13" MacBook Air (early 2015 model)

vpujols

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Feb 6, 2020
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A bit new to the Mac world (sort of speak).
My daughter has an early 2015 model MacBook Air with the original SSD with 128GB, I'd like to replace for a better/faster/bigger M.2 NVMe drive.

Laptop specs from Apple:

512GB is what I want.

I've been reading a lot and understand I need an adapter (most likely getting the Sintech long version adapter (I read the short version may cause some issues).

Anyways, the question is about speed.

What's the typical speed gain that she will see with one of these drives, such as the XPG SX8200 Pro? This drive is rated at 3500/3000 but I don't think the board or processor of her laptop can handle that speed.

Would getting that type of fast drive a killer and should I consider getting a drive with lower read/write speed because this Mac won't handle that much?

Also, she only has 4GB of memory, I assume this memory is on-board and cannot be upgraded.

Thanks much for the replies.
 
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Audit13

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Memory can't be upgraded.

I've only ever used the short Sintech and it's been fine. Using the long adapter with a double-sided nvme drive may cause a bit of a bulge in the bottom casing. Also, the long adapter may be slightly too long for the drive screw to properly inserted.

The read/write speeds are going to be limited by the pci-e 2.0 bus speed. I think 1500 would be the max. The Adata is a popular choice.

Expect a drop in battery life. This can range from 10% to 30 %. Some people experience even higher drain, depending on their usage.

Make sure the Air is running the latest bootrom before installing the drive. You can run High Sierra and Mojave on a Catalina bootrom.
 
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vpujols

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Feb 6, 2020
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Memory can't be upgraded.

I've only ever used the short Sintech and it's been fine. Using the long adapter with a double-sided nvme drive may cause a bit of a bulge in the bottom casing. Also, the long adapter may be slightly too long for the drive screw to properly inserted.

The read/write speeds are going to be limited by the pci-e 2.0 bus speed. I think 1500 would be the max. The Adata is a popular choice.

Expect a drop in battery life. This can range from 10% to 30 %. Some people experience even higher drain, depending on their usage.

Make sure the Air is running the latest bootrom before installing the drive. You can run High Sierra and Mojave on a Catalina bootrom.
Thanks for the info, so my comment above should be inline and that putting a drive with capacity of around 3,000 read/write may be a waste of money, I will start looking for a drive in the 2,000 max.

As for the bootrom, I assume that if I install the latest MacOS it should update the firmware, correct?
 

macintoshmac

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Thanks for the info, so my comment above should be inline and that putting a drive with capacity of around 3,000 read/write may be a waste of money, I will start looking for a drive in the 2,000 max.

As for the bootrom, I assume that if I install the latest MacOS it should update the firmware, correct?
As of right now, yes. Once the disk changes, it probably won't update until the original is installed back again.
 

vpujols

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Feb 6, 2020
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As of right now, yes. Once the disk changes, it probably won't update until the original is installed back again.
Ok, I will make sure my daughter has the latest update with the current SSD drive before we put a new drive in.
 

Audit13

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As of right now, yes. Once the disk changes, it probably won't update until the original is installed back again.
I have an early 2015 13" Air and, after installing Mojave with the original Apple drive, my Intel 600p, HP ex900, and Lexar nm500 accept bootrom updates that are included with an OS update.

Thanks for the info, so my comment above should be inline and that putting a drive with capacity of around 3,000 read/write may be a waste of money, I will start looking for a drive in the 2,000 max.

As for the bootrom, I assume that if I install the latest MacOS it should update the firmware, correct?
It's not just about speed. Some fast drives are easier on the battery.

Great thread here: https://forums.macrumors.com/threads/upgrading-2013-2014-macbook-pro-ssd-to-m-2-nvme.2034976/
 
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vpujols

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Feb 6, 2020
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vpujols

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Feb 6, 2020
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@Audit13 do you know how many lanes on this PCIe 2.0 bus? That other thread mentions this:

The 2015-2017 MBA models either shipped with 2x or 4x lanes PCIe 2.0 AHCI SSD (speed ~700 to ~1500MB/s).

I assume that this model has a speed of up to 1500MB/s as mentioned above.
 

vpujols

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Feb 6, 2020
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Thank you all for the quick responses, I think I now better understand this and almost have my mind set on a drive, out of the 2 contenders (Adata SX8200 and the Sabrent Rocket).

Thanks again.
 

Audit13

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Apr 19, 2017
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Thank you all for the quick responses, I think I now better understand this and almost have my mind set on a drive, out of the 2 contenders (Adata SX8200 and the Sabrent Rocket).

