Air Solid State drive vs. SATA

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by iGoon, Oct 22, 2008.

  1. iGoon macrumors newbie


    Oct 22, 2008
    New York City
    This is my first post here at MacRumors... been a long time lurker and finally decided to join the club. This forum has served me well over the last few years. I hope I can return the favor.

    Anyway... I'm going to invest in an Air come November and have been going back and forth about whether the extra $700 for the Solid State drive is really a necessary investment. From what I can see, it's largely catering to the geek in me but ultimately doesn't have THAT much of an advantage over the regular SATA drive.

    Any owners of one or the other care to debate the issue for someone on the fence? Oh, and for whatever it's worth, I'm buying this purely for travel purposes and easy portability. It will not be a primary machine. It's a bit of an indulgent purchase to begin with and unless there are some solid reasons going beyond the cool factor I'm leaning toward saving the $700.

  2. neiltc13 macrumors 68040


    May 27, 2006
    If you buy Air then you lose:
    1 USB port
    1 speaker
    Ethernet port
    DVD drive
    Removable battery
    Replaceable components

    And you pay MORE for the privilege. The computer is only 0.47cm thinner.
  3. costabunny macrumors 68020


    May 15, 2008
    Weymouth, UK
    I think iGoon wants to know if he should get SSD or SATA in the Air (not whether to buy an Air as he seems to have decided it suits his needs/pockets) :p

    Id say stick with the HDD - SSD is not worth the extra $$ yet. Its still too much money for very small gains.

    (I speak from experience having been very happy with my gen1 Air with its PATA drive) Iwill get the Gen2 Air with Sata.
  4. iGoon thread starter macrumors newbie


    Oct 22, 2008
    New York City
    Yes, thanks. You're right. I'm aware of what the Air is and isn't. My primary dilemma is SSD or SATA and your thinking is in line with my own. Admittedly, there is a small part of me that's looking to be convinced otherwise but so far that hasn't happened and $700 is a lot to pay for little more than the luxury of saying I have it.
  5. neiltc13 macrumors 68040


    May 27, 2006
    Isn't that exactly what you're doing by buying Air? Getting a lesser machine for more money and for what reason other than to say you have it?

    I'm assuming you're not travelling with JUST the laptop and you'll be taking some other belongings with you, in which case the 1.5lb difference between MacBook and MacBook Air will really become insignificant.
  6. ntrigue macrumors 68040


    Jul 30, 2007
    3.0lbs vs. 4.5lbs. is a huge difference in laptops. See also 33% lighter.
    The MBA delivers excellent sound to my IE headphones.
    I only view Bluray or digital movies and the MBA plays the latter flawlessly as does my AppleTV.
    I have an Ethernet adapter gathering dust.
    All the specs are exactly what I want.
    When the battery fails Apple will replace it in a week.

    I say get the SSD. It's much cheaper now.
  7. t4cgirl macrumors member

    Feb 22, 2008
    Well, spoken like someone who's used to lugging around a MacBook Pro! As your shoulder strap wears a hole in your shoulder, that difference in weight of the computer (and power supply) might just be much, much appreciated. And normally, what else might you have in that bag, your phone? A paperback book?

    The black MacBook is 50% heavier, the white, 2/3rds heavier.

    I'm on board with the notion that the MBA is silly to have just to have, and that it might be frustrating to have as your only machine.

    But as a highly mobile adjunct to your workstation setup, it can't be beat. I get more work done because it's easier to pack up and go. If that's not worth the $300 difference (between Black MB and MBA) then I don't know what is.
  8. neiltc13 macrumors 68040


    May 27, 2006
    I wish I had the kind of money you people clearly do. It's unfortunate to see people buying worse machines for more money simply because they have the money to spend.

    If you really MUST spend that amount of money, why not buy a MacBook and give the difference to charity?
  9. iGoon thread starter macrumors newbie


    Oct 22, 2008
    New York City
    Yikes, I'm not looking to start a class war here... I'm just interested in people's thoughts on the one drive vs. the other. For the record, I own my own business and am looking for something easy to transport around New York. It's a business expense and therefore a write-off.

    I often have to travel all over town to meet in various locations to show comps of works in progress. We're talking up and down and in and out of the subway, cabs, trains etc... I want something light and easy to transport for this reason. I don't have a car. Add to this mix the inevitable stop at the market or to grab a bite to go and the load adds up. I'm looking to be less of a pack mule so the Air makes good sense for me. While it is a lovely machine, I'm not solely into buying one as a show piece.

    Anyway, thanks for the feedback. I appreciate everyone's honesty. It would be nice to see the SSD come down a bit as I like the idea a lot. I just don't like the dent it would put in my wallet.
  10. 1rottenapple macrumors 68000

    Apr 21, 2004

    I think this dude is butt hurt at his lot in life.

    Anyway, I opted for the 80gb vs the 64gb due to space constraints. I would love to buy an ssd with at least 120gb for a price less than 300... That would be worth it.
  11. iGoon thread starter macrumors newbie


    Oct 22, 2008
    New York City
    For the record I'm not a "dude" but that wouldn't be obvious by anything I've put out there so I suppose it's forgivable. Still, it's funny that everyone just assumes.

    Anyway, thanks for the feedback... peppered with wild assumptions though it may be.
  12. dang-dut macrumors newbie

    Oct 23, 2008
    Don't forget NY economics

    The critics need to chill. Apple has long benefited from NY and LA as bubbles in which everything basic costs more (e.g. parking), so fixed priced items from outside that seem too expensive for the midwest are reasonable for citizens of these areas (e.g. early ipods and MBA's).

    That said, I have not seen enough to convince me that the SSD would be worth it at this point.

