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View Full Version : OWC SSD experiences (for 2010-11 MBA)?




jamesryanbell
Nov 10, 2011, 01:53 PM
I just ordered the 240GB SSD from OWC for my 2010 MBA. I had the 128GB SSD option, and I was out of space in a matter of months (and that's being VERY conservative with my media, and absolutely no videos whatever on the SSD...only on external drives). Overnighted it...it'll be here in the morning, along with an enclosure to clone the existing drive to the new one.

For those of you that upgraded, what's your experience with these SSDs? Is there a noticeable speed difference? Any weird issues? Warranty issues? Just curious.



jamesryanbell
Nov 10, 2011, 08:33 PM
Not a single person, and it has 355 views. lol.

Oh well. I'll just take the info I found with a search (I just figured there may be more who have gotten one by now). :)

jimboutilier
Nov 10, 2011, 08:57 PM
I upgraded the stock 128gb SSD on my 2010 11.6" MBA to an OWC 240gb SSD.

The tools included worked well and the hardware replacement was simple and fast.

But I had to make an image backup to an external USB HD before and restore it after. Then wait for spotlight to reindex everything. Turning a 5 minute job into several hours.

But several hours very well spent. The OWC SSD is significantly and noticeably faster. And the size gave me a lot of breathing room making my MBA a much more practical machine for my uses.

I've been using the new SSD for a number of months now with no glitches or slow downs. So for me, money well spent.

jamesryanbell
Nov 11, 2011, 10:01 AM
I upgraded the stock 128gb SSD on my 2010 11.6" MBA to an OWC 240gb SSD.

But I had to make an image backup to an external USB HD before and restore it after. Then wait for spotlight to reindex everything. Turning a 5 minute job into several hours.



I bought the external USB 3.0/2.0 enclosure to put the new drive in, and I was planning to use Carbon Copy Cloner to just clone the existing drive onto the new one. That should work, right?

Then I was just going to use the stock 128GB SSD as an external drive if I need it (or possibly sell it on eBay if I decide not to use it).

Wonder how long the CCC process takes for something that size?

jamesryanbell
Nov 11, 2011, 11:27 AM
Cloning now. Seems to be moving along very quickly.

Cheffy Dave
Nov 11, 2011, 12:03 PM
Not a single person, and it has 355 views. lol.

Oh well. I'll just take the info I found with a search (I just figured there may be more who have gotten one by now). :)

JRB, we have posted about this before, I believe, but we have 3 / 2010 11" MBA's with the OWC 480 GB option. Wicked fast, and I have no tests to prove it but twice as fast is a fair assessment, over the Apple SSD. Two of them run our business, and my Daughter is studying for her Masters with hers. We have an extensive customer base, and we carry them with with us everywhere:cool::apple:

jimboutilier
Nov 11, 2011, 03:38 PM
Cool, when I got mine there were no "blade SSD" enclosures available. Should be a LOT quicker as only one copy and to a fast SSD

Beware if you are running LION that the copy will likely miss the hidden recovery partition which may cause you recovery issues if you need it later unless you recreate it and may cause immediate issues if using FileVault.


I bought the external USB 3.0/2.0 enclosure to put the new drive in, and I was planning to use Carbon Copy Cloner to just clone the existing drive onto the new one. That should work, right?

Then I was just going to use the stock 128GB SSD as an external drive if I need it (or possibly sell it on eBay if I decide not to use it).

Wonder how long the CCC process takes for something that size?

jlluna
Nov 11, 2011, 03:57 PM
Man, I wich I could afford to buy the new ssd. 128 is just not enough space. I need at least a 480. Congrats on your purchase. Let us know how you like it.

jamesryanbell
Nov 11, 2011, 06:07 PM
Beware if you are running LION that the copy will likely miss the hidden recovery partition which may cause you recovery issues if you need it later unless you recreate it and may cause immediate issues if using FileVault.

This concerns me. What do I do to fix this? How do I recreate it?

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Man, I wich I could afford to buy the new ssd. 128 is just not enough space. I need at least a 480. Congrats on your purchase. Let us know how you like it.

It's installed! Nice to have the extra space. Haven't done a read/write test on it yet.

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Oh...one problem. The OWC drive is substantially LONGER than the stock drive. I couldn't even screw it down. Just said heck with it and put the lid on anyway. I'm going to write them about this. I expected better fit and finish. Lid fits on fine though.

robvas
Nov 12, 2011, 11:23 AM
Anandtech just did a review on those:

http://www.anandtech.com/show/5076/owc-mercury-aura-pro-express-6g-review-a-fast-macbook-air-ssd-upgrade

Cheffy Dave
Nov 12, 2011, 01:52 PM
I bought the external USB 3.0/2.0 enclosure to put the new drive in, and I was planning to use Carbon Copy Cloner to just clone the existing drive onto the new one. That should work, right?

