I'm considering buying a solid state drive for my Unibody White MacBook 2010. The trouble is, I have no idea what to look for. What kind of connector am I looking for? (SATA?) What size? I'm told to get the kind that Apple uses so that I don't void my AppleCare warranty. What model/brand(s) would that be?
You're looking for any 2.5" SATA drive. I'm not sure if the MacBooks came with SATA 3 (6 Gb/s) or SATA 2 (3 Gb/s), so you should match whichever the installed drive is. (There's no harm in putting a SATA 3 drive in a machine that only supports SATA 2, you just won't get the speed and you'll pay more.) You should be careful of 12.5mm height drives - they won't fit in some Macs. Anything smaller should be fine.
Moshe, If you can find one instance of AppleCare being refused for a simple HD swap I'll be amazed. In fact I was surprised to find that it is not specifically allowed by AppleCare terms (linked below) as I had heard it was for Unibody models onwards.
Having said that, I don't think you can buy an Apple OEM drive anyway.
I have had a horrible experience with "iRam" drives - installed fully on two of them, after sleep both came up completely blank! But this is not an isolated experience. Many SSDs will work at first and fail quickly. In my office we have had bad Kingston, OCZ and other brands.
The only one that I have found good so far (fingers crossed) is the OWC Extreme 6G series, and even then only after getting a bad one first and having to exchange. The new one from OWC bears a different label so I would say direct from OWC is the way to go, not from a reseller who may have older stock.
Current Intel drives are highly regarded but I have not used one personally.
I had started by saying that the AppleCare plan specifically allows you to change the hard drive as a user-serviceable part. But it doesn't. Then I interpreted
To mean that you can't do it - but that could mean you only have a problem if you cause damage while doing it. And the limitation of warranty for performing an operation like that might be illegal depending on the laws of where you live anyway.
Bottom line is I would (and do) do it, and Apple do treat such altered machines as covered. The inclusion of instructionsto do so in the manual is a pretty strong hint that it's OK.