Swapping SSD between i5 and i7 Macbook Airs?

Discussion in 'MacBook Air' started by eddjedi, Sep 22, 2016.

  1. eddjedi macrumors regular

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    Sep 7, 2011
    #1
    My base model i5 2014 Macbook Air was starting to feel a bit slow, so I have just bought a second hand MBA with 8GB RAM and the i7 1.7ghz processor. It is the same model (MacBookAir6,1.)

    Can I take the SSD out of my existing MBA and put it in the new one? I am unsure if macOS (Sierra) needs specific drivers for the i7 processor which would be missing if I put in an SSD that was installed as an i5.

    I want to do this as restoring a 512GB from Time Machine takes about 6 hours, I can swap the drives over in about 15 minutes. Any help appreciated.
    --- Post Merged, Sep 22, 2016 ---
    By the way, yes I know Apple are likely to announce new notebooks in the next few weeks but I really like the 11" MBA form factor and am not happy with Apple's recent trend of removing headphone jacks, USB ports etc, so am happy getting a faster version of what I already have.
     
  2. kilhog macrumors newbie

    kilhog

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    Sep 22, 2016
    #2
    Yeah, you definitely shouldn't have any issues putting the bigger SSD into the other MBA. In fact, any SSD with the same form factor (the same connecter) should work in any of the MacBook Airs or even MacBook Pros that have the same connector.
     
  3. eddjedi thread starter macrumors regular

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    #3
    Thanks for the reply. Yes I know it will physically fit and is compatible, but my concern is will an OS installed on an i5 work on an i7 machine. I am trying to avoid re-installing everything or doing a Time Capsule restore. I am pretty sure that an SSD with OS installed on a MBA would not work if put in an MBP because it needs different video drivers etc.
     
  4. kiwipeso1 Suspended

    kiwipeso1

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    #4
    Yes, the OS for i5 and i7 is compatible on the same MBA model.
    To be sure it gets everything, be sure to run system profiler when you turn it on. (which will update the stats)
     
  5. eddjedi thread starter macrumors regular

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    Sep 7, 2011
  6. kilhog macrumors newbie

    kilhog

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    Sep 22, 2016
    #6
    I see what you're saying. I think Apple has simplified their OS builds on newer versions. If you download the OS from the App store, you can put it on a flash drive and from there you can install whatever OS you have on any Mac. There may be some dependencies on certain drivers like you mentioned that only get installed on certain Macs though.

    If you look at this Apple support article:
    https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT204319
    It shows that build number for El Cap is the same on a 5K iMac as it is on a MacBook Air.

    I think the two Macs you have are similar enough that swapping the SSD into the other one shouldn't give you any issues. After doing the swap, I would check the App Store to see if there are any firmware updates available for the specific i7 CPU, but I don't think that there are any.
     
  7. eddjedi thread starter macrumors regular

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    #7
    Thanks, good advice. I will also download and install the combo update as soon as 10.12.1 is released.
     
  8. eddjedi thread starter macrumors regular

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    Sep 7, 2011
    #8
    Well the swap is done and all seems well so far. It did take an age to boot the first few times, but then I remembered after changing a hard disk you need to change the startup disk in preferences. Back to normal now.
     
  9. Kajje macrumors 6502a

    Kajje

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    #9
  10. tubeexperience macrumors 68030

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    #10
  11. Kajje macrumors 6502a

    Kajje

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    #11
    Your post doesn't make any sense. Please re-read the thread and link contents.
    Either you or me have Monday morning disease :)
     
  12. kiwipeso1 Suspended

    kiwipeso1

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    #12
  13. markcbell macrumors newbie

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    Oct 10, 2016
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    san francisco
    #13
    I did similar swap 4 weeks back using my old 512GB SSD from mid 2013 13" Mac Air (I7, 8GB, 512GB) in a newly purchased early 2015 model (I5, 8GB, 128GB), but since then it often freezes (crashes) after it goes to sleep, if I close the lid or it times out. Only hard reset with power button brings it back.
    Do I need to change some setting, or could this be incompatibility issues between the models?
     
  14. eddjedi thread starter macrumors regular

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    Sep 7, 2011
    #14
    Mine has been fine since doing the swap, maybe try installing the latest combo update or Sierra if you haven't already?
     
  15. markcbell macrumors newbie

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    san francisco
    #15
    I updated to Sierra last week hoping it would fix it, but it didn't. Today is the first time I've ever seen a 'panic' black screen on a Mac, so not sure if that could be because of Sierra update.
     
