|10-11-2011, 04:52 PM||#1|
Join Date: May 19 2008
[Anandtech.com] OWC Mercury Aura Pro Express 6G Review: A Fast MacBook Air SSD Upgrade
I've written previously about the SSD lottery you play when you buy a new MacBook Air. As with many commodity components, Apple sources its SSDs from two sources. For now, that appears to be Toshiba and Samsung. Apple tends to pick suppliers that can deliver a reliable product in the quantities it's interested in. In the storage space at least, Apple doesn't seem to be overly concerned with performance but rather making sure the solution works.
A year ago, the Toshiba and Samsung controllers offered fairly similar performance. These days the same isn't true. While Samsung has updated its controllers, Toshiba's solution still offers the fairly abysmal random write performance it did a year ago. With the recent release of the Samsung SSD 830, I expect the trend of Samsung drives increasing in performance will continue next year as well.
Unlike the rest of Apple's notebook lineup however, it's not so easy to just swap in a higher performing (or larger capacity) SSD in your MacBook Air. The very first MBAs used a PATA LIF connector, a rarity on most drives. Apple eventually transitioned to a SATA LIF connector, and then with the release of the 2010 MacBook Air we encountered a new thin form factor SSD with a custom interface connector. In all of those cases, the market for third party MacBook Air SSDs popped up at some point post-launch. The 2010/2011 MacBook Air has been no different.
If you've followed the aftermarket Mac support business then OWC should be no stranger to you. If you haven't heard of OWC from their Mac efforts, there's always the fact that second to only OCZ, no one has been quicker at releasing SSDs based on brand new SandForce controllers.
OWC put out an aftermarket drive for owners of 2010 MacBook Airs based on the 3Gbps SF-1200 controller. For 2011 MBA owners there's a 6Gbps SF-2281 option: the OWC Mercury Aura Pro Express 6G.
Read on for our review!
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