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View Full Version : Triple Bootcamp ( inc Linux ) on MacBook Air RevA




MalDuffin
Apr 22, 2010, 06:15 AM
Hi folks,

My revA Macbook Air is currently getting repaired by Apple ( broken hinge, screen went off - also some case damage where my right hand would rest, and I also brought up the overheating issue ( which the Genius hadn't heard about - hmmmmmm ) ).

When it gets back ( it was 7 to 10 days, but it's currently about 14 ), I'm considering replacing the 80Gb HDD with the Runcore 128Gb SSD drive ( http://www.memoryc.com/products/description/128GB_RunCore_Pro_IV_1_8-PATA_ZIF_SSD_Solid_State_Drive_for_Macbook_Air_Rev-A/index.html ).


I'm also considering installing Linux as a third install ( probably Sabayon Linux - http://sabayonlinux.org/ - it seems to prefer bells, whistles and latest versions of libs rather than the more staunch "if it ain't GPL, it aint shipping" attitude ).

Has anyone already set up this type of install on the MacBook Air ( I have a SuperDrive ), and what type of gotchas do I have to look out for?

Previously I had OSX SL ( upgrade ) with Parallels/Win7, and also Bootcamp to Windows 7 ( which I used 75% of the time ).

Many thanks for any info you can share on this...
Mal



Airforcekid
Apr 22, 2010, 06:44 AM
Use bootcamp to install windows 7 and virtual box to install linux i used ubuntu. You dont need to burn it to a disk you can install from the iso on the hard drive. If you have windows this is all free!

Scottsdale
Apr 22, 2010, 07:55 AM
Do you really want to spend so much money, and expect so much work from an original MBA? With the value of selling your original MBA, and the inexpensive price of rebuying a rev 2,1 MBA with 1.86 GHz CPU and 128 GB SSD already included for $1349, WITH A YEAR'S WARRANTY, you could have a much more desirable and capable system. Let's say you get the ridiculous amount of $800 (which is what I saw on eBay last week), for your 1.6 GHz CPU and 80 GB HDD. You market it as having a new OEM display installed by Apple.

Then you spend $550 more to get a refurbished v 2,1 MBA with 1.86 GHz Penryn CPU (17W vs. your original MBA's 1.6 GHz at 20W Merom CPU), Nvidia 9400m GPU (at 5X the performance of your original MBA's Intel 3100), 128 GB SSD (vs. about 1/10th the speed of your original MBA's 80 GB HDD), 2 GB DDR 3 RAM (at over 50% faster than your original MBA's DDR2 RAM), SATA-II Drive Controller (vs. your original MBA's PATA drive controller), Mini Display Port capable of native display on up to 30" ACD - also beautiful with 24" LED ACD (vs. the Micro DVI capable of native display on up to 23" ACD - not capable of driving newer ACD nor assumed next LED ACD of 27"), and finally you get the luxury of a one year warranty on top of all of those editions.

What does the Runcore SSD cost? About $450 let's say. So it's $100 more plus tax to get these extras: 1.86 GHz Penryn, Nvidia 9400m, DDR3 1067 MHz RAM, SATA-II Drive Controller, Mini Display Port capabilities of driving larger newer ACDs, and a one year warranty. And that's not considering the 128 GB SSD stock drive vs. Runcore SSD. But there is one last very important piece to this puzzle... the Runcore SSD is limited by the PATA Drive Controller on the original MBA, where the stock SSD is benefiting from the SATA-II Drive Controller on the v 2,1 MBA. Net results are nearly identical end user read and write speed performance between the stock SSD on the rev 2,1 MBA as you will get from the Runcore SSD on the original MBA.

