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Space (inside your MacBook)… the Final Frontier.

While Captain Kirk may have been talking about exploring outer space in the future during Star Trek’s famous (though grammatically dubious) opening narration, there’s another space we can conquer today: inner space. No, we’re not talking about the 1987 comedy starring Martin Short and Dennis Quaid; we’re talking about that space inside your MacBook or MacBook Pro.

All Apple laptops that have the “unibody” construction (be it aluminum or plastic) feature a SATA optical drive, rather than the PATA drives previous models had. This makes it simple to replace a rarely-used optical drive with a second SATA drive, be it a standard 2.5” hard drive or a solid state drive. All you need is a bracket to hold the drive in place.

That bracket is now here.

Other World Computing is happy to introduce Data Doubler, an optical bay mounting solution for MacBook or MacBook Pro notebook computers that enables users to install a second 2.5” drive (either standard or SSD) in your optical drive bay.

The custom engineered, black anodized aluminum OWC Data Doubler gives MacBook and MacBook Pro users the flexibility to uniquely configure their notebook computer’s internal drive array. Any SATA 2.5″ hard drive or SSD of up to 9.5mm (Super Slim) height can be mounted onto the bracket with the entire assembly, then installed into the notebook’s 5.25″ optical drive bay. All SATA drives are recognized just like the standard hard drive. This opens up installation options including, but not limited to:

  • Creating a second volume with its own desktop icon.
  • Combining a new drive with the existing internal drive for one larger volume or for RAID performance.
  • Configuring a new drive as a backup drive.
  • Formatting one drive for the Mac OS and the other dedicated for Windows.
  • Installing the OS and applications on a fast SSD and [[relocating the home folder]] to a larger, less-expensive standard drive.

To make things even more convenient, we’ve even got some great bundles available, so you can be sure to have all the materials and tools you need to perform the installation.

Use Your Internal Optical Externally

Of course, there’s still the rare occasion you’ll need to use your optical drive. Installing a new operating system or software usually requires installing from the included CD/DVD, so you’ll need a way of reading the discs.

For just these cases, you may also want to consider putting the optical drive you’ve replaced into a future released SATA version of our existing OWC Value Line Slim external enclosure. That way, it’s there when you need it and out of the way when you don’t.

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  • Hi, I have a 17″ mac book pro and I recently upgraded the internal hard drive with the OWC 120 GB SSD. The previous hard drive is in a data doubler and have relocated my home folders to this second drive. This regular drive in the data doubler is also my Boot Camp drive. Everything is working fine with the drives and I love fast the boot up times and all the other applications (e.g. Office 2011) have also benefited from this setup.
    However one very frustrating thing about tlack of an internal DVD drive is that the DVD Player will not recognize any external DVD drives that I plug-in. I got around this issue by using VLC Player but it really amazes me to see that Apple has hard wired the DVD player to only look for the internal optical/DVD drive.
    Has anyone else also having this issue with the DVD Player? The available external slim drives are all USB 2.0 and the speeds at which they perform, especially when you want to rip your personal DVDs is a killer. Not to mention sometimes they do not even read the DVD disk. Any suggestions would be welcome.

  • Hi Grant (and Michael!) I have a couple of comments:

    1. With respect to the new data doubler in my macbook pro, I decided to try putting the XT back on the data doubler WITHOUT the newer firmware 500 7200.04 on the main slot, it does connect at the full 3.0 speed. SO I then went out to fry’s and bought a WD 1TB drive (I know, I should have called you but I wanted INSTANT gratification!) to see if it would connect at the full 3.0 on the main drive bay and sure enought it did! I now have 1.5 TB of hard drive space. Made the M XT my main drive (love the extra speed of the SSD hybrid drive!) on the data doubler side, and the 1TB my data drive… all connecting at full speeds!!! Happy MBP and fast i7 to boot!

    2. Michael, are you referring to the 8GB upgrade or something else in particular? I have 4GB ram right now, but am interested in your sale of newerram that I saw recently…

    Thanks for everything everyone!

