The 'Book Review

MacBook Air 40% of MacBook Sales, 16 GB for New MacBook Pros, Early 2011 MacBook Pro Reviews, and More

This Week's MacBook, PowerBook, and iBook News

Compiled by Charles Moore and edited by Dan Knight - 2011.03.14

General Apple and Mac desktops is covered in The Mac News Review. iPad, iPod, iPhone, and Apple TV news is covered in The iOS News Review. All prices are in US dollars unless otherwise noted.

News & Opinion


Tech Trends

Products & Services

Bargain 'Books

News & Opinion

MacBook Air Accounts for 40% of Apple Notebook Sales

Hardmac's Lionel notes that one might have thought that the MacBook Air (MBA), halfway between the iPad and Apple's bigger and more powerful laptops, would not be a bestseller, but after questioning Apple's suppliers, analysts estimate that the MacBook Air represents roughly 40% of Apple laptop sales, with 1.1 million units sold.

Lionel observes that while the MacBook Air doesn't have as much power as a MacBook Pro, the speed of its standard solid state drive (SSD) compensates for that substantially in terms of feel, and while it's currently impoverished in the I/O department with just two USB 2.0 ports and no FireWire, he expects that will soon be remedied with the addition of the new Thunderbolt I/O interface, which he expects will happen soon.

He further observes that some users are choosing the MacBook Air over the iPad, citing its big advantage of being a computer running Mac OS X, while the iPad is "too closed of a product" for his taste, and too limited for tasks like creating files and typing.

Your editor agrees, but would like to have both.

MacBooks Gaining Ground Alongside iPad's Popularity

A Trefis Team commentary posted on the NASDAQ website observes that since Apple already has a substantial share of the high-end PC market nailed down, the iPad is allowing the company to tap a lower price range, and while surging tablet sales (mostly Apple iPads) are eating into sales of more expensive Windows PCs and netbooks, Apple's own position in the PC market remains unharmed, thanks to its capacity to keep interest high with new product launches like the MacBook Air.

The Trefis Team notes that Mac-branded products now account for 17% of their $420 price estimate for Apple stock, while iPads represent an additional 7%, with one market research report lowering PC growth rate expectations from 15.9% to 10.5% for 2011 as the iPad and other tablets continue to cannibalize PC sales. However, they expect Apple to offset this overall industry trend with continuing market share gains in both notebooks and desktops, noting that Apple's notebook market share has increased from around 3.5% in 2005 to 4.8% in 2010, and the Trefis analysts anticipate further gains beyond 6% by the end of their forecast period.

They point to Apple shipping in excess of 1 million MacBook Airs, released last October, during Q4 2010, out of a total of 2.9 million Mac notebooks sold during the quarter, and that paradoxically instead of cannibalizing Apple's Mac sales, the iPad appears to be creating a "halo effect" and boosting sales of the company's other products.

Finally, SATA 6 Gbps on a MacBook Pro

Hardmac's Lionel reports:

"We just got a new 15" MacBook Pro. We installed an SSD Crucial C300, one of the first to have a SATA III* interface, and is very pleasing to finally see it running at full speed on a Mac. For the reading speed, it is 90 MB/s faster than the 2010 MacBook Pro!

"It is still too early to give a detailed review of the new model, but we can already tell that it is very silent, even more than the previous models. With an SSD inside, we can't hear anything, even with the ear against it."

* SATA II refers to 3 Gbps SATA. To avoid confusion with SATA II's 3 Gbps bandwidth, it is better to call the third version SATA 6 Gbps rather than SATA III (or 3.0). We follow that convention at Low End Mac, but when quoting from other sources, we have to repeat what they do. dk

Crucial C300 SSD Compatibility Problem with 2011 MacBook Pros?

Hardmac's Lionel says readers have reported a compatibility problem between their brand new 2011 MacBook Pros and their Crucial C300 SSDs - the SSD suddenly slows down and blocks.

He notes that Hardmac hasn't had any problem with the 256 GB C300 inside a 2011 MacBook Pro, so they looked for differences between their machine's configuration and the MacBook Pro of a reader reporting the issue and think they've found a solution, although it still needs to be confirmed by other tests,. The only difference they found was that Hard Mac had deactivated the Sudden Motion Sensor (SMS), which protects the hard drive in case of vibration or bump on the laptop - if you're using an SSD in your MacBook Pro, that feature is completely unnecessary and useless anyway.

