SSD Upgrade Question

Discussion in 'MacBook Air' started by francis21, Dec 24, 2011.

  1. francis21 macrumors member

    May 2, 2011
    Mississauga, ON, Canada
    Hey guys! I just would like to know your say about an SSD upgrade:

    I'm considering upgrading my baseline 2011 MBA's SSD. Since I thought I can upgrade my RAM to 4 GB by myself, but then you really can't, I thought about putting the upgrade towards the SSD (which is the only piece of hardware you can upgrade in a MacBook Air).

    Then I started checking out OWC's line of internal SSD storage for the MBA.

    And so I'm kind of stuck between the two options: the SATA II and SATA III options.

    They offer a SATA II 180 GB for $269.99 or the SATA III 120 GB for $259.99. This appears to be a storage versus speed thing as it seems to look.

    So my question: Is there any huge difference between the two (SATA II vs. SATA III) options? I mean how much real life changes would I experience if I use a SATA III compared to a SATA II SSD for my MBA 2011?

    Thanks guys! And also, happy holidays. :)
  2. Robyr macrumors regular

    Feb 21, 2010
    SATA3 is more than twice as fast as SATA2. This wouldn't be a big deal if we were talking about rotational disks, but SSD's actually can use that peak speed. The stock drives are 3GB/s drives, the 6GB/s SATA3 drives OWC offers will net you a very enjoyable speed difference.

    Now, if all you are trying to do is mimic the Ultimate configuration, then yes, by all means save the money and buy a 256GB or 512GB SATA2 drive. But keep in mind that you are already breaking the warranty by opening it in the first place, so many would say that either you should go big or go home. Personally, I wouldn't crack open my Air for anything less than a 6GB/s drive in the largest capacity that I could possibly afford.
  3. firefire, Dec 25, 2011
    Last edited: Dec 25, 2011

    firefire macrumors newbie

    Dec 24, 2011
    Re: SSD Question

    Hi Francis,

    I see that you're looking for 6G -- just for kicks, I thought I'd post my experience with OWC's Aura 3G SSD (180 GB) version with the 11" Air. I actually had a 2010 model with this SSD, but moved it over to the 2011 model.

    I didn't feel like cloning the stock SSD to the OWC one. Thus, I had to make my own Lion USB install drive, as the 2011 air didn't come with a USB stick, and I could not use the internet due to the OWC SSD lacking a Lion recovery partition. Furthermore, I had to use a custom Lion installation (build 11A2061, I think?), as the Mac App store version refuses to install on the 2011 Air (at least not yet), and I have no idea how to get Snow Leopard working on the 2011 Air without display issues.

    In regards to the OWC SSD, the only issue I had was freezing upon wakeup from sleep (even with the latest firmware), but that issue disappeared after I disabled hibernation. This issue took place on both the 2010 and 2011 Air. Still, even without the OWC SSD, I would probably have disabled hibernation anyway, due to Lion's slower resume times with hibernation enabled.

    So far, I can't notice a huge difference in day-to-day use; I agree with Robyr that 6G would be a better option. For me, copying large files does seem a bit faster with the 3G OWC SSD, and I'm happier with 180 GB over the stock 64 GB. I took a gamble and have my time machine backup on this drive, too. A test restore worked for me using Lion recovery.

    Snow Leopard definitely boots faster on the 2010 Air than Lion on the 2011 Air (11-13 seconds vs. 15-16 seconds), and to me, the time is the same with either the OWC 3G SSD or the stock Toshiba one.
  4. cr2 macrumors regular

    Feb 19, 2011
    Can You?

    really upgrade SSD on a MBA? I doubt so, so check before ordering.
  5. xxBURT0Nxx macrumors 68020


    Jul 9, 2009
    yes you can, OWC offers SSD upgrades.
  6. ZipZap macrumors 603

    Dec 14, 2007
    Thanks for like offering an opinion when you clearly have no knowledge about the topic.
  7. francis21 thread starter macrumors member

    May 2, 2011
    Mississauga, ON, Canada
    First of all, thanks for your reply. Now I have more knowledge about the OWC SSD in a MBA.

    So you're saying that when I close the lid of my MBA for a day or two (or more than that), then when I open the lid of my MBA after several days later, then it might not open up the lock screen or something because of the issues?

    I really like that feature on the MBA, me being able to resume my work right away.
  8. Robyr macrumors regular

    Feb 21, 2010

    Standby is what you mean, I think. That will work fine, but won't work is the "deep sleep" hibernate feature where the contents of RAM are written to the SSD for longer sleep times (think 30 days or more) might need to be turned off.

    That said, I think even that may work, with some troubleshooting.

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