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coolspot18

macrumors 65816
Original poster
Aug 16, 2010
1,038
77
Canada
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?
 

noanker

macrumors regular
Sep 30, 2015
129
92
Upgrade the SSD.
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 $$.
 

theatremusician

macrumors member
Dec 17, 2013
91
132
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.
 
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tubeexperience

macrumors 68040
Feb 17, 2016
3,192
3,895
OWC's SSD is $100 less than Transcend's

I am not sure if there is significant differences between the two.
 
Last edited:

JohnnyGo

macrumors 6502a
Sep 9, 2009
951
612
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?
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).
 

tubeexperience

macrumors 68040
Feb 17, 2016
3,192
3,895
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.

In that case, return the OWC SSD and get the Transcend SSD instead.
 
Last edited:

tubeexperience

macrumors 68040
Feb 17, 2016
3,192
3,895
Any advantages? I won't need the external enclosure bc the internal SSD is dead and I got the OWC 240Gb for only $130

I misread what you said.

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

Either OWC or Transcend is fine.
 
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dborja

macrumors 6502a
Sep 13, 2007
943
61
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.
 

Boyd01

Moderator
Staff member
Feb 21, 2012
6,683
3,540
New Jersey Pine Barrens
While the new Macbook Airs have a faster processor and RAM max storage is only 512GB.

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.
 
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tubeexperience

macrumors 68040
Feb 17, 2016
3,192
3,895
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.

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.
 

mountain

macrumors 6502
Dec 17, 2007
267
131
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.
 

SmOgER

macrumors 6502a
Jun 2, 2014
805
89
Upgrade the SSD.
This.
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.
 

haralds

macrumors 68020
Jan 3, 2014
2,364
942
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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