Become a MacRumors Supporter for $50/year with no ads, ability to filter front page stories, and private forums.

iLondoner

macrumors 6502
Original poster
I have a maxed out 13-in mid-2011 MBA that I bought with a 256GB SSD, at the time the largest capacity available. I keep a lot of my archive files on an iMac with a 3TB Fusion disk, but even so I was beginning to run out of capacity on the MBA and only had 11GB free.

Part of the year I spend in my cave in Spain and although I have Internet, it's not fast, so cloud offerings are not really a viable solution. So I bit the bullet and went for the JetDrive 500 with the 480GB SSD.

First thing was backup. I have a Time Capsule (named Tardis for Dr Who fans) on the network and the latest Time Machine backup was an hour or so ago, so to backup changes since took just a couple of minutes.

The Jetdrive packaging is very Apple-esque as are the written installation instructions which are appalling in their brevity. What's needed is a written link to the installation video on YouTube (this is the latest one dated 29 May 2014).

A second complaint is that there's no mention in the installation instructions about JetDrive Toolbox that I understand is needed for TRIM support—whatever that is!

What nobody has commented on is the length of time needed to format the new SSD and then copy over the files. In the video it's about half a second, but to copy over my 829,000 files and then verify took just over four and a half hours. Obviously if you were starting off with a 64GB SSD your times would differ.

Opening the MBA case to install the new SSD revealed a pile of dirt and dust, so some cleaning was needed.

My Parallels Desktop VM was copied over together with Windows XP, however if I still had my Bootcamp partition with Windows 7 this wouldn't have copied using the procedure in the video. I had to give Microsoft Office my product key again, and had to sign into Dropbox again, otherwise everything seemed to work exactly as before.

I was surprised at the wide variation in reported speeds from the old SSD in Blackmagic Speed Test, maybe it was hampered by only having 11GB free space? Performance of the JetDrive is sizzling—write speeds have increased from 140-248 MB/s to around 430 MB/s, read speeds have increased from 140-210 MB/s to around 480 MB/s.

Since performing the upgrade I now have close on 240GB free space. I haven't as yet set up the old 256GB SSD as an external drive; I don't want to reformat it for a few days just to make sure everything is OK.

But so far, so good. Well pleased.

.
 
Last edited:

flowrider

macrumors 604
Nov 23, 2012
7,211
2,936
A second complaint is that there's no mention in the installation instructions about JetDrive Toolbox that I understand is needed for TRIM support—whatever that is!

TRIM is explained here:

http://www.cindori.org/software/trimenabler/

My review for the Transend JetDrive is here:

https://forums.macrumors.com/threads/1729071/

My Review of the Transcend JetDrive 520 480GB SSD in a 2012 11" MBA.

My Review also includes a comparison of the JetDrive with the OWC Aura Pro Drive.

I ordered the OWC Aura Pro Drive the day before the Transcend Drives were announced. Before I received the drive, I called OWC to see if they would price match, and the answer was no. So, I thought Shame on Me. OWC's pricing was $449. for a bare drive and $475. for one that included tools and an enclosure for the old SSD. (OWC's pricing has since been reduced to $398. and $419. respectively) I opted for the bare drive. I installed the drive, and as others have noticed, the vertical dimension of the circuit board the components are mounted on is a millimeter or 2 larger than the stock SSD. Others have cut the board, I didn't, I applied a little pressure and it snapped into place. OWCs installation video is, IMO, far better than the Transcend video. Once set up, the SSD seemed to work fine, for awhile, but less than a day later, the drive started giving me problems. I tried repairing it with both Disk utility and Tech Tool Pro, both to no avail. Two days later it happened again. I called OWC and asked for an RMA. They agreed but said I would have to pay a restocking fee and pay for return shipment. I challenged that, saying this was not a capricious return, that the unit was defective and I expected OWC to pay for shipping and refund the full amount. They agreed, and sent me a UPS label.

When ordering the Transcend JetDrive I was quoted a delivery time of from 2 to 4 weeks. The unit was shipped 3 days after the order was placed and I received it one day later, that's 4 days after order placement! The price of the JetDrive 480 GB SSD from Amazon was $350. + Sales Tax (OWC charges no tax in Arizona). If I could have waited longer, I could have bought it from my memory Supplier, Data Memory Systems and not paid Sales Tax, but Transcend has not yet supplied it's distributers with this product.

Upon receipt of the JetDrive, yesterday, the first thing that jumped out at me was the packaging. The OWC SSD came packed in an anti-static bag enclosed in a thin gauge blister packed piece of cardboard with blue printing. It looked the packaging used by Ace Combs. The Transcend packaging on the other hand was impressive. A heavy gauge white slide out box with a full color picture of the SSD. The box was multi layered and contained the drive, the enclosure for the OEM drive, and the tools necessary for installation. Each layer was a plastic bed with depressions sized to fit the associated parts. It also contained an instruction booklet and warranty information. The instructions are, IMHO, inadequate, and only two pages apply, the other 26 pages being written for other languages.

The tools worked very well, and installation was a breeze. the form factor of the circuit board is the same as apple's so no undue pressure was needed for installation. My old SSD fit into the supplied enclosure with no issues.

I then cloned the JetDrive using Tech Tool Pro from the external Hybrid Drive I had been using as the main drive for my MBA. I foolishly ordered my MBA with only the 64GB SSD.