Are the New MacBook Pros Lacking Something?

Gene Steinberg, the Tech Night Owl, says:

"The benchmarks are pouring in, and it does appear the recent MacBook Pro speed bump delivers far more performance than what you'd expect from an incremental hardware upgrade. Much of that is due to the use of Intel's Sandy Bridge processor family across the board, available in dual-core or quad-core configuration, depending on which model you select.

"In passing, I should point out that the high-end models are the first Apple notebooks to incorporate a quad-core processor, largely because previous Intel parts just used too much power to afford exceptional battery life."

MacBook Pro's Radeon GPU Connected on Just 8 PCIe Lines

French site TTHardware's Pascal Thevenier reports that, oddly enough, the Radeon HD 6750 graphics processor in the Early 2011 MacBook Pro is connected to its CPU using only 8 of 16 available PCI-Express 2.0 ports, resulting in a bandwidth of 4 Gb/s instead of 8 GB/s. Wired into eight rows, one PCI-Express 2.0 offers the same speed as a PCI-Express 1.0 x16 wired, bandwidth has been doubled.

From a practical standpoint, says Thevanier, 4 GB/s offers more than enough performance, but one may wonder what motivated Apple to make that choice - lack of space? A slight reduction in power consumption?

He reports that with a benchmark of 4444 GPU in 3D Mark Vantage, the the Radeon HD 6750 GPU's performance is excellent. The GeForce 330M in the 2010 MacBook Pro posted a score of around 2000, and Timeline X 4820TG tested recently reached 2900.

8 GB RAM Supported by Late 2008 Unibody MacBook and Late 2008 15" MacBook Pro

OWC bloggers Grant and Chris S. reveal that while Late 2008 Unibody MacBooks and 15" MacBook Pros normally support up to 6 GB of RAM, if you're running OS X 10.6.6 and the latest firmware update, they will now reliably support 8 GB, thus enhancing the potential useful service life and resale value of these machines.

Evidently this is thanks to a "secret" EFI firmware upgrade side-benefit that Apple never told anyone about when they at some point re-upgraded an initial late 2009-issued firmware update issued mainly to fix a buzzing sound in the machines' optical drives, and with OS X 10.6.6, these early unibody models with the latest version of that firmware update can address 8 GB of RAM without problems.

This only affects Late 2008 Unibody MacBooks and Late 2008 15" MacBook Pros.

Also see Firmware Update Supports 8 GB in Unibody MacBook and Late 2008 15" MacBook Pro.

Hardmac Checks Out TRIM Support on Mac OS X 10.6.6

Hardmac's Lionel says:

"We have known for a few days that Lion supports TRIM on Apple SSDs and it was discovered yesterday that Snow Leopard does the same on the new models of MacBook Pro.

"We have spent a many hours looking at how the system decided to support TRIM on one SSD and not another....

"To make the long story short, the TRIM is managed in the IOAHCIFamily extension . . . Playing around with that extension is dangerous because it manages all the reading a writing commands on the disk. A mistake during the modification could compromise all the data on the disk.

"It appears that this blocking is of course deliberate. On other operating systems supporting TRIM, the activation is more simple."

"The TRIM command was already coded but not activated on the regular 10.6.6."


Storage Shootout: Hard Drives and SSDs in 2011 MacBook Pro

Bare Feats' rob-ART Morgan says:

"Apple offers various Configure-To-Order (CTO) drive options for the 2011 MacBook Pro. We tested some of the HDD and SSD options from the Apple factory as well as third parties. We used QuickBench from the Speed Tools Test Suite to sample the small random reads/writes (average of 4K to 1024K blocks - 5 cycles each) and large sequential read/writes (20M to 100M blocks - 5 cycles each)."

Thunderbolt Makes Early 2011 MacBook Pro 'a True Pathfinder'

PC Advisor notes that the Early 2011 15" MacBook Pro makes many breakthroughs, none visible from the outside - yet one of those revisions alone may transform personal computing thanks to a welcome boost in connectivity speeds - the Thunderbolt I/O interface, suggesting that what makes this laptop a true pathfinder is its connectivity.

