OWC Aura SSD Upgrades for MBA ?!

Discussion in 'MacBook Air' started by Ifti, Apr 29, 2016.

  1. Ifti macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Dec 14, 2010
    Location:
    UK
    #1
    I've been eyeing up a storage upgrade for my MacBook Air, which is a late 2013, and I'm looking to dip into the wallet for one of the OWC Aura SSD drives : http://eshop.macsales.com/shop/ssd/owc/macbook-air/2013-2014-2015

    Anyone have any experience with these drives??

    I'm not expecting a speed bump over the standard Apple SSD I already have - I don't think the Aura SSD is any faster at all, its more for the capacity. Yes, I know its not cheap, but having 1TB internal capacity in my MacBook Air sounds good considering its my daily machine, and I'm not into having to carry external drives etc. May go for the entire kit and place my Apple SSD in the 'Envoy Pro' which will make the cloning process easier, as well as making a good backup.....

    Will report back with my results if I go ahead!!
     
  2. Fancuku macrumors 6502a

    Fancuku

    Joined:
    Oct 8, 2015
    Location:
    PA, USA
    #2
    At $650 for the 1TB, I would just buy one on ebay pulled from another retina Macbook Pro. Get the real one that Apple uses in their computers.
     
  3. Ifti thread starter macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Dec 14, 2010
    Location:
    UK
    #3
    Good point, although this solution is actually cheaper for me. I'm interested to see how it works and whether its just as good as the Apple drives - I'll be the test subject!
    Will find out soon enough! ;)
     
  4. r6mile macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Feb 3, 2010
    Location:
    London, UK
    #4
    Keep in mind you cannot use TRIM, and you cannot use Bootcamp. Also, the drive will be recognised as external storage.
     
  5. kohlson macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Apr 23, 2010
    #5
    I have upgraded 2 MBAs (2011 and 2012 - so not the 2013s) with 480GB OWC SSDs. 15months later they haven't missed a beat. My wife uses here as a programmer, and regularly downloads 100GB blobs (a chore to exclude from backup). My daughter uses hers in for day-to-day use - web surfing, photos, etc.
     
  6. Ifti thread starter macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Dec 14, 2010
    Location:
    UK
    #6
    Yeh Ive read into that also, which is OK with me.
    I have a separate Windows machine so no need to run Windows my my MB's.
    I understand it uses some kind of RAID controller, which is why its recognised as external storage?
    Nevertheless, I'm curious as to how it all works, and as I'm a bit of a gadget lover I'm going to give it a shot!

    If there's anything you guys want me to test on the drive when it arrives give me a shout! ;)
     
  7. GaiusBaltar macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Oct 5, 2010
    #7
    yep.

    If you're prepared to have a far hotter running laptop with your battery life cut in half, go for it :).

    I did not want to sacrifice that, I have an air for a reason, so I returned it.
    Speed will be a tad slower on your model, probably not noticable.
     
  8. flowrider macrumors 601

    flowrider

    Joined:
    Nov 23, 2012
    #8
  9. Ifti thread starter macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Dec 14, 2010
    Location:
    UK
    #9
    So not many good reports!
    I have one of the newer units (for late 2013 onwards systems) on the way for testing/review purposes - will see whether I keep it or revert back to my Apple SSD.
    Will report back on my findings!

    As sated above, if you guys want me to look out for anything in particular, give me a shout and I'll test ;)
     
  10. Ifti thread starter macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Dec 14, 2010
    Location:
    UK
    #10
    Installed the drive today for initial testing.
    All works perfectly well - cloned my OS across and its been working fine. The drive is recognised as an external device, as stated above, but even still its been fine. Its a little slower then the stock 256GB drive I removed but I guess thats the trade off when it comes to having higher capacity! Nevertheless, during general usage I hardly notice any difference in speed.

    The Envoy enclosure also wells well - I'll create a video review on the drive soon, but initial impressions are pretty impressive!
     