No issues. Everything is working as expected. In terms of speed. I have not measured the speed, but it feels very snappy. I believe the OWC and Transcend drives to be equal here. Transcend even supplies software to enable Apple's Trim support, OWC does not. There is however, third party software that enables Trim, Trim Enabler. I use that anyway for the SSD I use in my Mac Pro.

In ending, I would urge anyone installing the JetDrive in a MBA to watch the OWC installation video, again, it is superior to the Transcend video, and will make things more understandable to you.

The JetDrive is by far the superior product, and as of right now is $69. cheaper than the OWC Aura Pro. When I bought the OWC product, it would have cost $125 more than the corresponding Transcend product.

That IMHO is Value.

Currently, Apple charges $500. to go from a 128GB SSD to a 512GB SSD in the MBA. So, $350. for a 480GB SSD AND you get to keep your old drive, you can't beat that.

Edit - The Transcend drive seems to run color than true OWC drive. When feeling the bottom of my MBA where the SSD is mounted, the area while warm, is not as warm as it was with the OWC unit.

Lou
 

SmOgER

macrumors 6502a
Jun 2, 2014
805
89
I was surprised at the wide variation in reported speeds from the old SSD in Blackmagic Speed Test, maybe it was hampered by only having 11GB free space? Performance of the JetDrive is sizzling—write speeds have increased from 140-248 MB/s to around 430 MB/s, read speeds have increased from 140-210 MB/s to around 480 MB/s.
.

Have you noticed any measurable difference in boot time, loading apps etc?
Be honest. :D
 

FuNGi

macrumors 65816
Feb 26, 2010
1,122
33
California
I just did the same. Went from a 128 GB late 2010 13" MBA to the Transcend 500 in the 480 GB size. I needed space. I used Carbon Copy Cloner to clone around 400 GB of my 512GB retina macbook pro, took like 1 hour to clone over the USB 3 drive provided by Transcend.

Opened the MBA, disconnected the battery, cleaned the dust from the fan (and some dried beer on the logic board) while I was in there, swapped drives, rebooted holding "alt" to select the SSD. Booted no problem and everything of course looked just like my rMBP. Of course there is some time necessary for finder to orient itself. Then I made sure to switch the boot drive in preferences to the new drive so holding "alt" wouldn't be necessary next time.

Lastly, loaded the Transcend Trim thingy and enabled TRIM. Rebooted. Let it chill out and as the others said had to reenter my Microsoft office code and relog into Dropbox. Nothing else.

Of course as the original modern MBA's only had a 3 Gigabit Link speed I only get around 110 Write and 135 Read speeds (up from 82/83 on original). Guess what though. Plenty fast. This machine is my backup and traveling machine for use on planes, at conferences, and in coffee shops when I don't want to bring my $2600 rMBP with me. Pretty happy with the ease of the process.
 

Attachments

  • photo-6.JPG
    photo-6.JPG
    2.1 MB · Views: 307
Last edited:

SmOgER

macrumors 6502a
Jun 2, 2014
805
89
well for those who need space, you may also consider JetDrive Lite, which is essentially super fast memory card which will not stick out from chassis (specific designs for specific MacBook models), therefore can be left permamently there. Only up to 120GB, but way cheaper and hassle free ;)
 

jmazzamj

macrumors regular
Jun 11, 2009
199
0
I just did the same. Went from a 128 GB late 2010 13" MBA to the Transcend 500 in the 480 GB size. I needed space. I used Carbon Copy Cloner to clone around 400 GB of my 512GB retina macbook pro, took like 1 hour to clone over the USB 3 drive provided by Transcend.

Opened the MBA, disconnected the battery, cleaned the dust from the fan (and some dried beer on the logic board) while I was in there, swapped drives, rebooted holding "alt" to select the SSD. Booted no problem and everything of course looked just like my rMBP. Of course there is some time necessary for finder to orient itself. Then I made sure to switch the boot drive in preferences to the new drive so holding "alt" wouldn't be necessary next time.

Lastly, loaded the Transcend Trim thingy and enabled TRIM. Rebooted. Let it chill out and as the others said had to reenter my Microsoft office code and relog into Dropbox. Nothing else.

Of course as the original modern MBA's only had a 3 Gigabit Link speed I only get around 110 Write and 135 Read speeds (up from 82/83 on original). Guess what though. Plenty fast. This machine is my backup and traveling machine for use on planes, at conferences, and in coffee shops when I don't want to bring my $2600 rMBP with me. Pretty happy with the ease of the process.

The numbers you were seeing with your original SSD are quite wrong.
I recently handed down my 2011 to my sis, who had a 2010 since release and I'm quite positive it was never below 170/130ish with a Toshiba 128 GB...
 

FuNGi

macrumors 65816
Feb 26, 2010
1,122
33
California
The numbers you were seeing with your original SSD are quite wrong.
I recently handed down my 2011 to my sis, who had a 2010 since release and I'm quite positive it was never below 170/130ish with a Toshiba 128 GB...

Yeah, possible. It may have been Finder indexing or something when I recorded the scores.

Update: Regularly getting 200/270 speeds on the Transcend 500 SSD. Seems snappy.
 
Last edited:
Register on MacRumors! This sidebar will go away, and you'll see fewer ads.