13" MacBook Pro 'Delivers a Welcome Performance Boost'

The Register's Tony Smith says that whether you love or loathe Apple, you can't deny it makes gorgeous-looking computers, noting that the boom has been lowered farther on the Windows PC laptop competition now that the new MacBook Pros are here, complete with Intel's very latest mobile processors and an interconnect tech no one else has yet - Intel's 10 Gb/s Thunderbolt. Regarding the latest 13" MacBook Pro, Smith says there's really not much else he'd ask Apple for - maybe an extra USB port and Blu-ray, (he observes that Apple's dismissal of the HD disc format means we're unlikely to ever see a BD-equipped MBP) and, most importantly, higher screen resolution, with the 13" MBP's current 1280 x 800 bumped to at least 1440 x 900, but he applauds Apple for not going totally widescreen with the 13" MacBook Pro, preferring to have a 16:10 1280 x 800 than 16:9 1366 x 768.

Your editor agrees with that assessment on all points. The curious thing is why didn't Apple go with 1440 x 900 resolution with the new 13" Pro, since the one in the Late 2010 13" MacBook Air, also being 16:10, should drop right in.

Early 2011 13" MacBook Pro Gets 'a Much-Needed Boost'

T3's Ian Osborne says:

"The February 2011 refresh represents a great leap forward for the MacBook Pro range, especially the 13-inch models. Intel's new Sandy Bridge second-generation Core-i processors make their Mac debut, giving a massive performance boost. Intel's Thunderbolt connectivity protocol looks amazing, bringing speeds USB 2.0 and FireWire 800 can only dream of, and a handful of minor upgrades and polishes complete an excellent refresh....

"The built-in Intel HD 3000 graphics is on a par with the Nvidia 320M chipset used before, allowing the smallest MacBook Pros to take advantage of the newer technology without sacrificing graphical power.

"The dual-core processors chosen for the 13-inch MacBook Pros are surprisingly powerful. Skipping the bottom-of-the-range Core i3, the entry-level notebook has a 2.3 GHz Core i5, and the higher-end model reviewed here boasts a 2.7 GHz Core i7, the most powerful dual core processor on the market...."

Macworld: Early 2011 MacBook Pros 'Were Worth the Wait'

Macworld Labs' James Galbraith has posted a thorough review of the entire line of refreshed MacBook Pros:

  • 13" MacBook/2.3 GHz (Core i5, Early 2011)
  • 13" MacBook/2.7 GHz (Core i7, Early 2011)
  • 15" MacBook Pro/2.0 GHz (Core i7, Early 2011)
  • 15" MacBook Pro/2.2 GHz (Core i7, Early 2011)
  • 17" MacBook Pro/2.2 GHz (Core i7, Early 2011)

Galbraith notes:

"It's been nearly a year since Apple refreshed its MacBook Pro line. That's a longer-than-usual gap between updates, but the new MacBook Pros sport several changes under the hood, including new processors, new graphics processors, and a new peripheral connector. It all translates into performance jumps that were worth the wait."

AppleInsider Reviews Early 2011 MacBook Pros

AppleInsider's Daniel Eran Dilger reports:

"Apple's revised 13, 15 and 17 inch MacBook Pros deliver Intel's blazing fast new Sandy Bridge Core i5 and i7 CPUs, new AMD Radeon HD (formerly ATI) dedicated graphics performance on the high end and a new high speed Thunderbolt port, resulting in the fastest notebooks currently available while inheriting the long battery life, the strong, minimalist unibody construction, and the environmentally friendly design of previous year's models."

This extensively detailed and lavishly illustrated review covers the entire Early 2011 MacBook Pro range. In one interesting observation pertaining to Apple's non-uncontroversial move to drop Nvidia graphics and go with Intel's HD Graphics 3000 IGPUs (The 15" and 17" models add an AMD Radeon HD discrete GPU with either 256 MB or 1 GB of dedicated VRAM that kicks in automatically when needed), Dilger observes that:

"While Intel isn't as good at graphics as Nvidia, Intel's SATA disk controller performance is significantly better than that of Nvidia's; the new models also now support 6 Gbps SATA 3.0* for the first time, so the fact that the new MacBook Pros use Intel's chipsets again means that disk performance is improved, particularly when using a Solid State Drive."

