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Guest Phil

256GB SSD Upgrades for New MacBook Air Announced

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Guest Phil

Taiwanese company Photofast has announced the first 3rd party SSD storage upgrade kit for the new MacBook Air. (via Engadget) The new MacBook Air is the first Apple laptop to use a special SSD card rather than a traditional hard drive enclosure. While the new SSD storage card allows Apple to further reduce the size of the MacBook Air's enclosure, upgrade parts are less readily available. Photofast is the first of likely many vendors who will fill this void.

Photofast plans on offering 64GB / 128GB / 256GB SSD aftermarket upgrades based on the SandForce controller. This gives 11.6" MacBook Air owners the option of upgrading to a maximum of 256GB -- a configuration not available from Apple. The upgrade promises speeds of 250MB/s for sequential reads and writes, a notable increase from Apple's offerings which bench around 150-160MB/s for the same metric. Overall performance improvements are said to be in the 30% range. In a particularly elegant twist, Photofast will allow you to convert your MacBook Air's existing SSD card into a USB storage device. This storage device then allows you to transfer your existing data over to your Mac.

Unfortunately, no pricing or availability has been announced, but we expect we'll see similar products from other companys in the near future.

http://www.macrumors.com/2010/10/27/256gb-ssd-upgrades-for-new-macbook-air-announced/

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Hmmm, sounds like wishful thinking to me. Not that it can't be done, but it's obviously not done yet - I wonder what sort of problems they'll run in to. I'm not going first ;)

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Hmmm, sounds like wishful thinking to me. Not that it can't be done, but it's obviously not done yet - I wonder what sort of problems they'll run in to. I'm not going first ;)

Well, Photofast could have had engineers testing the new form factor, just as fast as ifixit did their teardown. They must have examined it and determined it is a simple job to manufacture a replacement. And given PF's recent history, they might ship the drive in a few months, few months later with 25nm process NAND's they could have a 512GB upgrade!

http://blog.fosketts.net/2010/10/22/apples-unconventional-macbook-air-ssd/

System Profiler reports that the SSD and AirPort connect to the NVidia MCP89 chipset in different ways:

* The SSD is a SATA device on the AHCI lines. While it’s possible that Apple could have designed an internal SATA controller and be presenting it on a PCIe lane, it’s much more likely that it’s really using SATA over the new connector described above. Since SATA needs just 5 or 6 pins plus ground (4x data and 3.3 volts and 5 volts of power), there are plenty of connectors for it.

* The AirPort (802.11n Wi-Fi) card, on the other hand, appears to be using a PCI Express lane. Since PCI Express also needs just 6 to 8 pins, this fit, too.

If the MacBook Air had used a PCI Express-based SSD like the Fusion-IO or OCZ models, it really would have been a revolutionary move. But booting a computer from a device like this would have been challenging, requiring revisions to the EFI firmware, drivers, and Mac OS X itself. Therefore, it is not surprising to see a SATA connection used instead.

^too bad as Apple certainly could have done so, with real PCI-E you could have had instantaneous responsiveness as good/or better than an iPad/iPhone.

No USB3 yet, nothing really leading edge state of the art on the upgraded MBA...no 8GB RAM option either :(, other than smaller form factor.

What I find hilarious is the reports of how Apple doesn't want people to upgrade by virtue of *standard* 5pt Torx screws, lmao. Have any of these people ever used Mac's in the past? Apple's been using Torx screws for a decade at least, and people have been upgrading their Macs, no problem there.

*edit* and typical of Engadget from which the link gets the source article...Engadget reports PF as being a Japanese company...I didn't know that :P

Edited by udaman

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