Looking for an internal 2.5″ 2TB HDD for your MacBook, or MacBook Pro? The cheapest option is to get a Seagate Backup Slim USB external disk and rip its guts out. It is the only 9.5mm 2.5″ 2TB internal disk on the market (or was in 2015), and I believe that it still is – even in late 2017, in Bangkok, an internal disk such as a Seagate BarraCuda ST2000DM006 2TB 64MB Cache SATA III 6.0Gb/s is around 3350 baht, or more recisely:
- Seagate Barracuda SATA III 128 MB 7 mm 2Y 3390 Baht
- Seagate Firecuda SATA III 128 MB 7 mm 5Y 3850 Baht
whereas the Seagate Backup Slim is normally 2620/2590 baht (depending on where you shop), or 2360 on offer (I actually ended up paying 2290 baht at a sale, with a soft case and a OTG mobile adapter thrown in).
Other disks are too fat (i.e. tall) at 12 mm to fit in the MacBook internal disk bay – other heights may be 6 mm or 15 mm.
Note that this size disk will also fit the Playstation 4.
How to open the case…
… without destroying it? From Seagate 2TB Backup Plus Portable Drive disassembly:
Seagate has developed a new 2.5″ laptop drive with a 2 TB capacity. Previous 2 TB laptop drives had a thickness of 15 mm, making them unsuitable for placement in most laptops. In contrast, the new Seagate/Samsung Spinpoint M9T ST2000LM003 (HN-M201RAD/AVN) has a thickness of only 9.5mm. However, this drive is not yet being sold through normal consumer sales channels. However, these drives are being sold as part of the Seagate Backup Plus line, inside a nice little USB 3.0 enclosure. These Backup Plus drives are also much cheaper (about 50% less) than the drives on eBay (step 3: profit?). Note, however, that you get no warranty (Seagate warranty validation: “The product you identified was sold as a system component”). The only tricky part is actually getting the drive out of the enclosure, especially if you’re trying not to damage the case.
The top of the case is made of stamped metal, and is held on by a combination of double sided tape and small clips.
Because there is more tape near the USB plug, it is easiest to begin prying the case off from the other end. Start by jamming something thin under the edge of the top of the case (see photo below). To avoid damage, you’ll probably want to use a nylon spudger (while screwdrivers work fine they will probably cause some cosmetic damage to the case). You can slide the spudger around the edge of the case, releasing the two clips at the end.
I ended up jamming the spudger further into the top of the case (on top of the hard drive) and prying gently, which also released two of the side clips (but being careful not to deform to the top too much).
After that, you just have to work the spudger around releasing the rest of the clips, and the top will come off. The drive itself is held into the bottom part of the case by two plastic pegs that protrude slightly from the case into the screw holes of the drive on the side away from the USB plug. They can be easily released with a little gentle prying.
Success! A 2TB internal laptop drive at last!
4TB External RAID option
A point of note is that the 4TB Seagate Backup Plus Fast (STDA4000x00, i.e. STDA4000300 for Black) is actually two 2 TB disks with a RAID circuit..! From 2TB+ 2.5″ Hard Drives?
It is important to note that this image shows the Fast version of the Backup Plus – it is fast because it contains two 2TB slim 9.5 mm 2.5″ disks inside the enclosure.
Care should be taken not to confuse it with the non Fast version, the Backup Plus Portable – available as 4GB (STDR4000302) and 5GB (STDR5000302) – which is just one fat (14 mm?) 2.5″ disk, see both:
- Seagate Backup Plus (4TB) Review and Ratings, and;
- Seagate Review: Hands-On With the 4TB Backup Plus Portable Hard Drive With Lyve Integration:
Seagate’s new Backup Plus offers the same 4TB of storage that the Backup Plus Fast offers, but it’s less expensive and it is a single 4TB hard drive instead of two external drives in a RAID 0 configuration.
Also of interest is An inexpensive Seagate 4TB 2.5″ SATA – Get Ready for density! which shows the disassembly of the Seagate Backup Plus (4TB), although, as previously stated, the disk, once extracted will not fit inside a MacBook.