What are the chances someone makes an aftermarket SSD for the Air?

Discussion in 'MacBook Air' started by Qusus, Apr 8, 2009.

  1. Qusus macrumors member

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    Jan 30, 2009
    #1
    I recently downgraded from a 128GB SSD model to a 120GB HDD Rev Air. However, I learned after the fact that there are in fact NO aftermarket hard drives of any sort for the Air because of it's SATA - LIF connector. Given the fragility of the 1.8 inch HDD, this pretty much means we're all going to have a very nice lookin' paperweight after the warranty runs out.

    Does anyone know if ANY company is going to release an aftermarket SATA - LIF HD? It seems unlikely since the Rev B air is the only notebook that uses it... if that's the case I'll probably end up selling this computer despite how much I like it.

    Any thoughts? Advice?
     
  2. McGilli macrumors 6502

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    Nov 11, 2008
    #2
    So - just to be clear - you are expecting your MBA HDD to die sometime soon - and you think Apple will not help you get a replacement for it?

    Even if it IS out of Warranty - you can still get a replacement drive from Apple if need be. I just don't see how you can be looking at a new Rev B as a future paperweight already.

    But ya - if replacing drives are your thing - then sell it and get something that is easier to upgrade. simple enough.
     
  3. Scottsdale macrumors 601

    Scottsdale

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    #3
    I would guess that even if your MBA breaks down six or seven years from today, that Apple would have a replacement available for an outrageous price. But, even though it might be expensive, it would be available.

    I have bad news and good news.

    The bad news is I seriously doubt that any manufacturer would specifically make a new drive SSD or HDD that would use Apple's proprietary connector.

    The good news is someone already figured out how to make a 1.8" SATA drive work in the MBA. The thread is here in the MBA section. All he did is use the SATA/LIF cable and solder it to get the SATA drive to work. Based on that information, it seems that somebody could develop a cable which would work from the MBA's LIF cable to the SATA cable of the SSD/HDD.

    http://forums.macrumors.com/showthread.php?t=657341&highlight=micro+sata+++MBA

    Good luck.
     
  4. Qusus thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jan 30, 2009
    #4
    Interesting link... that takes some real skills. Very impressive, I'm afraid that is beyond my technical ability however. This makes me wonder why a company can't release a simple adapter that just changes the LIF to a standard SATA II port.

    As for the first poster; I was actually not aware that Apple would help me with a replacement drive once the computer is out of warranty. Are you saying that they would be willing to sell me a replacement drive that I could install myself? (Please inform me if this is the case, I was under the impression that Apple had a policy explicitly against doing that.) I know I could pay them to replace it, but it would come at some outrageous cost that wouldn't be worthwhile.
     
  5. Qusus thread starter macrumors member

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    #5
    @Scottsdale

    Btw, love the Einstein icon. I have a poster of that exact image hanging over me right now.
     
  6. Airforcekid macrumors 65816

    Airforcekid

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    #6
    Extend your apple care and eventually it will go up in size via apple.
     
  7. dudeitsjay macrumors regular

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    Mar 26, 2009
    #7
    +1
    The only supporting SSDs miniSATA to LIF coming out on the market officially are by samsung, and they are still quite expensive and few. I'm going to ask a couple ucla electrical engineers to take a look at the pinout and come up with a fox cable design for it and possibly just make a prototype adapter out of ribbon cables. That way, we can skip the tricky/dangerous soldering and just produce a simple adapter.. oh so busy though... Could also use a free SSD to test the adapter on :D. If an adapter if feasible, then any 5mm 1.8'' SSD with miniSATA output can be adapted to the LIF input on the logicboard.

    I hope I didn't mix this up... the standard SSD outputs for 5mm SSDs are in miniSATA right? lol, and the input on the logic board is the LIF.
     
  8. Qusus thread starter macrumors member

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    Jan 30, 2009
    #8
    I hope this works. It seems likely since there are already LIF to USB adapters... which unfortunately do us no good... but an LIF to USB can't be that different from LIF to miniSATA right?
     
  9. hybster macrumors member

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    Jan 25, 2009
    #9
    In my view, a female micro-sata connector with a disk connected will not be possible (at least with the 80mm disk length). There simply is not enough space for it.

