Register FAQ / Rules Forum Spy Search Today's Posts Mark Forums Read
Go Back   MacRumors Forums > Apple Hardware > Notebooks > MacBook Air

Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
Old Oct 1, 2012, 08:24 PM   #1
mediacomposer
macrumors newbie
 
Join Date: Jun 2010
Location: Boston, MA
Send a message via AIM to mediacomposer Send a message via Skype™ to mediacomposer
Thumbs down OWC SSD "Upgrade" 2012 Macbook Air - Buyer Beware

Hey Guys,

Long time lurker first time thread-starter, you guys have solved A LOT of problems of mine over the years and I thank you for that.

I wanted to let you know of a recent problem I had with the brand new 2012 third party solid-state drive upgrade for the Macbook Air. The new Macbook Air in 2012 has a new form-factor for the SSD "blade" and is touted to have a much faster read/write speed from the 2011 version. After a little delay, third-party Mac parts manufacturer "Other World Computing" came out with a compatible 2012 version of this SSD. I was excited to get this upgrade because while Apple tends to gloss over their "performance" improvements, I knew OWC was a solid SSD manufacturer for all Mac products. I have bought memory and SSDs from them in the past and found them to be reliable, fast, and a great value.

This time however was a completely different story. I bought the computer with the 128GB SSD option and looked to install the 120GB Aura Pro 6G SSD. For $170 I thought it was an applicable upgrade if it meant over 500 MB/s read/write speeds as advertised. As a video editor, I occasionally use the air to throw video together. The advantage of having the fastest SSD as my system drive becomes apparent with highly intensive program use. I did drive speed benchmarks on the factory SSD before installing OWC's version.

During installation I hit a major snag. The drive did not fit my machine! I have the 11" and I don't know if they only measured the 13" version but I had to shave off a corner of the plastic battery container with an X-acto knife to get the drive to lay flat (Inside red circle).

Now, admittedly, this alone would not have been a deal breaker for me. The drive did ultimately fit and I installed a fresh 10.8.2 OSX onto it. Upon setting that up, I ran my benchmarks again and found that the drive did not even come close to the factory drive. The factory drive ran a read/write speed consistently around 450MB/s and this drive could barely break 200MB/s using BlackMagic's Disk Speed Test. Very disappointed.

I removed OWC's and reinstalled the factory drive no harm no foul except for the installation scar. I RMA'ed the drive to OWC and they only refunded $130 of the $170 cost and I also paid shipping for the return (which I wouldn't have minded if I got all $170 back.)

I have to say the worst part of this is that I wrote all this in a review under the drive's OWC product page and it was never posted. As of right now it has a perfect 5 star review when I posted mine roughly 3 weeks ago. This blatant screening of reviews is why I write this today... so people know, buyer beware.
Attached Thumbnails
Click image for larger version

Name:	IMG_1115.JPG
Views:	1707
Size:	2.37 MB
ID:	365464   Click image for larger version

Name:	IMG_1116.JPG
Views:	1948
Size:	1.67 MB
ID:	365465  
mediacomposer is offline   31 Reply With Quote
Old Oct 1, 2012, 09:41 PM   #2
briguy21
macrumors newbie
 
Join Date: Aug 2009
thanks

Thank You for Posting - I was going to order one of those in the morning. I won't now. Call your credit card company and file a dispute for the remaining amount of the money they didn't give back. Don't they have a customer satisfaction policy?
briguy21 is offline   0 Reply With Quote
Old Oct 2, 2012, 02:31 AM   #3
aleni
macrumors 68000
 
Join Date: Jun 2006
i too have this problem. and the worst thing is im in indonesia (asia) so shipping fee costs a lot of money, and the tax here is very expensive (about $90-100) for that flash storage.

what i did to it was shaving the flash storage's pcb board with sand paper. it worked beautifully.

too bad u had to shave the air's plastic though because you can just shave off the pcb board.
__________________
easier to see my post.
aleni is offline   0 Reply With Quote
Old Oct 3, 2012, 12:53 AM   #4
Total Respray
macrumors member
 
Join Date: Nov 2011
Yes, thanks for the info. I had been considering an OWC SSD until I read about the impact on battery life/heat in another thread. But vetting customer reviews - if that is indeed what they are doing - is just poor form, and makes me wonder how many of the five star reviews are genuine.
Total Respray is offline   0 Reply With Quote
Old Oct 3, 2012, 05:25 AM   #5
solsearchin
macrumors member
 