  11. Ifti thread starter macrumors 68000

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    Dec 14, 2010
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    UK
    #11
    So Ive been using the drive for a while and it works perfectly well - speedy and as I don't use boot camp Im not missing any features whatsoever.
    On the downside, I do notice the drive runs hotter. Enough to notice the bottom of the unit heat up a little during any intensive tasks - nothing noticeable with light use.

     
  12. NathanA macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Feb 9, 2008
    #13
    I did something similar for my 2012 rMBP by buying and installing Transcend's 1TB stick, which works perfectly well, though I do understand that there are more options available for the pre-late-2013 machines (OWC is the only game in town so far to produce a native one for late 2013 to present-day).

    I also have a 2010 MBA, though, and I recently became aware of the fact that some people make adapters now that allow for your MBA or rMBP to take a standard M.2 SSD stick! I got one of those adapters and a really cheap 250GB M.2 SATA stick to bump up from the 120GB my Air came with, and it works perfectly fine, TRIM and all!

    For late 2013+ machines, I managed to find this guy: PCIe M.2/NGFF to MacBook 2013/2014/2015 adapter. The only downside to going this route with the current crop of machines is that there actually aren't that many options (especially compared to the SATA M.2 market) when it comes to available M.2 sticks that will work, because 2013-2015 MacBooks only support the AHCI protocol for PCIe storage, and PCIe AHCI sticks were a relative flash-in-the-pan...things moved over to NVMe relatively quickly. As a result, I haven't been able to find a single PCIe AHCI M.2 stick with a capacity above 512GB. :(

    So it looks like if you want a third-party 1TB upgrade for your 2013-2015 machine, OWC is still the only game in town. However, if you want to bump up to half a TB from something smaller, with this adapter, you have some other options.

    -- Nathan
     
  13. flowrider macrumors 601

    flowrider

    Joined:
    Nov 23, 2012
    #14
    Not any longer:

    http://barefeats.com/hard218.html

    Lou
     
  14. NathanA macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Feb 9, 2008
    #15
    Interesting! Thanks for this. Some thoughts:

    1. Wow, what a spartan web page. No real information about the company, their history, where they are located, press releases, etc. Thank goodness for Wayback Machine. Product descriptions are also super sparse.

    2. Love that they are focusing on plug-and-play compatibility. It's only very briefly hinted at in the review you linked to, but am I to understand that any version of MacOS will automatically enable TRIM for this drive without having to resort either to kext patches or 'trimforce'? How did they accomplish that exactly? Does it pretend to be / identify itself as an Apple-model drive?

    3. HOLY COW, those prices. Since they are clearly emphasizing performance that is even better than stock/OEM, then they can probably get away with charging that, and you surely get what you pay for. Still. I don't think OWC has to worry about entering into a price war here.

    4. It also makes sense to target performance-conscious buyers when manufacturing and selling drives for "Pro" machines. But the MacBook Air? I can only speak for myself, but in my Air, I'd just as soon sacrifice a little bit of performance for more storage capacity, at the lowest price I can get away with paying, and I have a feeling I'm not alone. I don't understand trying to sell a $600 512GB SSD to MBA owners.

    5. I also don't understand why the prices are as different as they are between the nMP, rMBP/MBA Gen2, and rMBP/MBA Gen3 drives. Or even why there are different models to begin with. I see that some are PCIe 2.0 and some are PCIe 3.0, but (and I could be wrong here) I don't think the connector changed between 2014 and 2015, and I'd guess that a PCIe 3.0 device would work just fine on a PCIe 2.0 host, just at slower speeds. Also, why is the nMP (2013) $100-150 more expensive than the rMBP Gen3 drive...I don't get it.

    6. Haha, check out what they did for the rMBP Gen1 option: it looks like an mSATA device on an adapter card. Hey, I could have assembled that myself, and spent way less money on it!

