RunCore 128GB SSD upgrade in Macbook Air Rev. B

Discussion in 'MacBook Air' started by LinMac, Nov 10, 2009.

  1. LinMac macrumors 65816

    Oct 28, 2007
    I ordered my RunCore 128GB SSD upgrade for Macbook Air Rev. B/C last week and received it today.

    The package is very basic and contains:

    128GB SSD
    Parts for USB HD enclosure (more on this in a minute)
    Logo packaging material.

    At first glance this package is missing something very important: instructions.

    It contains no instructions of any kind on how to use the included parts. The USB HD enclosure is provided in several pieces which you need to put together. There is no way to simply plug the drive in and close the lid. You will need to push the circuit board into the case with the hard drive (if you can figure out how to make it fit. I can't.).

    I proceeded to install the SSD ignoring the USB HD enclosure since I had already backed up my data.

    The iFixIt guide below has correct detailed instructions on how to change the Macbook Air hard drive. They even link to the tools needed as the included screwdriver isn't the right size. (Link fixed.)

    I used this screwdriver which I found to be perfectly sized for the screws used in the Macbook Air. The blades of the screwdriver sat flush with the screws.

    The actual installation of the drive wasn't what I consider easy, but virtually anyone can perform the upgrade. Changing the actual hardware takes between 15 and 45 minutes.

    Unfortunately I can't continue by including benchmarks or software in the review because (so far) the RunCore drive isn't responsive. I've contacted their support team so we'll see what happens from here.

    Update: Matt from RunCore replied to the thread with additional instructions which seem to have fixed the SSD.

    I connected the RunCore SSD to the circuit board according to the provided instructions without putting it into the case and it started responding. It was a strange error. I can't speculate as to why the drive wasn't responsive without this step, but it does seem to have fixed it.

    I just want to touch on a few additional points.

    1) The SSD is fast.

    The SSD itself lives up to the hype. It is one of the fastest SSDs I've ever worked with and makes my Macbook Air Rev. B feel like a new machine.

    Note: This was a platter hard drive to SSD upgrade.

    2) The included extras need work.

    I appreciate extras that make the work easier. Including screwdrivers, a USB HD enclosure, and copying software makes the package a lot more complete... at least in theory.

    The black handled screwdriver included with the package is the wrong size for working on the Macbook Air. A different size screwdriver with a much longer handle (to make it easier to grip) should be included instead.

    The USB HD enclosure is a nice touch for copying your data. I like the idea, but the included HD enclosure just feels poorly made. The most annoying part for me was the very tiny screws and impossibly hard to hold yellow handled screwdriver. The current USB HD enclosure should be replaced with something more robust with less assembly required.

    3) The details don't matter. The upgrade is worth it.

    After fighting with the SSD, taking the Macbook Air apart three separate times, and reinstalling all my software, I still think the upgrade was worth every bit of the trouble. I can't describe how smooth the operation is now with the new SSD.

    Just for fun I compared my 1.6GHz Macbook Air Rev. B with the 128GB RunCore SSD to a friend's 1.83GHz Macbook Air Rev. C with 120GB HD. There is no comparison between them. My Macbook Air opens Safari instantly while his takes approximately 5 seconds. Needless to say he will be buying a RunCore SSD as soon as he can. ;)

    Upgrading from a hard drive to a RunCore SSD is a no brainer even for new purchases. I won't be buying any SSDs directly from Apple again.
  2. Cheffy Dave macrumors 68030

    Cheffy Dave

    Feb 5, 2007
    Sunny Florida, on the Gulf Coast in Homosassa Fl
    sorry your drive was DOA, happens, have installed 3 Runcore drives ,all without issue:eek:
  3. LinMac thread starter macrumors 65816

    Oct 28, 2007
    I've contacted support at RunCore and the reseller I bought the drive from. I'll include more information on their support when they reply.
  4. coast1ja macrumors 6502

    Jul 13, 2009
    Have you tried running the Disk Utility from the OS install disk? Maybe you have a bad drive, maybe it just needs to be wiped and reformatted. Good luck!
  5. Runcore macrumors member

    Oct 7, 2009
    Ok let’s get you up and running.

    Check out the diagram at the bottom of this description this will show you how to hook it up. I would not even bother getting the thing in the case there is no need to.

    Regarding the issue with plugging it into your computer, you may have to initialize the drive via USB before it will be recognized by your bios.