Join Date: Apr 2012
I don't get it, you had a constant 450/mb/s and you paid 170 for possibly 50 ish more? Why would you hack the computer... If it doesn't fit return it lol.
solsearchin is offline   7 Reply With Quote
Old Oct 3, 2012, 06:49 AM   #6
aleni
macrumors 68000
 
Join Date: Jun 2006
Quote:
Originally Posted by Total Respray View Post
Yes, thanks for the info. I had been considering an OWC SSD until I read about the impact on battery life/heat in another thread. But vetting customer reviews - if that is indeed what they are doing - is just poor form, and makes me wonder how many of the five star reviews are genuine.
there is no heat and battery life issue regarding on my flash storage.

it's very speedy when its installed. just the pcb board didnt fit which is lame.
__________________
easier to see my post.
aleni is offline   0 Reply With Quote
Old Oct 3, 2012, 07:38 AM   #7
robvas
macrumors 68000
 
Join Date: Mar 2009
Location: USA
Let me point out a couple of things:

First, the issue of the drive not fitting falls directly on OWC. I would have called them and demanded a refund right there. A picture from another review shows the drive having a notch in it, and fitting an 11" Air without modification. Perhaps they sent you the wrong one?



Secondly, the Aura drives use Sandforce chipsets that rely on compression to achieve their advertised 500MB/s speeds. This means that files that can be compressed will move faster, but files that are already compressed (many binary files such as movies, music, images) will be written at slower speeds. The BlackMagic disk speed test tool uses compressed data, so you will get the worst-case scenario performance. If you use another program that writes "all 0's" or "all 1's" to the disk during the test, it will get compressed and write at the best-case scenario performance. Sandforce (and OWC) advertise the best-case numbers when they say "up to 505MB/s". In the real-world you will end up somewhere between the two.

Third: I'm not sure if you're aware of it or not, but the SSD Apple uses in the 2012 Airs is way, way faster than the old ones, and upgrading to an OWC isn't even going to be an improvement. The OWC was an upgrade for the 2010 and 2011 models, because Apple used a much slower SSD.

robvas is offline   6 Reply With Quote
Old Oct 3, 2012, 08:30 AM   #8
Abazigal
macrumors 68020
 
Join Date: Jul 2011
Location: Singapore
Quote:
Originally Posted by solsearchin View Post
I don't get it, you had a constant 450/mb/s and you paid 170 for possibly 50 ish more? Why would you hack the computer... If it doesn't fit return it lol.
As it mentioned, it isn't always so easy to return stuff. It takes time and costs money, and if the problem could be resolved with just a little more effort on your part, wouldn't it be a more elegant solution considering all the time and money spent already?
Abazigal is offline   2 Reply With Quote
Old Oct 3, 2012, 09:10 AM   #9
pectin232
macrumors regular
 
Join Date: Jul 2008
A lot of reviews these days I feel are fake actually. Not sure how much of it but there were news on CNN a few months or some MSNBC sites stating that as well.
pectin232 is offline   1 Reply With Quote
Old Oct 5, 2012, 01:18 AM   #10
solsearchin
macrumors member
 
Join Date: Apr 2012
It's takes time not money because its the sellers fault so it shouldn't cost a dime.
A little effort yes, but not hacking my 1000+ computer lol, I have warranty as well, I don't think that would look great if it was brought in for service. Anyways, hope you resolve your issue, owc has never been a " great " brand, a lot of people have issues with there drives.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Abazigal View Post
As it mentioned, it isn't always so easy to return stuff. It takes time and costs money, and if the problem could be resolved with just a little more effort on your part, wouldn't it be a more elegant solution considering all the time and money spent already?
solsearchin is offline   1 Reply With Quote
Old Oct 5, 2012, 05:19 AM   #11
TheRealDamager
macrumors 65816
 
Join Date: Jan 2011
I think OWC has a pretty stellar reputation.
TheRealDamager is offline   3 Reply With Quote
Old Oct 16, 2012, 09:19 AM   #12
LlamaLarry
macrumors member
 
Join Date: Oct 2008
Location: Northern VA
Send a message via AIM to LlamaLarry
Why didn't they give you a full refund? Is there a restocking fee if the item is returned?
__________________
Early 2011 17" MBP - Early 2011 13" MBP - Mid 2011 11" MBA - 2 x 2009 MB - iPhone --> iPhone 5; iPad, iPad v2
LlamaLarry is offline   0 Reply With Quote
Old Oct 16, 2012, 09:44 AM   #13
macneubie
macrumors regular
 
Join Date: Aug 2011
Wow, it sure looks like a dodgy company that suppresses negative reviews and promote the good ones.
macneubie is offline   4 Reply With Quote
Old Oct 28, 2012, 03:52 PM   #14
rumplestiltskin
macrumors regular
 
Join Date: Apr 2006
Sorry; anyone who deliberately hacks (literally) the hardware in order to make it fit and then returns the unit to the vendor expecting a 100% refund is just not playing with a full deck. Frankly, I applaud OWC for refunding any of the purchase price.