    A breakout-cable for the motherboard connector would make the solder job an easy task for anyone even slightly proficient with a soldering iron.
     
  10. Scottsdale macrumors 601

    Scottsdale

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    #10
    There is no reason a cable couldn't be made easily. Just takes someone that has experience with it. There is a company here in Phoenix that will make the cable. I had them make me a specialized cable once and only cost like $200 for the prototype then was minimal fee for each cable ordered beyond that. Certainly possible since the hardest part is determined. The big deal will be getting two cables to use. The LIF and the SATA, then determining how to manufactuer it based on desired results. So, getting that original cable would be nice for a solid prototype. I don't even know where to get Apple's LIF cable without taking apart my MBA... NOT going to happen.

    I refuse to take my MBA apart, because I fear I will be really frustrated. Like there will be thermal paste all over or something will suck inside. Outside it is absolutely incredible. But I know so many people who have taken their Macs apart and been disgusted. I have done it in the past and been shocked/disappointed. So, I would prefer to assume the inside is perfect just as I see on the outside. If I take it apart, there's a good possibility I will spontaneously combust from rage. Anyone else have that feeling about taking apart Macs?
     
  11. tsubikiddo macrumors regular

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    Melbourne, AUS
    #11
    it should be Micro-sata:rolleyes:
     
  12. tsubikiddo macrumors regular

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    #12
    No. Didn't have special feeling besides from getting the job done properly and cooling down my MBA

    - some time in Feb'09, taking MBA apart for re-applying AS5 thermal paste:apple:
     
  13. alphaod macrumors Core

    alphaod

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    NYC
    #13
    Intel makes the 1.8" SATA drive as well in 80GB and 160GB flavors.
     
  14. Pressure macrumors 68040

    Pressure

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    #14
    Doesn't quite help when the MacBook Air uses a special connector, if I understand it correctly.
     
  15. dudeitsjay macrumors regular

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    Mar 26, 2009
    #15
    It doesn't just have to b 1.8'', it also has to be 5mm to fit inside the thinness of the MBA. And the whole point in the LIF/micro-sata adapter is so that the ones that do manage to fit the physical dimensions can be adapted to the mba's logic board.
     
  16. tsubikiddo macrumors regular

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    #16
    in fact, if one is replacing MBA's Hdd with SSD, it doesn't have to meet the 5mm height limit.

    8mm height SSD would have fit in as well,
    the reason that only 5mm HDD can be used is because, there are shock absorbing foams,
    obviously not needed of it is a SSD
     
  17. dudeitsjay macrumors regular

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    Mar 26, 2009
    #17
    Point taken. I wouldn't mind having any kind of padding though for even the SSD though =].
     
  18. tsubikiddo macrumors regular

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    #18
    it doesn't do make any difference
    there should (<~since I really have no idea how the SSD actually work nor opened one to see its internals) not be any physical movable parts inside an SSD
    shock absorbing foams are not necessary in SSD cases
     
  19. Qusus thread starter macrumors member

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    Jan 30, 2009
    #19
    IPod HD?

    I just realized something, don't plain old IPod HDD's use an LIF connector and are the exact same as the one in the Rev B Air? Any Ipod HD would work fine in the Air without any fabrication correct?
     
  20. Scottsdale macrumors 601

    Scottsdale

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    #20
    Nope it's a PATA ZIF/LIF. Someone tried a 120 GB iPod Classic drive in a rev A MBA and posted it here. The iPod has something limiting the ability to format it, so that poster never got it working.

    Edit: Forgot to state the rev B MBA uses a SATA drive controller.
     
  21. arsorkin macrumors newbie

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    Jun 11, 2009
    #21
    SATA-LIF cable/aftermarket SSD for Air

     
  22. arsorkin macrumors newbie

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    Jun 11, 2009
    #22
    Original Air rev B cable

    Scottsdale: If you want to try to get an adaptor cable made yourself, you can get the part from pbparts.com, which is located in Scottsdale. The cost was a bit more than $30 with local pickup. Plus tax of course.
     

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