Runcore SSD on v 1,1 MBA

Uncached Write 48.24 MB/sec [4K blocks]
Uncached Write 56.5 MB/sec [256K blocks]
Uncached Read 15.29 MB/sec [4K blocks]
Uncached Read 76.91 MB/sec [256K blocks]

Uncached Write 7.95 MB/sec [4K blocks]
Uncached Write 54.74 MB/sec [256K blocks]
Uncached Read 12.68 MB/sec [4K blocks]
Uncached Read 69.71 MB/sec [256K blocks]


Stock SSD On v 2,1 MBA

Uncached Write 50.88 MB/sec [4K blocks]
Uncached Write 34.01 MB/sec [256K blocks]
Uncached Read 13.03 MB/sec [4K blocks]
Uncached Read 90.01 MB/sec [256K blocks]

Uncached Write 5.50 MB/sec [4K blocks]
Uncached Write 24.22 MB/sec [256K blocks]
Uncached Read 9.85 MB/sec [4K blocks]
Uncached Read 86.90 MB/sec [256K blocks]

I am just saying... look at the benefits vs. tossing money at your older system that will be so inferior to this strategy of getting a v 2,1 MBA for about $100 more. Look at the benefits now, and look at the benefits two years down the road. You will be greatly rewarded by the Nvidia 9400m taking advantage of OpenCL and h.264 with the v 2,1 MBA. It will make more and more impact over time. In addition, faster RAM, faster clock speed, more L2 cache, better GPU at 5X performance, and the capability to drive CURRENT Apple Cinema Displays.

This is an absolute winning approach to the MBA. I highly recommend the Runcore SSD if you already have a v 2,1 MBA. If you have a v 1,1 MBA, you're better off spending the small difference (of selling old system and upgrading to v 2,1 in Apple.com refurbished Mac section) to get a system that actually competes in today's computing and has nearly identical drive speed as the PATA drive controller allows with Runcore SSD on the original MBA.

Your original MBA is a sunk cost. Forget about your joy with it or how much you paid for your original MBA. Only realize the advantages for the limited cost in taking an approach to get a new system that is upgraded in every way over your original MBA. Not only that, you will notice the differences in nearly everything you do on the MBA. Whether it's an upgrade you will benefit the most from now or a year down the road, this strategy will absolutely be worth the small extra investment over keeping your original MBA and upgrading the drive to a Runcore SSD.

Good luck whichever way you go.

EDIT - The numbers reported for the stock SSD on the v 2,1 MBA are low. When Apple upgraded to Snow Leopard, or maybe was with a 10.6.x update, the stock SSD's drivers were changed greatly benefiting the stock SSD's scores. I will report back with those scores later, as I am getting ready to leave now. But, I believe I remember the stock SSD getting nearly double the read speeds and slightly faster write speeds. This would make the V 2,1 MBA's stock SSD much faster than the original MBA with a Runcore SSD installed! Even more benefits for the upgrade to v 2,1 MBA. If you want a Runcore down the road, get even faster results later. For now, the Runcore SSD on the original MBA is going to be limited by its PATA drive controller.

Good luck.

philstone
Apr 22, 2010, 10:53 AM
Interesting as I've been thinking of going down the Runcore route on my MBA 1,1 - Bearing in mind I have a 1.8Ghz with 64GB SSD how much do you think I could get for mine?

Speed on mine is not a complaint right now - lack of space is more a concern...

Thanks

nph
Apr 22, 2010, 09:21 PM
So Scottsdale, are you saying that 10.6 should really give a speed boost to the SDD drive in the 2.1 MBA?

I had 10.6 for a short while but didn't notice any significant speed increase, although I didn't measure specifically and was more concerned about the loss of battery life I experienced. I estimate I lost about 30 minutes vs 10.5 when doing non-intensive tasks.

If 10.6 does give a good speed increase maybe I will reconsider upgrading again...

Was the speed increase on 10.6.0 or 10.6.1? After seeing that 10.6.1 did not increase the battery life I downgraded again.

calsci
Apr 22, 2010, 10:00 PM
I've never heard of being able to do a triple boot with bootcamp.

Scottsdale
Apr 22, 2010, 10:13 PM
So Scottsdale, are you saying that 10.6 should really give a speed boost to the SDD drive in the 2.1 MBA?

I had 10.6 for a short while but didn't notice any significant speed increase, although I didn't measure specifically and was more concerned about the loss of battery life I experienced. I estimate I lost about 30 minutes vs 10.5 when doing non-intensive tasks.

If 10.6 does give a good speed increase maybe I will reconsider upgrading again...

Was the speed increase on 10.6.0 or 10.6.1? After seeing that 10.6.1 did not increase the battery life I downgraded again.