    Marco Martinez

  • P.S. Michael, from a sales perspective, when do you think SSDs will become affordable (1 year? 2 years? 3?) it would be nice to one day own one that can give us plenty of space (at a minimum 512GB) for a reasonable price… :-)

    • While not Michael…I’ll weigh in on this Marco. Affordability is in the eye of the beholder…

      For under $200…you can completely change various aspects (Boot, app load, anything disk related) of your machine’s performance. Kinda like a processor upgrade which in the past cost hundreds more. Yeah…close to $200 is some dough for sure…but again, lots less than what other big performance gain upgrades in past cost….

      anyways…something to think about…

  • Hi Michael, thanks for the follow up. I just did something which tells me that it is probably apple firmware which fails to connect at the full speed. I put in a stock momentus 7200.4 with 0002sdm1 firmware and it does connect at the full speed. The apple drive which came with the MBP i7 has 0008APM2 firmware and it doesn’t connect at the fulls speed. Leading me to believe it is a firmware issue. The momentus XT, however still only connects at the 1.5 speed on the data doubler. It doesn’t really matter since I have the XT on the main slot as a boot drive (the reason I bought it) and have now replace the apple stock drive with the aftermarket (older firmware) drive which connects at the full speed.

    Thanks for the follow up, I appreciate it.

  • Hello Marco,

    If you are still running into issues, please give our technical support department a call at 1(800)275-4576. We have run testing on our current stock of momentus XT drives in the Data Doubler using a core i7 MacBook Pro and throughout our testing have been unable to replicate your 1.5Gbps issue in order to find a fix for it.

  • I just purchase the data doubler with the momentus XT kit. (via reseller who purchased from you, since we are required to buy from small business here in california) Anyway, I installed the existing hard drive (Momentus 7200.4 500GB) on the data doubler and the Momentus XT on the main hard drive slot in the macbook 17 i7 we just got.

    I noticed that the drive connected to the data doubler ONLY connects at a negotiated links speed of 1.5 gigabits.

    Testing, I then installed the momentus XT on the data doubler and the existing drive back on the main drive slot and it STILL connects at the negotiated speed of 1.5 gigabits.

    In other words it won’t connect at the full speed (both use the intel 5 series chipset, according to the system profiler.)

    I went to see the specs at your web site and it says nothing about connecting at half speed only… Any ideas on what maybe happening?

    I am looking for answers on the web as I am writing this… thanks in advance…

    • The data doubler actually contains a pass-through board, meaning the transfer speeds should be able to negotiate whatever both the hard drive bus and the drive itself can handle. In your case, all three should be able to transfer up to 3.0 Gbps speeds.

      Our own tests using the OWC Mercury Extreme Pro 200GB SSD averaged 271 MB/Sec read speeds and 260 MB/Sec write speeds well above the 1.5 Gb/Sec barrier you are experiencing.

      I’m seeing if we can’t replicate your issue to try to find a solution. – An interesting thread on Apple Discussions indicates there may be issue with jumpers on some Seagate drives, but I really didn’t see a resolution or confirmation there. I highly suggest taking a look at the thread:
      (the Seagate drive / jumper issue starts around page 4 of that thread)

      For now, good luck on your web search – and please let me know if you figure this out before we post our findings.

  • I have recently purchased the OptiBay kit for 3 macbooks in our office, about a month before you introduced this kit. We also bought 3 of your very own OWC 240GB SSD Sandforce drives.

    Optibay is USD 99.00, and they give an optical drive enclosure for free. It’s simple, no-frills, but gets the job done. The ugly thing about their enclosure is that it does NOT come with a faceplate, which leaves the slot loading apparent, which is ugly and dust-prone. It is clearly a generic part they bought from China, and despite the aesthetic pitfall it gets the job done.

    Let me suggest you, the external enclosure for the drive should be an integral part of the Data Doubler product, and not a ‘bundle’. After all, we need to put that drive to use sometime, even if it’s on another computer. 99.9% of the users will want an enclosure.

    Oh, and if you can beat the OptiBay price, so much the better.

    I also think that instead of listing tens of ‘bundles’, you should add a discount coupon with conditions, or just automatically give the discount using the following rule:
    IF the coupon is applied AND the ‘Data Doubler’ is on the cart, give a USD 20 discount for each HDD/SSD/Hybrid.

    That may be a bit of a headache for your programmers, but not an impossible feature.

  • “For just these cases, you may also want to consider putting the optical drive you’ve replaced into the OWC Value Line Slim external enclosure. That way, it’s there when you need it and out of the way when you don’t.”

    Uh…no. The OWC Value Line Slim link you provided is only for ATAPI (PATA) DVD mechanisms. You may want to update your blog entry to fix this…


    • Hey Jim thanks for stopping by. Our enthusiasm for being a one stop shop got the best of us there. You are correct, the current Value Line enclosure does only support PATA drives. We are working on a SATA version and often when working on these products, we start to “own” them like they are available! We’ll correct that bit…thanks!