SSD in a Mac Pro

On the subject of SSDs, many people wonder how to install one in a system with a SATA backplane (the cableless setup where drives plug directly into connectors). This includes the Apple Mac Pro and many other higher-end workstations or cases, as well as the Drobo and many RAID/JBOD enclosures.

For those on an extreme budget, there’s always the Possum Lodge approach of duct tape and cables. This tends to defeat the neatness and ease of a backplane setup, though, and if you don’t already have the needed wiring hanging around, it can cost more than better options.

What we instead recommend is the use of an adapter enclosure. We’ve tested and recommend one (well, two) from Icy Dock, the MB882SP series. The MB882SP-1S-1B is a great effortless design: Pop your drive in, close the lid, and you’re set to go. It lists for $19.99. The MB882SP-1S-2B is a newer revision of the product, requiring (very) slightly more manual labor, but offering additional ventilation slots and listing for just $14.00.

These adapter enclosures will work with any backplane-equipped computer, sled or no sled—they’re simply making your 2.5″ drive take up the same amount of space as a 3.5″ drive (and putting the connectors in the right place).

Specifically for Mac Pro owners, there’s an additional option in MaxUpgrades’ MaxConnect. MaxConnect is a machined aluminum replacement sled. Simply attach your bare 2.5″ drive and then insert the MaxConnect in place of the standard Apple drive sled. At $48.50, it’s a more expensive option, but may be just the ticket if you want to gaze upon your tiny little drives. (It was developed for the WD VelociRaptor—which shouldn’t be used in adapter enclosures—but is compatible with any standard 2.5″ drive.)

I can’t vouch personally for MaxUpgrades, but I’ve heard from a couple people that they had a painless experience ordering, receiving, and using a MaxConnect.

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