I’m completely obsessed with my Macbook Air 11″. It is a thing of beauty – a machine to kick every other laptop’s ass – by a longshot. I remember hauling my first laptop – a Dell, and how big and bulky that thing was. I feel in love with my Macbook Air 11″ during my nomadic years and wouldn’t trade it for any other laptop. It’s the baddest ass combination of ULTRA-portability, power, lightness, and beauty. One of its greatest features is its SSD drive. I can close the lid (it goes to sleep in 1 second), throw it into my bag (which is already super light), and run off to the coffee shop to get juiced up on espresso. I open it back up and it fires up in record time.
A week ago I decided to get a “home computer” (now that I have a home base). I got a 27″ LED monitor and connected it to a brand new Mac Mini. I used it for a few days but something seemed off. It was slow. I couldn’t understand it – I mean, hey, it’s a brand new Mac! what gives? It took me a little while to realize this, but after going between the Macbook Air and the mini – it dawned on me:
This thing has a slow ass HDD. The Mac Mini has a 5400 rpm “spinning on a disk like an old man cranking a record player” hard drive
I never would have imagined that hard drive speed could make such a big difference. So I started looking into it a bit more. And then I decided to take the Mac Mini back to Best Buy and use my Macbook Air as my home and on-the-go machine (plus this meshed well with my minimalism philosophy). I kept the 27″ Samsung LED to connect to the Mini for when I’m at home (which is awesome, btw). I was pleased with my choice, but I was still curious. If the drive made such a remarkable difference, what else was possible?
After researching the differences between SSD and HDD hard drives, I came upon the holy grail of Macbook Air mods – a 480 GB solid state drive made by OWC for the Macbook Air. I promptly ordered it. Santa The UPS man delivered my 480 GB Mercury Aura Pro Express 6G SSD yesterday afternoon and after dinner and a few IPA’s I sat at my table and performed some Macbook Air surgery.
Afterwards I used Disk Utility to partition the drive, & installed OS X via Lion Internet Restore on the new OWC SSD. It took about an hour or so (Ashley and I watched some Arrested Development while my little Frankenstein monster was getting Lion’d up).
Let’s just say it’s something like this…
I f**king love this thing! Holy shnikeys! I never in a million years thought that it would make such a huge difference. I always thought it was about processor speed and RAM – but damn, having an SSD drive, especially such a fast one – makes a HUGE difference. It takes Photoshop CS6 something like 2 seconds to fire up. Shutdown and startup speeds are blazing fast. Even surfing the internet (and definitely opening up Chrome, Firefox) is much, much faster now. Reportedly there’s a small hit in battery life, but having this fast of a drive way more than makes up for it to me. This is pretty much how I feel…
If you have an extra grand to drop and want the smallest, fastest, lightest, and most badassest laptop in the world, stick a OWC SSD drive in your 11″ Macbook Air. happy squealing child photo courtesy of: adwriter via photopin cc
Parker Benjamin is the owner of DMAD and has been writing for the web for over 10 years. He is passionate about design, Wordpress, travel, language learning, fine dining, and online marketing. Note: Some links on this site are monetized by affiliate programs - see disclosure for more details.
How is it holding up? The reviews on Amazon were mixed (a single 4 and a single 0). Has yours withstood the test of time?
If you have an older Air I’d still definitely recommend it (’10 or ’11) – but not if you have the latest model. The new Airs have better hard drives which makes the OWC inferior (imo).
I did a very similar thing – completely agree!