2010/11/12 MacBook Air

Guza

macrumors member
Original poster
Jan 29, 2018
57
4
Boston
I’m looking at purchasing an early model MacBook Air, preferably the 2012 model where they bumped up the capable RAM to 8 GB. In 2011 the early MacBook Pros came with 10.6.6 Snow Leopard the late 2011 models came with Lion 10.7.2 but from what I’m told these late model MBP’s are capable of having Snow Leopard installed even when Lion was pre-installed.

My question is can I install 10.6.8 Snow Leopard to a mid-2011 MacBook Air that came preloaded with 10.7.0 Lion like the MacBook Pros can?

Or even a mid-2012 MacBook air that came with 10.7.4 to capitalize on the 8 GB RAM upgrade?

I know that you can’t back install OSX platforms on MacBooks like you can with iMacs but 2011 seems to be a particular case between late models having the ability to accept early model OSX Snow Leopard.
 

_Kiki_

macrumors 6502a
Aug 13, 2017
841
253
ram in MacBook Air is soldered, so you can't upgrade, 2012 model came with Mountain Lion 10.8
 

Earl Urley

macrumors 6502
Nov 10, 2014
400
157
Ok, so as I understand it, the Late 2010 MacBook Airs used SATA SSDs.

Should this Sintech adapter and this Crucial SSD work to help resuscitate an old 11-inch 2010 MacBook Air?

Would prefer not to resort to an Aura 6G Pro or whatever as they're awfully expensive compared to this solution.

Any help/input appreciated..
 

Guza

macrumors member
Original poster
Jan 29, 2018
57
4
Boston
ram in MacBook Air is soldered, so you can't upgrade, 2012 model came with Mountain Lion 10.8
yes I just found that out a few days ago, I didn't even know that :/
[doublepost=1540932145][/doublepost]
Ok, so as I understand it, the Late 2010 MacBook Airs used SATA SSDs.

Should this Sintech adapter and this Crucial SSD work to help resuscitate an old 11-inch 2010 MacBook Air?

Would prefer not to resort to an Aura 6G Pro or whatever as they're awfully expensive compared to this solution.

Any help/input appreciated..
Earl I agree 100% about OWC ridiculous prices. Your Crucial suggestion has different pins than what is normally used so I don't think I can fit that internally into the MBA, but maybe use it externally with your adapter suggestion.
 

oneMadRssn

macrumors 601
Sep 8, 2011
4,739
11,030
New England
I suggest going for a 2013 model. Over the 2012, the 2013 added USB 3.0 and 802.11AC wifi - both very worthwhile upgrades. Most updates after that weren't that important.


My question is can I install 10.6.8 Snow Leopard to a mid-2011 MacBook Air that came preloaded with 10.7.0 Lion like the MacBook Pros can?
No. A few have tried, but no success.
 

Guza

macrumors member
Original poster
Jan 29, 2018
57
4
Boston
I suggest going for a 2013 model. Over the 2012, the 2013 added USB 3.0 and 802.11AC wifi - both very worthwhile upgrades. Most updates after that weren't that important.
...well I already bought the 2011 model and I'm going to install 10.6.8 Snow Leopard on it which is the main reason why I went for the 2011 model, and to use the Thunderbolt to run an ethernet adapter with a direct RJ-45 cable.
 

Guza

macrumors member
Original poster
Jan 29, 2018
57
4
Boston
Good luck. See here: https://forums.macrumors.com/threads/snow-leopard-on-mba-2011-fully-working.1352079/

SL on a 2011MBA sort of works, but very poorly.
thanks, I'm going to need it I think. I'll report on my findings when I do the installation in a week or so.
[doublepost=1540932824][/doublepost]I have a few more questions on this MBA, not sure if this should be a new thread or what but I've talked to some pretty incompetent people at NewEgg and BHP about what is a compatible SSD for my A1370 model and that is why I am asking here because you get better feedback than from the people that sell the product! :)

(I will buy 2 of these 1TB chips, one for internal installation, the other to put into an external housing case to run backups)

I’m not sure of the different pin count or the differences in the types of SSD’s but I’m looking for a 1TB size for it. I heard that there can be a chip or circuit board thickness size problem in the higher storage chips leading to a problem with installation.

I’ve also heard that to use this type of SSD in an external drive it has to run a 1 amp minimum voltage requirement otherwise it won’t provide enough current to the ssd and can't identify or work well enough? (I would be using a USB 3.0 if its backwards compatible?)

And lastly, why would an external drive casing adapter card for this have a minimum OSX 10.7 requirement when adverts say these same external drives are compatible with a 2010 Air model which comes with 10.6?

