Macbook Air 2011 - Upgrade SSD or Buy New?

Discussion in 'MacBook Air' started by coolspot18, Jun 13, 2016.

  1. coolspot18 macrumors 65816

    Aug 16, 2010
    Hi all,

    My Macbook Air mid-2011 does most of what I need to do - surf the web, e-mails, music, etc. However, I'm low on storage space.

    Do you guys recommend I upgrade the drive to 1TB using a Transcend JetDrive or buy a new Macbook Air?

    While the new Macbook Airs have a faster processor and RAM max storage is only 512GB. Macbook Pro is too expensive.

    So based on this, I think my best option is to upgrade the SSD?

    4GB seems OK - but does anyone know if this will be a limiting factor going forward?
  2. tubeexperience macrumors 68040

    Feb 17, 2016
  3. noanker macrumors member


    Sep 30, 2015
    Second this ^^^

    Based upon what you stated coolspot18, your upgrade makes sense. As for the RAM, my opinion is that it shouldn't be an issue given the light usage pattern you have.

    I too had several MacBook Airs, both mid-2011, one with 64gb SSD and 2gb RAM the other 128gb SSD and 4gb RAM.
    Sold them both and got about $375 and bought a refurbed 2015 12" MacBook 1.1ghz, 128gb SSD and 8gb RAM from the Apple Store online. Considerable improvement over my old MBAs and I love how cool this rMB runs in comparison with the MBAs. Just some food for thought if you're looking to upgrade for a little more $$.
  4. theatremusician macrumors member


    Dec 17, 2013
    You could also transfer music and videos to a 128gb low profile flash drive. At least as a temporary solution. It's easy enough to point iTunes to an external drive.
  5. tubeexperience, Jun 13, 2016
    Last edited: Jun 14, 2016

    tubeexperience macrumors 68040

    Feb 17, 2016
    OWC's SSD is $100 less than Transcend's

    I am not sure if there is significant differences between the two.
  6. JohnnyGo macrumors 6502a

    Sep 9, 2009
    FWIW I just ordered from OWC a new 256Gb ssd and battery for an 2011 MBA ($220 total cost). Ssd just died on him a couple of weeks ago. He is running out of an external drive now.

    It's a Core i7 and my son uses it in school. I'm sure the upgrade will let my son use it for at least another 2-3 years, maybe longer. My daughter who is 10 and have a chromebook may "inheret" it in 2 years, so I might get another 4 years out of it (2+2).
  7. tubeexperience, Jun 14, 2016
    Last edited: Jun 14, 2016

    tubeexperience macrumors 68040

    Feb 17, 2016
    In that case, return the OWC SSD and get the Transcend SSD instead.
  8. JohnnyGo macrumors 6502a

    Sep 9, 2009
    Any advantages? I won't need the external enclosure bc the internal SSD is dead and I got the OWC 240Gb for only $130
  9. tubeexperience macrumors 68040

    Feb 17, 2016
    I misread what you said.

    I thought you said replacement OWC SSD died, instead of your original SSD.

    Either OWC or Transcend is fine.
  10. dborja macrumors 6502a

    Sep 13, 2007
    Northern California
    I have the same MBA (13" 4GB RAM 128GB SSD). Upgraded with an OWC 256GB SSD and it has been fine. Battery health is still good so I still have the original. I use it for light duty when I'm away from my iMac. I run Win10 under VM Fusion sometimes. I don't feel that the 4GB RAM is limiting for my MBA usage.
  11. Boyd01 macrumors 68040


    Feb 21, 2012
    New Jersey Pine Barrens
    If you are completely happy about everything on the 2011 machine, I guess the SSD upgrade might be worthwhile. Personally, I wouldn't do it however. For starters, you have greatly over-simplified the difference between the 2011 and current machines. The processor speed is not the big difference, it's the efficiency, which gives the newer machines dramatically longer battery run times - perhaps twice as long as your 2011 MBA. Also, the 2011 has slow USB 2.0 such that external disks max out at about 30MB/sec. Inexpensive USB 3.0 disks will give you speeds in the 100-200MB/sec range on the new machines.

    The 802.11ac wifi on the new machines is probably 5x faster than the 2011, and the SD card slot is also much faster on the new machines (in 2011 the card slot used the slow USB 2.0 bus).

    On top of all this, you are comparing a new computer to a 5 year old model. That is getting close to the end of the expected battery life IIRC, and other things can start to fail as the computer gets older. A new machine would include a one year warranty.

    I had a 2011 MBA and now have a 2013. The 2011 machine was great, but the newer ones are really much better.

    Now if you really need 1TB, that would be a problem I suppose. But I don't like sinking money into expensive upgrades on older computers.
  12. tubeexperience macrumors 68040

    Feb 17, 2016
    OP can get a new MacBook Air with 512 GB for $1500 OR he/she can upgrade his current one to 1 TB for $400.

    If he/she is happy with what he/she have, it's probably not worth spending $1100 extra for smaller SSD and all those features you listed.
  13. mountain macrumors 6502


    Dec 17, 2007
    i would keep everything in a flash drive if you dont need a big storage or transfer what you don't need to an external and upgrade later.
  14. SmOgER macrumors 6502a

    Jun 2, 2014
    Albeit after trying Sierra on my MBA I finally got fed up with the laptop getting progressively slower with each update (NOT because of an early DP, was quite slow with stable ver. of EL Capitan as well) So I freshly installed 10.10.5 Yosemite (+ Safari 9 update) on it and couldn't be more happy. Everything is much smoother, UI and fonts look much better on MBA screen than the ones used in 10.11-10.12 (subj. speaking), and generally the machine feels much more happy again, ha.
    So yeah, my suggestion would be to upgrade that SSD to 1TB and install macOS 10.10.5 on it. It really is the best OS for 2011 MBA imo.
  15. haralds macrumors 6502a


    Jan 3, 2014
    Silicon Valley, CA
    I have a 4GB 1.8GHz i7 Macbook Air 11" as my third Mac in addition to a Mac Pro, MacBook Retina, plus a mini server (#4.)
    I decided that for its use pattern as a mobile system it runs fine. No trouble with speed for its use case. I even have BootCamp Windows 10 on it. I use Continuity Activation, which as worked ok through 10.11.6 (today.)
    The OWC 1TB made a large difference in performance.

    Happy with this. I use this more than anything except my cMPRO (12 Core, 48GB RAM, 24TB mixed disks etc.)

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