Tricking out the MacBook Pro

I’m the proud owner of an original MacBook Pro—the early model with “only” a 1.83GHz Core Duo processor. Overall, I’ve been quite happy with it; it’s been problem-free and a pleasure to use. That said, like many owners of this model, I’m beginning to get a mild case of upgrade-itis. The latest models—which are likely to be replaced by even newer models in the near future—sport 802.11n wireless, larger hard drives, faster optical drives, and faster processors.

What’s a tech geek like myself to do (other than buy a new machine)? Why, upgrade, of course. Although owners of older portables are stuck with the stock processor, a number of vendors have recently introduced products for upgrading the MacBook Pro (and MacBook) to the latest and greatest in mobile technology. As your dedicated Mobile Mac Weblogger, I’ve, ahem, volunteered to test some of these upgrades for you, including:

  • Hitachi’s 160GB hard-drive-upgrade kit : one of the most spacious laptop upgrades on the market; includes an external USB 2.0 enclosure for your current drive.
  • MCE’s OptiBay Hard Drive : replaces your laptop’s optical drive with a second hard drive. (It also includes a portable—and faster-than-stock—optical drive for those times when you need it.)
  • QuickerTek’s 802.11n Upgrade : replaces your early MacBook or MacBook Pro’s 802.11g wireless card with an 802.11n model.

Unfortunately, none of these is a trivial upgrade (except for upgrading the hard drive on a MacBook ). Each requires you to take your laptop apart—not an easy process, and one that potentially voids your warranty—in order to install the product. But someone has to do it, so I’ll be ripping open my MacBook Pro, multiple times, for the benefit of our readers. (An entirely selfless act, I assure you.) Stay tuned to the Mobile Mac Weblog over the next few weeks as I bring you updates on the process and my impressions of each product.

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