Then I was just going to use the stock 128GB SSD as an external drive if I need it (or possibly sell it on eBay if I decide not to use it).

Wonder how long the CCC process takes for something that size?

Yes to the first question, 30 minutes est to the second question:cool:

jamesryanbell
Nov 12, 2011, 03:25 PM
How do I get the Lion Recovery portion of the disk back? I downloaded "recovery disk assistant" and it won't even let me run it. It just tells me this:

"The Recovery HD on this computer is damaged or not present. Recovery Disk Assistant requires a functioning Lion Recovery HD to create an external Lion Recovery."

(Keep in mind I have the original drive in an external case plugged in via USB.)

That obviously doesn't work, and I was told Carbon Copy Cloner *doesn't* copy that part of the drive when it clones.

How do I get that portion of the disk back? (or install it)

BTW: I finally got it to fit after messing with it for fifteen minutes or so, although I couldn't ever get the screw in.

hfg
Nov 12, 2011, 03:34 PM
Boot from the external SSD you removed from your computer (hold option at boot), then run the "recovery disk assistant" and install to the new (now internal) drive. You may have to partition and format your new SSD before you can use it as well.

If desired, you could then boot the internal disk recovery program (command-R on boot) and actually do a re-install over the network (takes a long time). Then when first booting, you can migrate everything from your external (original SSD).

Or ... use CCC and copy it.

Or ... use time machine to backup your original SSD to a external hard disk, then restore from your backup when booting the restore partition.


Note: The restore partition is created as a hidden partition and you will not be able to see it without dropping down into Unix with terminal and mounting it and the files it contains. You can verify it is actually there by using the "command & R" keys at boot to enter the recovery menu. You can exit that if you don't want to really proceed with the choices given.

jamesryanbell
Nov 12, 2011, 03:48 PM
Boot from the external SSD you removed from your computer (hold option at boot), then run the "recovery disk assistant" and install to the new (now internal) drive. You may have to partition and format your new SSD before you can use it as well.

If desired, you could then boot the internal disk recovery program (command-R on boot) and actually do a re-install over the network (takes a long time). Then when first booting, you can migrate everything from your external (original SSD).

Or ... use CCC and copy it.

Or ... use time machine to backup your original SSD to a external hard disk, then restore from your backup when booting the restore partition.


Note: The restore partition is created as a hidden partition and you will not be able to see it without dropping down into Unix with terminal and mounting it and the files it contains. You can verify it is actually there by using the "command & R" keys at boot to enter the recovery menu. You can exit that if you don't want to really proceed with the choices given.


I partitioned the disk when I got it via the external housing, and then used CCC to clone it. But what I'm assuming is that CCC will NOT copy the Lion Recovery partition. Am I correct in assuming that? If so, maybe I ought to just restore from Time Machine. I just don't want to go through all of that if CCC DOES copy the Lion Recovery partition. I don't know how to check to see if it did.

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By the way, thank you for your time in helping me! :)

jlluna
Nov 12, 2011, 03:53 PM
This concerns me. What do I do to fix this? How do I recreate it?

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It's installed! Nice to have the extra space. Haven't done a read/write test on it yet, but it sure seems to launch programs faster.

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Oh...one problem. The OWC drive is substantially LONGER than the stock drive. I couldn't even screw it down. Just said heck with it and put the lid on anyway. I'm going to write them about this. I expected better fit and finish. Lid fits on fine though.

So could you just leave the drive unscrewed? I am very supprise that it did not fit. That is very interesting. Thanks for all the updates!

jamesryanbell
Nov 12, 2011, 04:09 PM
So could you just leave the drive unscrewed? I am very supprise that it did not fit. That is very interesting. Thanks for all the updates!

It fits *SUPER* tightly, whereas the Apple one did not. The OWC drive is the slightest bit longer. If you're looking at the drive from above (computer sitting flat on the table with its lid off, hinge at the top), the lower right corner of the OWC drive doesn't just sit perfectly in that space by the batteries. You have to force it into that corner. I talked to OWC, and they assured me with some pressure that it would fit. Turns out they were right, but it took a LOT of pressure (like to the point that I was questioning if I was going to break something several times). Never broke anything, and it finally went in. It fits so tightly though that there's no way it could come out without some prying. The screw is kind of unnecessary at this point. OWC may send me a replacement one if they have it (it was the original Apple screw that held in the factory SSD, so they may not stock it...supposed to hear from them on Monday).

