2014 MBA SSD-MCE Tech or OWC

HylianKnight

macrumors 6502
Original poster
Jul 18, 2017
263
194
Hello all. I'm repairing an early 2014 mba for a friend. The oem Toshiba ssd in it completely failed so I ordered a 240gb Aura from OWC to replace it. The drive came in today. I have it installed and running, but I was prompted to do some digging after I discovered the computer sees the drive as an external drive.

Apparently I did not do enough research before ordering. It seems that the OWC Aura drives do not support TRIM, do not support SMART, have slower speeds, and are essentially two data ssds in a raid configuration. Only thing the Aura has going for it is a 3 year warranty.

I just saw that there is another company, MCE Technolgies, that sells ssds compatible with 2014 mbas. Their ssds support TRIM, support SMART, and have speeds that rival the oem drive. The only downside is the 256gb comes with only a 1 year warranty.

I am tempted to return the OWC drive for a refund and order from MCETech, but I have read some less than flattering things about them as a company. Anyone with any experience with these two companies and their ssd offerings for the 2014 mba (MacBookAor6,2)?
 

kohlson

macrumors 68020
Apr 23, 2010
2,328
689
I've used OWC SSDs in 2011 and 2012 13 MBA's. They've worked as expected for a few years now. They "look" like regular (internal) drives.
 

HylianKnight

macrumors 6502
Original poster
Jul 18, 2017
263
194
I've used OWC SSDs in 2011 and 2012 13 MBA's. They've worked as expected for a few years now. They "look" like regular (internal) drives.
I would expect drives from those years to work fine, as they were normal sata or m.2 drives. Starting late 2013, and in the 2014 mba, Apple uses a customized m.2 interface. This has caused issues with making affordable 3rd party storage solutions. Long story short, the ssds owc made for these models function a bit differently.
 

green86

macrumors 6502a
Sep 27, 2007
534
266
North Carolina
I would expect drives from those years to work fine, as they were normal sata or m.2 drives. Starting late 2013, and in the 2014 mba, Apple uses a customized m.2 interface. This has caused issues with making affordable 3rd party storage solutions. Long story short, the ssds owc made for these models function a bit differently.
I just installed an Aura blade SSD in my 2012 iMac, which also has a proprietary connector. Trim in MacOS is a pain and needs to be disabled everytime you update the OS for third party SSDs. The Aura reserves data (which is why it is 240, not 256) for garbage collection. While not technically TRIM, it is automated which is very nice. Also, you *can* enable trim on these drives if you want. I do not intend to enable TRIM in mine unless there is a write speed problem, which, if it does occur, you can just enable trim until the problem clears up.
 

HylianKnight

macrumors 6502
Original poster
Jul 18, 2017
263
194
I just installed an Aura blade SSD in my 2012 iMac, which also has a proprietary connector. Trim in MacOS is a pain and needs to be disabled everytime you update the OS for third party SSDs. The Aura reserves data (which is why it is 240, not 256) for garbage collection. While not technically TRIM, it is automated which is very nice. Also, you *can* enable trim on these drives if you want. I do not intend to enable TRIM in mine unless there is a write speed problem, which, if it does occur, you can just enable trim until the problem clears up.
Yes, I have spoken extensively with OWC and for the model you are referring to TRIM can be enabled. I don’t know much else about that drive, but the models for 2013-2015 are basically two SATA drive in a RAID configuration. I have confirmed they are also using TLC flash which tends to draw more power thus generating more heat. This is also why OWC put a heat spreader thing on the drives. It makes contact with the aluminum backplate of the macbook and uses that to disperse heat. I can tell you that it is not comfortable. It gets very hot. I played around with it for a week and did not like how it performed thermally. I have returned the drive. MCEtech drive is on the way, uses MLC flash, and operates within the same parameters as the oem drive. I will provide feed back on this drive as soon as it is installed. On the note of having to disable trim on 3rd party drives before an upgrade, —I’m not sure that is accurate. This was a requirement back when upgrading to Yosemite because of the new kext signing, but Apple later decided to provide the ability to enable TRIM on 3rd party drives.

Going back to the claim of certain drives performing “garbage collection” being sufficient; my understanding is that garbage collection can not perform the same level of cleanup that TRIM handles. Has something to do with needing to know which logical blocks are used and unused at the file system level. TRIM gives this information to the drive.
 

green86

macrumors 6502a
Sep 27, 2007
534
266
North Carolina
Going back to the claim of certain drives performing “garbage collection” being sufficient; my understanding is that garbage collection can not perform the same level of cleanup that TRIM handles. Has something to do with needing to know which logical blocks are used and unused at the file system level. TRIM gives this information to the drive.
True, but you can always just enable TRIM if you need it... unsure why this would be seen as an issue.
 

