OWC Data Doubler and Value Line Optical Drive Enclosure

Your MacBook or MacBook Pro probably came with one hard drive and, in most instances, a built-in optical drive that you rarely use. The OWC Data Doubler lets you install a second hard drive in place of that SuperDrive, and OWC’s SuperSlim enclosure gives your removed optical drive a new home.

Aluminum Unibody MacBookMy newest Mac and only modern notebook is a Late 2008 Aluminum Unibody MacBook. It runs at 2.0 GHz, has 4 GB of RAM, and was upgraded with a 500 GB 7200 RPM WD Scorpio Black hard drive with a 16 MB buffer, one of the fastest traditional notebook hard drives available when I bought it. I originally ran Mac OS X 10.6.8 Snow Leopard on it, switched to 10.9 Mavericks when it came out as a free OS, and now have a second internal hard drive for testing 10.10 Yosemite, which it handles very nicely. This MacBook has a 3 MB/s SATA Rev. 2 bus, which is twice as fast as early MacBooks and half as fast as modern ones.

Last fall, I removed the MacBook’s SuperDrive, enclosed it in the OWC Value Line SuperSlim USB 2.0 enclosure, left the 500 GB hard drive in the optical drive bay, and installed a used 200 GB hard drive in the optical drive bay using an OWC Data Doubler.

WD Scorpio Black in OWC Data DoublerI partitioned the second drive with one partition for OS X 10.9 Mavericks and one for work files, especially my Dropbox folder with all the old HTML pages for Low End Mac, which I access frequently as I migrate archived content to WordPress and have to make sure the old links are updated so when I migrate other pages, they are up-to-date.

I also have a partition with OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard, which gives me access to several old PowerPC applications that can’t run with any newer version of OS X.

Although I have OS X 10.10.3 Yosemite, I do not plan on migrating to it, since too much of my software is incompatible with Yosemite and my 6-year-old MacBook doesn’t support a lot of Yosemite’s new features. Still, I can experiment with it when I want to.

Moving Drives Around

WD hard drives installed in MacBookRemoving the hard drive is a quick and easy process, but removing the optical drive and replacing it with the OWC Data Doubler is a fairly involved process that is easier with magnetized screwdriver tips. OWC rates this moderate difficulty, and I concur.

Installing the SuperDrive in the black plastic OWC Value Line SuperSlim enclosure was a breeze. I had no problem mounting a CD with the drive connected to one of the MacBook’s USB ports, and the supplied cable can draw power from a second USB port if necessary. You can also buy an AC adapter.

My goal is to eventually install a high capacity hybrid drive or a 256 GB SSD, but until then, this setup is working quite nicely. I rarely rip CDs into iTunes and even less often burn discs, to having an external optical drive is not an issue.

By having my Dropbox folder on a separate drive, the buffer in that drive is dedicated to just those files, while the buffer on my boot drive handles everything else.

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