I've been buying from OWC since I bought my first Mac (1986) and have never had any sort of issue that could not be immediately resolved with a phone call (and to my satisfaction). Bad RAM? They overnighted replacement modules and paid for the return of the bad ones. Bad hard drive? Likewise.

As for the "overblown" performance claims of their SSDs: I put some in older MacBooks and MB Pros (replacing spinning HDs) and was blown away by the improvement. I never seriously considered a replacement SSD for my MB Air, however as it was designed to be a minimalist portable solution, not a replacement for a "Pro" level machine. Besides, the SSD performance in my 2011 MBA is radically better than any spinning HD so why would I want to possibly void a warranty in order to attain what would be, at best, a marginal increase in speed?

I guess I'm just more realistic in my expectations of technology.
rumplestiltskin is offline   4 Reply With Quote
Old Oct 28, 2012, 05:24 PM   #15
Gliderguider
macrumors newbie
 
Join Date: Nov 2010
Did you read the OP's post? They hacked at the MBA, not the SSD from OWC.

Why shouldn't they get a full refund? If the item is being sold as a replacement for 2012 SSDs it should fit!

Quote:
Originally Posted by rumplestiltskin View Post
Sorry; anyone who deliberately hacks (literally) the hardware in order to make it fit and then returns the unit to the vendor expecting a 100% refund is just not playing with a full deck. Frankly, I applaud OWC for refunding any of the purchase price.

I've been buying from OWC since I bought my first Mac (1986) and have never had any sort of issue that could not be immediately resolved with a phone call (and to my satisfaction). Bad RAM? They overnighted replacement modules and paid for the return of the bad ones. Bad hard drive? Likewise.

As for the "overblown" performance claims of their SSDs: I put some in older MacBooks and MB Pros (replacing spinning HDs) and was blown away by the improvement. I never seriously considered a replacement SSD for my MB Air, however as it was designed to be a minimalist portable solution, not a replacement for a "Pro" level machine. Besides, the SSD performance in my 2011 MBA is radically better than any spinning HD so why would I want to possibly void a warranty in order to attain what would be, at best, a marginal increase in speed?

I guess I'm just more realistic in my expectations of technology.
Gliderguider is offline   13 Reply With Quote
Old Oct 30, 2012, 05:54 AM   #16
atMac
macrumors 6502
 
Join Date: Jun 2011
I've bought from them for years with no problems. I hope this gets straightened out if it hasn't already.
__________________
13in 2012 rMBP: Core i5, 8GB RAM, 256GB SSD; Nexus 7 3G; Nexus 4 16GB
atMac is offline   0 Reply With Quote
Old Nov 1, 2012, 05:53 AM   #17
Beanoir
macrumors 6502a
 
Beanoir's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2010
Location: 51 degrees North
This isn't good service at all, if the product doesn't perform as its advertised then a full refund should be given, restocking should only apply where the product is not at fault.

I won't be using OWC.
__________________
iPhone5 32Gb-iPad Mini 64Gb
iMac 27" 3.2Ghz i3 / 16Gb / 1Tb
MacMini 2.33GHz / 128Gb SSD / 20" ACD
Macbook Air 11.6" 1.6Ghz i5 / 4Gb / 128Gb
Beanoir is offline   4 Reply With Quote
Old Nov 3, 2012, 09:40 AM   #18
mikeruoc
macrumors newbie
 
Join Date: Jul 2008
Just to add to this. I bought a 240GB Aura Drive for my 2012 Macbook Air. Drive showed up DOA yesterday. No matter what I would do it would not be seen by the computer. Looking at the drive and there seems to be an extra bit of PCB on the end of the pins that where keeping the drive from going all the way into the slot. Not 100% sure thats the issue but I could see the difference between the stock one and the OWC drive. I called OWC and they RMAed it. But they don't have any in stock and don't know when they will so I am waiting. I am going to give the new one whenever it shows up a shot. If it does not work I am done. In the future I will not buy anything else from them as the quality seems to be an issue. Just thought I would share.

