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Late 2011 model, A1278 / 2.4 GHz i5 or 2.8 GHz i7 processor.

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Samsung 860 EVO SSD Upgrade - Various Questions/Issues


So I have a Late 2011 Macbook Pro 13” Unibody. I just received a Samsung 860 EVO SSD in the mail today. Was planning on upgrading tonight, but some issues have came up.

  1. I accidentally ordered the wrong SATA cable - instead of a SATA to USB, it looks like it is just a SATA to SATA. Is there any other way I can clone the HDD to the SSD without needing to order a SATA to USB cable? (I do have my important documents backed up to iCloud/iCloud Drive).
  2. After some research, I noticed under my hardware information it states: “Product: 6 Series Chipset, Link Speed: 6 Gigabit, Negotiated Link Speed: 3 Gigabit”. Will this be a problem with the 860 EVO, since the negotiated link speed is not 6 gigabit? And if so, how do I got about fixing the issue?
  3. The Optical Bay also states: Product: 6 Series Chipset, Link Speed: 6 Gigabit”, but the Negotiated Link Speed is 1.5 gigabit. Is it possible to get this up to 6 as well? Maybe put the SSD there, while the HDD is in, then clone it over, and swap the SSD to the original HDD spot?
  4. Finally, I’m currently running El Capitan 10.11.6 for a while now, and recently been having a lot of issues lately (hence the SSD upgrade). Once the new SSD is all good to go, I plan on switching to Sierra or High Sierra, but can’t really do much updating now due to all the issues i have been happening. Is there a different way I shoudl go about doing that?

I’m rather new to all of this so it has been a little overwhelming. Any help would be greatly appreciated. Thank you.

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1 - Sadly you’ll need to wait until you get the SATA to USB adapter cable. Here’s the one I use StarTech 2.5" SATA to USB adapter cable

2 - Yes! Your system has a SATA II (3.0 Gb/s) HDD and the HD SATA cable is not rated for SATA III (6.0 Gb/s). You need to get the better cable MacBook Pro 13" Unibody (Mid 2012) Hard Drive Cable And, yes this is the 2012 version as it is the first one that Apple offered a SATA III drive.

In addition I strongly recommend you place a strip of electricians tape on the uppercase where the cable crosses over to help protect the cable from the rough surface of the uppercase. The last issue is how you fold the cable around the corners. You don’t want a sharp fold you want an arc so the thin wires within the cable are not damaged. I use a Bic pen ink straw or you could use a bamboo skewer to help shape the radius. You really need to wait until you get the proper HD SATA cable before you move forward.

3 - The optical drive rate of data is very slow in comparison to a HDD or SSD! As such you won’t find a CD/DVD drive going any faster. Some BluRay drives do go at 3.0 Gb/s But that’s not what we have here. The key is the systems ports data rate and the ability of the data cable to it is able to run at the speed of the device. Basically, nothing to worry about here.

4 - Yes! You want to stick with Sierra as the highest OS version. High Sierra intro’ed a new file system from HFS+ to APFS. SATA based SSD systems have issues with the newer file system. Which is why you want to stick with Sierra.

As for upgrading you want to setup a USB Thumb drive at this point following this guide How to create a bootable macOS Sierra installer drive. Download the installer and then setup the USB drive first formatting it to GUID and then install the OS as explained. That way you can do a migration of your user accounts, Apps & Data. Here’s a good write up on how to use it effectively How to use Migration Assistant to move a user account to another Mac. Here we’ll use the SATA to USB cable with your old drive.

MacBook Pro 13" Unibody (Mid 2012) Hard Drive Cable Afbeelding


MacBook Pro 13" Unibody (Mid 2012) Hard Drive Cable


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Thank you ! So I ran into some issues. I have everything I need. However, in the process it looks like my HDD failed. It won’t let me even log in, just stays at the loading scene after entering password. Also, for some reason, it would not let me install an OS in recovery mode, as I was locked out of my apple account. I’m in the middle of finals exams currently. I have an idea. Can I plug the SATA cable into the external SSD, and connect it to my friends computer (MacBook Air w/ High Sierra) and download/install the OS onto the SSD, then plug it into my usb and try to boot from that? If so, once it is running, is there anything I can try to get the old files off of my HDD (before I install the SSD into the actual MacBook)?


@mkg13c - Sadly, that won't work! Your friends Mac's systems firmware was updated to support the newer APFS volumes while your system is still running the older firmware which only supports HFS+ volumes for booting.

The better solution is to create the bootable OS installer from his system but don't use the High Sierra OS installer! Use the older Sierra OS install.

Your friends app store account should have it listed in the purchased grouping if he had it installed beforehand. Have him down load it and when the app launches exit it and follow the instructions above to create a USB Thumb drive. Then use it to boot up your system and install the OS.


@danj So I didn't see this until now. But late last night I ended up installing the High Sierra onto the external SSD via my friends MacBook Air. I then plugged it into my MacBook Pro, and it booted without any issues. I transferred my files from the old HDD over to my SSD (just using finder). I took out the old HDD and replaced it with the new SSD, as well as upgraded the RAM. Everything has been running extremely smooth and fast.


So you must have already installed HS on your HDD, you where lucky!

While it does work over time it will bog down. Apple has some issues with the queuing with SATA based SSDs.


@danj Weird thing is - I was running El Capitan on the old HDD. Maybe it is because I formatted the disk using my MacBook, and installed HS using my friends MacBook Pro (which is a 2015 edition)? Are there any things I should do currently? I've read some various things about TRIM and other stuff, but not exactly sure what they're referring to.


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An 860 evo or any hard drive or ssd should work fine since it’s a standard sata interface. Also the 2011 MacBook pros have sata 3 so everything should be compatible. And to clone a Mac hard drive I would get sata to USB. Also if you want to cloan the Hard drive on to the ssd use an app called Super Duper it makes it easy to transfer all of your data

Hope this Helps,


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@ronan0s - Cloning apps are passé on Mac's. The newer versions of Mac OS offer a better solution as many 3rd party apps don't move all the files over correctly and to add to it with the newer APFS file system they can't handle it.

Stick with Apple's Migration Assistant its easy and a lot less painful!


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Michael Gore zal eeuwig dankbaar zijn.

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