or Connect
AppleInsider › Forums › Mac Hardware › Current Mac Hardware › Performance variation found in SSDs shipping with new MacBook Airs
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

Performance variation found in SSDs shipping with new MacBook Airs

post #1 of 42
Thread Starter 
Apple last week refreshed its popular line of MacBook Airs, offering 128GB SSDs on both an 11- and 13-inch model, but a recent discovery reveals that not all SSDs perform equally.

TLD Today benchmarked the 128GB SSDs shipping on both the 11- and 13-inch models and discovered a discrepancy in the performance of the flash drive speeds.

The 128GB Samsung SM128C SSD in the 11-inch MacBook Air achieved 246 MB/s write and 264 MB/s read speeds while the 128GB Toshiba TS128C SSD in the 13-inch model was only able to achieve speeds of 156 MB/s and 208 MB/s, respectively.

Engadget followed up with a similar series of its own tests and was able to verify the discrepancy.

“During our tests, the 256GB Samsung drive in our older [MacBook Air] model achieved 214 MB/s write and 251 MB/s read speeds, while the 128GB Toshiba drive in the new MacBook Air scored 184 MB/s and 203 MB/s during write and read tests, respectively,” the publication said.

Users can check which drive is installed in their MacBook Air by clicking on "About This Mac" in the menu bar and going to More Info -> System Report, and finally, clicking on Serial ATA.


Despite the seemingly significant drop in speed, the impact is likely to be negligible in day-to-day usage. The discovery, however, remains interesting and may suggest that Apple is using Samsung parts to supply the manufacturing lines for the high-end 11-inch MacBook Airs and Toshiba parts for the low-end 13-inch model.

The entry level MacBook Air comes with a 64GB SSD while the high-end 13-inch offers a 256GB SSD as standard.

Readers are encouraged to report their own findings in comments.
post #2 of 42
During the few weeks I spent researching SSD's before I bought my 256 GB Crucial C300, I found that the speed of the drive increased with the size with all manufacturers. At first I was only going to buy a 120-128 GB drive but when I saw how much faster the 240-256 GB drives were in real world use I couldn't resist going with a 256 GB model.

It's been a while since I read into it, but it has something to do with the way the actual chips are made. There's an actual physical limititation keeping 64 GB drives from being anywhere close to as fast as their 256 GB older brothers.

I thought this was common knowledge among semi-educated SSD consumers?
post #3 of 42
funny....but good [for me].i have a Sammy in my (not too) low end 13".....and Its flying too!
http://www.flickr.com/photos/allanmichael/
iPhone 4S, iPad 3 WiFi, 80gb ipod,5G nano, 3G shuffle, 4 shuffles, '11 MBA 13", macmini 2.26, iMac QC i5 27"
Reply
http://www.flickr.com/photos/allanmichael/
iPhone 4S, iPad 3 WiFi, 80gb ipod,5G nano, 3G shuffle, 4 shuffles, '11 MBA 13", macmini 2.26, iMac QC i5 27"
Reply
post #4 of 42
I suppose there might be differences since one company may be trying to get around their competitor's patents and still offer a similar product.

Proud AAPL stock owner.

 

GOA

Reply

Proud AAPL stock owner.

 

GOA

Reply
post #5 of 42
Ignorance of SSD Technology causes bad articles to be written.
post #6 of 42
Quote:
Originally Posted by utahnguy View Post

During the few weeks I spent researching SSD's before I bought my 256 GB Crucial C300, I found that the speed of the drive increased with the size with all manufacturers. At first I was only going to buy a 120-128 GB drive but when I saw how much faster the 240-256 GB drives were in real world use I couldn't resist going with a 256 GB model.

It's been a while since I read into it, but it has something to do with the way the actual chips are made. There's an actual physical limititation keeping 64 GB drives from being anywhere close to as fast as their 256 GB older brothers.

I thought this was common knowledge among semi-educated SSD consumers?

Another possibility is that since the larger SSDs have more free space, they can run longer before write performance starts to decline from having to overwrite data.
post #7 of 42
Quote:
Originally Posted by utahnguy View Post

During the few weeks I spent researching SSD's before I bought my 256 GB Crucial C300, I found that the speed of the drive increased with the size with all manufacturers. At first I was only going to buy a 120-128 GB drive but when I saw how much faster the 240-256 GB drives were in real world use I couldn't resist going with a 256 GB model.