Thanks
mikeruoc is offline   2 Reply With Quote
Old Nov 3, 2012, 01:01 PM   #19
rpg51
macrumors 6502
 
Join Date: Jul 2012
Well, this is not a particularly pleasant read. My refurb base iMac is in OWC possession as we speak for an SSD install on their turnkey program. Keeping my fingers crossed.


EDIT -

I just pulled this off the OWC web site - What gives?

"30-Day Money Back Guarantee for SSDs

If you are not completely satisfied with your OWC Pro 3G or 6G SSD for any reason, simply contact OWC Customer Service within 21 days of your invoice date to request a full refund. No hassle, no restocking fees - that's the OWC Difference."

Are we getting the whole story?

Last edited by rpg51; Nov 3, 2012 at 01:20 PM.
rpg51 is offline   0 Reply With Quote
Old Nov 3, 2012, 03:04 PM   #20
jbzcar
macrumors regular
 
Join Date: May 2012
Quote:
Originally Posted by rpg51 View Post
Well, this is not a particularly pleasant read. My refurb base iMac is in OWC possession as we speak for an SSD install on their turnkey program. Keeping my fingers crossed.


EDIT -

I just pulled this off the OWC web site - What gives?

"30-Day Money Back Guarantee for SSDs

If you are not completely satisfied with your OWC Pro 3G or 6G SSD for any reason, simply contact OWC Customer Service within 21 days of your invoice date to request a full refund. No hassle, no restocking fees - that's the OWC Difference."

Are we getting the whole story?
LOL. Is it 21 days or 30?
jbzcar is offline   4 Reply With Quote
Old Nov 3, 2012, 03:19 PM   #21
rpg51
macrumors 6502
 
Join Date: Jul 2012
Probably depends on the mood they are in when you call the tone you strike when you call!

They might want to fire the law firm that drafted that gem.

I bet they interpret it to mean you have to call in 21 days AND you have to deliver it to them in 30 days. Otherwise you are sol.
rpg51 is offline   0 Reply With Quote
Old Nov 5, 2012, 12:00 PM   #22
OWC Grant
macrumors newbie
 
Join Date: Aug 2010
Location: Woodstock, IL
 
We're sorry for the experience you had, mediacomposer. We did try reaching out to you directly via phone and email, but our contacts went unanswered.

On 10/10, we did issue a credit for the remaining balance and thus you have received back 100% of your purchase and shipping expenditure.

We didn't post the review as we often find that once we begin direct dialogue with a customer, things are resolved and that then adds more factual information to the entire review/reply thread. Another aspect is that we were concerned posting the review might encourage another reader to modify the inside of their MBA such as you did.

The non-fit aspect of the Aura Pro in your 2012 MBA was an isolated experience...we honestly have not had other reports of such.

Lastly, on the performance aspect, we can only point to what others like The SSD Review have found in that the Aura Pro is the fastest SSD available for this machine. As much as we can claim such, we suggest the independent reviewers' unbiased take on our products have the most weight.

Hope this reply restores everyone's faith and trust in OWC. We've been serving your needs since 1988 and plan on doing so for many more years to come.
OWC Grant is offline   28 Reply With Quote
Old Nov 5, 2012, 12:39 PM   #23
Penn Jennings
macrumors 6502
 
Join Date: Apr 2010
Location: Michigan
Quote:
Originally Posted by mediacomposer View Post
Hey Guys,

Long time lurker first time thread-starter, you guys have solved A LOT of problems of mine over the years and I thank you for that.

I wanted to let you know of a recent problem I had with the brand new 2012 third party solid-state drive upgrade for the Macbook Air. The new Macbook Air in 2012 has a new form-factor for the SSD "blade" and is touted to have a much faster read/write speed from the 2011 version. After a little delay, third-party Mac parts manufacturer "Other World Computing" came out with a compatible 2012 version of this SSD. I was excited to get this upgrade because while Apple tends to gloss over their "performance" improvements, I knew OWC was a solid SSD manufacturer for all Mac products. I have bought memory and SSDs from them in the past and found them to be reliable, fast, and a great value.

This time however was a completely different story. I bought the computer with the 128GB SSD option and looked to install the 120GB Aura Pro 6G SSD. For $170 I thought it was an applicable upgrade if it meant over 500 MB/s read/write speeds as advertised. As a video editor, I occasionally use the air to throw video together. The advantage of having the fastest SSD as my system drive becomes apparent with highly intensive program use. I did drive speed benchmarks on the factory SSD before installing OWC's version.

