Inateck's SSD housing replaced my portable hard drives


#1

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#2

If you’re looking for improved reliability from an SSD, I fear you may be very disappointed.

You’ll get fantastic transfer speeds in the meantime, though, so as long as you do regular backups and can afford the replacements, you should be all right.


#3

I’m hopeful this takes bangs and bumps better.


#4

My MacBook Air has a small SSD and there is no way to upgrade it

That’s one strange MacBook Air you have there.


#5

Wow. Look at that. I’d been told it was not upgradeable!


#6

Have you ever actually tried to swap out an MBA drive? It’s theoretically possible, but I wouldn’t recommend it. They are absolutely not designed to be modified after leaving the factory.

Just to get at the thing, you have to dismantle half the machine using a little plastic crowbar and specialty screwdrivers. I’m serious about the “specialty” bit, they’re too small for any jeweler’s screwdriver I own, and they’re glued in place so that trying to jimmy them out with a slightly-too-large driver and a gentle hand just strips the screw head and leaves it permanently immovable. The plastic crowbar is critical to work free various delicate wires and one-way plastic snaps without completely demolishing them, as the drive is buried under half the internal hardware. If you get that far, you find that the drive isn’t connected by a standard plug but by the bare end of a ribbon cable held in place by a plastic clamp, and both of them are about as sturdy as a butterfly’s wing. That was the part that defeated me; I was able to disconnect the original drive, but even with the spudger and a steady hand I wasn’t about to close the clamp on the replacement drive without destroying it.


#7

Thanks.


#8

ifixit has repair guides for most things like this.

no idea what model you have. Also worth looking at the actual steps to figure out how difficult/destructive the repair may be.


#9

I’m guessing it’s an older MacBook Air?

Your read speeds are really poor for an SSD, and in fact you could get similar by just using a fast SD card. I’m guessing you’re limited to USB2.0. Modern SSDs can read and write at 10x that speed.

Kind of a waste of an SSD if you ask me, but I guess you were trying to stay away from spinning media.


#10

I’ve worked with older models where the bottom plate simply unscerwed, but not the latest ones. If it’s really that much of a pain in the ass, then I guess it can be classified as effectively non-upgradable. That’s a major bummer!


#11

Interesting, I’ve actually never had a portable HDD fail on me, and one of mine is around 10 years old. But I keep mine in the back of the closet 99% of the time as backups, and if I ever do have to take it anywhere, I literally encase it in bubble wrap, because I know how damn sensitive those things can be. I don’t think portable HDDs are meant to be schlepped around all the time, at least I suspect that’s the case.


#12

I’m not trying to mock you, but you should look at all the adjectives in this sentence and see if they truly make sense…


#13

Under heavy loads, copying 1GB or larger files, I get around 28Megabytes/sec throughput, sustained.

Run XBench’s disk benchmarks and post the results. I’d expect decent performance on the random test (it is after all, an SSD), but my ordinary usb2 hard drive does about 35 MB/s when sequentially reading and writing 256k blocks. My Firewire800 drive does about 53 MB/s write, 74 MB/s write.

Of course, They all fall down on the random read write tests. They are, after all, spinning platters.

Unfortunately, I don’t have a way to connect an SSD using a faster interface than Firewire800, (old imac) so I haven’t bothered.


#14

I replaced mine and it was crazy easy. I am sure different generations vary on this. Mine is the very first 11" version.


#15

Is yours an original version that came in SSD & rotating media versions? Those were tougher. But since the 2010 version, it is super simple: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DLk1AJIzUEM

Either way, @jlw,find a video for your specific model and judge for yourself. Of course you’ll need the right tools, but they’re relatively cheap. And the “glue” … don’t worry about that. It’s just loctite to keep the screw from rattling out - with the correct tool, you’ll hardly notice.


#16

Well, I break mine on a regular basis porting its portable ass places. I’m a useless klutz though.


#17

I swapped out the 64Gb SSD on my 2011 11" MBA for an after-market 128Gb SSD purchased from Other World Computing.

Yes, I paid for the special pentalobe security screwdriver to remove the bottom of the case. Added about $5 to the price of the SSD drive. Once I had it, replacing the drive took about 5 minutes. I have zero binocular vision – can’t even use a soldering iron – but seriously, aside from the weird screws it’s no harder than adding an SO-DIMM to a Windows netbook. (Now, upgrading a Mac Mini drive – that I chickened out of without shame and paid a friendly hardware geek to hack for me.)

I totally don’t recognize your account of what it’s like to open up an Airbook – did you by any chance try this on a pre-2010 (single USB) first-generation Airbook? (Those were notoriously hard to upgrade.)

Caveat: you must buy the correct drive for your model of Airbook – they changed the pins on the SSD from one model to the next.


#18

You are completely correct. The M500 that he is using should be doing about 250MB/s, 10x what he is actually getting.


#19

Another option for (13" or larger) Mac laptops with SD card slots are things like the Nifty MiniDrive, or the PNY StorEdge. Not as fast as a bigger SSD, but much cheaper/easier to install. I use the 128 gb PNY for my iTunes library.


#20

Just looked that one up - zero shame in that. The instructions for one of the models comes with the line “To connect the new hard drive, we need to modify some cables.”