Upgrade Hard Drive MacBook Pro (Mid 2012) Model A1278 to SSD - either mSATA 1TB or SATA III 1TB SSD

I have just purchased MacBook Pro (Mid 2012) Model A1278. Although I have already upgraded RAM from original 4 GB to 2 x 8GB.

Now I want to upgrade 500GB HD to 1TB SSD. This can be easily purchased from Amazon. Most likely Samsung EVO 850 1TB.  I have few technical questions before I invest $360 in purchasing this SSD.  My Google / YouTube research just talks about form factors and how fast the performance is compared to Hard Drive. But nobody talks about the technical nature of its assembly within the Apple MacBook Pro. They make it sound, just buy it and replace your HD with this SSD drive. Period. I am not exactly sure if that is a true statement for MacBook Pro (Mid 2012) Models.

1. Does this particular MacBook Pro Model A1278 support mSATA SSD or just only SATA III SSD?

2. What is the power consumption like and sustaining temperature. The last thing we want is to compromise battery life for better speed and overheating base. I mean between mSATA and SATA III SSD.

3. mSATA vs SATA III Pinouts - are they the same (Signalling + Connector),  to fit in the existing hard drive slot? Do I need to buy separate connectors/adapters.

4. Some say that mSATA is 5x faster than SATA III SSD. If that is the case why one would even consider purchasing normal SSD, when Amazon prices are almost the same for either model.
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1. I could not find official data, but I suspect that this model does not support mSATA drives, but you can always buy mSATA to SATA adapter in 2,5 inch case.
2. There should not be any temperature or consumption differences. They both use the same SSD technology to store the data. Only the form factor and connector is different. But there is difference between SSD and "normal" disk drives.
3. No connector and form is different, but they both connect to SATA controller -> 6Gbps (or 550MBps) limit.
Look at mSATA section - picture of both connectors https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Serial_ATA#mSATA
4. mSATA and SATA SSD drives have the same speed. A little bit depends on model, but good models are limited by SATA controller/standard limit of 6Gbps.
The big speed difference is between SSD drives and normal rotating hard drives.
yajeshAuthor Commented:
The information you have shared has been very helpful, and not just sales propaganda, the way you watch on YouTube or other Google articles.  Here are my additional remarks, may be you can help me clarify further.

1.  Understood. Does this also mean that for SATA III SSD, I will not be required to purchase a separate adapter-->Built-in MacBook Pro SATA Connector? It only applies to mSATA SSD, if I chose chose to purchase that.

2.  Understood and appreciate the URL link shared for further clarification.

3.  SATA Controller, would be a built-in interface within MacBook Pro. i.e. Hard drive would connect to this SATA Controller. Hence, also a limiting factor 6Gbps (or 550MBps), by virtue of its design. Interesting information.

4. This one is little tricky. What I gather from your explanations and my interpretations of 1, 2 and 3 is difference between mSATA and SATA may be primarily its individual form factor, other then minor technical subtleties (possibly speed /performance) which may/may not be of great value when you are limited to SATA Controller interface specifications.  Alternatively, is it correct to assume that SATA III SSD may not comply to maximum speed as per SATA Controller specifications. Hence  mSATA may be a good choice!

Of course! It is clear that SSD is considerable faster than even 10000RPM Hard Drives.

1. No, for a 2,5" SSD HDD you don't need any adapter, because it has the same connector and form as the existing drive you have in notebook. I would stick to the form factor you can natively install into your notebook.

For comparison how they look - Samsung 850 EVO mSATA and normal SATA 2,5" :
Normal 2'5 form factor: http://www.samsung.com/us/computer/memory-storage/MZ-75E1T0B/AM
Dimensions (W x D x H):  3.94" x 2.75" x 0.27"
mSATA form: http://www.samsung.com/us/computer/memory-storage/MZ-M5E1T0BW
Dimensions (W x D x H): 1.18" x 2" x 0.15"
As you see they are both SATA III (6 Gbps) and are backwards compatible with SATA II (3Gbps) and SATA (I) (1.5 Gbps) and they have identical performance.

Here is an article you can see how it looks mSATA slot in the notebook and how to install mSATA drive

3. In simple words - yes. SATA controller is a chip on the motherboard, while you can connect SSD drive to that controller using SATA or mSATA connector. It depends what form of connector you have onboard  and on hdd.

4. It does not matter if they are mSATA or SATA hdds. They both are communicate with SATA controller and they both have the same speed limit.
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Justin BradshawOwnerCommented:
The MacBook does not support mSATA but will work perfectly with no modifications with the normal SATA based SSD that you find on Amazon. It just slides into the same spot with the same screws. Very very easy to do physically.

The only hard part about this upgrade (which is amazing for performance and a little beneficial for battery life too) is putting your old drive into an external enclosure and cloning it.
I'm suggest booting via a USB enclosure with the old drive in it (and the new one already in the computer). From there you can use carbon copy cloned (free 30 day trial) to clone the drive and reboot.

The other consideration is TRIM. The Samsung SSD doesn't work perfectly with Apple's firmware because it requires TRIM and Apple downs enable it by default. You can do so but must turn off a security feature in OSX to do so. I'd suggest getting a brand, like OWC, that has its own trim system built into the drive. I will find you a link if you need more info.

This is the best upgrade you can do to your laptop. It will seem new afterwards.
David AndersTechnician Commented:
http://ifixit.com   has step by step installation instructions.

Other World Computing has SSDs, instructions and video of SSD vs HD speeds
yajeshAuthor Commented:
Hello! Justin,
Thanks for pointing out the fact about cloning the original and restoring back. Will definitely consider that. However, you introduce a new variable/term in your response. TRIM - What is it, and its purpose. I am somewhat lost with its concept and how you put it.

>>>The Samsung SSD doesn't work perfectly with Apple's firmware because it requires TRIM and Apple downs enable it by default. You can do so but must turn off a security feature in OSX to do so. I'd suggest getting a brand, like OWC, that has its own trim system built into the drive. I will find you a link if you need more info.

May I ask you to elaborate little bit more on this para-statement. I am confused with this whole paragrah. Probably I do not understand the concept and purpose of TRIM. It almost seems to me not to purchase Samsung SSD, which in fact I was just about to from Amazon. On the contarary, you are making a point which is probably most important too.

yajeshAuthor Commented:
Hi! devorin,
Thanks for sharing the URL link to Tom's Hardware. I am very familiar with this site and of course! I have been through this article few times. Yet, you have clarified a number of points earlier which has been very helpful.

Let us wait response from Justin, and we will close this thread.

Justin BradshawOwnerCommented:
TRIM is the way some SSDs clean up the deleted files. The OS needs to support this for optimum performance and longevity. OS X does not out of the box but it can be enabled via the command line, at least in the latest Yosemite and El Capitan (still in Beta) versions.

I recommend buying a different brand that does garbage collection in a supported way... this eliminating extra techy things you have to do and worry about. Crucial, OWC and Sandisk have all be used and tested by me with good results.

Buying the Samsung drive and not enabling TRIM (as you might have done) doesn't necessarily portend doom, however. Sometimes these drives operated fine for a good while... but with lots of data adds and deletes it could shred the drive and cause problems. Get the OWC. A little more expensive but well worth it!

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yajeshAuthor Commented:
Two separate contributors, each shared their individual recommendation on a separate track, that has been most valuable information for me.

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