    7. To get back to this particular thread, they have a 1TB option for rMBP, but not for MBA, while OWC does. 'nuff said.

    8. ONE-YEAR WARRANTY. At these prices. Meh.

    9. I still want to see relatively inexpensive, moderately-performing, high-capacity PCIe AHCI M.2 blades on the market.

    -- Nathan
     
  15. Pugly macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jun 7, 2016
    #16
    I'm hoping the price of these ssd drives goes down in the long term (approx. 3 to 5 years). I just bought a MacBook Air with 256gb, and if the drive goes bad/I need more space in the future I hope these become a more viable option.

    I would love to upgrade this to 1TB though. Although running a 256GB keeps the machine lean, as I have to actively delete things I don't ever plan to use.
     
  16. haralds macrumors 6502

    haralds

    Joined:
    Jan 3, 2014
    Location:
    Silicon Valley, CA
    #17
    I am happy with the 1TB OWC in my mid 2011 11"
    Good performance boost.
     
  17. Isamilis, Aug 1, 2016
    Last edited: Aug 1, 2016

    Isamilis macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Apr 3, 2012
    #18
    I just received Aura Pro 240 GB for my 2012 MBA. Is there anyone check the drive using DriveDX (https://binaryfruit.com/drivedx)? The drive show health only 64% instead of 100% (as in Apple's original SSD). Should I ask for replacement now or just wait until the drive was totally failed?
     
  18. HylianKnight macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jul 18, 2017
    #19
    It bothers me people keep trying to compare their owc drives for 2013 and earlier macs to the owc drive that was created to fit Apples custom port found in mid 2013 and later macs. They are significantly different.
     
  19. flowrider macrumors 601

    flowrider

    Joined:
    Nov 23, 2012
    #20
    ^^^^Yes, the connections are different. But, the same brand and same quality. Personally I would never buy anything from OWC!

    Lou
     
  20. green86 macrumors 6502

    green86

    Joined:
    Sep 27, 2007
    Location:
    North Carolina
    #21
    Why would that bother you? The 2012 iMac had a custom connector as well. The comparisons are accurate.
     
  21. HylianKnight macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jul 18, 2017
    #22
    I bought the drive and hated how it performed thermally. It uses the entire back of the MacBook to disperse the heat using the heat spreader foam thing own put on the drive.
     
  22. robeddie macrumors 68000

    robeddie

    Joined:
    Jul 21, 2003
    Location:
    Atlanta
    #23
    These guys (below) sell new SSD's for all mac laptops up to the 2015 models and they work just like Apple drives, bootcamp support and trim can be enabled. No heat issues.

    They offer both 512gb and 1TB SSD's.

    Here's the link to the 2013 macbook air drive: http://www.transintl.com/super-blade-flash-storage-ssd/macbook-air-mid-2013-early-2014.html

    I bought one of their drives for my 2015 macbook pro and it's worked flawlessly for more than a year.
     
  23. haralds macrumors 6502

    haralds

    Joined:
    Jan 3, 2014
    Location:
    Silicon Valley, CA
    #24
    This is not correct. I am using the built-in command 'sudo trim force enable' and have trim with my 1TB OWC. I also was able to install BootCamp. But I usually set up a custom configuration, so I am not sure I used BootCamp Assistant for it.

    The HighSierra DP7 install upgraded the drive to APFS automatically after upgrading the firmware on my mid 2011. This is on a system with OWC 1TB, FileVault, and BootCamp.
     
  24. Weaselboy Moderator

    Weaselboy

    Staff Member

    Joined:
    Jan 23, 2005
    Location:
    California
    #25
    @r6mile is correct for this newer model drive from OWC. It is mentioned in the specs. It is because of the physical layout of the chips inside the drive. As I recall they are using two flash modules running in RAID0 to make it appear as one large drive, and this breaks TRIM and Bootcamp. There was discussion in the forums on this when the drives were released.

    Your older, 2011 model uses a different drive that does not have this limitation.

    https://eshop.macsales.com/item/OWC/SSDAB2MB02/
     

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