Can anyone confirm these questions and make a suggestion on which are the Top 3 best SSD’s for this A1370 model while omitting an OWC suggestion as they are very overpriced compared to their competitors?
 

oneMadRssn

macrumors 601
Sep 8, 2011
4,739
11,030
New England
I have a few more questions on this MBA, not sure if this should be a new thread or what but I've talked to some pretty incompetent people at NewEgg and BHP about what is a compatible SSD for my A1370 model and that is why I am asking here because you get better feedback than from the people that sell the product! :)

(I will buy 2 of these 1TB chips, one for internal installation, the other to put into an external housing case to run backups)

I’m not sure of the different pin count or the differences in the types of SSD’s but I’m looking for a 1TB size for it. I heard that there can be a chip or circuit board thickness size problem in the higher storage chips leading to a problem with installation.

I’ve also heard that to use this type of SSD in an external drive it has to run a 1 amp minimum voltage requirement otherwise it won’t provide enough current to the ssd and can't identify or work well enough? (I would be using a USB 3.0 if its backwards compatible?)

And lastly, why would an external drive casing adapter card for this have a minimum OSX 10.7 requirement when adverts say these same external drives are compatible with a 2010 Air model which comes with 10.6?

Can anyone confirm these questions and make a suggestion on which are the Top 3 best SSD’s for this A1370 model while omitting an OWC suggestion as they are very overpriced compared to their competitors?
Your best source of info for SSD is OWC: https://eshop.macsales.com/shop/ssd/owc/macbook-air

From what I vaguely remember, the 2011 model had a totally proprietary SSD connector that was unique to the 2011 model year and used nowhere else. In other words, its a pain in the ass to do anything with.

For external access, remember the 2011 model has only USB2.0, so it will be slooowww.
 

Guza

macrumors member
Original poster
Jan 29, 2018
57
4
Boston
Your best source of info for SSD is OWC: https://eshop.macsales.com/shop/ssd/owc/macbook-air

From what I vaguely remember, the 2011 model had a totally proprietary SSD connector that was unique to the 2011 model year and used nowhere else. In other words, its a pain in the ass to do anything with.

For external access, remember the 2011 model has only USB2.0, so it will be slooowww.
yeah I expect it will be slow on the USB but I'm okay with that. The 2010 and 2011 have the same connector from what it looks like a 2 pronged end compared to a 3 pronged end on the later models I think? But I'm kind of guessing if anyone can confirm?
 

Guza

macrumors member
Original poster
Jan 29, 2018
57
4
Boston
I'm only looking to purchase the best possible and most compatible SSD for the MBA and it is not an OWC.

But from what I'm told, the MBA has its own controller (with no hard drive in it) so I guess the controller is on the motherboard, and an SSD has it's own controller built into its own PCB and if those 2 controllers aren't compatible with each other and don't handshake each other well then I won't be getting full 6 GB speeds but instead throttled-down half speeds of 3 GB or 1.5 GB.

So I'm asking which controllers are on Samsung, Crucial and Western Digital SSD's so I can make the right choice in my purchase. I don't want to choose an OWC for instance and use their terrible SandForce controller which gives me reduced 3 GB speeds and not the expected 6 GB speeds. I would like to use the full potential speed of the hard drive ofcourse, but this is only due to compatible controllers. I hope this made sense and we're on the same page.

Does anyone know the names of the controllers per aftermarket SSD so I can research their compatibility and speeds with the MBA?
 

Guza

macrumors member
Original poster
Jan 29, 2018
57
4
Boston
I don't think anyone here knows what I'm talking about? ...especially with a very important topic like controllers as in this instance, I'm quite surprised actually. The speed of any and all hard drives depends upon its controller chip. If you don't have a compatible controller chip on your new hard drive purchase to your computer, then you won't get the full speed potential of that hard drive. I had thought that atleast someone here on this forum would have known and had copious amounts of performance data on this incredibly important subject.
 

robvas

macrumors 68030
Mar 29, 2009
2,801
371
USA
But from what I'm told, the MBA has its own controller (with no hard drive in it) so I guess the controller is on the motherboard, and an SSD has it's own controller built into its own PCB and if those 2 controllers aren't compatible with each other and don't handshake each other well then I won't be getting full 6 GB speeds but instead throttled-down half speeds of 3 GB or 1.5 GB.

So I'm asking which controllers are on Samsung, Crucial and Western Digital SSD's so I can make the right choice in my purchase. I don't want to choose an OWC for instance and use their terrible SandForce controller which gives me reduced 3 GB speeds and not the expected 6 GB speeds. I would like to use the full potential speed of the hard drive ofcourse, but this is only due to compatible controllers. I hope this made sense and we're on the same page.
I have never heard of those Sintech adapters being used in a 2010-2011, but I guess if you bought a SATA drive (NOT PCIE/NVME) it could work.

The 2010 and 2011 Air use the same connector. They are both SATA. However, there are only a few aftermarket drives that will fit it.

Here's a weird fact. You could get either a Toshiba or Samsung drive with the 2011 Air (from the factory). The computer has a 6gbs SATA controller, however both drives were limited to 3gbs!