He further notes that the new Sandy Bridge Core 'i' chips make this generation of MacBook Pros not just faster than Apple's previous notebooks, but also faster than Apple's current desktop iMacs, with benchmark scores that bump up toward those of the Mac Pro workstation and its multicore Xeon engine, and that that Apple now offers the fastest available notebook lineup available from any vendor.

* SATA II refers to 3 Gbps SATA. To avoid confusion with SATA II's 3 Gbps bandwidth, it is better to call the third version SATA 6 Gbps rather than SATA III (or 3.0). We follow that convention at Low End Mac, but when quoting from other sources, we have to repeat what they do. dk

Tech Trends

R.I.P. Netbook

PCWorld's Tony Bradley observes that the netbook helped catalyze the move to mobile computing, marking the exodus from the traditional office desk to a new "compute anywhere" model. But, he says, the netbook has more or less run its course and is being replaced by even more versatile mobile computing platforms, noting that smartphones and netbooks were in a competition for the future of mobile computing, but the netbook has pretty much maxed out its functionality and capabilities, while smartphones - and now tablets as well - are just getting started.

New Lenovo ThinkPad Ultraportable Laptop and Tablet PC Offer Up to 24 Hour Battery Life

PR: Lenovo announces the next generation of its ultraportable laptop - the ThinkPad X220 laptop - and the X220 convertible Tablet PC. These PCs give mobile business professionals the full performance and usability found in larger laptops, but in a super ultraportable design. The PCs run up to 75% faster than ultraportable competitors that use low-powered CPUs, feature smart PC technologies for incredibly long battery life up to 24 hours on the ThinkPad X220, and sport a clean, revamped design with hinge-based latching and a giant touchpad in a thinner portable design. Additionally, they feature improved durability with wider drain-holes in the spill resistant keyboard and a 50% improvement in drop test performance.

Lenovo ThinkPad X220"Put simply, The ThinkPad X Series has everything a modern road warrior needs without compromises low weight, long battery life and high performance," says Dilip Bhatia, vice president, ThinkPad Marketing, Lenovo. "We've refined the mobile computing experience to make it more productive and enjoyable with features like smart PC technologies and enhanced video and voice calling."

24 hour Battery Life for Around the Clock Computing

The ThinkPad X220 offers up to 15 hours of battery life with a standard 9-cell battery. Battery life jumps up to 24 hours by adding the new ThinkPad external battery. The convertible tablet starts under four pounds with its standard 4-cell battery. When combined with a 6-cell battery and the external battery pack, the tablet can run for 16 hours continuously on one charge. Users charge the PCs on the external ThinkPad Battery connected to the PC or separately, and a charge indicator shows when the battery reaches a full charge.

Full-Performance Under Three Pounds

These speed-optimized PCs fit the same full-powered CPUs as bigger 14" and 15" laptops for full performance, while similar weight competitors offer only low powered CPUs. Lenovo Enhanced Experience 2.0 primes the PCs for rapid boot, shut down and resume from sleep by tuning the BIOS and other hardware settings. With Intel HD integrated graphics the PCs perform twice as quickly in streaming video, editing photos and loading web pages. Additionally, USB 3.0 technology on select models transfers data lightning fast, up to 10 times that of USB 2.0.

Smart PC Technologies

Equipped with second generation Intel Core i7 processors, applications run fast and make multitasking hassle-free. The PCs come with self-aware and adaptive technologies to ensure priority components receive power for the highest levels of performance and battery life. Intel Turbo Boost Technology 2.0 boosts processor speed during intensive tasks, and with Lenovo Turbo Boost+, the PCs can stay in Turbo Boost mode longer by keeping processor temperatures below certain thresholds. With reduced power to nonessential hardware, the laptops achieve up to 30% longer battery life while playing multimedia so users can watch DVDs, listen to MP3s or stream web content longer.

Loud and Clear Voice and Video Calling

The no compromise performance experience continues with technologies that solve everyday challenges. For example, they incorporate several technologies for excellent voice and video conferencing, such as private chat and conference call microphone modes, keyboard noise suppression technology and a dedicated LED-lit microphone mute key.

