back to article Fit your old MacBook Air with turbo flash, bitchslap the new ones

Solid state drive (SSD) supplier OWC has come up with a flash retrofit to first-generation MacBook Airs to make them fly faster and further than ever before, faster than Apple intended, and faster than generation two Airs as well. OWC is doing this by supplying SSDs using SandForce controllers in its new SSDs with-a-very-long- …


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  1. Code Monkey

    I believe them

    In these days of uberfast processors and mahoosive wads of RAM, disk IO has long been the bottleneck. Those of you crazy enough to splash out on x.0 Apple kit could do worse than voiding your warranties on this.

  2. GettinSadda

    Maths check please!

    "The SSD supplier claims that 2008-2009 MacBook Airs fitted with these flash superchargers run applications more than three times faster than with Apple's own SSD inside"

    If, as claimed later, these SSDs are 20% faster than Apple's current SSDs, how do we end up with a 200%+ speed-up? Are the Apple SSDs in the old Air that much worse than the new Air?

    "With a data rate (sequential read bandwidth) of up to 275MB/sec, this is also 20 per cent faster than the latest MacBook Air and 41 times faster than an Air with a hard disk drive inside – the poor lumbering freak of a thing."

    So the original Air had a hard drive that could not beat 6.7MB/sec? I am very surprised!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      You are confusing many things here. One is older and slower but with a blistering fast read speed using the SSD, but slower write. The other is a newer, faster machine with a hard disk that is much slower to sequentially read, possibly faster on write and random access.

      The NET result of all those various things is the older one runs applications 3x faster than the new one. It is not just a comparison of the SSD V hard disk.

      1. GettinSadda

        Re: Check

        The new Air is not available with a hard drive - only SSD.

        So, this is a comparison of two similar computers, with different brands of SSD inside. For all but the most I/O intensive activities I cannot see how applications can be expected to run "more than three times faster than with Apple's own SSD inside" unless Apple's own SSD is a real dog.

        I would love to see some real figures to back up the claims.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    "OWC is offering 60GB, 120GB, 240GB and 480GB capacity points, which compares to that generation Air's 128MB maximum capacity and the Gen 2 Air's 256MB."

    wow, that's really terrible!

    1. Dr. Mouse
      Thumb Up


      I missed that

  4. MrT

    SandForce controllers...

    ... added benefit of firmware controls for over/under-clocking the drive, on-drive 256-bit AES encryption and TRIM that doesn't get in the way as much as others when gathering the junk and spreading the read/write cycles across all the NAND cells. They've also got a clever cacheless design - that's what the over-provisioning space is for because it's quicker than more traditional drive buffering.

    Sure, on some tests drives by Intel and Crucial will pip them, and the price is a bit more expensive for SF SSDs, but given cost is not the foremost thing in a Mac user's mind this is a good call for replacement drives - OWC, G.Skill etc SF SSDs are more balanced than ones like Crucial (big difference between read/write speeds) while still very quick. Where one leads, others will doubtless follow...

  5. el-em

    $1580 for the 480Gb freshly updated explosive pricing

  6. Anonymous Coward

    And the surprise here is what?

    So the news actually is, as well as using an ancient stash of old CPU's, Apple also used some old crap SSD's also. No real surprise giving Apple's usual level of component quality.

  7. MadHatter

    Every apple lover's dream?

    go faster and last longer.

    awwwww yeaaaaaaah

    1. Heff

      every apple lovers dream

      is to pay above and beyond retail to get the product hardware they should have been supplied with at POS.


      (seriously, getting tired of apple pushing stoneage HW in shiny wrappers, spent half an hour explaining to someone that the 4 in 'iphone 4' doesnt stand for 4G yesterday, fml)

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    My eyes just lit up when I read this article!!!!

    I am 100% definitely buying this!!!!!

    Think I'm going to go for the 120GB as I cope quite well with the 80GB I've got now.

  9. JaimieV

    The first-gen Airs use ATA disks, not SATA

    and max out at 133MHz signalling, or not much off 100meg/second. So what's the point of 275meg/second?

    On the other hand, the builtin disks are cheesy slow 1.8" iPod drives, and only get about 20meg/second at best, so anything that'll fit is an upgrade!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      I'm certain these are SATA disks, and the Reg is befuddled about the Air generations.

      1st gen Air had a parallel-ATA disk and GMA950 graphics;

      2nd gen were SATA and nVidia 9400 but looked identical so as to confuse the unwary hack;

      3rd gen are the new shape ones.

      Naturally, mine is a real 1st gen PATA one which surely won't be catered to by these. Which is a shame, as it could really use a speed boost.

      1. ab421

        Yes, this doesn't support first gen airs

        The article got my hopes up but you're correct. These are SATA SSDs and so only support the second revision of the air.

        There are ZIF PATA SSDs available to fit the original Air, but looks like they're not as fast or cheap as these OWC drives.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Looks like...

    ... sleek marketing and clever targeting to me. Now to see if their products live up to the hype.

  11. Philippe

    so the latest technology SSD is faster than 3 years old hardware

    Who knew.

    Come on Apple bashers. Those things have been out for 3 years. Of course new technology will make them faster.

    Take a Dell Latitude 2008-2009 put a SSD in it, any SSD, and go to town.

    I loved the Sexual innuendo in the article btw. That was classy

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