It's been a while since I read into it, but it has something to do with the way the actual chips are made. There's an actual physical limititation keeping 64 GB drives from being anywhere close to as fast as their 256 GB older brothers.

I thought this was common knowledge among semi-educated SSD consumers?

If it's an extra bank of chips added, I can see different sizes being very different speeds, even if the chip speeds are the same. To be honest, I don't know how SSD controllers are built, the "banks" idea is just speculation.

However, the article is also saying that different brands of drives of the same size have very different speeds. That shouldn't be a surprise either, but it's the luck of the draw as to which you get, it's kind of a weird lottery.

Quote:
Originally Posted by mdriftmeyer View Post

Ignorance of SSD Technology causes bad articles to be written.

Probably true, can you please elaborate on specific errors?
post #8 of 42
I too have a entry level 2011 13" Macbook Air and have the Samsung SSD. I was getting about 265MB of read when I ran DiskSpeedTest
post #9 of 42
Quote:
Originally Posted by utahnguy View Post

During the few weeks I spent researching SSD's before I bought my 256 GB Crucial C300, I found that the speed of the drive increased with the size with all manufacturers. At first I was only going to buy a 120-128 GB drive but when I saw how much faster the 240-256 GB drives were in real world use I couldn't resist going with a 256 GB model.

It's been a while since I read into it, but it has something to do with the way the actual chips are made. There's an actual physical limititation keeping 64 GB drives from being anywhere close to as fast as their 256 GB older brothers.

It is fairly well known. Anand has an excellent bit of info on the subject in his review of the Vertex 3 240GB, in referencing the poorer performance of the 120GB version:
http://www.anandtech.com/show/4316/o...3-240gb-review

For the TLDR; crowd, basically you're increasing the channels that can be written to, as data is written concurrently across dies.
post #10 of 42
I couldn't bear reading people's attempt to explain the speed differences without necessary SSD knowledge. I had to create an account just to post my 2 cents on the topic.

This is what I know about SSDs:
1) Larger capacity SSDs typically have shown faster read/write speeds. This is because larger SSDs use larger GB per chip in its constructions. This gap used to be something like 20-50% difference per storage size level (64GB vs 128GB vs 256GB). Anything larger than 256GB used to double stack smaller RAM chipsets to achieve size, but have similar performance as the 128GB or 256GB counterparts. Newer generation SSDs have shown a smaller performance gap between capacity sizes.
2) SSD speed is greatly influenced by the SSD controller and chipset construction. Samsung has 22nm chips and are more efficient and faster than the industry's normal 32nm construction --Toshiba?). However, SSD chipset controllers can make a significant difference for the same chipset construction---a difference large enough to explain 280MB/s vs. 180MB/s (see OCZ's Vertex 2's 280MB/s vs. Vertex 3's 550MB/s using the SanForce SF2200!). Variation in performance among manufacturers are evident in the SSD world.
3) Use ATTO or HD Tune Pro (both are Windows programs, but it's the standard benchmark tools for PCs to test SSD speeds) to see if the speed difference is a random issue or a fundamental one.
4) I own a Vertex 3 SSD, had had SSDs with 60MB/s, 150MB/s, 180MB/s, 285MB/s, 550MB/s and 700MB/s (Revodrive x2) experience and the OS experience is marginal after 200MB/s speeds. The sweet spot for the industry for price to speed right now is the 128GB doing mid to upper 2XXMB/s. Anything above this is like buying a Ferrari instead of a normal sports car (BMW M3, let's say).

I would not be happy to know that the speed difference is a 50% difference. I would be interested to see how fast the difference is between the 64GB and 128GB SSDs on the MBA 11" MBA as well as the 128GB vs. 256GB on the MBA 13".
post #11 of 42
Quote:
Originally Posted by mdriftmeyer View Post

Ignorance of SSD Technology causes bad articles to be written.

