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Types of SSD and SSD Adapters for Your MacBook Air

by Martin Peels Content Writer
SSD stands for Solid State Drives, which are super-fast storage options that are meant to replace conventional disk-based hard drives that have moving parts. One of the main reasons why SSDs are fast because of flash memory and lack of moving parts. One can think of an SSD drive as a really fast USB thumb drive, only bigger and better. SSD adapters are external connectors that are meant to connect SSDs that have a different connection port than the mainboard to which the SSD needs to be connected.

Apple is very particular when it comes to types of supported connection ports for MacBook Air laptops, so if there are any SSDs that don’t have the same ports, a relevant MacBook Air SSD adapter can fix the issue really quick. One has to be very careful to purchase only the ones that will run with their particular model of MacBook Air; compatibility can be checked on external websites before deciding which SSD or SSD adapter to buy.

Common SSD interfaces include SATA, M.2, mSATA, SATA Express, NVMe, and PCIe. SATA and M.2 based SSDs are older SSDs that require a separate power cable to power the SSDs. Older generation MacBook Air computers, from the 1st generation to Mid-2009 models, have SATA based interfaces and will require a SATA interface based SSD. If the SSD is of a newer interface, a compatible MacBook Air SSD adapter can help connect them, but the transfer and read/write speeds will be limited between 600 MB/s to 3 GB/s.

MacBook Air laptop models from 2010 to Mid-2011 come with Mini SATA, that support transfer and read/write speeds up to 6 GB/s. mSATA is the next-generation evolution of M.2 and SATA that had a smaller size and double the speeds. SSDs with other configurations can also be installed (except NVMe which requires the newer PCIe bus) with the help of an adapter to make the most out of a newer model of SSD on an old laptop.

MacBook Air models from mid-2013 onwards feature the PCIe express slot, which is traditionally the most accepted connector for maximum compatibility with both newer and older SSDs. This means one can easily install the latest generation SSD on a 5-year old MacBook Air and make use of the boost in operation speeds of the laptop. If the laptop has a PCIe slot, then our recommendation would be an NVMe based SSD.

NVME stands for Non-Volatile Memory Express, which is the replacement for AHCI which was the traditional controller for legacy motherboards. NVMe was specifically designed for SSDs only, so one will never find this tech being used for spinning hard drives. Most high-speed SSDs nowadays come with NVMe connectors for maximum compatibility with most Apple laptops in operation. To connect an NVMe SSD to MacBook Air, a relevant  is needed that can connect the NVMe connector with the PCIe slot of the laptop motherboard. It is important to check the right kind of adapter that does not bottleneck the speeds of the SSD. Having an incorrect adapter may work, but will greatly limit the performance of the SSD and prevent it from reaching its full potential.

Buying an SSD and SSD adapter for MacBook Air requires a bit of research beforehand before purchasing, for the model number and technical specifics vary greatly not only from laptop to laptop but also from SSD to SSD. The SSD should be compatible with that particular laptop, especially the motherboard, along with being compatible with the adapter. If the user is unsure about the specifics of the upgrade, asking for professional help is highly recommended to prevent any incompatibility issues later on.
SSDs are the future of storage drives, and with their prices falling down as time passes by, they have become a more affordable replacement for old spinning hard drives.

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About Martin Peels Innovator   Content Writer

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Joined APSense since, September 8th, 2020, From Acton, United States.

Created on Nov 3rd 2020 23:35. Viewed 97 times.

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