    Good luck and I hope you get her up and running today.

    We will include that diagram in the package from now on.

    Matt Dawson
  6. w00tini macrumors 6502a

    Feb 28, 2008
    I nominate LinMac for the free hard drive from Runcore. That is of course if his/her review is posted soon ;)
  7. Runcore macrumors member

    Oct 7, 2009

    That is for the Rev A. I never got anything saying why that post was removed does anyone know what happened to it? I don’t think it broke any rules of the forum did it?

    I am still looking for a person to do a professional review of the Rev A SSD. I have a few good PM's about it but I am waiting to see who else asks me about it over the next week or so.

  8. NC MacGuy macrumors 603

    NC MacGuy

    Feb 9, 2005
    The good side of the grass.
    Would love the opportunity to see if it makes my Rev. A into any less of a dog. Very willing to write a comprehensive guide to upgrade w. pic's along with benchmarks.
  9. LinMac thread starter macrumors 65816

    Oct 28, 2007
    The following are the benchmarks from the Macbook Air with the 128GB RunCore SSD:

    Sequential 153.01

    Uncached Write 200.36 123.02 MB/sec [4K blocks]
    Uncached Write 204.92 115.94 MB/sec [256K blocks]
    Uncached Read 72.89 21.33 MB/sec [4K blocks]
    Uncached Read 391.81 196.92 MB/sec [256K blocks]

    Random 240.15

    Uncached Write 82.55 8.74 MB/sec [4K blocks]
    Uncached Write 354.28 113.42 MB/sec [256K blocks]
    Uncached Read 2092.28 14.83 MB/sec [4K blocks]
    Uncached Read 805.60 149.48 MB/sec [256K blocks]

    This post contains benchmarks from my Macbook Pro after 1 year using the Apple SSD and links to several other benchmarks I've taken. You can see the RunCore SSD is the fastest of all of these.

    I did not include any benchmarks comparing the 120GB SATA HD to the RunCore SSD as that isn't a fair comparison.
  10. Abyssgh0st macrumors 68000


    Jan 12, 2009
    So was it worth it..? I've got your machine and I want to upgrade from my HDD.
  11. GoCubsGo macrumors Nehalem


    Feb 19, 2005
    The RunCore should be faster. Apple's decision to go with Samsung SSDs was stupid at best.

    I would say that the best upgrade you can do, well really the only upgrade you can do, to the Rev B is the RunCore SSD. If I were keeping my Air I would have picked up the RunCore.
  12. LinMac thread starter macrumors 65816

    Oct 28, 2007
    The upgrade was well worth the trouble. It makes the Macbook Air a lot more responsive and shows what it can really do.
  13. Runcore macrumors member

    Oct 7, 2009
    Great to see its up and running and I to wish Apple had consulted us before going with the solution that they went with. We could have built this drive for them back in February.

    I do have some good news and bad news.

    We just secured enough flash to build 200pcs 128GB Lif Drives.

    That is both the good and bad news.

    Back orders are starting to mount and at this time MyDigitalDiscount is taking by far the most of our 200pcs at 100pcs but if you want one soon I suggest you get on one of our resellers back orders lists ASAP or get one of the 64GB or 32GB drives that are still in stock.

    We worked hard on this upgrade and we are listening to your advice. We are going to include 2 screw drivers, one for opening the USB case and MacBook and one for taking out your old HDD/SSD. We will also be including the install diagram that I posted above.

    Matt Dawson
  14. LinMac thread starter macrumors 65816

    Oct 28, 2007
    Hi Matt,

    It is excellent to see these kinds of responses. If only we could get Apple to listen to us a bit more.

    I can't wait until the 256GB SSD for the Macbook Pro has dropped in price enough to see if it has as big of an impact as I hope it will. It would be hard to speculate about the real world performance increase based just on benchmark numbers, but I have a feeling that Apple SSDs will feel a bit slow compared to RunCore's.
  15. Runcore macrumors member

    Oct 7, 2009
    Apples 2.5" SSD is much slower than our 2.5" Pro IV SSD. They are using the same Samsung SATA controller that they use in the MBA Rev C SSD. And we have all seen the speed difference between our SSD and the Samsung it is night and day. Although the price is high, our 256GB model it is well worth it. Cheffy Dave can attest to that also Jason O'grady of ZDnet Apple core has one and said you would have to hold his family hostage to get him to go back to the HDD in his MBP.

