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Life with 128gb

imrazor

macrumors regular
Original poster
Sep 8, 2010
224
65
Dol Amroth
So I just took the plunge and got a great deal on an 8GB 13” MBA with an i7. There’s one compromise - it only has 128GB of on board storage. I accepted this due to the presence of the SD card slot on the 2017 model.

So I’m wondering how best to manage this situation. Are there any caveats to keeping photos, music, games and iPhone backups on an SD card? If I decide that life with an SD card is too much hassle, can I take the MBA to the Apple Store or an authorized repair shop to upgrade the SSD **and** keep my warranty intact?
 

imrazor

macrumors regular
Original poster
Sep 8, 2010
224
65
Dol Amroth
I’ve heard of this and have the necessary tools, but won’t that void my warranty? I would presume so. If it’s a hassle I may just limp along with SD cards for a year, then upgrade once the warranty expires.
 
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BigMcGuire

Contributor
Jan 10, 2012
6,380
7,945
California
So I just took the plunge and got a great deal on an 8GB 13” MBA with an i7. There’s one compromise - it only has 128GB of on board storage. I accepted this due to the presence of the SD card slot on the 2017 model.

So I’m wondering how best to manage this situation. Are there any caveats to keeping photos, music, games and iPhone backups on an SD card? If I decide that life with an SD card is too much hassle, can I take the MBA to the Apple Store or an authorized repair shop to upgrade the SSD **and** keep my warranty intact?

I lived with a 2015 MBA 11' -- with a 128GB SSD for 3 years. I used a USB 3 enclosure with a 256 GB Samsung SSD for games (World of Warcraft) and other applications/data I wanted to run fast. I had a 1TB external WD Green disk for Time Machine backups and static storage. Everything else was online in the cloud - Music, photo storage, email, etc...

Definitely very doable.
 
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imrazor

macrumors regular
Original poster
Sep 8, 2010
224
65
Dol Amroth
I lived with a 2015 MBA 11' -- with a 128GB SSD for 3 years. I used a USB 3 enclosure with a 256 GB Samsung SSD for games (World of Warcraft) and other applications/data I wanted to run fast. I had a 1TB external WD Green disk for Time Machine backups and static storage. Everything else was online in the cloud - Music, photo storage, email, etc...

Definitely very doable.
That’s a valid approach for use at home or work, but if I’m mobile I want to carry around as few dongles and external devices as possible. That’s what’s attractive about the SD card; it’s very compact and unobtrusive. I’m just not sure how viable/convenient it is for storing media, games and apps.
 
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BigMcGuire

Contributor
Jan 10, 2012
6,380
7,945
California
That’s a valid approach for use at home or work, but if I’m mobile I want to carry around as few dongles and external devices as possible. That’s what’s attractive about the SD card; it’s very compact and unobtrusive. I’m just not sure how viable/convenient it is for storing media, games and apps.

My experience with SD cards was with my first MBA, a 13' 2011 I believe. I didn't keep it for long but I remember the SD Card being too slow to be usable for anything that I wanted to use it for. Obviously, that was a long time ago, so higher end cards are maybe better today. I'm interested in your experience with an SD card if you get one.
 
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nouveau_redneck

macrumors 6502a
Sep 16, 2017
551
867
Congratulations on getting a new MBA. You can live with 128 GB no problem is you plan for it. Using cloud and an SD card is a good mix.

I use an SD in my MBP for additional storage and it works good. 512 GB cards are at great prices lately, and if you need 1 TB cards can be had. The access/transfer time to the SD is not the fastest, but I use it for secondary storage for stuff I don't access much. No complaints here.
 
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imrazor

macrumors regular
Original poster
Sep 8, 2010
224
65
Dol Amroth
My experience with SD cards was with my first MBA, a 13' 2011 I believe. I didn't keep it for long but I remember the SD Card being too slow to be usable for anything that I wanted to use it for. Obviously, that was a long time ago, so higher end cards are maybe better today. I'm interested in your experience with an SD card if you get one.
I have a couple of high speed/low capacity (32GB maybe?) floating around that I’ll try out with the MBA once I get it set up.

@nouveau_redneck Cloud storage is a good point. I have 1TB of cloud storage via Office 365, though that’s obviously not as seamless as iCloud. My main concern is being without a network connection. That doesn’t happen often, but still makes me a bit paranoid.
 
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nouveau_redneck

macrumors 6502a
Sep 16, 2017
551
867
I have a couple of high speed/low capacity (32GB maybe?) floating around that I’ll try out with the MBA once I get it set up.

