Unveiling the inner world of a MacBook Air

A couple of days ago, my little laptop started ticking. Not in a good way. To be more specific, it's hard drive started ticking. And clacking. For anyone who has ever been in the sad position of experiencing this, it means that your drive is about to fail.

Unfortunately, my laptop ( first gen Macbook Air, or A1237 ) uses a custom PATA interface (basically a ZIF socket for both power and data), which greatly narrows down your options for a replacement drive. 

I ended up buying a Kingspec SSD drive from ebay. It took its sweet time to get to where I am from Hong Kong ( about 12 days which I'm told is considered fast ). The photos above are from the actual replacement, when I opened the laptop up. Took me by surprise how wonderfully thought out everything is in there -- and how tiny the connectors are. 

I followed the steps in the Hard drive replacement manual on iFixit which proved to be an excellent guide. Only thing was that i didn't have a spludger tool, and had to sub with the iPhone SIM tray extractor pin ( or however you want to call the thingamabob that helps you get the SIM tray out ).

Some tips if you ever want to try it yourself:

  • Read through the guide first. More specifically, since the guide specifies you'll have about 7 different kinds of screws (I don't trust screws from different steps with the same size to be actually the same), find 7 small containers and keep them labelled. Helps a ton when putting it back together!
  • The battery connector is so hard to move! It is strudy enough though, so don't be gentle. Just keep of the actual wires.
  • The audio connector is TINY! Notice the clips and don't just pull on it when disconnecting
  • The replacement drive can use the rubber enclosure of the original drive, even if it doesn't fit 100% (it was a bit loose on mine)
  • You CAN replace the decorative screw cap if you orient it properly. It will be tedious though, and rerouting the microphone cable WILL displace it unless you are very dexterous.


It really feels like having a new machine, everything (other than the actual boot up though) is SO much faster!