First there was an SSD drive speed performance boost for v 2,1 MBA in maybe 10.6.2. Then in 10.6.3 was a huge OpenGL boost for the 9400m.

The v 2,1 MBA is so superior with the latest 10.6.3 update that everyone with a 2,1 MBA has no reason not to switch over to Snow Leopard. Initially there were a lot of problems. Remember OpenGL was reporting a 28% performance loss from Leopard to Snow Leopard (was seen by xBench). It was really wrong. What was also wrong was the performance differences between the stock SSD and the same brand SSD in Windows or with a proper firmware/driver installation as the micro SSD update thread shows in the MBA section here at MR. The person that installed a Samsung SSD and soldered the LIF cable saw about a 100% write performance boost and some read speed boosts. I saw even better boosts to my MBA's stock SSD when I tested after a .x update to 10.6. I have swapped in and out my Runcore SSD to test the stock SSD, and the performance gains by the Runcore SSD have been substantially cut into by Apple's updates to the performance of its own stock SSDs. Now, the Runcore SSD advantage has been cut in half.

With this OpenGL update in 10.6.3, the 9400m in the MBA is reporting over 100% gains in performance. It is huge and impacts every 9400m Mac. Every Mac with an Nvidia 9400m was incredibly improved with the .3 update. It should have effects on heat, performance, and energy requirements. My MBA saw about a 15 degree temperature drop and slightly noticeable performance gains. About the same four hours of battery between charges. Can get upwards of 4.5 if I turn the display all the way down and I leave BluTooth off.

nph
Apr 22, 2010, 10:56 PM
Thanks for the info. 10.6 is starting to sound a lot more interesting. Especially with a drop in temperature, would that be surfing the web as well or programs specifically using OpenGL and what would those be?

This sounds so good it would compensate a slight loss of battery time.

Thanks!

Scottsdale
Apr 22, 2010, 11:10 PM
Thanks for the info. 10.6 is starting to sound a lot more interesting. Especially with a drop in temperature, would that be surfing the web as well or programs specifically using OpenGL and what would those be?

This sounds so good it would compensate a slight loss of battery time.

Thanks!

Anything that focuses on graphics will benefit.

I hated Snow Leopard until 10.6.3. Now, I absolutely love it. I am seeing a much better all around experience. With the great Flash accessibility to h.264 news today, the MBA will get much MUCH better with Flash. I suggest within a few months we will all stop having Flash problems most of the time. When we watch Hulu in HD or YouTube HD, the CPU will be assisted by the GPU for hardware acceleration of the Flash movies. It really has big implications for all Macs with Nvidia 9400m, 320m, and 330 GT. This means other HD video programs will all get much better too.

More and more reasons every day to upgrade from an original MBA to a rev 2,1 MBA.

MalDuffin
Apr 23, 2010, 03:36 AM
Hi folks,

Thanks for the replies. I still haven't got my fixed MacAir RevA back from Apple yet, but when I do I'll def check out the different options.

Regarding booting Linux natively, rather than using a virtual machine, this is something I would prefer - even when running Win7 under a VM within OS/X, there is a very noticable performance hit ( to the point where I just boot natively into Win7 ).

These forums are very helpful - thanks again!
Mal

macuserx86
Apr 23, 2010, 03:44 AM
Hi folks,

Thanks for the replies. I still haven't got my fixed MacAir RevA back from Apple yet, but when I do I'll def check out the different options.

Regarding booting Linux natively, rather than using a virtual machine, this is something I would prefer - even when running Win7 under a VM within OS/X, there is a very noticable performance hit ( to the point where I just boot natively into Win7 ).

These forums are very helpful - thanks again!
Mal

This Wiki seems to have a lot of answers about doing what you want to do. (http://wiki.onmac.net/index.php/Triple_Boot_via_BootCamp)

You should definitely run Linux natively if you want to do anything productive on it; VMs are painfully slow and often lack 3D acceleration (so no SPINNAN CUBEZ! in ubuntu)

ranguvar
Apr 23, 2010, 09:52 AM
Triple booting is possible, I've done it. Just install rEFIt, then the three OSs. When you're done, you can uninstall rEFIt. The Windows and Linux startup disks will each be labeled "Windows" under Bootcamp, so you'll have to remember which is which.