SSD Upgrade Suggestion for MBA 2011?

Discussion in 'MacBook Air' started by Canubis, Mar 25, 2015.

  1. Canubis macrumors regular

    Canubis

    Joined:
    Oct 22, 2008
    Location:
    Vienna, Austria
    #1
    Hi, I am looking for SSD upgrade options for my MacBook Air 11" (2011). I've already upgraded the original internal 128GB one to an 240GB OWC Aura Pro 6G some two years ago. So I already know the procedure and am quite happy with their product in general. So my first thought was buying from the OWC Aura Series again.

    I am not quite sure yet if I'd go for 480GB or 1TB this time, as the 1TB solution is quite pricey with 529USD. Also the 1TB is relatively new and not available as a faster Pro version yet. Therefore I tend to buy the 480GB Pro version for 330 USD.

    Are there any alternatives (both 480GB/500GB or 1TB) you would suggest. All recommendations (either based on great price, performance and value of both) are very welcome. :) Even more welcome if you own one and can share some usage experience. :)
     
  2. flowrider macrumors 601

    flowrider

    Joined:
    Nov 23, 2012
    #2
  3. tmarks11 macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    May 3, 2010
    #3
    Transcend JetDrive 500? As fast or faster than the OWC, and I think a bit cheaper.

    http://us.transcend-info.com/apple/jetdrive/
     
  4. PBG4 Dude macrumors 68000

    PBG4 Dude

    Joined:
    Jul 6, 2007
    #4
    The 480GB model is $299 at Amazon. Picked up the JetDrive 520 480GB last week for my 2012 MBA.
     
  5. Yebubbleman macrumors 68030

    Yebubbleman

    Joined:
    May 20, 2010
    Location:
    Los Angeles, CA
    #5
    Having not had any hands on experience with either Transcend's or OWC's SSDs for the 2010/11 Air's, I am under the impression that both work adequately and will be plenty fine. I get a particularly rosy feeling from OWC as they really seem to gear their entire business around making high quality after-market parts for Macs and such. Plus, I'm a fan of their use of Sandforce controllers as well as their on-board provisioning that negates the need for TRIM support, which, for aftermarket drives, is hell and a half in Yosemite. Transcend may very well offer something similar in their drives; though my point is that OWC has a long-standing reputation for being what you need for your Mac at most given times.
     
  6. flowrider macrumors 601

    flowrider

    Joined:
    Nov 23, 2012
    #6
    There are many threads on this forum and elsewhere that dispute OWC's claim about not needing TRIM. And many more that view Sandforce controllers in a negative light.

    Please do some research.

    Lou
     
  7. Yebubbleman macrumors 68030

    Yebubbleman

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    May 20, 2010
    Location:
    Los Angeles, CA
    #7
    I trust industry experts and what they have to say more than a couple of angry customers on a forum. Why don't you heed your own advice?
     
  8. flowrider macrumors 601

    flowrider

    Joined:
    Nov 23, 2012
    #8
    ^^^^Don't want to start an argument with you fella. This forum contains some highly qualified folks who are able to give informed advice on the value of TRIM and about SSD controllers. I trust what they have to say and I have also read many negatives on other sites. There's more here than "a couple of angry customers."

    If you like Sandforce Controllers, that's just fine with me. However, you are one of the few who would recommend this brand of controller.

    Lou
     
  9. motrek macrumors 68020

    Joined:
    Sep 14, 2012
    #9
    The first big wave of SSDs had JMicron controllers which were horrible and in many cases slower and less reliable than hard drives.

    The second big wave was mostly Sandforce and compared to JMicron it was a night-and-day difference. Everybody loved them.

    I don't know who makes the current go-to controllers.

    I bought a Sandforce SSD to use with my Mac Mini a few years ago. It's still going strong. I was using it without TRIM (via USB 3) up until recently but I got fed up with the performance and switched it to be my internal drive.

    Sandforce does background garbage collection so it always tries to have some free space for writes even if you're not using TRIM. This works well most of the time.

    The problem is if you write more than ~2GB to the drive in a short amount of time, then it gets full (remember, no TRIM) and behaves like an absolute dog for several minutes, until it can do some more garbage collection.

    It's relatively unusual (for me) to write 2GB to the drive all at once but it happens sometimes, e.g., if I'm installing a large new app or copying a DVD rip around or a bunch of pictures or something like that. And when it does happen, it's super annoying.
     
  10. Canubis thread starter macrumors regular

    Canubis

    Joined:
    Oct 22, 2008
    Location:
    Vienna, Austria
    #10
    Thanks for all your replies. This is very helpful. Since many people here seem to prefer the lower priced Transcend JetDrive option, I am wondering which controller these are using? Any information available here? Do they also do over-provisioning? Is there also a garbage collection mechanism active on these?

    Does anyone have speed comparison reviews/tests by hand where someone directly compared the OWC Aura Pros and Transcend JetDrive 500 maybe? :)
     
  11. motrek macrumors 68020

    Joined:
    Sep 14, 2012
    #11
    I don't know but it looks like a typical SD card and most SD cards have horrible performance compared to SSDs.

    I assume you would use it to offload files that you use infrequently or that don't require high read speeds, like songs or videos, so performance doesn't matter as much for it.
     
  12. Canubis, Apr 7, 2015
    Last edited: Apr 7, 2015

    Canubis thread starter macrumors regular

    Canubis

    Joined:
    Oct 22, 2008
    Location:
    Vienna, Austria
    #12
    I assumed the (here) praised Transcend JetDrive 500 being an SSD instead of an SD card actually. Isn't that the case? At least Transcend promotes it to be an SSD. They also have some performance charts there. However, I would be specifically interested into some reviews or benchmark tests comparing both available upgrade options for MacBook Airs: Transcend JetDrive 500 and OWC Aura (Pro) line.

    It's supposed to be a replacement for my current OWC Aura Pro 240 in my MacBook 11" from 2011, as many here seem to prefer it over the comparable OWC Aura (Pro) product line.
     
  13. motrek macrumors 68020

    Joined:
    Sep 14, 2012
    #13
    Oh I'm sorry. I just googled for Transcend JetDrive and it showed me pictures of a JetDrive Lite which seems to be an SD card. It looks like the JetDrive non-Lite is an SSD.

    I would expect any SSD these days to be just as fast as any other SSD for all practical purposes. Once you can transfer north of 200 MB/s, I can't imagine it really matters how fast the drive is.
     
  14. flowrider macrumors 601

    flowrider

    Joined:
    Nov 23, 2012
    #14
    Of course it's an SSD. See my first link above. You just got some bum advice by a member who was ill informed.

    Lou
     
  15. motrek macrumors 68020

    Joined:
    Sep 14, 2012
    #15
    Yes, I already apologized.

    The product names are confusing. They use "JetDrive" for their SD cards and their SSDs.
     
  16. Synchromesh macrumors 6502a

    Synchromesh

    Joined:
    Jul 15, 2009
    Location:
    SF
    #16
    I have an extra 480GB Aura drive if anyone is interested. It was pulled out of a 2011 13in Air where it worked perfectly fine (machine was downgraded). In my experience Aura drives work perfectly fine with older Airs. Haven't tried new ones yet since they use a different connector.
     

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