I wanted to update to replace the hard drive on my Early 2011 Macbook Pro. Since I have had my computer for over a year, my drive was getting bottled down, and I only had about 40GB left. Most of the space was filled with videos from my GoPro, pictures, and my extensive music colleciton, and I wasn’t willing to part with any of it.
I decided to go with the Western Digital 320 GB Scorpio Black SATA Notebook Hard Drive – WD3200BEKT from Amazon. It was an affordable drive, with very good reviews.
There are plenty of guides on how to replace the hard drive on an early 2011 Macbook pro online. My problem came when I was reinstalling OS X. The version of Snow Leopard I was installing was 10.6.7. When I went to boot from the DVD, my Macbook was emanating 3 POST beeps. The 3 beeps indicate an issue with the memory (RAM), which I had recently upgraded by purchasing 2x 4GB RAM chips. However, I hadn’t touched the RAM, and it was working perfectly fine before I touched the hard drive. Upon further research, the 3 Beeps on start up on my Macbook Pro from early 2011 indicated that I was using an install DVD that was not supported on my Machine. I ended up digging out the box that I got back in early 2011 and pulled out the install DVD that came with the computer. It was version 10.6.6, and after booting into that by holding Command + C at startup, it went right into the installation process. The installation took about 50 minutes, and my Macbook was running just like new, if not faster (due to the upgraded RAM and a fresh HDD).
The great thing about my MacBook Pro is that I can still boot into my original hard drive. I picked up a Macally PHRS-250CC FireWire 400/USB2.0 External Storage Enclosure for 2.5″ SATA HDD and all I need to do to access my old OS X installation is hold the option key at startup, and select my Firewire hard drive from the list.