Among the extras for a MacBook Air is a 64 GB solid-state drive (SSD), a hard drive not made of spinning platters — for a cool $999...

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Among the extras for a MacBook Air is a 64 GB solid-state drive (SSD), a hard drive not made of spinning platters — for a cool $999 extra. SSDs are just starting to appear as a limited option for laptops, and their benefits aren’t yet well-characterized.

In a briefing at Macworld Expo, I was unable to get a product manager to provide any compelling reason to buy an SSD. While I didn’t test an Air with an SSD, the Ars Technica site just ran one through its paces using a base model Air that costs $3,098 with the SSD (arstechnica.com/reviews/hardware/macbook-air-ssd-review.ars).

It found no substantive improvement in performance, beyond a bump in the processor speed in the model it reviewed, and no extension of battery life. Boot time was much faster. It’s puzzling why this option was offered.

— Glenn Fleishman