The PCs also keep corridor warriors connected longer with Lenovo's new Instant Resume function. This function maintains connections during sleep mode for up to 99 minutes, eliminating the need to login and reconnect between meetings. And tablet users don't have to worry about losing their pen with the new never-lost-pen technology. It notifies a person when he or she moves the tablet without the pen in the pen-holder.

ThinkPad Remodels with Clean, Sharp & Durable Design

The inside of the new PCs reveal a cleaner, sharper design over previous models. Both the ThinkPad X220 laptop and X220 Tablet feature a 12.5" HD screen and self-closing hinges that shut the PCs. This space-saving hinge design brings several key benefits: better antenna and speaker placement for stronger throughput, a 45% larger touchpad and a cleaner visual design. The larger, buttonless touchpad gives extra room for fingers to scroll, highlight and do multitouch gestures.

For students, mobile sales forces and other mobile professionals working outside, the multitouch tablet now adds a new rough and tough feature to its super bright, 300-nit screen with scratch-resistant Gorilla Glass. Already military specifications tested to meet extreme conditions, Gorilla Glass strengthens the screen so it can withstand scratches, scrapes and abuse from the field.

Ready for Business

The PCs are also business-ready: They're easy for IT administrators to use and manage thanks to their second generation Intel Core and Core vPro processors. Common ThinkPad docking stations and batteries also allow companies to swap hardware among employees to maximize their resources and minimize cost.

The ThinkPad X220 laptop and X220 Tablet will be available starting in April through business partners and Prices for models start at approximately $899 and $1,199, respectively.

Products & Services

OWC Announces 16 GB RAM Upgrade for Early 2011 MacBook Pros

OWC memoryPR: Other World Computing (OWC) has announced through its in-house MaxRAM testing lab the immediate availability of high performance OWC PC3-10600 DDR3 1333 MHz 8 GB memory modules that provide 12 GB and 16 GB memory configurations for the new 2011 MacBook Pro models. Now, with these OWC Upgrades, new MacBook Pro model owners can add up to twice the factory maximum installed memory.

OWC Memory Upgrades Offer More Configuration Options

  • OWC 4 GB DDR3 1333 MHz Memory Module - $59.99 (or $46.99 after OWC offered factory memory trade-in rebate.) Replaces an existing 2 GB module for 6 GB of total memory. Not available as factory memory upgrade option.
  • OWC 8 GB DDR3 1333 MHz Memory Upgrade Kit (2 x 4 GB) - $112.99 (or $86.99 after OWC offered factory memory trade-in rebate.) Replaces both existing 2 GB modules for 8 GB of total memory. Up to $113 less vs. factory 8 GB option.
  • OWC 12 GB DDR3 1333 MHz Memory Upgrade Kit (8 GB + 4 GB) - $879.99 (or $853.99 after OWC offered factory memory trade-in rebate.) Replaces both existing 2 GB modules for 12 GB of total memory. Not available as factory memory upgrade option.
  • OWC 16 GB DDR3 1333 MHz Memory Upgrade Kit (2 x 8 GB) - $1599.99 (or $1573.99 after OWC offered factory memory trade-in rebate.) Replaces both existing 2 GB modules for 16 GB of total memory. Not available as factory memory upgrade option.

OWC Memory upgrades for the 2011 MacBook Pro are available for immediate ordering.

OWC MaxRAM Lab Confirms 16 GB Performance And Compatibility

By maintaining its own lab of nearly every Mac model ever made, including all of the latest 2011 MacBook Pro models, OWC continues its reputation as a leading independent memory upgrade provider for Macintosh computers with kits that offer maximum capacity, configurations and savings. Like all its memory upgrades, OWC Memory Upgrade Kits for 2011 MacBook Pro are engineered with premium quality components and are fully tested and certified to meet, if not surpass, all Apple memory design and compatibility specifications. To see all the OWC MaxRAM configurations that exceed Apple's officially supported maximums, see OWC MaxRAM Memory Certifi

Notebook Performance That Rivals Desktops

"A wide range of testing by both internal and leading external performance sites - is in progress on our first to market 12 GB and 16 GB OWC MaxRAM memory options for the 2011 MacBook Pro," says Larry O'Connor, Founder and CEO, Other World Computing. "Our initial confirmed results, using the same diglloydMedium CS5 testing parameters employed by, reveals a nearly 50% performance improvement with 16 GB of RAM installed vs. the factory maximum of 8 GB. This upgrade truly lets owners of the latest MacBook Pro models unleash the power of their machine with performance approaching that only previously available in Apple desktop and tower models."