    We have never seen anyone pay the price for a Runcore drive then send it back after a successful install. That is why we offer the no questions asked 15 day return policy.

    Before you have it you cannot really fathom the improvement in work-flow on your computer it really does not register in your mind but once it is installed you have entered a new realm of computer usage.

    For example did you ever think the improvement you saw was even possible?


    P.S. Sorry if I am sounding to excited guys but once you get one in your system you will be screaming like a little girl along with me.
  16. tigres macrumors 601


    Aug 31, 2007
    Land of the Free-Waiting for Term Limits
    Hey Matt.

    I have a rev B SSD, in your honest opinion is this worth my time/money?

    Lastly, what is the cost of this roughly thorough the resellers? I am seeing around 400-450, is this correct?
  17. Runcore macrumors member

    Oct 7, 2009
    Well of course, Yes and Yes but you don't have to take it from me just look at what LinMac said

    "1) The SSD is fast.

    The SSD itself lives up to the hype. It is one of the fastest SSDs I've ever worked with and makes my Macbook Air Rev. B feel like a new machine."

  18. LinMac thread starter macrumors 65816

    Oct 28, 2007
    tigres, look into Bing Cashback with's eBay store. It will save you 8% off the price.


    Hi Matt,

    Thank you for your replies. This type of response from a company is refreshing to say the least.

    Upgrading from a platter based hard drive to an SSD is a no brainer. The blog article you mentioned over at ZDNet is also an upgrade from a platter hard drive to an SSD so I can see where it would be a significant upgrade. My Macbook Air now opens Firefox in approximately 2 seconds where it was taking 15 seconds with the HDD. That is a big advantage.

    The real world productivity differences between HDD and SSD are well known, but I haven't seen a test comparing the real world results between the Apple SSD (or similar) and RunCore SSD. Benchmark numbers are one thing, but when the drive is no longer a bottleneck (even the Samsung SSD blows a HDD away) how much additional benefit will we see from a RunCore SSD?
  19. NC MacGuy macrumors 603

    NC MacGuy

    Feb 9, 2005
    The good side of the grass.
    I think perceived performance from a SSD to another SSD in the same machine will be minimal for everyday tasks. I know when I go from my MBP running a X25 to my Gen. B MBA running the dog Apple SSD I can't tell a huge difference.

    Where it really counts is going from a mechanical to a SSD. I'd like to see what one of those would do in a Rev. A Air with its other hardware limitations.

    Those HDD's along with the interface were so freakin' slow. My Hackintosh Mini 10 has close to the same total X Bench score as my rev. A MBA and it's all due to the HDD. Your Runcore looks pretty close to my X25M G2 160 in my MBP.

    X Bench Rev. A MBA 80GB HDD Disk Test:

    Disk Test 23.84

    Sequential 37.50

    Uncached Write 41.88 25.72 MB/sec [4K blocks]
    Uncached Write 42.12 23.83 MB/sec [256K blocks]
    Uncached Read 27.57 8.07 MB/sec [4K blocks]
    Uncached Read 43.91 22.07 MB/sec [256K blocks]
    Random 17.47
    Uncached Write 5.72 0.61 MB/sec [4K blocks]
    Uncached Write 53.60 17.16 MB/sec [256K blocks]
    Uncached Read 49.04 0.35 MB/sec [4K blocks]
    Uncached Read 65.62 12.18 MB/sec [256K blocks]

    X Bench Rev. B Samsung 128GB SSD:

    Disk Test 86.01

    Sequential 68.76

    Uncached Write 65.37 40.13 MB/sec [4K blocks]
    Uncached Write 65.75 37.20 MB/sec [256K blocks]
    Uncached Read 45.27 13.25 MB/sec [4K blocks]
    Uncached Read 179.29 90.11 MB/sec [256K blocks]
    Random 114.82
    Uncached Write 51.29 5.43 MB/sec [4K blocks]
    Uncached Write 80.03 25.62 MB/sec [256K blocks]
    Uncached Read 1395.37 9.89 MB/sec [4K blocks]
    Uncached Read 469.52 87.12 MB/sec [256K blocks]

    X Bench MBP, X25M G2 160GB SSD:

    Disk Test 289.40

    Sequential 187.78

    Uncached Write 162.31 99.65 MB/sec [4K blocks]
    Uncached Write 156.34 88.46 MB/sec [256K blocks]
    Uncached Read 157.90 46.21 MB/sec [4K blocks]
    Uncached Read 414.81 208.48 MB/sec [256K blocks]
    Random 630.75
    Uncached Write 748.83 79.27 MB/sec [4K blocks]
    Uncached Write 294.30 94.22 MB/sec [256K blocks]
    Uncached Read 1731.38 12.27 MB/sec [4K blocks]
    Uncached Read 970.10 180.01 MB/sec [256K blocks]
  20. Runcore macrumors member

    Oct 7, 2009
    You did mention one of your buddies has a Rev B with the Samsung SATA Lif SSD in it along with a bigger CPU and your MBA is now noticeably faster. But I agree moving from the MBA SATA SSD is not going to be close to moving from the HDD as you said before like with Safari 2sec Runcore 5sec Samsung and 15sec HDD. Ad that up over a day, Week, Month ... of computer use opening, closing, multitasking to various applications and web sites and you will save yourself some serious time. For me I would feel confident in saying I save 10-20min a day in productivity due to my SSD for some people the upgrade would pay for itself in productivity in less than one week. In addition it saves you the frustration of waiting for anything, HDD noise/heat and almost no fan ever.

    For Rev A users it is a completely different story as the SSD in that machine is arguably slower than the HDD. A Runcore SSD will save your Rev A MBA and transform it into a completely new animal as it did with your HDD Rev B.

    I have 3 candidates for a Rev A review and I will select one of them today and ship it out overnight so we can hopefully get part of the review by Monday.

  21. Steven in VA macrumors member

    Oct 9, 2009
    newbie needs clarification

    I have a refurb Rev A 64GB SSD Air. I like it, but I'd love one that performs better. Is my best move to buy the Runcore 128 GB SSD for the Rev A, or to buy a newer refurb (and if so, which model?) and then install the Runcore SSD?
    Thanks for your advice.
  22. Runcore macrumors member

    Oct 7, 2009
    Well, the Rev B has a SATA interface while the Rev A has a PATA interface. According to bench marks sustained speeds are far better with SATA but the very important random speeds with the Runcore drive are the same. So that being said it could make a Rev A MBA just as fast as a Rev B/C with a Runcore SSD. Therefor no need to upgrade to a newer computer. If you already have a Rev A then upgrading to a newers MBA without upgrading the HDD or SSD to a Runcore should not even be on the table as an option.

    Also as a general rule that many bloggers agree on - For running an OS and applications anything that has sustained speeds of over 40MB/sec read/write is just icing and it is the random 4K read and write speeds that will make the difference.

    Here is a link to an Xbench test on the Runcore Pro IV Zif SSD in a Rev A - As you can see the sustained speeds are nice and high while the random 4K are through the roof and equal to that of the Rev B/C Runcore upgrade.

    NC MacGuy has a sample 128GB Zif on the way to him now. I would look for a review from him in a week or so but in my guesstimation is the random speeds are going to make a world of difference and the difference in sustained speeds from SATA to PATA are not going to affect the speed at all.

    Also if you look at the SSD in the Rev A you will notice both low sustained and random speeds. In fact the sustained speeds are below 20MB/sec that is hideous as even the HDD can achieve up to 30MB/sec which is also not very good.

    If you absolutely cannot wait for the review from NC MacGuy then take a look at this

    Matt Dawson
  23. mobilevisual macrumors member

    Jun 12, 2009
    Runcore SSD upgrade is nice, but the very important upgrade from Apple, from A to B/C is the amazing Nvidia 9400m. This all come down to:

    1) How much cash are you willing to part with for improved performance?
    2) How do you use your MBA.

    If majority of your time is on the web and going through photos, like I am. Save the dough for B/C upgrade.
    Runcore is a no-brainer for B/C upgrade, blazing fast overall speed.
    For problematic rev A; not a big selling point. For this, Apple is to blame.

    my 2 cents.
  24. Steven in VA macrumors member

    Oct 9, 2009

    Does Scottsdale agree with the "keep the A" recommendation?
  25. GoCubsGo macrumors Nehalem


    Feb 19, 2005
    I'd wait for NC MacGuy's assessment before I'd go with the other guy as NC MacGuy tends to be much more technical.

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