Macbook Pro Hard Drive Replacement Upgrade Test: OWC Aura Pro X2 SSD Review

Let’s unpack it together in this photography tutorial.

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Old Macbook Pro Hard Drive Replacement Upgrade Test: OWC Aura Pro X2 SSD Review

Make your old Macbook Pro perform like new by replacing the hard drive

Will replacing your old Macbook Pro hard drive with an upgraded SSD make it feel like a whole new computer? I replaced the SSD in my 2015 macbook pro with the OWC Aura Pro X2 and tested the speed and performance before and after. As a photographer & content creator I edit and export a LOT of photos and videos, so finding ways to speed up my old macbook pro is something I’m always on the lookout for. Hopefully these speed tests from upgrading my macbook with the OWC Aura Pro 2 SSD and short review will help you decide whether you should upgrade your old mac, or invest in a new one.

OWC Aura Pro X2 Review Summary:

Overall I’m happy with the upgrade to my computer. While its not a night and day difference, my machine is a little zippier in most tasks, and testing shows its 30% faster at exporting photos and videos, which is pretty significant. Also having double the space on my mac is AWESOME and makes for a way more convenient travel package not having to bring along an external hard drive. Would I recommend the OWC Aura Pro X2? I sure would – BUT I’d make sure you’re willing to spend 4-5 hours making the switch by the time you’ve transferred your time machine backup and finished everything. Also make sure you upgrade to OS Mojave first, as that would have saved me a lot of time and frustration!

Hopefully this review of the OWC Aura Pro X2 gives you some insight into how to switch out the hard drive in your macbook pro, and whether switching the hard drive could offer you some significant speed + storage increases.

DIY Hard Drive Replacement Tool links:

SSD Hard Drive – 1tb OWC Aura Pro X2 –

Screwdriver Tool –

Thermal Paste –

Disclaimer: I receive a small commission if you purchase these, but feel free to buy whatever tools & paste you like – These are just what I used!

Isopropyl Alcohol – Buy this at a grocery store or pharmacy anything with an alcohol content over about 70% is fine. At $0.70 its WAY cheaper than buying the special electronic stuff for $15+!

Compressed Air – Again, go buy this at a hardware store and its WAY cheaper. The one I got was about $5 at home depot. Just make sure its compressed air only, and doesn’t have anything else in there.

Thermal Paste Replacement Walkthrough:


