A new Renice K3VLAR SSD to both speed up and provide 128GB storage for Original MBAs. Extremely fast, simple installation, and dependable. I got an original MacBook Air for free from work. I thought I would see how capable this machine really is, as I have picked on it while others have said its great since it OS X updates improved original performance issues. This MBA had a stock 64GB SSD in it, and I was surfing the web looking for the latest and greatest SSDs available for it. I have been reading that some of the Runcore SSDs are having problems, so I wanted something that I could be certain would be dependable. I went to MyDigitalDiscount.com where I bought my Runcore Rev C SSD and saw that they had a different drive than the Runcore, called the Renice K3VLAR. I called Matt (the same guy that posts under the Runcore name here on MacRumors) and asked about the drive and why he switched from the Runcore to the Renice. Matt said that Runcore has been slow to react to some of the problems with the Runcore SSDs for the original MBAs. Matt said he searched everywhere trying to find the absolute best solution for original MBA owners, and he ended up choosing the Renice K3VLAR. He said that this SSD exceeds all expectations for a PATA ZIF SSD upgrade. He worked with Renice to develop an SSD for the original MBA with a kit of everything needed for upgrade. I read all about the K3VLAR, and it seems that theyre using a conformal coating, that protects the drive from moisture and dust (which could be the problem over time that the Runcore has in rare occasions). In addition, it uses a Marvell SATA to PATA Bridge chip to get rid of any wake from sleep issues that the JMicron Bridge was causing with the MBA. These features combined really made me believe it would last longer without problems and perform much better than the Runcore SSD has for some with original MBAs. Anyways, I decided to go with the Renice K3VLAR 128 GB SSD after Matt convinced me that it was a better solution for the original MBAs. I was really happy with the Runcore SSD in my v 2,1 MBA personally, but I trusted he was sending me down the right path. I got the kit a few days ago. Check it out here - LINK I also bought an Airport Extreme Base Station from them as they were $70 less than what Apple charges for them! The Renice SSD comes in a nice retail box that includes the 1.8 PATA ZIF Renice K3VLAR SSD, screwdriver (thats the perfect size for the MBA), USB enclosure with screws, ZIF cable & PCB board inside, and a USB cable. This allows the buyer to use their original SSD or HDD in the USB enclosure, and benefit from a much faster SSD in their MBA. It actually is a nice little extra that encourages people to save their old drive for mobile USB backups or file transfers. I followed the instructions at iFixIt.com. I used the screwdriver that was included and it worked perfectly with no stripping of the screws (remember the Runcore SSD kit had the wrong size screwdriver initially). This screwdriver is definitely the right size for the MBAs screws. I installed the SSD bare without copying the files from the original, but one could easily just make a copy from their original drive to the Renice SSD. The whole process might have taken ten minutes to just swap the drives. I then did a clean install via Apples Remote Disk software. I had always used a SuperDrive to install software before, but I wanted to see how well the Remote Disk worked. I pressed the Option key while starting the first time with the new Renice SSD installed. It asked me to select a wireless network and to enter a password. Simple enough. I had already put a retail Snow Leopard disk in an MBP and selected remote install Mac OS X. So the MBA connected to the MBP over WiFi and it all worked pretty easily. It took about two hours for the install via the Remote Disk option, but it was simple. Now to the BEST part. I was hopeful that the Renice SSD would prove a worthy upgrade to the stock SSD, and it didnt disappoint. It was fast, and more than DOUBLED the MBAs stock 64GB SSD with storage of 128GB. The results - 128GB Renice K3VLAR xBench Score vs. Original 64 GB SSD xBench. 128GB Renice SSD = 110.69 vs. 64GB Stock SSD = 41.88 How would you like a drive that outscores your original 64GB SSD by over 2.5X? Or, over the stock 4200rpm HDD by well a ridiculous amount of extra speed and give you more storage! I also noticed that the Renice PATA SSD is outscoring some SATA SSDs on xBenchs comparison site. Please notice I am using OS X 10.6.4 for both xBench reports below. Details 128GB Renice K3VLAR Results 110.69 System Info Xbench Version 1.3 System Version 10.6.4 (10F569) Physical RAM 2048 MB Model MacBookAir1,1 Drive Type RENICE Z2 RENICE Z2 Disk Test 110.69 Sequential 80.83 Uncached Write 89.22 54.78 MB/sec [4K blocks] Uncached Write 84.38 47.74 MB/sec [256K blocks] Uncached Read 50.03 14.64 MB/sec [4K blocks] Uncached Read 155.24 78.02 MB/sec [256K blocks] Random 175.53 Uncached Write 75.35 7.98 MB/sec [4K blocks] Uncached Write 154.57 49.48 MB/sec [256K blocks] Uncached Read 1645.01 11.66 MB/sec [4K blocks] Uncached Read 410.01 76.08 MB/sec [256K blocks] 64GB Stock SSD Results 41.88 System Info Xbench Version 1.3 System Version 10.6.4 (10F569) Physical RAM 2048 MB Model MacBookAir1,1 Drive Type MCCOE64GEMPP MCCOE64GEMPP Disk Test 41.88 Sequential 33.84 Uncached Write 25.57 15.70 MB/sec [4K blocks] Uncached Write 34.20 19.35 MB/sec [256K blocks] Uncached Read 26.60 7.79 MB/sec [4K blocks] Uncached Read 81.60 41.01 MB/sec [256K blocks] Random 54.92 Uncached Write 20.32 2.15 MB/sec [4K blocks] Uncached Write 53.33 17.07 MB/sec [256K blocks] Uncached Read 921.36 6.53 MB/sec [4K blocks] Uncached Read 264.20 49.02 MB/sec [256K blocks] If youre using an original MBA with a 4200rpm HDD, you absolutely MUST do this upgrade right now for speed and drive space. The benefits vs. the original SSD or HDD are amazing. Apple has been improving the SSD drivers, but its still a dog compared to this new SSD. This is a great way to prolong the use of your original MBA/put off upgrading to a different Mac. I have been hard on the original MBA for a long time, but with this new Renice SSD and Cool Book, its a rather worthy and fast little Mac. I am actually impressed! Its too bad Apple didnt come up with a drive like this, but its great that theres an aftermarket solution helping original MBA users get the maximum value out of their original investment. Many people were upset that Apple eliminated the backlit keyboard and ambient light sensors with the new MBA update. So an original MBA actually has some advantages over the new one. Its hard for me to think like this, but with a faster 128GB SSD the original MBA will probably be usable for several more years for average users. Many are better off updating their drive in their original MBA until Apple brings back the features users want. So there is an MBA for each type of user. Those who bought MBAs on clearance for $999 can now give their MBA a substantial upgrade for a low cost. The 64GB Renice is only $199. The speed difference is unbelievable for the average user over a 4200rpm HDD. I have used an MBA with the original 4200rpm HDD, and this upgrade will make those MBAs seem like a completely new Mac. The speed differences over the original 64GB SSD is incredible too at over 2.5X the speed. For all of the users that have an original MBA, and dont need the features in the new MBAs, but need more drive space or a much faster MBA, the Renice SSD is a great solution.