Life with 128gb

Discussion in 'MacBook Air' started by imrazor, Mar 21, 2019.

  1. imrazor macrumors regular

    imrazor

    Joined:
    Sep 8, 2010
    Location:
    Dol Amroth
    #1
    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?
     
  2. imrazor thread starter macrumors regular

    imrazor

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    Sep 8, 2010
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    #3
    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.
     
  3. Audit13 macrumors 601

    Audit13

    Joined:
    Apr 19, 2017
    Location:
    Toronto, Ontario, Canada
    #4
    If you need to send the MacBook in to Apple for repairs, remove the nvme drive and reinstall the original drive.
     
  4. BigMcGuire Contributor

    BigMcGuire

    Joined:
    Jan 10, 2012
    Location:
    California
    #5
    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.
     
  5. imrazor thread starter macrumors regular

    imrazor

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    Sep 8, 2010
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    Dol Amroth
    #6
    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.
     
  6. BigMcGuire Contributor

    BigMcGuire

    Joined:
    Jan 10, 2012
    Location:
    California
    #7
    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.
     
  7. nouveau_redneck macrumors 6502

    nouveau_redneck

    Joined:
    Sep 16, 2017
    #8
    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.
     
  8. imrazor thread starter macrumors regular

    imrazor

    Joined:
    Sep 8, 2010
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    #9
    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.
     
  9. Ruskes macrumors regular

    Ruskes

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    Jan 4, 2019
    #10
    I have 80GB of Photos and Videos.
    I do not access them on daily basis, so moved to SD card for when needed.
     
  10. nouveau_redneck macrumors 6502

    nouveau_redneck

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    Sep 16, 2017
    #11
    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.
     
  11. Macdctr macrumors 6502a

    Macdctr

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    Nov 25, 2009
    Location:
    Ocean State
    #12
    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 :)
     
  12. sracer macrumors 604

    sracer

    Joined:
    Apr 9, 2010
    #13
    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.
     
  13. lambertjohn macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jun 17, 2012
    #14
    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
     
  14. Jimmy James macrumors 601

    Jimmy James

    Joined:
    Oct 26, 2008
    #15
    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.
     
  15. MultiFinder17 macrumors 68000

    MultiFinder17

    Joined:
    Jan 8, 2008
    Location:
    Tampa, Florida
    #16
    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.
     
  16. padams35 macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Nov 10, 2016
    #17
    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.
     
  17. darkmatter343 macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Sep 18, 2017
    #18
    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.
     
  18. SBlue1 macrumors 65816

    SBlue1

    Joined:
    Oct 17, 2008
    #19
    Where do you keep your apps and games? You can't install them on iCloud?
     
  19. Ghost31 macrumors 68020

    Ghost31

    Joined:
    Jun 9, 2015
    #20
    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
     
  20. imrazor thread starter macrumors regular

    imrazor

    Joined:
    Sep 8, 2010
    Location:
    Dol Amroth
    #21
    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.
     
  21. Audit13 macrumors 601

    Audit13

    Joined:
    Apr 19, 2017
    Location:
    Toronto, Ontario, Canada
    #22
    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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  22. Howard2k macrumors 68000

    Howard2k

    Joined:
    Mar 10, 2016
    #23
    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.
     
  23. Tech198 macrumors G5

    Joined:
    Mar 21, 2011
    Location:
    Australia, Perth
    #24
    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.
     
  24. imrazor thread starter macrumors regular

    imrazor

    Joined:
    Sep 8, 2010
    Location:
    Dol Amroth
    #25
    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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27 March 21, 2019