OWC memory upgrades are available from 16 MB to 96 GB for nearly every current and past Apple notebook and desktop computer manufactured during the past twenty three years. By maintaining an active state-of-the-art test lab OWC ensures its memory upgrades offer the highest product quality and reliability and backs them with a Lifetime Advance Replacement Warranty and Money Back Guarantee.

OWC Data Doubler Adds Up to 133% More Internal Storage Over Factory Options for 2011 MacBook Pros

PR: Other World Computing (OWC) has announced that its OWC Data Doubler optical bay drive mounting solution adds 133% more internal storage capacity than the factory offers to the new 2011 MacBook Pro models released by Apple. The OWC Data Doubler enables new MacBook Pro owners to replace their infrequently used optical drive with a second hard drive or SSD for upgrading the main drive bay up to 1.0 TB storage capacity and/or adding up to 750 GB additional capacity in the optical drive bay for a total of 1.75 GB of total internal data storage and backup capacity, create an internal RAID, or create other customized internal data storage configurations.

The $75 OWC Data Doubler is available for immediate ordering.

It comes complete with all required hardware, a detailed step-by-step Mac notebook model specific installation guide, free online How To installation videos, and is fully compatible with the following Macintosh notebook computers:

  • MacBook 13" Late 2008 Unibody and later models (All)
  • MacBook 13" Late 2009 White Unibody and later models (All)
  • MacBook Pro 13" "Mid 2009" Unibody and later models (All)
  • MacBook Pro 15" "Late 2008 Unibody and later models (All)
  • MacBook Pro 17" "Early 2009 Unibody and later models (All)

For more information on the OWC Data Doubler, compatibility guide, and value priced DIY Kit bundles starting from $109.99 consisting of the Data Doubler, a hard drive up to 1 TB or an OWC Mercury Extreme Pro SSD up to 480 GB, and five piece toolkit.

The custom engineered, blue anodized aluminum OWC Data Doubler gives MacBook and MacBook Pro users the flexibility to uniquely configure their computers internal drive array. Any SATA 2.5" hard drive or SSD of up to 9.5mm (Super Slim) height can be mounted onto the bracket with the entire assembly then user installable in a MacBook or MacBook Pro optical drive bay. 9.5mm SATA 2.5" hard drives, currently available in capacities of up to 750 GB, are fully Plug and Play recognized via the Apple Disk Utility program with standard configuration options just like any typical drive including, but not limited to:

  • Creating an individual volume with its own desktop icon.
  • Combining a new drive with the existing internal drive for one larger volume (SPAN).
  • Combining a new matching drive with existing internal for high-performance RAID-0 Stripe volume.
  • Configuring a new drive as a Time Machine backup drive.
  • Formatting one drive for the Mac OS and the other dedicated for Windows.

For the maximum of convenient, internal drive capacity, the OWC Data Doubler 1.0 TB Hard Drive Bundle Kit allows MacBook and MacBook Pro owners to move/install a 9.5mm SATA drive (currently available in capacities of up to 750 GB) to the optical bay while installing the included 1.0 TB 12.5mm drive into the main drive bay for 1.75 TB of total internal storage.

"We're very pleased to announce this unique adapter is fully compatible with the latest MacBook Pro laptops," says Larry O'Connor, Founder and CEO, Other World Computing. "Whether a user chooses just the adapter or one of our complete, value priced, DIY kit bundles, the Data Doubler makes adding more capacity, performance, and/or RAID redundancy truly Plug and Play easy."

OWC's broad line of Mac and PC notebook drive upgrades in capacities ranging from 500 GB to 1.0 TB as well as the industry's fastest OWC Mercury Extreme Pro SSD upgrades are available for immediate ordering.

