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I've just bought a used 2012-era MacBook Air (model MacBookAir5,2).

I'm considering upgrading the SSD using a Transcend Jetdrive or an OWC Aura.

Going by their specs, both devices are the same. Right now the only difference I can see is the cost and time needed for shipping, but I'm more interested in knowing if there are long term benefits of one over the other technically wise in terms of speed/durability/other.

How can I determine the better SSD - not the cheapest?

  • I'll suggest two things: I use a Samsung 850 Evo in my windows box and 850 Pro in my MacBook. Both are excellent and work well with good support. Secondly, questions based solely on price are off topic here. You may want to rephrase your question to reflect the actual specs you are looking for to generate better answers – agentroadkill Dec 12 '15 at 17:09
  • @agentroadkill Thanks. Evo SSDs are not compatible at all with the MacBook Air 5,2, which used M.2 SSDs, not 2.5in SSDs. I'm not asking a question about the price. As the Jetdrive and Aura's specs are practically identical on paper, the only major difference being price, I wanted to know how they compare in the real world, so I can get the one that performs the best. – Richard Cosgrove Dec 12 '15 at 17:29
  • I would like to politely disagree. What comparison metrics are you looking for? Outright read/write speed? Longevity? Encryption support? – agentroadkill Dec 12 '15 at 17:32
  • Thanks for that link. I did a quick Google and only found references to the 2.5in Evo SSD. The R/W speed of the Aura and Jetdrive are practically identical, their storage amount is the same, they both claim to be fully compatible with Macs, which implies encryption is supported, and they seem to have similar expected lifespans (going by their warranties). As I've said: on paper they're practically identical. So I'd like to know how they perform in real life. – Richard Cosgrove Dec 12 '15 at 17:42
  • @agentroadkill Thanks for the Evo link. It does look good, but its specs are broadly identical to the Aura and Jetdrive. Its major differentiator is HW encryption, but that doesn't appear to play well with Macs - if at all. – Richard Cosgrove Dec 12 '15 at 18:00
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While I'm a big fan of OWC normally, I would go with the Transcend Jetdrive 725. That's what I just ordered for my Mid-2012 Macbook Pro Retina.

The main reason I did not go with the OWC Auro drive is I've had a couple of friends who've upgrade their systems to the OWC Auro drive have problems. While they were both happy at first, at least one of them had their OWC Aura drive, for a Mid-2012 Macbook Pro Retina, die after 6 months of use. The other friend complained about their Macbook Air running hotter after the upgrade (not sure if they screwed up their upgrade) and having drive issues as a result. There are also other stories floating around the web about the OWC Auro drives failing. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t_sK0336Hto.

The Transcend Jetdrive 725 comes with a 5 year warranty for the same price as the OWC Auro, which only has a 3 year warranty. The OWC Auro Pro version does have a 5 year warranty, but is more expensive than the Transcend at that point.

Plus, the Transcend 725 drive now has TRIM support under the latest Mac OS (thanks to Apple). On the other hand, OWC recommend that you DON'T enable TRIM support with their drives.

"In fact, enabling TRIM could actually hurt the performance and reliability of your OWC SSD, rather than help it."

I hope this helps in your decision making process.

  • This is very late in the day, but thanks for your answer. I eventually went with the Jetdrive version. It's worked out well so far. – Richard Cosgrove Feb 2 '16 at 0:07
  • Also a bunch of reviews on amazon for the owc aura drive for 2013 macs are indicating multiple failures. – adapt-dev Jul 21 '16 at 23:16
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I know this is an old thread, but I'm sure there are many people like me looking to increase their MacBook Pro storage.

I bought my mid-2015 Retina MacBook Pro with 512 GB storage. This wasn't enough for me, and in December 2016 I purchased an OWC Auro 1TB SSD drive. Installation was a breeze, and at first I didn't really notice any issues with it.

After a few months though, my MBP fans started getting really loud, due to the SSD overheating. Even if there was no heavy graphics or gaming or processing load, my keyboard ran super hot, and fans full speed most of the time.

To test this, I switched back to the factory SSD, and even with more processing power being used, the fans stayed totally silent.

Switched back to the OWC Aura, but after a couple of months (right before the 1-year mark), the drive gave up on me and wouldn't boot anymore. A local Mac technician saved me by using diskwarrior to repair my disk, back up my files, and swap back to the factory drive.

I contacted OWC, and they replaced the drive (had to send it back to them first, because it was past the 30-day return mark).

Now, fast forward 6-7 months, and I had the same issues last week. Graceful shutdown one evening, next morning come to boot up, and I get the dreaded folder-with-a-question-mark icon, with my Mac not even seeing the SSD drive.

Back to the Mac technician, after some troubleshooting (drive wouldn't boot when in an external enclosure, but did end up booting when put inside another MacBook), was able to run an extra backup, and I'm back at the 512GB factory SSD, with no overheating issues, and much faster performance.

I'm about to contact OWC again, but I can't get a refund, and I'm not interested in trying the Aura again, it's just too much of a hassle.

I might give Transcend Jetdrive a try, but still skeptical, and don't know if it's worth the drop in performance (read/write speeds with the factory original are SO much faster).

One mac expert friend of mine recommended I try a m.2 to PCI-E adapter with a Samsung Evo 960, so I might try that.

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I have a 2012 13" MacBook Air and upgraded the SSD to a 1TB one from Transcend, and had random problems including crashes. I switched to an OWC 1TB drive, and never a hint of a problem. And the Transcend drive works fine in an external bootable mirror backup drive, connected via USB 3.0.

I also have an early-2015 MacBook Pro Retina. The Apple SSD died out of warranty (a not uncommon problem among my colleagues) so I replaced it with a Transcend drive, but its SMART status is indicating multiple uncorrectable writes. Therefore I'm going to switch to a 1TB OWC Aura Pro drive. I think that the problem is that the Transcend drives overheat in real-world service, and Transcend haven't designed for that. Stick them in an external enclosure and they're fine.

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For what it's worth, I'm having problems with OWC Aura Pro drives in my mid-2011 Macbook Air 13. I bought the 512gb model in March 2016. It worked until last December, when it failed. OWC sent a replacement promptly. This past weekend, that drive failed. I have now sent it back to OWC for examination. My guess is that they will send me a warranty replacement. I am planning to buy a Transcend drive or just get a new machine. Having hard drive failures every few months is not acceptable.

  • I'm sorry to hear that. I eventually went with the Transcend Jetdrive, and haven't had a problem with it. – Richard Cosgrove Jun 27 '17 at 0:46
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A long while ago I installed an SSD in a tower PC that has a tendency to run hot. The SSD quickly failed. So did the the replacement, supposedly heat-proof SSD.

I’ve got the same model MacBook Pro as you. It runs so hot, I used to set it up on my desk with the lid closed and hooked up to an external monitor, so it’d act like a radiator and warm my hands in the winter.

Those experiences puts me off trying to replace its drive with a new, non-Apple drive. For want extra storage, I’d got an external USB3 hard drive. There are some really compact and durable models available now.

Or you could just get a hard drive enclosure and a separate HDD: have the HDD from an old MacBook Air in one, as a permanent backup of it.

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