@nouveau_redneck Cloud storage is a good point. I have 1TB of cloud storage via Office 365, though that’s obviously not as seamless as iCloud. My main concern is being without a network connection. That doesn’t happen often, but still makes me a bit paranoid.

iCloud storage using the "Optimize Mac Storage" option might be something to consider. That option will offload files from your local drive when space is needed, least used files removed first. So there is some automated assistance with it versus using MS OneDrive. But you are right, if the internet is not available and you need something that is not synced locally, you can't get to it.

Using the SD card for storage can prevent that from happening. The access speed to it is really not too bad at all. I just opened a 27GB Photos Library archive on my SD as a test and it opened in a couple of seconds. Accessing individual photos within the library was quick. Actually quicker than I had thought it would be. I could keep my main library there and it would not bother me at all.
 
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Macdctr

macrumors 6502a
Nov 25, 2009
669
332
Ocean State
There's not too much you can't fix with the MacBook Air (2013-2017). ifixit and powerbook medic web sites are awesome resources for parts along with eBay and for repair guides you can't beat the ifixit repair guides. I wouldn't worry too much about warranty with all these resources available. Get the NVMe M.2 drive and Sintech adapter and just enjoy your Mac :)
 
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sracer

macrumors G3
Apr 9, 2010
8,793
9,666
Prescott Valley, AZ
That’s a valid approach for use at home or work, but if I’m mobile I want to carry around as few dongles and external devices as possible. That’s what’s attractive about the SD card; it’s very compact and unobtrusive. I’m just not sure how viable/convenient it is for storing media, games and apps.
Sounds like we got in on the same excellent deal (i7, 8GB, 128GB).
thumpsup.gif
It's a terrific notebook. I bought one of those short microSD adapters that fit flush with the MBA's SD card slot and am using a 64GB card in it (that's what I had on hand but I'll be getting a larger one soon).

Before this MBA, I had a 2014 11" MBA (without an SD card slot) and managed quite well (because it was a secondary macOS device)

My wife and daughter both have 13" MBAs and have used them heavily with SD cards for years without any issues.
 
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lambertjohn

macrumors 65816
Jun 17, 2012
1,286
1,235
Living with 128gb is pretty easy actually. No cloud needed (or wanted for that matter.) Just grab yourself a Samsung T5 external SSD, 500gb, 1TB, whatever, and plug it into one of your USB-C ports and you're good to go. Lightning fast storage that's always available even when the cloud isn't. Worried about portability? It's about the size of a pack of matches so no excuses there. I got my 500GB T5 at Costco for about $90, but everyone sells them. Here's an Amazon link for you:

https://www.amazon.com/Samsung-T5-Portable-SSD-MU-PA500B/dp/B073GZBT36
 
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Jimmy James

macrumors 603
Oct 26, 2008
5,289
3,707
Magicland
Apple: We only give you the fastest storage for the best experience.

Almost Everyone: I need to keep most of my data online or use slow external storage.
 
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MultiFinder17

macrumors 68020
Jan 8, 2008
2,238
1,034
Tampa, Florida
Is this Air a primary or secondary computer? I tote a lovely old 2011 11” Air back and forth to school daily, and it only has a 128GB SSD. I have maybe 60GB used, and actually have a 40GB partition on there for Windows 10. How? It’s a secondary computer, so it doesn’t have all my stuff on it. It has the apps I need, the documents I need, some music for when I’m sitting there grading, and that’s really about it. If it’s not your main computer, you can get by easily with a lot less; if it is your main, then many of the suggestions above would do you well.
 
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padams35

macrumors 6502
Nov 10, 2016
279
149
I use a 'fast' UHS class SD card with my 128GB MBA for low profile extra storage. The storage worked pretty well... except I can't leave the SD card semi-permanently connected or it will prevent the Air from entering Standby mode. With only the display off the battery still drains ~15% per day meaning if I neglect to shutdown the computer or eject the SD card before leaving it on a shelf for a work-week by the next weekend the battery will be depleted right when I'd want to use it.
 