So enlighten us.
post #12 of 42
Be interesting to note how they fair against the model they just replaced. Sadly, my top speck 11" has no mention of a manufacturer other than "Apple SSD".
post #13 of 42
Completely specced out (Core i7) with a Samsung too:
ModeltAPPLE SSD SM256C

No issues thus far.
post #14 of 42
This is a non story. All SSD's with more capacity have faster speeds. Look at any SSD benchmark from anandtech.

If they would compare apples to apples and benchmark the same size drive against each other I'm sure the speeds would be much more similar and less likely to be noticeable in day to day use.
post #15 of 42
Quote:
Originally Posted by MacSuperiority View Post

If they would compare apples to apples and benchmark the same size drive against each other I'm sure the speeds would be much more similar and less likely to be noticeable in day to day use.

They did:

"The 128GB Samsung SM128C SSD in the 11-inch MacBook Air achieved 246 MB/s write and 264 MB/s read speeds while the 128GB Toshiba TS128C SSD in the 13-inch model was only able to achieve speeds of 156 MB/s and 208 MB/s, respectively."

Seems like a pretty wide margin to me.
post #16 of 42
The speed difference could be due to the manufacturer's SSD set up (memory chipset + controller type). The real-life performance difference is marginal (1 second load time now 1.2 sec). The only reason why this finding is stirring up people is because for the same price paid for the 128GB SSD, you get a difference performance output.
post #17 of 42
Quote:
Originally Posted by JeffDM View Post

They did:

"The 128GB Samsung SM128C SSD in the 11-inch MacBook Air achieved 246 MB/s write and 264 MB/s read speeds while the 128GB Toshiba TS128C SSD in the 13-inch model was only able to achieve speeds of 156 MB/s and 208 MB/s, respectively."

Seems like a pretty wide margin to me.

Not in the engadget article they quoted.
post #18 of 42
Quote:
Originally Posted by MacSuperiority View Post

Not in the engadget article they quoted.

I went to the Engadget article in question to see what you mean, still not seeing your objection:

"The 128GB Samsung SSD in his 11-inch Air was able to achieve 246 MB/s write and 264 MB/s read speeds. When he switched to the 13-inch model, however, speeds dropped to 156 MB/s and 208 MB/s, respectively, using that notebook's 128GB Toshiba SSD"

Same size, very different speeds.
post #19 of 42
I hope ur items gets stolen. Stop posting ur scam here...

(deleted spam quote)
post #20 of 42
Some details are nicer not to know

Luckily theres no such thing as a slow Air drive, and Ill never notice the difference.

Even luckier: I just ordered the 128 in an 11-incher!
post #21 of 42
Pretty interesting thread at MR where 2011 MBA owners are comparing what memory (and display) came with various models here: MacRumors.com - 2011 Mba Owners, share your ssd model and display model here

   Apple develops an improved programming language.  Google copied Java.  Everything you need to know, right there.

 

  MA497LL/A FB463LL/A MC572LL/A FC060LL/A MD481LL/A MD388LL/A ME344LL/A

Reply

   Apple develops an improved programming language.  Google copied Java.  Everything you need to know, right there.

 

  MA497LL/A FB463LL/A MC572LL/A FC060LL/A MD481LL/A MD388LL/A ME344LL/A

Reply
post #22 of 42
Quote:
Originally Posted by JeffDM View Post

I went to the Engadget article in question to see what you mean, still not seeing your objection:

"The 128GB Samsung SSD in his 11-inch Air was able to achieve 246 MB/s write and 264 MB/s read speeds. When he switched to the 13-inch model, however, speeds dropped to 156 MB/s and 208 MB/s, respectively, using that notebook's 128GB Toshiba SSD"

Same size, very different speeds.

Quote:
During our tests, the 256GB Samsung drive in our older [MacBook Air] model achieved 214 MB/s write and 251 MB/s read speeds, while the 128GB Toshiba drive in the new MacBook Air scored 184 MB/s and 203 MB/s during write and read tests, respectively, the publication said.

Its right there in plain sight.
post #23 of 42
This might have something to do with the Apple lawsuit with Samsung so they needed a second supplier Toshiba as a stop gap measure?