  16. eddjedi, Oct 10, 2016
    Last edited: Oct 10, 2016

    eddjedi thread starter macrumors regular

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    #16
    I guess it's possible that the two models have enough differences under the hood for there to be compatibility issues. Looking here:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/MacBook_Air#Specifications

    The two MBA's I swapped between were both MacBookAir6,1 models. It looks like you have gone from a 6,1 to 7,1. Might be worth doing a fresh install.

    By the way, out of interest why did you "upgrade"? Was the old one damaged or something? Despite the fact your 2015 MBA is newer, it is actually a downgrade performance wise from the 2013 model you had before. Looking here it's approx 10% slower:

    https://browser.primatelabs.com/mac-benchmarks
     
  17. Kajje macrumors 6502a

    Kajje

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    #17
    A shot in the dark I admit, but did you try to reset the SMC? https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT201295
    TBH I don't think it's going to do much good but who knows.
     
  18. kiwipeso1 Suspended

    kiwipeso1

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    #18
    You used the wrong type of PCIe SSD in the new MBA. The problem is not going to go away until you use the correct PCIe SSD for your MBA 2015. Check that you need gen 3.
     
  19. Zenithal macrumors 68040

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    Sep 10, 2009
    #19
    I learned something new just now. I was, for a long time, under the impression that 4th gen Airs began using soldered NAND chips, or am I thinking of the iMac?
     
  20. Kajje, Oct 16, 2016
    Last edited: Oct 16, 2016

    Kajje macrumors 6502a

    Kajje

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    #20
    All gen (SSD-) MBA have physical removable SSD's.

    EDIT: Every Macbook ever produced has a removable drive, except the 12" Retina Macbook.
     
  21. markcbell macrumors newbie

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    Oct 10, 2016
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    san francisco
    #21
    Hi and thanks for the feedback, was about to get ready to do a scratch install,
    I broke my 2013 MacBook Air screen and possibly graphic card, since I couldn't connect to external monitor either, by lifting the laptop with my LG HBS730 bluetooth sandwiched in between keyboard and screen, actually very gently, but most have hit a soft spot. Repair costs was so high for 3rd party shop and wait time with Apple support 5 days here in SF.
    --- Post Merged, Oct 17, 2016 ---
    Thanks for the feedback!
    I wasn't able to find any information about incompatibility between 6.1 and 7.2 MacBook Air SSD's before upgrading, would you have the source of information so I can better understand the issue. I was about to get ready for a scratch install, but if this is true, then I'll find a different solution.
    The two other options I'm considering is buying a 1TB from OWC, since I essentially need this size to run my VMs without space issues (was waiting for Apple to release a 1TB, but unfortunately my screen crashed while waiting...), or swapping screens from my 2015 to 2013, which I'm not happy to do risking introducing possible issues with my new 2015 laptop.
     
  22. Kajje macrumors 6502a

    Kajje

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    #22
    Macrumors is a fantastic place for everything Apple, but IMHO this tread will have better yield on the ifixit forum.

    On the other hand reinstalling from scratch - assuming you have a backup of your data - will set you back just a couple of hours - and there still is a possibility (be it a small one) it might fix your problem.
     
  23. Gjwilly macrumors 68030

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    SF Bay Area
    #23
    2013/2014/2015 Airs use the same SSD. It's also the same SSD as the 2014/2015 MacBook Pro.
     
  24. kiwipeso1 Suspended

    kiwipeso1

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    #24
    The 2013/14 uses PCIe gen2, x2 connections. I think you will find the 2015 is a gen3 version.

    I have heard nothing but bad news about the OWC SSDs. If you want a proper SSD with TRIM and Smart, get the Plextor or the Samsung.

    It is one of this range :
    Plextor PX-G1256M6E 256GB M6e M.2 2280 PCI Express Gen2 x2 SSD


    For the 2015 MBA you will want something reliable like the
    Samsung 950 Pro MZ-V5P256BW 256GB M.2 (2280), NVMe SSD , R/W(Max) 2,200MB/s/900MB/s

    Or if you want to go all the way to 2TB, you can get the 960Pro.

    (960 Pro releases Oct 30 according to Amazon)
     
  25. Gjwilly macrumors 68030

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    May 1, 2011
    Location:
    SF Bay Area
    #25
    All the pics I can find of the Plextor show a connector that looks nothing like the Apple connector.
    Same with the Samsung.
    Samsung, Toshiba, and Sandisk all make the drives for the MacBooks but the connector is proprietary.
    OWC had to reverse engineer theirs.
     

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