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Storage Upgrade Options: SD? SSD?

Discussion in 'MacBook Air' started by JES, Apr 8, 2013.

  1. JES
    macrumors member

    Hi All,

    I've got a mid 2011 MBA, 4,2, 256gb SSD and 4GB RAM.

    My hard drive is starting to fill up, and I'd like to find a way to have more storage on board. So my options are a bigger SSD OR some kind of SD card.

    Are people using SD cards to extend their computer's storage capacity and are they OK or are they too slow (EG for iTunes music and videos)?

    OR, would I be better off having the Apple Store install one of the new 512GB SSDs? How much would that even cost? I've seen the OWC option, but I won't want to void my warrantee, which I gather is what happens if you open up the case on these yourself.

    I don't want to use an external drive, as this is all about traveling light.

    Any suggestions would be appreciated. Thank you.
  2. macrumors 6502a

    You're really filling up a 256GB SSD? I would suggest getting a portable USB HDD to archive some stuff, you can't really need constant access to THAT much data.
  3. macrumors 68020

    I use a 64GB SD ($55), works just fine for an iTunes or iPhoto library or documents. ~10MBps. 128GB SD cards are available but perhaps pricy ($100). 256GB are in the works.

    If you don't like the way the SD card sticks out, the minidrive will adapt a micro SD card (64GB $55) to the Air SD slot and fit flush.

    SD cards. popular with cameras, are near indestructible.

    For performance, nothing substitutes for an internal SSD.
  4. macrumors 68020

    1. Have you evaluated if what's on your current SSD is really needed?
    2. Have you priced 128 gb and 256 gb SD cards?
    3. Have you priced the 512 gb SSD, regardless of the vendors?
  5. JES
    macrumors member

    To answer the questions:

    I still have 70gb available, but I have some large sample libraries I want to install. The computer is both for work, where I have many hours of high quality audio interviews for research, videos for teaching, and audio files from music making.

    I travel a LOT for work, and would like to be able to make music on the road without having an external HD with me all the time.

    I prefer to have everything ready to hand rather than spending a lot of time organizing files.

    I know that the OWC 480gb MBA HD option is expensive, but honestly I'm more concerned about voiding my warrantee, which is why I was asking about the Apple Store installing their 512gb HD, which would be enough.

    So, thanks for the answers on the mini-SD cards, which seem like a good option.

    I will ask my other question again: has anyone had the Apple store install a hard drive upgrade in their MBA? How much was it?

    Thank you.
  6. macrumors 68020

    Have you called your local store to see if they even do this, much less how much they charge?
  7. JES
    macrumors member

    I have called Applecare, who couldn't give me a clear answer to what I thought was a simple question about a SSD upgrade that wouldn't voice my warrantee. I then thought I would ask the question on Macrumors, but I seem to be having a similar problem.
  8. macrumors 68020

    What do you mean you 'called Applecare'?

    Did you call your local Apple store?
  9. macrumors newbie

    To answer YOUR question,;)
    I have a 64GB mini ultraSD and an adapter, that has now ITUNES and about 3GB of music on the SD.
    ITUNES is set to look at the SD and all is working well(just a tad slower starting, but once go'ing all is good).

    Adapter i sticking 1 cm. out, but minidrive adapter is on its way.
  10. macrumors 65816

    Regarding SD cards, we just discussed this in another thread. The 2011 MBA (like the OP has) uses the USB bus to access the SD card slot whereas the 2012 model uses PCIe. So I guess it depends on what you expect. I tried a 10x SD card when I first got my late 2011 MBA and it took forever to copy a bunch of big files.



  11. macrumors 6502a

    I would not expect an SD card to give anything close to HDD performance.
  12. macrumors 65816

    Yeah, I don't think it's useful for much beyond archival storage on the 2011 MBA. I have over 100GB free on my own 256GB SSD but only because I haven't copied all my photos, video and music over to it. I ran the numbers awhile ago and the OWC 512Gb (or 480GB or whatever it is) doesn't make economic sense to me.

    If I was feeling too cramped with a 256GB SSD today, I'd upgrade to a 2012 MBA with a 512GB SSD. But I'm not at that point yet, and maybe prices for third party SSD upgrades will drop to more reasonable levels by the time I need it?

    OTOH, the 2012 MBA already has a couple nice upgrades, like availability of 8GB RAM and USB3. So it probably makes sense to sell your 2011 model and buy a new one with 512GB if you really need the space.
  13. macrumors demi-god


    This is a tough one. I currently use a 2010 MBA originally with 128gb which I upgraded to 256, plus a Nifty Mini with a 64gb SD card. I just couldn't bring myself to trust the OWC (and I love them!) SSD drive to upgrade to the 480.
    You are going to have to find away to offload a certain amount of your data to online storage. I would guess that would be music and personal photos and stuff first. I did exactly that using icloud and a 64gb ipod touch. That has worked out for me.
    Other than that, a nice usb drive would be quite handy. I always carry a 500gb WD USB drive around with me just for space to store VMs, ISOs and such.

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