Apple Store Employee: Macbook Air 2011 SSD is Soldered

macrumors2345

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Jul 21, 2011
2
0
Just talked to an employee at the Apple Store. He told me the "technician in the back" said that the SSD is soldered on - he may have been referring specifically to the 13" (I was asking about the 13", so make your assumptions).

Can anyone else weigh in?
 

KPOM

macrumors G5
Oct 23, 2010
14,563
3,111
We'll see what happens when iFixit does its teardown. Note that Apple's website does say that the flash memory is attached directly to the logic board to save space, though.
 

orangepeel

macrumors member
Nov 10, 2010
70
0
The technician has a service manual, so he would know that it's soldered.

What's there to weigh in on?
 

jclardy

macrumors 68040
Oct 6, 2008
3,414
2,045
The technician has a service manual, so he would know that it's soldered.

What's there to weigh in on?
Yes, but we are going on a customer talking to a sales person who talked to a technician.

It could have been a misinterpretation, maybe the technician said the "memory is soldiered to the board" and the salesman took him to mean the SSD when he was referring to RAM.

We'll know for sure when iFixit does their teardown.
 

Veinticinco

macrumors 65816
Feb 25, 2009
1,010
588
Europe
Can't see any reason why the SSD isn't connected as per the now-previous late 2010 model. No reason to change.

Strongly suspect this is a case of crossed wires and reference to RAM being soldered, as poster above has already suggested.
 

macrumors2345

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Jul 21, 2011
2
0
Definitely grain of salt

Yes I agree with you guys - definitely take my conversation with the Apple employee with a grain of salt.

If it clears anything up:

1. I ask if the hard drive is soldered on.
2. He tells me immediately that it is.
3. I ask him if he's sure, since the 2010 Air's hard drive isn't soldered and is replaceable.
4. He says he'll ask again. Goes to the back to ask again.
5. Confirms and says the technician says it is soldered on.

We can't be sure until someone does a teardown. Just want to give people a heads up in case anyone was thinking about getting the 128 SSD now and upgrading later.
 

orangepeel

macrumors member
Nov 10, 2010
70
0
LOL, how is it "with a grain of salt"? He asked twice. :rolleyes:

I remember reading awhile back where a source said the SSD would be soldered on, which is why I'm not surprised in the lease that it is.
 

orangepeel

macrumors member
Nov 10, 2010
70
0
Found it.

Macotakara claims that Apple will be adopting a new Toggle DDR 2.0 type of NAND Flash Memory for the basis of the new MacBook Air's SSD drive. The Japanese website cites an "Asian electronics component person" as the source of the information. (via AppleInsider)
Current SSD device Blade X-gale supporting SATA 2.6 will be abolished and new 19nm flash memory will be packaged into smaller chip and will be soldered on base circuit directly.
The move would be a rapid departure by Apple from the current SSD stick format that was just introduced in last year's MacBook Air. Instead of a replaceable part, the new Flash chips would be soldered directly onto the MacBook Air's motherboard.


The new format supports speeds of 400Mb/s and in conjunction with a new ONFI 3.0 standard will allow future controllers to run faster or similar performance to today's SSDs with "half the number of channels, providing both a cost and space savings".
http://www.macrumors.com/2011/07/04/next-macbook-air-to-adopt-faster-more-power-efficient-ssd/
 

KPOM

macrumors G5
Oct 23, 2010
14,563
3,111
Can't see any reason why the SSD isn't connected as per the now-previous late 2010 model. No reason to change.

Strongly suspect this is a case of crossed wires and reference to RAM being soldered, as poster above has already suggested.
A big difference is that they needed to find room on that logic board for the Thunderbolt chip. I don't know how the size of the Core i5/i7 and HD3000 combo compares to the size of the Core 2 Duo/NVIDIA 320m combo, so perhaps that played into it. The logic board changed significantly, so maybe they decided to solder the flash chips to make room for everything.
 

darngooddesign

macrumors G3
Jul 4, 2007
9,323
241
Atlanta, GA
So if the board dies and has to be replaced you will lose all of your data on the drive? That doesn't seem like a good idea... :(
From a reliability POV, your drive is more likely to fail before your motherboard. Having it soldered to the board isn't going to change that. Get in the habit of backing up your data.
 

turbotoes

macrumors regular
Nov 24, 2010
138
0
France
From a reliability POV, your drive is more likely to fail before your motherboard. Having it soldered to the board isn't going to change that. Get in the habit of backing up your data.
That's very true, but soldered in means your shiny piece of kit is a shiny piece of junk when your warranty expires and the drive dies :(
 

KPOM

macrumors G5
Oct 23, 2010
14,563
3,111
From a reliability POV, your drive is more likely to fail before your motherboard. Having it soldered to the board isn't going to change that. Get in the habit of backing up your data.
True, but that also means that your perfectly-working Core i7 logic board becomes useless if the flash chips fail. It's $755 to replace a logic board on a MacBook Air (late 2010 - 2011 might be higher).
 

orangepeel

macrumors member
Nov 10, 2010
70
0
That's very true, but soldered in means your shiny piece of kit is a shiny piece of junk when your warranty expires and the drive dies :(
Not really, it just means swapping out the ssd is a pain in the rear. You can desolder, and resolder a new one. Also, you can always boot/use osx on an external hard drive.
 

XX55XX

macrumors regular
May 17, 2009
147
0
What a pity. Then again, was the SSD used a proprietary part anyways? So that it's difficult to replace?
 

awer25

macrumors 65816
Apr 30, 2011
1,080
287
LOL, how is it "with a grain of salt"? He asked twice. :rolleyes:

I remember reading awhile back where a source said the SSD would be soldered on, which is why I'm not surprised in the lease that it is.
I guess it's moot now, but it was supposed to be taken with a grain of salt b/c OP asked the same question twice to the same person (not that OP was wrong in doing so). Therefore, if the person was wrong the first time, they would likely be wrong the second too. It wouldn't be the first time an Apple employee spoke out of his a$s and "asked a technician in the back" for confirmation.
 
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