[powerkit_collapsible title=”VIDEO TRANSCRIPT: Macbook Pro Auro Pro X2 SSD Replacement Test”]
are you looking for a way to make your
old MacBook Pro run faster if so maybe
you should think about switching out the
hard drive inside of this video I’m
going to show you the before and after
results of switching out the hard drive
in my 2015 MacBook Pro let’s get into it
all right so switching out the hard
drive in your MacBook Pro isn’t going to
make it into a 2019 or a 20/20 model but
it can make an amazing difference when
it comes to performance so just some
background this MacBook Pros at 2015 mid
2015 model 15-inch and SPECT out when I
bought it now
I love this computer I love that it has
no butterfly keyboard so I don’t have to
worry about keys always breaking I love
that it has no touch bar so I have
actual buttons to turn the volume on and
off and the thing I love the very most
about it is the ports I have two USB
ports an SD port and two Thunderbolt
ports plus a headphone jack that means I
don’t have to carry dongles everywhere I
go and so this for me is the main reason
I haven’t actually even upgraded to a
new macbook because this actually does
everything so well and the new MacBooks
I just feel like there’s so many
compromises but the problem is this
thing is running a little bit slower
than I would like and so I figured I
would try switching out the hard drive
because I heard about these guys at Oh W
see who are creating a new hard drive
that you can switch your Mac hard drive
with and apparently it uses technology
that is way newer being 2019 and 2020
rather than the 2015 models so it allows
more storage faster transfer speeds and
basically a better experience for a very
reasonable price a couple hundred bucks
so I decided to reach out to them and
they said hey you can actually have one
check it out for free and I was like
free that sounds great
we’ll give it a test so I took the hard
drive I put it in here plugged in did
all the tests and I’m going to run you
through the different kind of walk you
through exactly what’s involved in doing
that and then talk about the results ok
let’s do it now in order to open up your
Mac you’ll need a Mac specific
screwdriver it’s called a pentalobe
screwdriver and the size you want is t5
I recommend just picking up a kit like
this I recently purchased this one and
was very happy with it
I’ll leave the link in the description
below if you want to check that out the
inside of your Mac is likely dusty so
I’d recommend a can of compressed air as
well as some isopropyl alcohol to wipe
down the motherboard now once you
actually get that pentalobe screwdriver
you can open up your Mac it’s pretty
simple here just make sure to keep track
of where the screws go because the two
screws in the back of your Mac are
actually shorter than the rest so I just
like to draw a little diagram here and
place the screws on top of the
corresponding places so I remember where
everything goes that’s just a little
trick you can use when you’re
taking these kind of things apart now
once the cover is off you can see
there’s a ton of dust so I’m just going
to lean this MacBook up against my wall
I’m going to blow out one side flip it
over blow at the other side and clean
this case out with the isopropyl alcohol
and a paper towel now one thing I really
love about the o WC drives is they come
with installation video so you can just
watch the video it walks you through
step by step taking the Mac apart
disconnecting the battery removing your
old hard drive and inserting the new
hard drive into this same slot so I just
went through I watched it from start to
finish and it even tells you which tools
you’re going to need which is super
helpful and walks you through putting
the Mac back together so after I’d
finish that it was my turn to have a go
now theoretically this whole thing is
super simple you take one screw out of
the Mac you remove the hard drive and
then you slot in the new hard drive and
so far so good right it came out pretty
easy you can see there’s some dust in
there that I cleaned out I grabbed my
new hard drive and I went to slot it in
to this chamber now this is where things
got a little bit tricky because what Oh
W C doesn’t mention is that the hard
drive is very very hard to fit into this
little space you can see that I’m just
messing with it trying to force it
without forcing it too hard I didn’t
want to damage it or break it in the end
I actually thought it was in there once
screwed it in put the whole Mac back
together started it up only to find out
that the drive wasn’t in all the way so
I had to take the entire computer apart
again only to make sure that I actually
pushed the hard drive in far enough you
can tell that it’s in all the way once
the mounting screw is completely
revealed you won’t know what I’m talking
about until you see it yourself but
basically you just need to shove that
thing for all your words into the hard
drive slot without damaging of course
now in the process I even found out that
the original screw driver I started with
the bit had stripped and so I switched
to my new screw driver for the rest of
this put it back together and
theoretically I was done now I press the
power button and waited and as you can
see nothing happened so make sure that
you go ahead and press the power button
but hold it down for a couple of seconds
and after a second or two you might be
greeted like me with the question mark
folder of death and this is nothing to
be concerned about it just means there’s
nothing on the hard drive right now and
your Mac is saying what is going on so
what you need to do is actually boot up
the Mac in recovery mode so in theory
this was actually all I had to do I
in my harddrive with my time machine
back up and I press the power button and
held down command R now this is one