I bought the new Mac Mini i7 dual core w/ a 256 GB SSD that should arrive this Wednesday. If I get the slower Toshiba SSD drive then I am just going to upgrade it with a fast one from OWC.

http://blog.macsales.com/11248-2011-...th-owc-6g-ssds

Marcus
post #24 of 42
If I were buying a new MBA I would make sure i received one with a Samsung drive. That performance difference is too much for me to ignore. If that meant opening the MBA and returning it immediately so be it.


Quote:
Originally Posted by MacSuperiority View Post

Its right there in plain sight.

Speaking of being "right there in plain sight"...

What you're quoting is the additional testing to see how the new MBAs compared to the old MBAs they've recently deprecated. It's not the focus of the article, which is the Samsung and Toshiba SSD cards in the new MBAs have a very wide performance margin for the same capacity drive.
Dick Applebaum on whether the iPad is a personal computer: "BTW, I am posting this from my iPad pc while sitting on the throne... personal enough for you?"
Reply
Dick Applebaum on whether the iPad is a personal computer: "BTW, I am posting this from my iPad pc while sitting on the throne... personal enough for you?"
Reply
post #25 of 42
Quote:
Originally Posted by solipsism View Post

If I were buying a new MBA I would make sure i received one with a Samsung drive. That performance difference is too much for me to ignore. If that meant opening the MBA and returning it immediately so be it.

I ordered my MBA and hope to have it by the end of this week. That's the first thing I'm going to check when I receive it. I'm not going to sell my late-2010 MBA until I know the new one fits the ticket!
post #26 of 42
I have the 128GB 13" 2011 MBA. Samsung ssd here, nice and speedy!
post #27 of 42
Quote:
Originally Posted by sflocal View Post

I ordered my MBA and hope to have it by the end of this week. That's the first thing I'm going to check when I receive it.

Likewise, me.
post #28 of 42
Samsung makes crappy components.

"Like I said before, share price will dip into the $400."  - 11/21/12 by Galbi

Reply

"Like I said before, share price will dip into the $400."  - 11/21/12 by Galbi

Reply
post #29 of 42
Yes, me too. Going to order soon. But I bet I will get a Samsung SSD.
post #30 of 42
Yes Samsung are so well known for making "crappy components". What a ridiculous statement

For those that can't read the Samsung SSD outperforms the Toshiba
post #31 of 42
It was always luck of the draw with hard drives, whether you got a noisy one or a quiet one. The more things change, the more they stay the same.
post #32 of 42
Quote:
Originally Posted by ascii View Post

It was always luck of the draw with hard drives, whether you got a noisy one or a quiet one. The more things change, the more they stay the same.

That's generally been the case with Apple, and most every manufacturer of computers. For the most part hard drives were fairly similar in performance across the lines, and few people noticed the speed. Here, synthetic testing makes it quite obvious.

The only exception to the rule is with Time Capsule. In those, you always get "server grade" hard drives .

Phil
post #33 of 42
Well, I guess that kills that rumor of faster SSD's in the new Air.
post #34 of 42
Quote:
Originally Posted by tipoo View Post

Well, I guess that kills that rumor of faster SSD's in the new Air.

There are faster SSDs in the MBA. There are also slower SSDs in the MBA.
Dick Applebaum on whether the iPad is a personal computer: "BTW, I am posting this from my iPad pc while sitting on the throne... personal enough for you?"
Reply
Dick Applebaum on whether the iPad is a personal computer: "BTW, I am posting this from my iPad pc while sitting on the throne... personal enough for you?"
Reply
post #35 of 42
Quote:
Originally Posted by solipsism View Post

There are faster SSDs in the MBA. There are also slower SSDs in the MBA.

That exactly the concern, though it's still an open question as to how much it impacts user time. It would be more interesting to know the speed from cold boot, and maybe open a handful of stock apps on boot.
post #36 of 42
Quote:
Originally Posted by JeffDM View Post

That exactly the concern, though it's still an open question as to how much it impacts user time. It would be more interesting to know the speed from cold boot, and maybe open a handful of stock apps on boot.

1) As a user, I wouldn't settle for the Toshiba SSD because, as a user, if I were buying a the machine secondhand I'd specifically look for one with the Samsung SSD and, as a seller, I'd specifically note that it has the faster, Samsung SSD. I don't expect most buyers to care, though those that read and post on this forum would certainly skew those figures if we were to do a poll.