Add Up to 8 GB RAM with 55% Savings

In addition to adding an additional internal storage drive via the Data Doubler, OWC also offers an 8 GB Memory Upgrade Kit for all the new MacBook Pro models with savings of up 55% versus the factory installed 8 GB option; as well as a 6 GB of total memory option not available from the factory.

Full product and ordering information for OWC memory, internal drive upgrades up to 1.0 TB, and other accessories for all Mac laptops, including the new 2011 models, is available at

OWC Mercury Aura Pro Express SSD Offers Nearly 3x the Capacity of Largest Apple SSDs

OWC Mercury Aura Pro Express SSDPR: Now thanks to OWC and the Mercury Aura Pro Express SSD line, you can buy the MacBook Air you want today and enjoy the flexibility of upgrading for higher performance when you need it with a no risk, no hassle 30-day money back guarantee at capacities of 180 GB, 240 GB and 360 GB.

OWC also provides all the tools necessary for installation with your SSD purchase.


  • Designed & built in the US from domestic & imported parts.
  • Chip Based Data Encryption: 128-bit AES-compliant.
  • Intelligent "recycling" for advanced free space management.
  • Best in class error correction (ECC) and SandForce RAISE (Redundant Array of Independent Silicon Elements) technology provides RAID-like data protection and reliability without loss of transfer speed due to parity.
  • SandForce Processor with 7% over-provisioning maximizes read and write performance to greatly extend the endurance and overall reliability of the drive.
  • Up to 100x greater data protection than what the highest rated enterprise class conventional hard disk drive (HDD) provides.
  • SandForce DuraClass technology with Ultra-efficient Block Management & Wear Leveling offers highest endurance, performance and power efficiency in a SSD.
  • Over Provisioning & Wear Management Explained

Some of the drive space in OWC SSDs are allocated for RAISE - which provides real time data redundancy, ECC Error Correction, and reserve cell space.

SSD performance over timeExample: An OWC Pro SSD that's 240 GB in size with 7% over-provisioning is actually a 256 GB drive with 7% allocated for data management, and to maintain the drive's high-performance level.

Unlike most SSDs on the market today, the Mercury Pro family uses advanced DuraWrite wear-leveling and block management technologies to keep Read/Write performance at peak while others see performance fall.


  • Controller: SandForce Processor with full SF1200 Series 7% Over Provisioning firmware set
  • Recommended Applications: Qualified for single drive and multiple drive usage.
  • SMART attributes: Standard
  • Bandwidth:
    • Sustained Sequential Read: up to 285 MB/s
    • Sustained Sequential Write: up to 275 MB/s
  • I/O Per Second (IOPS): Random 4 KB: Up to 50,000 IOPS
  • NAND Flash Components: Tier 1/Grade A Multi-Level Cell (MLC) NAND Flash Memory
  • Read Latency: less than 0.1ms
  • Write Latency: less than 0.1ms
  • Reliability: 2,000,000 Mean Time To Failure (MTTF) based on SandForce processor operation
  • Interface: SATA I (1.5 Gb/s) and SATA II (3.0 Gb/s) supported, SATA 2.6 Compliant
  • Native Command Queuing up to 32 commands
  • SMART Command Transport
    • TRIM Support: Advanced TRIM Support in Windows 7
    • Power Consumption:
      • Active: 2200 mw (2.2W) Typical, up to 2500 mw (2.5W)
      • Inactive (DIPM): 90 mW (.09W) Typical
  • Protection:
    • ECC Recovery: Up to 24 bytes correctable per 512-byte sector
    • Unrecoverable Read Errors: Less than 1 sector per 1016 bits read
  • Security: Chip Based Data Encryption: 128-bit AES-compliant
  • Designed and built in the U.S. from domestic and imported parts

Prices: $499.99; $579.99; $1,179.99

Bargain 'Books

For deals on current and discontinued 'Books, see our 13" MacBook and MacBook Pro, MacBook Air, 13" MacBook Pro, 15" MacBook Pro, 17" MacBook Pro, 12" PowerBook G4, 15" PowerBook G4, 17" PowerBook G4, titanium PowerBook G4, iBook G4, PowerBook G3, and iBook G3 deals.

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