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OWC Announces 6Gbps SSD Upgrade for 2011 MacBook Air

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Apr 12, 2001
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Other World Computing, which offers many customization and upgrade options for Macs, today released an SSD upgrade for 2011 MacBook Airs that takes advantage of the MBA's SATA Revision 3.0 abilities and offers 6 Gigabits of potential throughput.

The factory SSD from Apple only supports SATA Revision 2.0, which maxes out at 3 Gbps, half the speed of Revision 3.0.
The new OWC Mercury Aura Pro Express 6G SSDs combine award-winning SandForce technologies and Tier 1/Grade A Toggle Synchronous NAND to deliver data rates that are more than 3x faster and capacities that are up to 4x greater than factory available SSD options. Currently available in two sizes-120GB and 240GB-the new 6Gb/s SATA 3.0 Revision models continue OWC's position as the only alternative to factory SSD options for the 2010-2011 MacBook Air.
The upgrades don't come cheap, however. The 120GB version is $349.99 and the 240GB version is $599.99.

The MacBook Air comes standard with 64GB, 128GB or 256GB of storage.

Article Link: OWC Announces 6Gbps SSD Upgrade for 2011 MacBook Air
 

3bs

macrumors 603
May 20, 2011
5,432
23
Dublin, Ireland
The title of this post says these are for the 2011 MBA's but the quote mentions the 2010 also. Can they be used on the 2010 MBA's?
 
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gmcalpin

macrumors 6502
Oct 2, 2008
462
74
Somerville, MA
The title of this post says these are for the 2011 MBA's but the quote mentions the 2010 also. Can they be used on the 2010 MBA's?
No. The product page for these indicates they're only for the 2011's.

That sentence is referring to the Aura Pro Express upgrades collectively — both the 3Gbps ones that work in the 2010 and 2011 MBAs and also these new 6Gbps ones that work on in the 2011 MBA.

http://eshop.macsales.com/shop/SSD/OWC/Aura_Pro_Express
 
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3bs

macrumors 603
May 20, 2011
5,432
23
Dublin, Ireland
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Judas1

macrumors 6502a
Aug 4, 2011
794
42
How do you upgrade? Do you have to have it built to order or can you go to the Apple store?
 
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ShortArc

macrumors member
Jan 27, 2009
39
1
What worries me about these SSD 6G drives is the power consumption spec.
Active 3W & Idle 1.2W. This I believe compares to less than .5W for idle for the stock SSD. In other words, these SSDs will drain your battery pretty quick!
 
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DarkFlame

macrumors regular
Dec 21, 2007
204
0
The power consumption might be true, but it's worth it. I paid $275 (prob worth $250 still, after 7-8 months) the DAY it came out through newegg for a 120GB Vertex 3 SSD. It does shave about 45 minutes off my total battery time in tests, but it's like driving a rolls royce. I've been up 29 days (without a restart) and it hasn't skipped a beat, can't say the same for the macbook air my friend has.

I think it is well worth it and wouldn't think twice about spending the money on it. Esp for something I use every day.
 
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admanimal

macrumors 68040
Apr 22, 2005
3,531
2
How do you upgrade? Do you have to have it built to order or can you go to the Apple store?

It's a simple installation you can do yourself. It just requires the right screwdriver, which is included.
 
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Mattsasa

macrumors 68020
Apr 12, 2010
2,333
735
Minnesota
What worries me about these SSD 6G drives is the power consumption spec.
Active 3W & Idle 1.2W. This I believe compares to less than .5W for idle for the stock SSD. In other words, these SSDs will drain your battery pretty quick!

WOW, 3 watts of power that is just horrible!! who could have a computer that uses 3 watts of power!
 
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DaveN

macrumors 6502a
May 1, 2010
660
331
This makes the Air very appealing to me

The fact that I can upgrade the SSD as faster, larger SSDs become available is very appealing to me. I'm on the verge of replacing my five year old MacBook and this pushes me a little closer to releasing my purse strings to do that!
 
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FloatingBones

macrumors 65816
Jul 19, 2006
1,315
390
What worries me about these SSD 6G drives is the power consumption spec. Active 3W & Idle 1.2W. This I believe compares to less than .5W for idle for the stock SSD. In other words, these SSDs will drain your battery pretty quick!

I asked OWC to comment on the impact their high-performance SSD would have on battery life. Look on their blog for a response -- hopefully tomorrow.
 
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ThomasJL

macrumors 6502a
Oct 16, 2008
840
1,615
TRIM support probably lacking

Wait... This is probably not a good thing.

Both Lion and Snow Leopard only allow TRIM support on Apple-branded SSD's. So, while OWC's 6Gbps SSD may run faster at first, it will inevitably slow down due to no TRIM support.
 
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Heavertron

macrumors regular
Jun 2, 2011
130
0
UK
Wait... This is probably not a good thing.

Both Lion and Snow Leopard only allow TRIM support on Apple-branded SSD's. So, while OWC's 6Gbps SSD may run faster at first, it will inevitably slow down due to no TRIM support.

An ill informed comment.

These drives likely use the Sandforce controller that has garbage collection functions built in, so no need for TRIM.
 