thing that I really wish that o WC did
better is provide some documentation
with the purchase that said hey you need
to do this or at least hey here’s the
link to the video showing you how to do
this because I had to look this up by
myself and it kind of freaked me out for
a little bit so anyways what you do is
you hold down command R you can see that
the Mac is booting and it is just using
the internet to download a kind of
temporary system in order to backup or
install a new OS or whatever it is that
you need it to do so that’ll take 5 10
15 minutes it doesn’t really matter and
once that is finished you can navigate
to your time machine back up and it will
recover the entire thing and basically
clone it onto your new hard drive in
theory very very simple so I went ahead
into my time machine backups I selected
the backup I needed and bam it started
to back up now in theory that’s what
happened but in reality what I figured
out was there was no destination drive
for me to clone my backup onto that
meant that I actually hadn’t pushed that
little SSD far enough into the slot so I
had to take my entire Mac apart after
shutting it down of course and take that
SSD and push it into that stupid slot
and do this whole process a second time
around once I’d done this I went and
started up the Mac again holding command
R and this time it loaded just fine so I
was able to select the hard drive that I
was supposed to backup on to and I was
able to select my time machine back up
however here’s where things got nasty
again when I actually selected that
backup and put it on my Mac everything
seemed good it started copying the files
over and I came back three hours later
and it had finally finished the problem
was that when I actually went to boot
the Mac it got to about here on the
booting screen and it would pause for
hours and not do anything
I tried restarting the Mac I tried
booting it several different times to no
whatsoever eventually I figured out that
actually for this hard drive to be
supported by Mac you have to switch to
Mojave so I had to update my operating
system before I was able to actually
restore the Mac and have it start up so
this was very frustrating and took me
about an entire day without my computer
just messing around trying to get it to
work and that was definitely the worst
this experience and something that owz
didn’t mention they did mention you had
to have at least operating system high
sierra in order to do this update
however they never mentioned that you
need to switch to mojave so for anyone
out there who is not on mojave yet and
doesn’t want to be I would not recommend
the o WC drives I would make sure that
you get something that is supported on
High Sierra so with all that out of the
way I was finally able to do some tests
here is the hard drive speed before you
can see that things are hovering right
around five hundred and thirty megabytes
a second for right speed and a read
speed of eighteen hundred megabytes per
second now let’s take a look at the new
hard drive as you can see the right
speeds are now almost four times faster
at 2200 megabytes a second and read
speeds are substantially faster as well
hopping over to nova bench comparing the
tests tells a slightly different story
however because even though our hard
drive is now substantially faster the
actual real-world performance increase
is not as substantial because the cpu
doesn’t work as well with a non apple
calibrated hard drive but the test
results really aren’t that important
what actually matters is real world
performance so what I went ahead and did
is I exported 100 photos before and
after the hard drive switch the older
hard drive finished in a solid two
minutes 57 seconds while the new drive
took 2 minutes and 17 seconds so we had
a solid increase their overall that’s an
increase of 22.6% in speed so all in all
am I happy with the switch of course I
any increase is an increase when it
comes to performance and my Mac after
switching that hard drive out is 22.6%
faster and exporting photos and that is
a big deal when you’re exporting
thousands of photos or exporting
different videos makes a huge difference
now when you couple that with actually
changing out the thermal paste while
you’re inside of this Mac I saw another
9 percent increase in export speed now
if you don’t know what thermal paste is
it’s stuff that just helps in the heat
dissipation of your GPU and your CPU I
did a video on a quick tutorial it’s
super easy takes 10 bucks worth of
thermal paste and about 15 minutes time
you can switch that out and in total
after doing that and the hard drive
I saw a 32 percent increase in export
speed now that is a huge huge increase
when it comes to just a couple hundred
bucks spent and what a couple hours
worth of time rather than buying a
brand-new MacBook Pro I’m pretty happy
with that now if you’re not technical
you don’t like messing a
with backing up hard drives and whatever
is this worth it you have to decide for
yourself but I do guarantee you’re going
to see a huge increase in speed and
hopefully be able to use your Mac a
little bit longer without needing to
upgrade it so this video is helpful for
you please do me a favor hit that like
button below make sure to subscribe
leave a comment if you have questions I
will try to answer them as best I can
and until next time I will see you later
take care
[powerkit_collapsible title=””]

  1. Jorge

    What about battery consumption?

    1. Hey Jorge! I can’t say for sure because I have already replaced mine with a non apple battery. BUT compared to before and after, I didn’t notice much of a difference. Being an older laptop, I personally don’t use it much without the power adapter since the battery life is just not that great no matter what for me! Hope this helps!

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