2012 MacBooks ship with updated SSD connectors, controllers and MagSafe adapters

2012 MacBooks ship with updated SSD connectors, controllers and MagSafe adapters

Summary: The new MacBook Pro and MacBook Air models feature new connectors and ports that need to be considered if you're upgrading from a previous model.

TOPICS: Storage

If you're salivating over the prospect of purchasing one of Apple's just-announced MacBook Pro or MacBook Air models, you'll want to take note of a few important hardware changes before taking the plunge.

2012 MacBook Pro and Air feature new SSD connectors and controllers - Jason O'Grady

For starters, both the new (mid-2012) MBP and MBA sport new SSD connectors, which will create problems for users that were considering moving their SSD from a previous generation MacBook Air, to the new one (like I was).

Although the new SSD connector looks similar, but both OWC and iFixIt have confirmed that the SSD modules for 2010/2011 and early 2012 MacBook Airs do not work in the mid-2012 MBA or MBP. As you can see from the photo above, the new SSD module is also slightly wider than the previous MBA SSDs. While the new mid-2012 SSD module looks similar to mSATA, iFixIt confirms that it isn't the same connector.

2012 MacBook Pro and Air feature new SSD connectors, controllers - Jason O'Grady

The flash-based SSDs in new MacBooks also feature a SandForce SATA-III controller chip (stamped with Toshiba markings, as noted by iFixIt). The SSD is still removable so you'll be able to upgrade the drive once third-party components become available. OWC tells me that "as the first aftermarket manufacturer of SSDs for the MacBook Airs you can bet we're going to move as fast as we can on this."

2012 MagSafe Connector - Jason O'Grady

Another change in both the mid-2012 MacBook Pro and MacBook Air is the presence of a re-designed MagSafe 2 connector. This time Apple changed more than the shape of the head, the MagSafe 2 connector is larger than the original making it incompatible with all MagSafe adapters from previous MacBooks including the one on the end of Apple's 27-inch LED and Thunderbolt displays. The connector housing (with the dual status LEDs) is now aluminum in the MagSafe 2 as opposed to the white plastic used in MagSafe adapters to date.

An Apple retail rep told me that the change was made to the MagSafe to "make it sturdier" and so that it would "charge faster" although this is doubtful considering that both the old and new MacBook Air's ship with a 45W power supply according to the tech specs.

magsafe-to-magsafe-2-converter- jason o'grady

If you're planning to purchase a new MacBook Pro or Air you might consider purchasing a few extra MagSafe 2 adapters (45W/MBA or 85W/MBP, $79) for your desk, couch, bed, bag - whatever. A less expensive options is Apple's new MagSafe to MagSafe 2 adapter ($9.99, Apple Store) that converts the older/narrow-style MagSafe charger to the newer/wider MagSafe 2 connector found on the mid-2012 hardware.

Topic: Storage

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  • Availability

    But when will it be in stores!!?
    • Availability

      The Airs are in stores (and online) now, the Pros are listed as 2-3 weeks out, although a few people got in on the first batch
      Jason D. O'Grady
  • And still

    Over priced for what you get from them.
    • They

      always will be overpriced. Deal with it!
    • It's comparitive

      and the MBA is priced competitively with the Ultrabook market.
      Michael Alan Goff
    • Much like...

      your opinions.

      Or mine.
    • Would you like some cheese

      to go with your whine? I'm not certain that Wisconsin makes enough to last you, though.

      We all know you think Apples are overpriced. We don't need to hear it every single week. You don't like the cost - buy something else. Of course that is what you tell us you do anyway.

      Seriously though, the whiny cry baby repetition isn't getting old, it IS old.

      Use what works for you. I do and that includes Macs, Windows, and Linux machines on hardware from Apple and Dell.
  • Larger surface area?

    Magsafe2 differences: middle pin the same as the others, aluminium casing, larger surface for stronger magnetic attraction, and maybe the pins are more highly sprung.
    This could increase the current flow a little due to a better connection and it's sturdier.
    So apart the size difference, the new magsafe is an improvement.
    The reasons for the change are in the details in design, which blog articles and commentators don't care about.
  • As long as they continue to sell

    One with the needed Optical drive, I'm okay with it. I would love the new super high res display, but I need an optical drive, for those times, I need to make a photo DVD, or I'm bored while away from home.
    Jumpin Jack Flash
    • Only times I use the DVD drive in my early 2008 MBP

      are when I'm ripping a DVD (DVD playback kills battery life), playing a game that requires the DVD, or burning a disc. Considering how often I do these things (pretty much never) on that machine, it's not really an issue for me.

      Besides, if you really need DVD burning, you can always get an external burner for around $40 if you look around.
  • MagSafe 2 connector redesign

    The "mid-2012" MacBook Air & Retina-Displaymodels are the ONLY models to employ the redesigned MagSafe 2 connector. I had to order Apple's $9.99 MagSafe to MagSafe 2 Converters (MD504ZM/A) from the online Apple Store for my "legacy" power bricks because both Amazon & my nearest (Natick, MA) Apple retail store were out of 'em.

    Remains to be seen how well that kludge will "play together" with USB cables or flash drives in the adjacent port. if needed, Mediabridge offers a sturdy 6" USB M/F extender which should eliminate most such conflicts...