I installed Windows 7 on my Macbook Air (1st Gen) and it ran okay, but I could tell the HD was dying with the infamous clicking noise laptop HDs make when they’re about to crash. There is a distinct click associated with a system pause or temporary freeze-up that will tell you that you better back up your system because the HD is about to crash. Long story short, my HD eventually died and my system wouldn’t boot. I figured that i would install Mac OSX on it until it died completely. 3 weeks later it was completely dead. Mission Accomplished!
Because I’m often a procrastinator I didn’t bother to look for a replacement HD until after my HD died. After looking long and hard on the internet for a replacement HD (Samsung HS082HB – 4200 RPM) I was stuck with either paying an arm and a leg for a new one ($250) or about $125 for a used one made in early 2008. Neither of these options particularly interested me. With some research I found out that other electronics – like the iPod Video – use the same Samsung HD. I investigated picking up a iPod Video cheap on Craiglist and taking the HD out of it, but I was still going to end up with a rather slow, used HD. After further research I ran across a google ad for the Active MP 64GB SSD. It was a long shot, but I checked into it. Guess what? It’s perfect! It even has the necessary ZIF connector that you will NEED to replace your old HD in the Macbook Air with a bad-ass, fast SSD. I got my AMP SSD at a reasonable price and had it shipped immediately (overnight, of course).
NOTE: You MUST get a SSD with the ZIF Connection! The MacBook Air has a specific ZIF connection cable that goes from the SSD to the motherboard.
Tips on Replacing old Macbook Air HD with new Active Media Products (AMP) SSD:
There are a few sites out there that already show you step by step on how to remove your old HD from the Macbook Air 1st Gen so I won’t repeat that information here. What I will do is let you know that the AMP SSD doesn’t come with a ZIF cable so you have to re-use the one that comes with your Samsung HD. The connection of the cable to the old HD is done with some black tape in order to hold the ZIF cable in place (wtf?). Cut this tape carefully so that you can remove the ZIF Cable from the old HD. DO NOT CUT THE CABLE. Pay attention to what you’re doing! If you don’t know exactly what to cut, ask someone or e-mail me! After you cut the tape the cable should slide out easily and you should see some golden leads on the end of it. Follow the instructions on installing that cable on your new SSD. It should be a relatively easy thing to do – probably consisting of sliding the ZIF cable into the new SSD. Doesn’t get much easier than that. I did have a problem keeping the ZIF cable in place so I used some Electric Tape (MacGyver Style, Mothafucka!) At any rate, it works perfectly. Boot your system, install the OS, and away you go!
Things I noticed about the replacement:
I’m not sure if this goes for all Macbooks, but some of the screws were incredibly difficult to remove. In fact, I ended up stripping one of them that held the old HD in the rubber case and ended up having to drill it out. Be careful when removing the screws! I had to use gloves just to hold the tiny screwdriver in place without ripping the skin off my fingers. I also had to use pliers to turn the screwdriver. Did I mention the screws are hard to get out? They are. Pliers and gloves hard.
The SSD took an incredibly long time to load Mac OSX 10, which was surprising to me because I thought SSDs were supposed to be really fast. There’s a possibility that my External USB DVD-ROM is incredibly slow. Though the install said 34 minutes initially, it took well over an hour. I don’t remember how long it took with my old HD because I typically set the system to install and go get lunch or something, but I watched the install this time and it was like watching grass grow. If you experience a fairly quick install please comment and let me know so that I can check out my system.
The system boots incredibly FAST now! It takes about 20 seconds from the time I press the on button until the system is up and running. Also, copying files and installing stuff to applications is crazy fast. Could it be that I’m only impressed because my old HD was dying the entire time? Maybe. Regardless, the SSD is fast.
I’ve been using the SSD for about two weeks now and I’ve found it to be far superior to the HD that came with the Macbook Air. It is WAY faster and makes my entire system run faster. Big program installs like Photoshop are a breeze. The Laptop runs quieter, cooler, and faster.
————-UPDATE 2 (December 6)————
I had quite a few problems with my OS crashing and would not boot after restart. Instead, the flashing folder would appear. After a few days I find out that when I moved my laptop around it was more likely to crash. Then I had an extremely odd situation where my laptop would boot after taking the case apart and when I put it back together it wouldn’t work again. It was almost like I had a short somewhere. After 4 hours of tinkering I realized that apparently when the laptop is put back together the case doesn’t hold the new SSD in place and once the SSD moves around the system would freak out. I had to secure the SSD so that it didn’t move at all once the case is back together.
Mike commented on this below about the ZIF connector. Read the comments below for helpful tips on the install of the SSD.