MacBook Air storage: Not a DIMM

MacBook Air storage: Not a DIMM

Summary: The new MacBook Air comes with storage from 64GB to 256GB, depending on the model. However, this storage looks nothing like the traditional slim line drive module that apes the hard drive footprint. Since it looks like a memory module, some are calling this flash storage module a DIMM. Not!

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TOPICS: Storage, Apple, Hardware
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The new MacBook Air comes with storage from 64GB to 256GB, depending on the model. However, this storage looks nothing like the traditional slim line drive module that apes the hard drive footprint. Since it looks like a memory module, some are calling this flash storage module a DIMM. Not!

In Jason O'Grady's recent post on the iFixIt teardown of the new Air, there was ambiguity on the storage – "a very slim and unusual form factor (for a hard drive)" – as well of its connector.

It’s attached to the logic board with what appears to be a new mini-SATA (mSATA) connector, which brings hope to super-slim-laptop-hackers all across the globe. This may enable some crafty tinkerers to rig a larger drive inside the Air, provided they can fit everything within the tight confines of the .68″ thick case.

Yes, it is an mSATA connetor. You can see the form factors more clearly in this Trusted Review article on the mSATA standard.

mSATA is physically identical to the familiar PCIe mini-card and its connector. The SATA signals are mapped to the new PHY.

According to the storage gurus on a list that I read, more about mSATA will be found in the upcoming SATA Specification Revision 3.1, currently in member review, which is slated for release in December.

Topics: Storage, Apple, Hardware

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5 comments
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  • Someone pass this to Robin,

    He was going on how this was going to spell the end for SATA.
    Snooki_smoosh_smoosh
    • RE: MacBook Air storage: Not a DIMM

      @Snooki_smoosh_smoosh

      Robin can be a very fringe blogger - sometimes it seems like he's oblivious to the wider marketplace. I can see him ranting in 1985 about how superior Beta was in comparison to VHS, yet blind to the reality around him.
      croberts
    • Well, that was before the tear-down. In any case, we will be moving to the

      flash soldered directly to the motherboard. The SATA interface just slows things down and adds cost. Apple is focused like a laser beam on getting costs down and maintaining margins. The SATA interface will go eventually.
      DonnieBoy
      • Direct Solder? Doubt it

        @DonnieBoy - That would further hinder the MBAs adoption. How long before we see 1TB Flash drives? Who knows, but you can guarantee that users will want to drop in larger drives...
        mattmuir
  • Definitey not mSATA

    This definitely isn't an mSATA SSD. The connector is way too small and has way too few pins. It's something new an proprietary. See my blog post on the topic: http://blog.fosketts.net/2010/10/22/apples-unconventional-macbook-air-ssd/
    sfoskett