    But I don't know from experience, so I will sit down and be quiet and invite all the other MBA lookers on to do the same.
  13. highjumppudding macrumors 6502


    Mar 1, 2008
    i personally think the technology is too new. i would wait until it is a standard.
  14. teflon macrumors 6502a


    May 28, 2007
    The OP is asking advice on SSD vs hard drive, not MBA vs MB/MBP, why are there so many posts flaming the MBA? It's not helpful at all and plain off topic. If you don't like it, don't buy it. No need to post useless responses in someone else's thread.
    As for the OP, just get the regular hard drive. Performances wise, tests have shown that SSD have no real advantage in terms of speed or battery life.
    Oh and welcome to MacRumours!
  15. pilotError macrumors 68020


    Apr 12, 2006
    Long Island
    I would wait to see what the reviews say when the new Air gets released.

    I have an Air with an SSD and I'm pretty happy with it. It is limited in space, but for traveling back and forth into Manhatten and being on the subways all the time, its perfect. I got one of the good ones that doesn't overheat, but it is truly my portable solution.

    The Air 1.0 disks were PATA, which is pretty slow as interfaces go. The new devices coming on the market are all SATA, which I assume the Air will also use a SATA controller since nobody on the market makes a 128GB PATA SSD. Some of the SATA SSD's are significantly faster than the 5400 RPM notebook drives. It really depends on what they ship with the machine.

    It also depends on the SATA chipset they are going to use. There's been some pretty widespread complaints about a particular chipset that causes issues with the SSD drives.

    All in all, I only use about half of my 64GB (software development). The rest of the space is taken up by HD movies. I think the 128GB would be well worth the investment, unless you think you can pull the machine apart and do it yourself down the road.

    The only suggestion I have is to get a good bag with corner protection. I did a header coming up the subway stairs :eek: and now I have a little ding on the corner. If you look at all the MBA's that were dropped, they seem to find the corner of the machine for some reason.
  16. iphoner2010 macrumors member

    Oct 12, 2008
    i think that the main advantage of the SSD is that it uses less battery life than the drive with the moving parts. Also, because it acts like a thumb drive when in use, the likelyhood of damage to your system is a lot less if dropped or ridden by water damage. But worth the $600.00/extra...idk:apple:
  17. iGoon thread starter macrumors newbie


    Oct 22, 2008
    New York City
    Hey, thanks to all for getting this thread back on track. I'm definitely interested in seeing what the reviews say upon release and am sitting tight for a bit before I bite the bullet.

    Interesting note on the the chipset issues and SSD drives... I hadn't thought about that but I will now.
  18. iGoon thread starter macrumors newbie


    Oct 22, 2008
    New York City
  19. mediacobbler macrumors newbie


    Aug 26, 2009

    get a backpack, i hiked 750 mile on the appalachian trail with 40lbs on my back..i think 4-5 lbs of laptop would be no problem..except you may not look as sophisticated
  20. acurafan macrumors 6502a

    Sep 16, 2008
    if you're going to waste $$ on the MBA, might as well pick up the SSD. that's my opinion...
  21. MovieCutter macrumors 68040


    May 3, 2005
    Washington, DC
    If you're going to resurrect a 10 month old thread, might as well post something interesting...just my opinion. :cool:
  22. nedzet macrumors newbie

    May 22, 2010
    down and dirty comparison, please

    Hello all. My first post.

    I too am a mobile businesswoman and I am ready to put in my MBA order. I have a still-wonderful but steadily-slowing 3yr old black MB but I am ready to leave that one at home and get something else for my travels. Actually, I am thinking of getting a refurbished MBA because I have heard such great things from everyone who has ever ordered refurbished, but that is another story.

    My question: the SSD is not that much more expensive than the SATA right now, less than $100 for the refurbished ones. So what are my advantages of buying one or the other? I tried to do a few searches on google but I just couldn't find any good A vs. B information. Anyone have any suggestions or suggestions of where to find this info? I did read that the SSDs are much quieter since they have no moving parts, BUT they wear out quickly (one person said as quick as 15 months).

    Any and all help on the SSD vs. SATA comparisons are very much appreciated, thank you.
  23. bumzo1 macrumors 6502a

    Jan 31, 2009
    Dallas, TX
    I'd say go for the SSD if its only $100 more especially since you are going to be bringing it everywhere it will hold up to the wear and tear better. And as for the only lasting 15 months his SSD was probably a rare case as SSDs should outlast HDDs. The SSD will also make the mba feel like a much snappier machine.
  24. ontherocs macrumors newbie

    Mar 26, 2011
    any other options or experiences?

    Wondering if there are any other suggestions regarding iGoon and nedzet's original questions? Maybe even get an update from both on their final decision?

    I have done searches to try to locate more information, but everything seems to be dated in 2008. There really isn't any current information on how the drives compare.

    A few additional questions: What are the pros/cons between getting a smaller SSD vs. a larger SATA (e.g., 64GB SSD vs. 120GB SATA)? And what exactly are SATA chipsets that pilotError mentioned?

    I am an avid photographer while traveling and need a VERY LIGHT option that will allow for photo manipulation on the go. An SLR is already a weight luxuary while backpacking. Most photo modifications and all organization is currently done in iPhoto. The serious stuff is done in Photoshop.

    On a side note... comments regarding a wasted expense outside of technical reasons are unnecessary. This thread is not here to judge someone's ability or inability to purchase products.
  25. RiddleSmash macrumors newbie

    Apr 1, 2011
    1 more opinion

    I think iGoone wants to know if he should get SSD or SATA in the Air (not to buy a drive that is ok for someone else) :p

    Id say if you travel a lot (which I guess is a good reason to choose air) you better have the SSD which is less susceptible to physical shock
    ( . To save money just choose the smaller SSD and you can always back up your files in any other cheaper external drive, which you can keep safe at home.

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