Thanks again.
I would consider the 8200 Pro over the 8200. I don't think it costs much more than the non-Pro. It will also make a good addition to a Windows computer if you decide to re-purpose the drive in the future.
 

vpujols

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Feb 6, 2020
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I would get the 8200 Pro. I don't think it costs much more than the non-Pro. It will also make a good addition to a Windows computer if you decide to re-purpose the drive in the future.
Yep, the Pro, as of now I have both in my Amazon cart until I make a decision.
Both the 8200 Pro and the Sabrent Rocket have pretty much the same price.

Based on the charts published on that long thread, it looks like both are great performers, although the Sabrent seems to have an edge on reading speeds and it seems to run a tad cooler but the Pro better writing speeds) :

SX8200 Pro 1,247 1,557
Sabrent 1,684 1,081

But definitely both good reviews.
 
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macintoshmac

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I have an early 2015 13" Air and, after installing Mojave with the original Apple drive, my Intel 600p, HP ex900, and Lexar nm500 accept bootrom updates that are included with an OS update.


It's not just about speed. Some fast drives are easier on the battery.

Great thread here: https://forums.macrumors.com/threads/upgrading-2013-2014-macbook-pro-ssd-to-m-2-nvme.2034976/
That is nice to know! I always thought it did for me too on my MBP 2011 with third-party Plextor SSD, but not sure, never checked. There used to be some consensus previously in High Sierra time that third-party disks would lose out on boot ROM updates, but considering we are talking of boot ROM, I never thought the boot ROM should stop updating if a third-party disk was installed. If yours works, I'd say all works as it should.
 
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Audit13

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That is nice to know! I always thought it did for me too on my MBP 2011 with third-party Plextor SSD, but not sure, never checked. There used to be some consensus previously in High Sierra time that third-party disks would lose out on boot ROM updates, but considering we are talking of boot ROM, I never thought the boot ROM should stop updating if a third-party disk was installed. If yours works, I'd say all works as it should.
My early 2015 Air would not accept bootrom updates with a nvme drive until it was running a Mojave bootrom. After that, it always updated.
 
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macintoshmac

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My early 2015 Air would not accept bootrom updates with a nvme drive until it was running a Mojave bootrom. After that, it always updated.
Ah, so something changed Mojave onwards. Thanks for that information!
 

Macdctr

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@vpujols, do yourself a favor and look thru this thread. I am sure once you go thru this your answers as to what is the best solid state drive to use for your daughter's Air will be. There have been a lot of good information and links to what you can use for this computer.


Based on the architecture of this computer, the best write/read speeds you will see will be around 1400mb/sec | 1500 mb/sec speeds. You won't see any higher. With that said I still opted for the Samsung 950 PRO/Samsung 970 EVO storage drives.
 
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vpujols

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Feb 6, 2020
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@Macdctr Thanks for chiming in.

I'm sure she will be very happy with read/write speeds more than double of what she currently has right now.

I did like the reviews of the Samsung 950 PRO after your reviews, but the price still seems to be way too high for a 512GB drive.
The Samsung 970 EVO is within price range, around $88 on our friend Amazon. So this could be one.
The other thing I'd like to consider aside from speed is also battery usage and temps.

Based on charts posted in the forum it looks like the Sabrent Rocket seems to be top contender in almost all categories. Did you ever tested this one on your MacBook Air 2015 model?
 

Macdctr

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@Macdctr Thanks for chiming in.

I'm sure she will be very happy with read/write speeds more than double of what she currently has right now.

I did like the reviews of the Samsung 950 PRO after your reviews, but the price still seems to be way too high for a 512GB drive.
The Samsung 970 EVO is within price range, around $88 on our friend Amazon. So this could be one.
The other thing I'd like to consider aside from speed is also battery usage and temps.
I posted the link where there was more information so you can read thru and get more info just in case you have not seen that thread.

Using the Samsung drives you will lose some battery life but for my usage requirements the loss of battery life did not outweigh the performance gains I get from having this drive installed in both my 11inch and 13inch Airs so I went with the Samsung drives, the 13inch using a 512GB 950 PRO drive and my 11inch using a 512GB 970 PRO drive. In either case I get decent battery life and if I need to 'Plug in' then no big deal. I get about 7 hrs of battery life on my 11inch and about 12 hrs of battery life using my 13inch with the Samsung drives installed.

I have used the Samsung 970 EVO storage drive, in my case a 2TB storage drive and had no issues using this drive. The 970 EVO storage drive will work well in the 2015 AIR just so you know... I am currently using this storage drive in my 5,1 MacPro thru a pcie card as a boot drive.

Based on charts posted in the forum it looks like the Sabrent Rocket seems to be top contender in almost all categories. Did you ever tested this one on your MacBook Air 2015 model?
I don't have any experience using the Sabrent Rocket storage drive so I can not comment on them.
 
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