Sandforce drives had link speed auto-negotiation issues with the NVIDIA chipsets (MCP79 (?)) but those were only found in the 2010 Air and Pro, and 2009 Pro. OWC patched their drives to fix this, and so did OCZ.

The 2012 drive was a weird one, it's the only year that used that connector. In 2013+ they used a PCIE connector



Back to your situation...you need a drive that works with the 2011/2010 MacBook Air. That leaves you with a few choices:

OEM Apple drive from eBay, iFixIt, or some other used market (256GB is as big as they go)
OWC (they have drives up to 1TB, are known to fail but have a 5 year warranty)
Transcend Jetdrive 500 (up to 960GB)

There's probably one or two that were released that I'm forgetting. But this is a 7 year-old computer so good luck finding any parts that old because so few were made.
 
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Guza

macrumors member
Original poster
Jan 29, 2018
57
4
Boston
So I couldn't wait any longer for controller advice to buy the SSD. I'll trial and error my own findings but I think it will work, atleast theoretically it can. I bought a $140 1TB WD SSD that has a different key setup with a $10 adapter.

This is a much cheaper approach than the ridiculous $400 1TB OWC SSD with what has already been proven to have poor controller performance with their crap Sandforce controller. So I think this setup is much cheaper, faster and a better, more reputable brand.

https://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820250092&cm_re=wd_blue_nand_1tb-_-20-250-092-_-Product

https://www.amazon.com/Sintech-Adapter-Upgrade-2010-2011-MACBOOK/dp/B00QAE5FVO/ref=pd_lpo_sbs_147_t_0?_encoding=UTF8&psc=1&refRID=TN35F971W1MKPB0XDE2R

http://eshop.sintech.cn/m2ngff-ssd-adapter-as-ssd-of-20102011-macbook-air-p-1062.html

and I bought this one...

https://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=9SIA73645J4222&ignorebbr=1&nm_mc=KNC-GoogleMKP-PC&cm_mmc=KNC-GoogleMKP-PC-_-pla-_-Adapters+and+gender+changers-_-9SIA73645J4222&gclid=Cj0KCQjwguDeBRDCARIsAGxuU8bK-QfNP7Do7_59BR4mtABaKn2LDeEWn8dKwdFLDckZFcPhcenDjD0aAt8dEALw_wcB&gclsrc=aw.ds
 

Earl Urley

macrumors 6502
Nov 10, 2014
400
157
So, did this work? There's already 6 reviews on your second link that say they've been successful with that adapter and an ADATA SU800 256 GB..
 

weckart

macrumors 601
Nov 7, 2004
4,665
1,656
Back to your situation...you need a drive that works with the 2011/2010 MacBook Air. That leaves you with a few choices:

OEM Apple drive from eBay, iFixIt, or some other used market (256GB is as big as they go)
OWC (they have drives up to 1TB, are known to fail but have a 5 year warranty)
Transcend Jetdrive 500 (up to 960GB)

There's probably one or two that were released that I'm forgetting. But this is a 7 year-old computer so good luck finding any parts that old because so few were made.

I have the 2010 MBA. I just bought a generic short adapter (5 for $3 or something on eBay) and coupled this with a cheap ADATA SATA drive. Works well but you are limited to SATA II on the 2010 MBA, so max read/write speeds of about 250MB/s.

the adapter looks like this

s-l1600.jpg
 

Guza

macrumors member
Original poster
Jan 29, 2018
57
4
Boston
I've installed the WD SSD with the Sintech adapter and it works fine. the only problem that you will encounter with these SSD's attached to any of the adapters below is that it raises the SSD off the adapter to create an overall thicker unit.

So you will notice that the belly pan of the MBA doesn't close as easily. I very carefully tried to create a slight divot or depression in the pan by hand to compensate for the SSD and to not have it press into the motherboard too much when the pan is fully screwed in and closed. But the pressure isn't too much to be honest and you can fully close the bottom pan and save $260 instead of buying the OWC SSD with their crappy Sandforce controller with their throttled down 3GB speeds.

https://www.newegg.com/Product/Prod...cm_re=wd_blue_nand_1tb-_-20-250-092-_-Product

https://www.amazon.com/Sintech-Adap...coding=UTF8&psc=1&refRID=TN35F971W1MKPB0XDE2R

http://eshop.sintech.cn/m2ngff-ssd-adapter-as-ssd-of-20102011-macbook-air-p-1062.html

and I bought this one...

https://www.newegg.com/Product/Prod...wdFLDckZFcPhcenDjD0aAt8dEALw_wcB&gclsrc=aw.ds

...so theoretically you can use any one of the 3 pronged popular M.2 mSATA SSD drives from any of the more branded names and with the Sintech Adapter for sure it will work.
 
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whohasaquestion

macrumors 6502a
Sep 17, 2011
655
350
That's good for you. You found it out the hard way.

I don't use my 2011 MBA as a storage device so a 1TB is not necessary. But I can understand the convenience it brings when you can access everything anywhere.
 
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