve become even more superstitious of late, because of what I’ve done to my Mac Book Pro – installing a striped RAID of two 500GB hard drives.

my mac book pro info harddrive.png

Yep, you read it right, I have almost a 1TB disk. How? I bought two nominally 500GB hard drives (amusingly, each enclosure contained a different manufacturer – one hitachi and one samsung).


Then I purchased an adapter from MCE Tech, which has the same internal shape as my MBP’s DVD drive, but adapts the DVD ATA connection to take a SATA hard drive:

I ordered the external DVD enclosure for $50 as well, but I’m going to return it, because it has no faceplate and is ugly.

Instead, I’m probably going to buy a Mac Book Air Superdrive and hack it.


A smart thing to do would have been either:

1) Make a RAID mirror of the two drives. I would only have 500GB of storage total, but my chance of data loss would be far less with a backup drive.

2) Leave the drives separate. I’d have 500GB + 500GB, and I could even back up critical data using Time Machine.

Of course I did the cooler, more risky thing: I used a RAID stripe – half the data to each drive, adding the drives together.


If either drive goes, I lose all my data.

This is why I need better backups now. 🙂

{ 5 } Comments

  1. nycdesigner | February 2, 2009 at 8:56 am | Permalink

    Nice hack! I would personally go for the two 500Gb drives instead of the 1Tb, since it is not very safe. These cheapo drives (unless you have the Seagate Barracudas) are not designed for poweruser use.

    On another note, though, I have an MBA v2 and already had a Panasonic VW-BN1 superdrive that I got with my HD camcorder. A year ago J&R was selling it for $99. But the link on the Panasonic site is :

    Ignore the $199 retail price. And this “universal” USB superdrive has better specs than the MBA version! It has worked perfectly. One caveat, that also could explain its better specs/reliability: it uses an included power adapter.

  2. cj little | February 2, 2009 at 9:18 am | Permalink

    Very cool Damien! Makes me want to crack my 15″ unibody MBP and do the same. But I would go with RAID 0 to mirror the drives. At least I think I would. Where can we squeeze a third drive so we can run striping with parity on a three disk setup?

    You should backup all your data however – and into the cloud no less. I’d recommend you do it right now btw. Try and let me know what you think. We have worked hard to make online backups as easy as possible. Let me know your thoughts.

  3. Damien Stolarz | February 2, 2009 at 10:03 am | Permalink

    Hey I checked out I think that might work. The 1GB / 2GB file limits might be a problem though – a lot of mac files are bigger than that… bundles would be fine, but all my video wouldn’t get backed up.

  4. MarceloR | February 2, 2009 at 11:35 am | Permalink

    Why buy an “OptiBay” from these folks when you can get a Thinkpad “UltraBay” SATA hard disc adapter from IBM/Lenovo for half the price? Yeah, it’s the same.

  5. Deemoss | May 27, 2009 at 11:28 am | Permalink


    Have you had significant performance improvement in comparison to single drive?

    So you are using 1 SATA and 1 PATA drives mixed into RAID 0?

    How has the battery life/noise/heat changed since?


Post a Comment

Your email is never published nor shared. Required fields are marked *