Maclver
Nov 12, 2011, 05:02 PM
Just ordered my OWC 6G SSD, anyone have that? how does it perform on your 2011 MBA?

scarred
Nov 12, 2011, 05:30 PM
Anandtech noted that the 6g drives were harder on the battery. Does anyone know if the 3g owc drives also have a negative impact on the battery?

hfg
Nov 12, 2011, 05:56 PM
I partitioned the disk when I got it via the external housing, and then used CCC to clone it. But what I'm assuming is that CCC will NOT copy the Lion Recovery partition. Am I correct in assuming that? If so, maybe I ought to just restore from Time Machine. I just don't want to go through all of that if CCC DOES copy the Lion Recovery partition. I don't know how to check to see if it did.

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By the way, thank you for your time in helping me! :)

I think you are correct that CCC will not copy the hidden partition.

Try this to see if it actually is there...
You can verify it is actually there by using the "command & R" keys at boot to enter the recovery menu. You can exit that if you don't want to really proceed with the choices given.
- or -
Here's what to do to see the disk partitions:
Open the Terminal, and type this command to list all partitions on your hard drive or SSD:

diskutil list

Look for 'Recovery HD' in the list, and note its identifier. It will be something of the form diskXsY, where X and Y are numeric digits. (On my machine, it's disk0s3).



-howard

PittAir
Nov 12, 2011, 06:08 PM
Glad you like it. I've had the 240 GB 6G since they came out two months ago and it has been awesome. It fit perfectly fine. I am not worried about the Lion recovery partition, since I made my own Lion recovery USB drive if I get into trouble.

The benchmarks are exactly like Anandtech reports. The only issue is expense.

jlluna
Nov 12, 2011, 06:14 PM
It fits *SUPER* tightly, whereas the Apple one did not. The OWC drive is the slightest bit longer. If you're looking at the drive from above (computer sitting flat on the table with its lid off, hinge at the top), the lower right corner of the OWC drive doesn't just sit perfectly in that space by the batteries. You have to force it into that corner. I talked to OWC, and they assured me with some pressure that it would fit. Turns out they were right, but it took a LOT of pressure (like to the point that I was questioning if I was going to break something several times). Never broke anything, and it finally went in. It fits so tightly though that there's no way it could come out without some prying. The screw is kind of unnecessary at this point. OWC may send me a replacement one if they have it (it was the original Apple screw that held in the factory SSD, so they may not stock it...supposed to hear from them on Monday). Drive is crazy fast though in comparison. Absolutely love it. I can't even imagine the speeds that the newer 2011 MBAs are seeing with the SATA-III drives. This is one is the fastest SSD I've ever used personally. The difference in everything is very noticeable.


Wow! Great info! thank you so much for the detailed explanation. I would love to get one, but I am going to wait until I buy my 13" MacBook air. I have the 11" 2010, but I wanted a little bigger air , and the lighted keyboard.

Maclver
Nov 12, 2011, 07:19 PM
Glad you like it. I've had the 240 GB 6G since they came out two months ago and it has been awesome. It fit perfectly fine. I am not worried about the Lion recovery partition, since I made my own Lion recovery USB drive if I get into trouble.

The benchmarks are exactly like Anandtech reports. The only issue is expense.

Which standard drive did you have; samsung or toshiba?

rw3
Nov 12, 2011, 07:51 PM
Reinstall Lion without erasing the current partition. This will recreate the recovery partition.

Don't worry, reinstalling will not affect any user data at all.

alflavor
Nov 13, 2011, 10:28 AM
Tempted to put one of these in my 2010 Air, or then again do I wait for a late 2012 upgrade to the line, hmm?

fyrefly
Nov 13, 2011, 05:59 PM
Reinstall Lion without erasing the current partition. This will recreate the recovery partition.

Don't worry, reinstalling will not affect any user data at all.

This is 100% correct. I've done this on two macs that I upgraded to SSDs and discovered that the Lion Recovery partitions were not present (I cloned the drives from external cases back to the SSD once installed).

Reinstalled Lion over the existing installation fixed it, and didn't mess up any user data (I still backed up before doing it though! ;) ).

jamesryanbell
Nov 13, 2011, 06:15 PM
Reinstall Lion without erasing the current partition. This will recreate the recovery partition.

Don't worry, reinstalling will not affect any user data at all.