During installation I hit a major snag. The drive did not fit my machine! I have the 11" and I don't know if they only measured the 13" version but I had to shave off a corner of the plastic battery container with an X-acto knife to get the drive to lay flat (Inside red circle).

Now, admittedly, this alone would not have been a deal breaker for me. The drive did ultimately fit and I installed a fresh 10.8.2 OSX onto it. Upon setting that up, I ran my benchmarks again and found that the drive did not even come close to the factory drive. The factory drive ran a read/write speed consistently around 450MB/s and this drive could barely break 200MB/s using BlackMagic's Disk Speed Test. Very disappointed.

I removed OWC's and reinstalled the factory drive no harm no foul except for the installation scar. I RMA'ed the drive to OWC and they only refunded $130 of the $170 cost and I also paid shipping for the return (which I wouldn't have minded if I got all $170 back.)

I have to say the worst part of this is that I wrote all this in a review under the drive's OWC product page and it was never posted. As of right now it has a perfect 5 star review when I posted mine roughly 3 weeks ago. This blatant screening of reviews is why I write this today... so people know, buyer beware.
By chance do you have filevault turned on? I'm no SSD expert but some write performance of some SSDs is based on compression. None compressible data can cut the write performance in half.
Penn Jennings is offline   0 Reply With Quote
Old Nov 5, 2012, 02:46 PM   #24
ScottJ
macrumors member
 
Join Date: Mar 2011
Location: SoCal
Quote:
Originally Posted by OWC Grant View Post
We're sorry for the experience you had, mediacomposer. We did try reaching out to you directly via phone and email, but our contacts went unanswered.

On 10/10, we did issue a credit for the remaining balance and thus you have received back 100% of your purchase and shipping expenditure.

We didn't post the review as we often find that once we begin direct dialogue with a customer, things are resolved and that then adds more factual information to the entire review/reply thread. Another aspect is that we were concerned posting the review might encourage another reader to modify the inside of their MBA such as you did.

The non-fit aspect of the Aura Pro in your 2012 MBA was an isolated experience...we honestly have not had other reports of such.

Lastly, on the performance aspect, we can only point to what others like The SSD Review have found in that the Aura Pro is the fastest SSD available for this machine. As much as we can claim such, we suggest the independent reviewers' unbiased take on our products have the most weight.

Hope this reply restores everyone's faith and trust in OWC. We've been serving your needs since 1988 and plan on doing so for many more years to come.
I don't know about others, but this thread has certainly put me on notice with respect to OWC's SSD upgrade solutions. I was originally planning to purchase a 11" MBA with a minimum sized SSD, and upgrade to an OWC SSD later. After seeing the original post, I cancelled my order and re-ordered with a larger SSD.

I certainly appreciate vendor participation on these forums (fora?), and OWC's participation demonstrates a commitment to the user community. However, the original poster should never have had to wait almost a month for a refund of 100% of the purchase price (based on the timeline in the original message and the date of the refund that you referenced). (In fact, he should have also been provided a return shipping label or alternatively been refunded return shipping.)

I'm also concerned that even today, after your posting, your web site is showing a 5/5, 100% rating for the Aura Pro 6G SSD. Clearly, that ranking is misleading - particularly when 1/3 of the feedback is negative, not positive. (Unless there are additional reviews that have been screened out.)

Regarding the fitment issue - have you verified that the Aura Pro 6G SSD fits into a 11" MBA without modification? If so, what was the problem with the SSD board that the OP sent back to OWC under RMA?
ScottJ is offline   3 Reply With Quote
Old Nov 6, 2012, 04:48 AM   #25
rpg51
macrumors 6502
 
Join Date: Jul 2012
Silence speaks volumes.
rpg51 is offline   4 Reply With Quote

Reply
MacRumors Forums > Apple Hardware > Notebooks > MacBook Air

Tags
macbook air 11, macbook air 2012, owc, ssd

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes

Similar Threads
thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Help Upgrading 2012 MacBook Air 13" SSD umee1989 MacBook Air 8 Oct 26, 2012 06:12 PM
Switch SSD MacBook Air 13" 2012 MiBook84 MacBook Air 9 Jul 20, 2012 07:21 AM

Forum Jump

All times are GMT -5. The time now is 10:34 PM.

Mac Rumors | Mac | iPhone | iPhone Game Reviews | iPhone Apps

Mobile Version | Fixed | Fluid | Fluid HD
Copyright 2002-2013, MacRumors.com, LLC