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usptact

macrumors regular
Apr 2, 2011
157
0
Actually, you don't need 6Gpbs capable SSD to drain your battery. Recently I bought a Crucial C300 SSD 256GB. Just later I did a comparison of the consumptions by this SSD and my old and faithful Seagate 160GB 7200rpm... I was surprised that in active state the SSD consumes little bit more!
 
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JDW

macrumors 6502
Jul 12, 2005
322
242
Japan
An ill informed comment.These drives likely use the Sandforce controller that has garbage collection functions built in, so no need for TRIM.
How ironic that your own comment is "ill informed." From the OWC Blog itself...

"Wear Leveling technologies are able to eliminate virtually any reduction in data transfer speeds over heavy, long-term usage without dependency on less-than-effective OS TRIM management."

Read it yourself here:
http://blog.macsales.com/11900-owc-...solid-state-drives-for-2011-apple-macbook-air
 
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Heavertron

macrumors regular
Jun 2, 2011
130
0
UK
How ironic that your own comment is "ill informed." From the OWC Blog itself...

"Wear Leveling technologies are able to eliminate virtually any reduction in data transfer speeds over heavy, long-term usage without dependency on less-than-effective OS TRIM management."

Read it yourself here:
http://blog.macsales.com/11900-owc-...solid-state-drives-for-2011-apple-macbook-air

Huh? I think you misunderstand my post. The blog says:

"Utilizing SandForce DuraClass technology".

Therefore my statement was correct. These drives use the SandForce controller, so have their own 'housekeeping' mechanisms, so TRIM is not required to maintain performance.
 
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Sjhonny

macrumors 6502
Feb 25, 2011
287
0
The land of the cucumbers
My two cent ... stay away from sandforce. Performs awesome on paper, but has (very) high failure rates, in comparison to other SSD controllers. Also the speed bump, which will be unnoticeable in nearly all real life situations, doesn't justify the price (nearly 3$ a GiB :eek:).
 
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cluthz

macrumors 68040
Jun 15, 2004
3,118
3
Norway
It's good that there is an aftermarket alternative to the Apple SSD,
but am I the only one that feel the standard SSD is the only thing in the MBA that isn't a bottle neck?
 
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ZipZap

macrumors 603
Dec 14, 2007
5,738
1,043
My two cent ... stay away from sandforce. Performs awesome on paper, but has (very) high failure rates, in comparison to other SSD controllers. Also the speed bump, which will be unnoticeable in nearly all real life situations, doesn't justify the price (nearly 3$ a GiB :eek:).

Can you point to information on these high failure rates? Never heard this before.
 
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Sjhonny

macrumors 6502
Feb 25, 2011
287
0
The land of the cucumbers
Can you point to information on these high failure rates? Never heard this before.

Link 1

Link 2

Even on Wikipedia

SF: 15-30%
Intel: >5%

And I know those aren't officially released numbers. They simply don't exist. Although there are not enough numbers know concerning the latest (2200) SF controller, there's no reason to believe failure rates decreased substantially over earlier generations (on the contrary even, just have a look at support fora and reviews).
 
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accessoriesguy

macrumors 6502a
Jul 8, 2011
891
0
FASTER! the only bad thing is you can't do much with your old hard flash drive. Unless of course you had one with those bigger memory thresholds...or maybe OWC will create an external thunderbolt bracket :D
 
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FloatingBones

macrumors 65816
Jul 19, 2006
1,315
390
I asked OWC to comment on the impact their high-performance SSD would have on battery life. Look on their blog for a response -- hopefully tomorrow.

Here's what Larry from OWC had to say on their blog this morning:

"While it is absolutely true that these drives have higher power consumption during data transfer processes vs. lower performing drives like the factory models – the amount of time the drives are active in this way is less than those drives. Further, if you’re doing a processor intensive task – the amount of time your processors are are full power consumption is also reduced since these tasks are also now completed faster. We will publish comprehensive real world results, but at the end of the day I think the overall results will surprise some. :)"
 
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ShortArc

macrumors member
Jan 27, 2009
39
1
Here's what Larry from OWC had to say on their blog this morning:

"While it is absolutely true that these drives have higher power consumption during data transfer processes vs. lower performing drives like the factory models – the amount of time the drives are active in this way is less than those drives. Further, if you’re doing a processor intensive task – the amount of time your processors are are full power consumption is also reduced since these tasks are also now completed faster. We will publish comprehensive real world results, but at the end of the day I think the overall results will surprise some. :)"

Larry may be absolutely correct. However my concern is Idle!
Most of the time my MBA SSD will be in idle (reading documents, web pages, sending emails, etc.). Typically SSDs consume .5W or less in this state. 1.2W would be significant and will have an impact on battery life. My guess would be around 10% reduction based on 7W (estimated) overall consumption in idle. I am not trying to critisize but rather obtain an answer.

Years ago I bought my first SSD, a G. Skill "Titan", 256GB. It used a RAID 0 controller to achieve speed. Power consumption was so high in idle that my MBP had a runtime of 1 hour (half of what is was before). I ended up using it in a MP and that worked out fine. Since than SSD manufactures have gotten power under control and generally they save power over mechanical drives. Anyway, I am dying to buy a 6G drive but need to know the battery drain. Cheers.
 
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