2) Even though those are synthetic tests they are much more accurate to overall performance than the synthetic tests of CPU and GPU performance since it's a much simpler reading and writing to disk. I may be wrong, but experience tells me that the Samsung drives are considerably faster in the real world. That said, seeing the real world impact would be nice.
Dick Applebaum on whether the iPad is a personal computer: "BTW, I am posting this from my iPad pc while sitting on the throne... personal enough for you?"
Reply
Dick Applebaum on whether the iPad is a personal computer: "BTW, I am posting this from my iPad pc while sitting on the throne... personal enough for you?"
Reply
post #37 of 42
Quote:
Originally Posted by ascii View Post

It was always luck of the draw with hard drives, whether you got a noisy one or a quiet one. The more things change, the more they stay the same.

If you buy an SSD, it's ALWAYS quiet, guaranteed.
post #38 of 42
Quote:
Originally Posted by gotfrank View Post

If you buy an SSD, it's ALWAYS quiet, guaranteed.

Yes, but I don't think that was ascii's point. Just saying that you get a luck of the draw in some form or another with drives with platter drives or SSDs. Now, it looks like performance might be a luck of the draw, because you don't know what brand and model drive you'll get, mainly because the spec you order is just size and drive type.
post #39 of 42
This x10.

Quote:
Originally Posted by gotfrank View Post

I couldn't bear reading people's attempt to explain the speed differences without necessary SSD knowledge. I had to create an account just to post my 2 cents on the topic.

This is what I know about SSDs:
1) Larger capacity SSDs typically have shown faster read/write speeds. This is because larger SSDs use larger GB per chip in its constructions. This gap used to be something like 20-50% difference per storage size level (64GB vs 128GB vs 256GB). Anything larger than 256GB used to double stack smaller RAM chipsets to achieve size, but have similar performance as the 128GB or 256GB counterparts. Newer generation SSDs have shown a smaller performance gap between capacity sizes.
2) SSD speed is greatly influenced by the SSD controller and chipset construction. Samsung has 22nm chips and are more efficient and faster than the industry's normal 32nm construction --Toshiba?). However, SSD chipset controllers can make a significant difference for the same chipset construction---a difference large enough to explain 280MB/s vs. 180MB/s (see OCZ's Vertex 2's 280MB/s vs. Vertex 3's 550MB/s using the SanForce SF2200!). Variation in performance among manufacturers are evident in the SSD world.
3) Use ATTO or HD Tune Pro (both are Windows programs, but it's the standard benchmark tools for PCs to test SSD speeds) to see if the speed difference is a random issue or a fundamental one.
4) I own a Vertex 3 SSD, had had SSDs with 60MB/s, 150MB/s, 180MB/s, 285MB/s, 550MB/s and 700MB/s (Revodrive x2) experience and the OS experience is marginal after 200MB/s speeds. The sweet spot for the industry for price to speed right now is the 128GB doing mid to upper 2XXMB/s. Anything above this is like buying a Ferrari instead of a normal sports car (BMW M3, let's say).

I would not be happy to know that the speed difference is a 50% difference. I would be interested to see how fast the difference is between the 64GB and 128GB SSDs on the MBA 11" MBA as well as the 128GB vs. 256GB on the MBA 13".

2011 13" Core i5 Macbook Pro | Intel 520 SSD | 8GB Corsair DDR3 1333 | OSX 10.7
iPhone 4S - AT&T

iPad 3 Wi-Fi

Reply

2011 13" Core i5 Macbook Pro | Intel 520 SSD | 8GB Corsair DDR3 1333 | OSX 10.7
iPhone 4S - AT&T

iPad 3 Wi-Fi

Reply
post #40 of 42
Quote:
Originally Posted by solipsism View Post

There are faster SSDs in the MBA. There are also slower SSDs in the MBA.

Heh, true, I meant the rumored 400MB/s drive though.
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: Current Mac Hardware
AppleInsider › Forums › Mac Hardware › Current Mac Hardware › Performance variation found in SSDs shipping with new MacBook Airs