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darkmatter343

macrumors 6502
Sep 18, 2017
263
183
Toronto, Canada
128GB isn't that difficult to live with, but obviously if you plan to store your entire photo or video library on the drive it's not going to happen. If you want to save a few bucks, the 128 is perfectly fine as long as you know it's limitation in your use case. With cloud storage being so cheap and plentiful, small drive's don't really make a difference... I find. All my photo's are stored with either Google or Apple, I pay like $2/mo for 200GB with Apple. I have a handful of programming apps installed, and if I download any movies they get deleted soon after watching, and if I need to keep anything long term it get stored onto my 2tb external USB3 drive anyways. That being said, I've never had an issue with any computer that had 128 in the last few years, and even my current Pro that has 256, I still have over 150GB free.
Obviously YMMV, everyone use's their computer differently, but you can totally make 128GB work with ease.
 
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SBlue1

macrumors 68000
Oct 17, 2008
1,635
1,876
Where do you keep your apps and games? You can't install them on iCloud?
 
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Ghost31

macrumors 68030
Jun 9, 2015
2,840
3,991
128GB isn't that difficult to live with, but obviously if you plan to store your entire photo or video library on the drive it's not going to happen. If you want to save a few bucks, the 128 is perfectly fine as long as you know it's limitation in your use case. With cloud storage being so cheap and plentiful, small drive's don't really make a difference... I find. All my photo's are stored with either Google or Apple, I pay like $2/mo for 200GB with Apple. I have a handful of programming apps installed, and if I download any movies they get deleted soon after watching, and if I need to keep anything long term it get stored onto my 2tb external USB3 drive anyways. That being said, I've never had an issue with any computer that had 128 in the last few years, and even my current Pro that has 256, I still have over 150GB free.
Obviously YMMV, everyone use's their computer differently, but you can totally make 128GB work with ease.
Same here. All my stuff is in the cloud. The only weirdness comes when your macs storage is taken up in massive amounts by “other” for no understandable reason. I barely use anything and other is taking up 50 gigs. Seems a bit much to me
 
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imrazor

macrumors regular
Original poster
Sep 8, 2010
224
65
Dol Amroth
I went ahead and bought the Sintech adapter, as well as a 512GB Intel 760p NVME SSD. @Audit13 , or anyone else, do you know if the 760p is compatible with the Sintech adapter? I already have a MicroSD card + adapter and am using a 128GB microSD card to store some games and music. I've also ordered a low profile microSD adapter so it'll lie flush against the side of my MBA.

My current 128GB SSD benchmarks at about 600MB/s write, 1200MB/s read.

From my reading the hibernation issue that some people experience only seems to happen on some MacBooks of 2013 or 2014 vintage - at least according to the Sintech page on Amazon. If I'm reading between the lines correctly, you can still close the lid, it just won't go into hibernation. Instead it will go into 'sleep' mode which consumes more power than hibernation, but is still way less than just leaving the laptop on.
 
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Audit13

macrumors 603
Apr 19, 2017
5,794
1,500
Toronto, Ontario, Canada
The 760p is an excellent choice and you must run high Sierra or Mojave.

Be sure to update your Air to the latest bootrom by installing the latest Mojave release before installing the Intel.

Correct, the 2015 and 2017 Air do not have a problem with kernel panics associated with hibernation.

To save battery while the lid is closed, I enabled hibernation mode 25.
 

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Howard2k

macrumors 68030
Mar 10, 2016
2,906
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You could also use a NAS. The wifi in the Air isn't the fastest, but it's still good. I use 256GB of local storage and store stuff locally when actively using it (say editing photos) but then offload to NAS for "incidental" use. I keep my iTunes library and movies on the NAS etc.
 
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Tech198

macrumors P6
Mar 21, 2011
15,280
2,001
Australia, Perth
So I just took the plunge and got a great deal on an 8GB 13” MBA with an i7. There’s one compromise - it only has 128GB of on board storage. I accepted this due to the presence of the SD card slot on the 2017 model.

So I’m wondering how best to manage this situation. Are there any caveats to keeping photos, music, games and iPhone backups on an SD card? If I decide that life with an SD card is too much hassle, can I take the MBA to the Apple Store or an authorized repair shop to upgrade the SSD **and** keep my warranty intact?

I've never used SD cards, even on my current MBA, or MBP that i sold ages ago. but i always find hard drives would be more better for capacity..

And unlike SD cards, you can't really loose them :) Even USB flash is good, but i keep loosing them as well.
 
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imrazor

macrumors regular
Original poster
Sep 8, 2010
224
65
Dol Amroth
My intention had been to use a low profile microSD adapter, like this one:
https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00S6GK6KE

...and then just leave it in permanently. That would work moderately well with a 128GB or 256GB SD card. But as it is, I've ordered an NVMe SSD and adapter to upgrade the Apple SSD. Hopefully all goes well.
 
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