Cheap Solution for Lack of Space on MBA SSD

Discussion in 'MacBook Air' started by fibrizo, Jan 12, 2011.

  1. macrumors 6502


    Jan 23, 2009
    I have an 11.6 ultimate config... but I still find the 128gb SSD tight, with a large bootcamp partition. Also I feel like storing media on the SSD is kinda wasteful of the SSD's speed. So I've done this temporary solution. I figured other people would be interested. I tried 2 items, as I wanted to add storage via usb without having it stick out and stuff.

    The 2 I have are the Elago mobile nano II MicroSDHC usb 2.0 drive, and the Lexar echo ZE 16gb version

    Elago Mobile nano II for 8$ at amazon

    Lexar echo ZE

    Here are both drives on my macbook air for size comparison.


    The nice part about the elago is that it the connector fits entirely the usb port making the drive sit flush against the usb port which means it sticks out 5mm from the side of the air.


    The lexar drive however has a connector that sticks out from the port, making the whole drive stick out 10mm from the macbook air.


    Performance wise, The lexar drive is a decent USB drive, giving about 6-8mb/sec write and 10-15 mb/sec read for me.

    The Elago on the otherhand is completely limited to the class of microSDHC card you put in. ie 2mb/sec write if you use class 2... and 10mb/sec write on a class 10.

    These are both much slower than the SSD, but sometimes I like lugging like 16gb of movies without eating up write cycles of the SSD. If you spent a little more you could get a 32gb card or lexar drive, and for many people that might be enough for a itunes music collection.

    Obviously the best solution is to get a larger SSD, but those cost alot and possibly violate my warranty. So this is my stopgap measure.
  2. macrumors 68000


    Jun 20, 2007
    Good post, I was looking at the same setup as a better alternative to carrying around a portable USB 2.5" hard drive.

    I've had a few times where the drive and Air were on my lap, only to have the drive fall to the floor and disconnect. Also, it might have been the USB cable, but one bad angle and it temporarily breaks the connection, causing OS X to freak out. Lastly, an exposed USB cable could inadvertently be bumped that could break the port if you're not in a safe area doing computer work (i.e. on a busy train).

    Before I ended up aiming for the microSDHC/tiny USB flash drive solution, I was looking into USB cables that were either angled at the tips or even ribbon-like. I found many cables on eBay that had 90-degree connectors, but it still didn't satisfy my needs. I have yet to find a manufacturer that makes a very flexible, thin, ribbon-like USB cable.

    So, I ordered the white version of that microSDHC reader from DealExtreme.

    I got the white one so it blends in better while it's connected. Your Elago branded device could really be the same in disguise. For $3.72, it's a steal, and it supports up to 32GB.

    So now, I'm aiming for the 32GB SanDisk microSDHC from Amazon. Supposedly it's Class 2, but reviewers are getting up to Class 6 speeds on it. Go figure.

    Attached Files:

  3. macrumors 601

    Anonymous Freak

    Dec 12, 2002
    A couple companies have made wireless battery powered hard drives in the past; but I don't think there are any at present.

    The first was a 5 GB 1.8" hard drive (same as in the original iPod,) that connected via Bluetooth, so even for the time, both small and slow.

    More recently was a 2.5" drive that connected via WiFi-G, so still not exactly quick. It would be nice to see a modern one, though.
  4. macrumors 6502

    Mar 23, 2009
    Thanks for sharing.
    Have you been leaving the drive in the USB or do you eject it before moving the computer?
    I think I might get one of those Lexar ones- unless there are any other reputable brands which are smaller in dimension?
    (ack they're $70aud on Aussie websites)
  5. macrumors 68020


    Mar 17, 2009
    I've been using the Patriot Magnum 64GB USB Flash Drive on my MBP for well over a year now, and it's been worth every penny. (And yes, I paid well over $100 bucks for it...again, it's been worth every penny).
  6. macrumors 6502a

    May 26, 2009
    I have not had any issues, but on my photo forums, a lot of people talk about microSDHC failures and data corruption, mostly without warning. microSDHC may be somewhat sketchier than the typical USB flash drive.
  7. macrumors 6502a

    Dec 13, 2008
    Nice. Microcard readers like that are great ways to extend your HD size technically, while still keeping the Air as a non-moving media system. 13 inchers have the extra capacity of using the high capacity SDHC and SDXC cards (and the extra high speed data transfer of the card slot). (There was some debate about whether they could do SDXC, but some have confirmed that yes, the extra high capacities work)
  8. thread starter macrumors 6502


    Jan 23, 2009
    The elago I keep in the computer, since it doesn't move at all, and it's so short that I'm not worried it will cause damage to the computer in any scenario that would not have resulted in damage to the computer itself.
  9. macrumors 68000


    Jun 20, 2007
    I recommend Time Machine, GoodSync, or Mozy, if you feel that the microSDHC card could fail on you. At least you know your data is safe somewhere, and always up to date.
  10. macrumors regular

    Jan 13, 2011

    This is the first post I've seen on this, but my initial findings say no...they won't. I am basing it off of this link that was updated February 25th.
  11. macrumors newbie

    Mar 2, 2011
    Usb drive

    I use a Lacie moskeyto drive. Its amazing, its black finish matches the macbook's keys.
  12. macrumors 65816


    Mar 10, 2008
    How's the performance? I'm looking at one of their 128gig drives, same as Tiger Direct, the 128 is going for about 25 bucks more than the 64gig. 235 (128) vs. 210 (64). Not bad pricing at all! In fact, I'm blown away by the price of the 128gig....but I've NEVER heard of "Patriot Magnum"...So, how's your experience with the 64GB drive been?


  13. macrumors 6502a


    Feb 25, 2009
    The SD card slot on the 13" serves this purpose no? Can anyone confirm what the R/W speeds on that controller are?

    Still a pity that they don't make a spring-loaded flush-fitting slot - no doubt some will claim there's no room under the MBA hood, but suspect it's equally as likely to be a cost-cutting exercise.
  14. macrumors 601

    Dec 14, 2007
    I am confused by you link and comment.

    Your link to apple says that SDXC will work to:

    SDXC (Secure Digital Extended Capacity) 4G B to 2 TB
  15. macrumors member

    Jun 18, 2009
    Say if I were to put a 720P .mkv file on the MicroSD card and I use VLC to watch the movie from the SD card, would there be any lags?

    Assume I have a class 2 MicroSD card.
  16. macrumors regular

    Aug 16, 2010
    I could never understand why many people need *so much* storage on their mobile/super-compact devices :rolleyes:
  17. macrumors member

    Feb 27, 2011
    I can only speak for me, but I love having lots of storage. I travel a lot and take loads of films and TV series with me. I like having enough space to download any pictures or films I take when away. When I visit family they want to see all the new pictures. Yes I know I can upload them to Flickr or whatever, but its much easier to have them locally.

    I run a Windows and Linux VM and also need space for them. There's loads of reasons why someone would want a lot of storage when on the move.

    I knew 128GB was probably going to be tight for me, so I got the OWC 240GB for my MBA 11 and can still fill that up quite easily.

    +1 for the LaCie MosKeyto.
  18. macrumors 68030

    Jul 5, 2008
    Thule GL @ the TOW
    ...a few days ago TD had a Lexar drive for only $89.99 = that was a good deal!
  19. macrumors regular

    Jan 13, 2011
    Macbook Air is not listed as compatible (only the Macbook Pros).

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