HylianKnight

macrumors 6502
Original poster
Jul 18, 2017
263
194
True, but you can always just enable TRIM if you need it... unsure why this would be seen as an issue
Not on the drive for mid 2013 to later MacBooks (pro/Air). If you look at the spec sheet on owc’s site you will see that the drive itself does not support TRIM for this model. Other OWC drives do support TRIM, just not this one.
B4436695-1A30-441F-98CB-1D4046855408.jpeg
 

green86

macrumors 6502a
Sep 27, 2007
534
266
North Carolina
Not on the drive for mid 2013 to later MacBooks (pro/Air). If you look at the spec sheet on owc’s site you will see that the drive itself does not support TRIM for this model. Other OWC drives do support TRIM, just not this one.
View attachment 713717
They might mean it doesn't natively support it. You CAN enable it.

https://blog.macsales.com/31602-owc-ssds-built-to-perform-with-or-without-trimforce-command

OWC actually gives you instructions on how to do this:

https://blog.macsales.com/31619-how-to-execute-trimforce-command-with-your-owc-ssd

And just for reference

Capture.JPG
 

magbarn

macrumors 68020
Oct 25, 2008
2,295
1,401
Not on the drive for mid 2013 to later MacBooks (pro/Air). If you look at the spec sheet on owc’s site you will see that the drive itself does not support TRIM for this model. Other OWC drives do support TRIM, just not this one.
View attachment 713717
No you cannot enable TRIM on a SSD RAID which OWC's drives are. It may report as TRIM enabled, but it really isn't, even Windows can't do TRIM on a SSD RAID (what's worse is OWC uses crappy Sandforce controllers - no modern SSD uses them now!) The other posts above are 'generic' and really only apply to 2012-early 2013 and EARLIER models which used SATA based SSD's. late 2013 on MBP's all use PCIe. MCE tech prices are just as bad as buying used Apple SSD's on the auction site. I bought a 1 TB Apple OEM SSD from ebay several years ago and it's still running strong on my 2013 rMBP 13. MAKE SURE IT'S SAMSUNG. All the other SSD controllers stink, even Apple OEM ones using Toshiba/Marvell controllers. (Apple's NVME controllers seem to fantastic OTOH)
 

panjandrum

macrumors 6502
Sep 22, 2009
343
424
United States
I realize it's an old thread, but I think I'm going to put one of the MCE drives in a mid-2015 MacBook Pro soon. I'll try to remember to report back and let you know how it goes. Lost faith in OWC unfortunately. Used to use them quite a bit as they produced drives with "garbage collection" so that you didn't need to worry so much about the whole TRIM fiasco on Macs, but I've seen a LOT of failures in their regular SSDs (barely more reliable than traditional HDDs so far) and their drives for MacBooks have a pretty terrible rep. Hope the MCE drive works well.

And yes, as for other purposes, definitely go Samsung. They appear to be very reliable and are screaming fast.
 
Last edited:

Audit13

macrumors 603
Apr 19, 2017
5,294
1,340
Toronto, Ontario, Canada
I realize it's an old thread, but I think I'm going to put one of the MCE drives in a mid-2015 MacBook Pro soon. I'll try to remember to report back and let you know how it goes. Lost faith in OWC unfortunately. Used to use them quite a bit as they produced drives with "garbage collection" so that you didn't need to worry so much about the whole TRIM fiasco on Macs, but I've seen a LOT of failures in their regular SSDs (barely more reliable than traditional HDDs so far) and their drives for MacBooks have a pretty terrible rep. Hope the MCE drive works well.

And yes, as for other purposes, definitely go Samsung. They appear to be very reliable and are screaming fast.
Try this route: https://forums.macrumors.com/threads/upgrading-2013-2014-macbook-pro-ssd-to-m-2-nvme.2034976/
 

panjandrum

macrumors 6502
Sep 22, 2009
343
424
United States
Yeah, I've looked at that thread and will probably give that method a try when I upgrade "my" similar model, but in this case it will be going in a machine I don't have time to fiddle-around with in terms of incompatibilities or other possible issues. The MCE drives are supposedly very fast and purpose-built to fit, so hopefully it'll be plug and play.
 

Audit13

macrumors 603
Apr 19, 2017
5,294
1,340
Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Yeah, I've looked at that thread and will probably give that method a try when I upgrade "my" similar model, but in this case it will be going in a machine I don't have time to fiddle-around with in terms of incompatibilities or other possible issues. The MCE drives are supposedly very fast and purpose-built to fit, so hopefully it'll be plug and play.
There is no fiddling from what I have personally experienced and no incompatibility either.

Which MCE drive are you getting?

I see that the 1 TB SSD (https://store.mcetech.com/mm/merchant.mvc?Store_Code=MTOS&Screen=PROD&Product_Code=1TBPCIESSD-2015) has a read write speed of 1400/1100 which is slower than some nvme drives although you would not notice a speed difference in everyday use. The list price is $699 which is excessive in my opinion.
 

Audit13

macrumors 603
Apr 19, 2017
5,294
1,340
Toronto, Ontario, Canada
https://store.mcetech.com/mm/merchant.mvc?Screen=PROD&Product_Code=1TNVMESSD-MBP15

1TB at $499 on their store, but $429 on Amazon even though that's a "Sold by MCE Tech" item. Read and write of 2900MB/s, 2100MB/s according to the description. Only for mid-2015 machines unfortunately, but that's we we've got, so looks like a reasonable way to go.
Thanks for the link. I see the drive is an nvme drive.

I still recommend a "PC" nvme drive and adapter because the nvme drive can easily be reused in another PC while the MCE drive is limited to other Macs.

The 1 TB Adata sx8200 pro 1 TB is $185 on Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/gp/offer-listing/B07K1J3C23/ref=dp_olp_new_mbc?ie=UTF8&condition=new. With an adapter, it costs 50% less than the MCE.

In the end, it's really your opinion that matters.
 
Register on MacRumors! This sidebar will go away, and you'll see fewer ads.