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Upgrading the SSD in your Apple MacBook Air with OWC's 480GB Aura Pro Solid State Drive

Upgrading the SSD in your Apple MacBook Air with OWC's 480GB Aura Pro Solid State Drive

Need more storage in your MacBook Air? Check out this upgrade guide with OWC's 480GB SSD

By Anthony Garreffa from Apr 1, 2013 @ 11:11 CDT

We wrote a guide a couple of days ago on how to use Time Machine on your Apple Mac to back your system up, and now we have Other World Computing (OWC) helping us upgrade our Mac with their awesome and incredibly fast 480GB Aura Pro SSD.


We have a late-2010 Apple MacBook Air to try the OWC 480GB Aura Pro SSD out on, with OWC being the only aftermarket source for SSD upgrades to the MBA. The SSD in the late-2010 MBA is impressive, but OWC's Aura Pro is definitely a huge step up.

So before any upgrade can be done, we don't want any data loss, so follow our Time Machine backup guide to back your data up then we'll dive right into this MBA SSD upgrade guide.


First up we'll take a look at what you get in the package from OWC and their 480GB Aura Pro SSD - which is actually quite nifty. Included are two screwdrivers required for doing the operation on your MBA, an external USB 3.0 casing for your existing drive (a nice touch indeed), some manuals and of course, the 480GB Aura Pro SSD in all its glory.


Moving onto the dismantling of your (late-2010) MacBook Air, which is quite easy with the provided tools from OWC. The first step is to flip your MBA onto its back, and remove all of the screws.


Once you've removed the screws, place your thumb under the rear of the MBA and pull it up. Like the picture below, you'll pull it all the way up until the rear lid of the MBA comes off completely.


Once you've done this, you'll be greeted with the internals of your MBA.


The next step is to locate your SSD, which is a Samsung-made drive funnily enough. This is to the right of the fan, the long stick with RAM chips on it.


Now we have to unscrew the Samsung SSD and take it out of the MBA


Once you've done this, you'll have a blank spot where your SSD used to be, ready for your new OWC 480GB Aura Pro SSD.


Here we have the beautiful, and small OWC 480GB Aura Pro SSD


The next step is to install the OWC 480GB Aura Pro SSD into your Mac, which is a matter of slotting it in carefully and screwing it into place.


Here we have a top down shot of our MacBook Air with the OWC drive installed, now to screw it all back together and do a fresh install of OS X. Before we do that, we're going to install our old 256GB stock Samsung SSD into the Envoy external USB 3.0 enclosure.


Here's what we'll be using - the SSD we just took out of our MBA to make space for the OWC 480GB Aura Pro SSD - and the Envoy USB 3.0 casing.


A look at the Samsung SSD before we put it into the Envoy.


The Samsung SSD installed into the Envoy. After you've screwed this in, there's some rubber feet that OWC include for you to keep the drive from slip-sliding around.


These are the rubber feet we mentioned above.


And now for some shots of the drive ready to go, a 256GB super-fast external USB 3.0 SSD solution!

Once OS X has been re-installed (which can be done via the USB flash drive provided with your MBA), a Software Update is necessary. Once this is all said and done, your machine is now powered by OWC's 480GB Aura Pro SSD. Now let's get into some juicy benchmarks.

I didn't expect to see a huge improvement in performance, which as you can see below, we didn't:

The one thing I did notice, is that the new OWC 480GB Aura Pro SSD is extremely fast at loading into OS X itself. It boots from the initial start up sound, to OS X in under 10 seconds which is extremely impressive. I've reached out to OWC to see if these benchmark scores are indeed correct and if there's anything that I'[img]missing. I'll update this post when I hear back.

I found the experience of upgrading the SSD in my MacBook Air to not be anywhere near as troublesome as I previously thought: a few screws, taking the old SSD out, putting the new one in and voila - upgraded MBA storage!

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