Western Digital My Passport Elite 320GB – Great for MacBook Pro

Posted by: on May 26, 2008 in Mac Specific, Technology | 53 Comments

After having upgraded my older, out-of-warranty MacBook Pro to a 200GB, 7200RPM hard drive a few months ago, I spotted a great item on sale at Costco. It was the Western Digital My Passport Elite 320GB external 2.5″ hard drive. The regular price was $170, and I got it for $140. As soon as I got it home, I took it apart so I could put it to proper use – inside my 2.16GHz MacBook Pro.

Here are some pics showing the process of taking the WD Passport Elite drive apart.

Here’s the prey in its natural habitat:

A credit card or thick fingernail is the best tool for prying the wide edge open. There are quite a few notches – very tough, very resistant to force. Careful, or *snap*, the case will break!

You can see the notches that hold the case together.

Because the case wants to snap back together, it’s necessary to hold it apart from all angles. I used four credit/gift cards to do the trick.

Here’s the center frame extruded from the outer case.

All the parts…

As you can see, the drive inside is a Western Digital 320GB SATA drive with a 5400RPM rotational speed. These drives sell for $130 to $170 online, and for much, much more in retail stores.

Here you can see the SATA drive separated from the tiny little SATA-USB controller. This controller works fine on its own. You can use it with or without the WD enclosure.

I dropped the 320GB drive into my 2.16GHz MacBook Pro. It formats to 298.09GB. So far, I’ve got 219GB free. Wow.

Close-up inside the MacBook Pro…

Another close-up inside the MacBook Pro. I like the paper-thin SATA interface.

What I like about the Western Digital My Passport Elite 320GB is that it’s a great hard drive for laptop use. It’s much cheaper than a generic OEM drive. The outer case is flat-out awesome – better than most 2.5″ cases you can buy online for $50 or more. An additional perk – the Western Digital My Passport Elite 320GB case is 100% bus-powered. No need for an external power supply or dual-USB cable setup to power the drive. I’m very happy with this purchase.

Caveat: moving from a 7200RPM drive to a 5400RPM drive can result in a slow-down here and there, but I’ve found that this 320GB drive is pretty swift on its feet so far. Boot time is only 3-4 seconds slower, Photoshop runs roughly the same and only video conversion seems significantly affected (by about 20%). All else is good.