I have a 13" Macbook Air (2013) that has USB 3.0 ports and an SD card slot. I want to run Windows to play some games that are Windows only, and I didn't want to partition my main drive because it's quite small.

I'm thinking of either using a 32 GB SD card or a USB 3.0 thumb drive. Is it possible to do either of those, and if so which way will yield in better performance? In terms of read/write speed, which one is better, and can both have the same graphics power?

  • With the reliability rate of SD cards, I'm not sure it would be worth the effort, even if it were fast enough [which I doubt]. I work with hundreds of SD cards… wouldn't trust them with more than my weekly shopping list, overall.
    – Tetsujin
    Dec 20 '14 at 21:08

I tried this some 2 weeks ago on my retina 15" Mac. The usb I used was Kingston HyperX 128 gb, 3.0 . It ran WinToGo which is basically windows 8. I wanted to play Battlefield 3 but the result were very poor, I actually never managed to play multiplayer because servers kicked me for being AFK :D If you want to try some less demanding games it might work, but 32gb is not enough provided Windows alone would eat some 20-25 gb.


The company theminidrive.com is offering a 128GB windows 8 plug and play MiniDrive http://www.theminidrive.com/products/plug-and-play-windows-8-for-macbook-air This Might help will be fast if the SD port hooks up to the mother board then speeds are possibly the same as usb3 and external hard drive but this little guy sits inside your macbook!


SD card is going to be faster then USB.

USB3 can go around 70 Mbs R/W

SD-cards can run >200 Mbs R/W

SSD-drive would do >300 Mbs. R/W

So if the choice is USB stick or SD-card then SD wins. You can boot from it and if you want to spend more than $100 you can get the high speed SD cards.

The Graphics power is the same since it depends from your GPU chip set.

  • Did you mean SD instead of SSD cards? Is it actually possible to boot from SD cards? I have heard various reports. Jun 17 '14 at 1:42
  • @Enrico Yes you can boot from SD card, providing it is formatted to HFS+. Side note: just because SD's theoretical maximum is 200 Mb/s doesn't mean the SD card itself can support that rate. High speed SD cards are pretty expensive.
    – grg
    Jun 17 '14 at 7:19
  • You mean NTFS, right? I understand that it might not reach the theoretical maximum. Is there any guide on how to install bootcamp to the SD card? Jun 17 '14 at 7:37

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