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Is an SSD Size Upgrade From OWC a Good Idea for Your MBA?

When I first got my Macbook Air, I fell in love with its diminutive profile, speedy boot times and incredible portability, but after living with it for a few months, one thing became glaringly apparent – 128GB was simply not enough room. Having convinced myself it would be at the time or purchase – I have recently found myself umbilically attached to a 500GB USB hard drive for music and photos.
Now, 6 months in, I was faced with two choices – stick the current MBA on eBay and stump up the extra cash for a larger capacity Air – or invest in a 3rd party storage solution. The first option is just stupid, so an upgrade was on the cards.
At the time of writing there is only one choice for upgrading your hard drive on the Air. Other World Computing offer a range of Air SSDs, ranging from a 180GB option, right the way up to a 480GB beast. OWC have been going since before the dawn of time and have always offered outstanding products for Mac, so I decided going with them was a pretty safe bet.
I purchased the 240GB SSD as it gives twice the room and comes in at a pricey but not wallet-breaking $579. (The theory was to stick my current SSD on eBay and get $200 or so back for it). The drive arrived a few days later and the install process was fairly straightforward. Using the supplied tools, unscrew the bottom cover from the MBA, remove the current SSD and swap it out with the new one.
So now that it’s all in place — data restored and a few months down the line — is it worth the upgrade?
The Good:
Im fairly techie minded, however the install process is so simple, it was a breath of fresh air (no pun intended). If you are able to use a screwdriver, then you will be able to swap the drive out.
The documentation that comes with the drive states that, as well as a storage upgrade you will also get a 68 percent speed boost too. I can’t vouch for a 68 percent increase (the factory SSD scored 2911 on Geekbench, whereas with the OWC drive added I got 2967), however there is a marked increase in everything from transfer speeds to application launch times.
Using Aperture, with my library stored on the SSD, rather than on the external drive was where the difference was most obvious. The app loads incredibly quickly, and editing images happens in lightning fast time. For a computer that, on paper resembles a netbook rather than a pro laptop, I found myself in awe of the experience. Obviously the MacBook Air is more than just a hard drive, but having the OWC SSD installed meant that I had room to maneuver.
Of course having the extra room is great – being able to dump the tethered USB drive has made the portability of the MBA really shine through.
The Bad:
To be honest, there is only one thing wrong with the Mercury Aura Pro Express SSD. The Price. Whichever way you look at it $579 is a lot of money. I do feel that the price could be a little lower, but considering the technology that goes into creating a flash drive of such minuscule proportions, OWC can be forgiven for charging a premium.
Verdict:
Only you can decide whether stumping up the cash for a larger hard drive is worth it, but in my circumstances, the Mercury Aura Pro Express SSD has been a lifesaver. Yes, maybe I should have bought the larger capacity MBA in the first place. But for all those — like me — who didn’t, OWC offers a welcome lifeline.
The Mercury Aura Pro Express SSD is available with same day shipping, directly from the OWC website


Rating: ★★★★☆