How do I do that?

jamesryanbell
Nov 14, 2011, 09:50 PM
So I just create another partition on the drive and then install Lion on that one? Then when I delete it, the recovery partition stays?

rw3
Nov 14, 2011, 10:16 PM
You do not need to create anything new. Just tell Lion to install to your current partition. It will only install OS components and recreate the Lion Recovery partition

Confuzzzed
Nov 15, 2011, 01:28 AM
This is an excellent thread. Thanks OP

jamesryanbell
Nov 15, 2011, 10:07 AM
This is an excellent thread. Thanks OP

You bet! :)

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You do not need to create anything new. Just tell Lion to install to your current partition. It will only install OS components and recreate the Lion Recovery partition

Last question, I promise. lol.

Where do I go to do this? Hold down something at boot? Or can I just select that I want to do this from a menu somewhere in the OS (which would make it reboot, etc).

Just don't want to do anything wrong.

rw3
Nov 15, 2011, 10:09 AM
You need either an install DVD or a USB flash drive to reinstall....you could also try Internet Recovery.

mfram
Nov 15, 2011, 11:52 PM
I have a 2010 MBA that originally had the 128G drive and I just upgraded to the OWC 240G drive and wanted to share my experiences.

The good news is that overall the experience was relatively painless. You can do it yourself if you have some experience working on computer hardware. OWC includes the tools needed to open your MBA and install the drive. I recommend adding the external USB enclosure to your order. It only adds a little money and will make the transition much easier. Here are the steps I took.

1. Create a bootable Lion Install USB drive. This probably isn't strictly necessary but made my life easier. Google the Internets if you don't know how to do this.
2. Install the new SSD to the external USB enclosure.
3. Test the new drive... with Mac OS already running, plug the USB cable into your computer. Start Disk Utility. If the external enclosure is working and the new drive works, it should show up on the disk list. Format the new drive using the Mac OS filesystem. Make sure it works. You are now ready to install your data on the new drive.
3. Boot off the Lion Install USB you made in step one. You do this pressing the 'Option' key while the computer is restarting and selecting the appropriate startup drive. When the installer comes up, enter the Disk Utility.
4. Your existing drive and the new drive should show up on the left side. Select your existing Macintosh HD partition.
5. On the panel on the right, select the "Restore" option. You want your existing drive to appear on the "Source" line and the new drive to show up on the "Destination" line. Make sure you get these right... NO ACCIDENTS! Click on the "Restore" button.
6. This will format your new drive and copy over the data from your existing drive. The cool part is, it will also copy over the Recovery partition! You don't have to do anything special. It just worked for me.
7. Test the new drive by booting off the external USB enclosure. Again, press the "Option" key while the computer is booting and select the external USB drive marked "Macintosh HD".
8. If it works, shut down your computer. Don't sleep the machine. You're ready for hardware surgery....
9. Remove the OWC SSD from the external enclosure.
10. Take the bottom panel off the MBA The SSD is right there in the corner. Swap the drives. Put the bottom panel back on your MBA.
11. Reboot with your new drive! You're done!

raftr
Nov 17, 2011, 10:21 AM
It looks like OWC have lowered their prices: http://eshop.macsales.com/shop/SSD/OWC/Aura_Pro_Express

Still far from cheap but tempting.

scarred
Nov 17, 2011, 11:28 AM
What kind of performance do you get from the external enclosure? For those that booted off of it, what did it do to your boot times?

I'm considering getting the 180 3g, which would ultimately give me 300gb to play with assuming the performance of the external one is good enough to use for running programs (and not just storing media files).

oneMadRssn
Nov 17, 2011, 11:34 AM
It looks like OWC have lowered their prices: http://eshop.macsales.com/shop/SSD/OWC/Aura_Pro_Express

Still far from cheap but tempting.

I'll buy it when the high end model is in the $1/GB range (give or take a bit). Right now, the 240GB is still over $2/GB which is way too much for even the highest-end consumer-level SSD.

mfram
Nov 17, 2011, 12:02 PM
What kind of performance do you get from the external enclosure? For those that booted off of it, what did it do to your boot times?

I'm considering getting the 180 3g, which would ultimately give me 300gb to play with assuming the performance of the external one is good enough to use for running programs (and not just storing media files).

Booting off an external closure is definitely slower than off the internal SSD. I only did it long enough to test that my drive was working before I swapped it inside.

raftr
Nov 17, 2011, 12:11 PM
I'm considering getting the 180 3g, which would ultimately give me 300gb to play with assuming the performance of the external one is good enough to use for running programs (and not just storing media files).

USB is the big bottleneck here. I doubt the external SSD would be faster in that configuration than any regular HDD for that reason. I run Windows via Parallels from external USB hard drive, I'd say it is usable enough. I only do browser testing on it though.

jamesryanbell
Nov 18, 2011, 11:01 AM
I'm going to try to fix the recovery partition today. Hope it works.