General Question

anonyjelly16's avatar

Is it possible to install an SSD Drive into a Macbook Air if you purchase it with the Parallel ATA Drive?

Asked by anonyjelly16 (747points) April 18th, 2008

Can anyone tell me if this is possible? I recently chatted an Apple Representative and didn’t get very far (See below. I’ve changed the name for obvious reasons). I don’t think they were allowed to say whether this is possible.

Hi, my name is [AppleRep] Welcome to Apple!
You: Hello [AppleRep]
[AppleRep]: How may I help you today?
You: I am trying to figure out two things: 1) If I get a Macbook air with the Parallel ATA Drive now, can I install an SSD later?
You: and 2) Can you tell me how much RAM the Macbook Air comes with?
[AppleRep]: Good question and I am happy to assist, Apple doesn’t upgrade internal hard drives after purchase and the MacBook Air will hold 2 GB ram.
You: Okay. But is the drive upgrade possible?
You: I want to buy the air but I dont want to pay 1000 for the drive because I am sure they will come down in price and increase in space soon.
[AppleRep]: Apple doesn’t upgrade hard drives after purchase.
You: yes. you told me that. but is it physically possible?
[AppleRep]: Since Apple doesn’t do that I can’t make a recommendation there you would be welcome to check with an Apple authorized service center to see if they could do that for you .
You: I am not asking you recommend anything. I am just asking if it is possible. If it is not, that is okay. I just want to know.
You: And if youre not allowed to say, thats okay too.
You: but a definitive answer would be great.
[AppleRep]: You would need to work with an Authorized reseller this chat only supports sales of Apple products and configurations that we sell so I am sorry but I don’t know.
[AppleRep]: If you want that drive I would recommend getting it at time of purchase.
[AppleRep]: We do offer financing .
You: Thanks.

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9 Answers

Bri_L's avatar

I am afraid I don’t know the answer but holy cow what a frustrating experience.

glial's avatar

The drive is not a user serviceable part. Is it possible? Yes. Is this something you can do? Well, if you had to ask, probably not.

bob's avatar

It sounds like the Apple Rep doesn’t know whether it’s actually possible. Sometimes those guys have very little technical knowledge, and since they’re officially representing Apple they can’t go off script or give you information that’s not officially verified.

Is switching out the drives technically possible? I would think so, but it’s also possible that the Air’s hard drive is attached in a specifically weird way and/or that the Airs with SSD are technically different from the Airs with ATA drives. Possible—but somewhat unlikely.

Since you aren’t planning on installing the SSD yourself (I assume), you should find an Apple reseller who does repairs and ask them about the possibility. They’ll be the ones doing the actual service, so they should know whether it’s possible. I personally wouldn’t want to take apart the Air—putting in a new hard drive is going to be a delicate process.

Try asking The Mac Store or Mac Service. You should be able to call either of those places and see whether what you want is possible.

anonyjelly16's avatar

I have been working with computers for 10 years and can easily install or switch out the drives. My question was related to the physical form factor of the drives and casing, the connectors, etc. In other words, if I had the personal expertise to perform the operation, is it physically possible to fit the drive snugly in there? Would the connector work?

Thats what I was asking about. Can anyone tell me if this is possible?

bob's avatar

Ah. I bet the service centers I mentioned above would be able to tell you.

robmandu's avatar

See this Ars Technica review of the Macbook Air, notably the section on upgradability:

At first they say:

Put simply: you can’t upgrade this machine. Or at least it ain’t easy. The parts of the notebook that are typically upgradable—hard drive, RAM, battery—are not easily accessed by the user since Apple made the bottom of the Air a single, solid piece. And of those three, only two are removable once you unscrew the bottom panel…

But then they contradict that stance immediately thereafter, stating:

The hard drive can also swapped out for a solid-state one—or another regular hard drive, assuming that a larger-capacity or faster one is created that can fit into a small enough form factor.

Bri_L's avatar

When I put in a new hard drive on a mac book I had to take out 28 individual screws in a specific order. I can’t imagine what you go through with the mac air or how that thing is engineered in there.

richardhenry's avatar

Put it this way: I wouldn’t want to have a go at this myself. The MacBook Air is made out of completely non-standard parts (that’s why it’s so thin) and disassembling it seems like a nightmare. I can’t find any authorised service centres through Google that would do it… I’ll keep looking and let you know.

anonyjelly16's avatar

I guess its better to either get it with SSD or not. Based on everyone’s responses, it doesn’t seem like its a good idea to attempt the upgrade later.

thanks everyone!

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