Faster Samsung flash memory SSD drives appear in Apple's new MacBook Airs

Posted:
in Current Mac Hardware edited January 2014
Apple has quietly upgraded some recent MacBook Air orders with Samsung solid-state flash memory drives, offering even faster read and write times.



Some MacBook Air units were discovered by AnandTech to include the SM128C SSD, presumed to be manufactured by Samsung. When the newly redesigned MacBook Air first went on sale last October, units included the Toshiba TS128C flash drive.



The difference between the two drives is noteworthy: Testing shows the Samsung SSD has a read time of 261.1MB per second, compared with 209.8MB/s for the Toshiba drive. Similarly, the Samsung has a superior write time of 209.6MB/s, compared to 175.6MB/s write times with the Toshiba drive.



"There is no absolute confirmation that Samsung manufactures the SM128C, but all indicators point that way," author Kristian Vatto wrote. "Regardless of manufacturer, the SM128C appears noticeably faster in sequential read/write performance. What we can't confirm is how the two models differ in more intense testing, specifically with regards to random read/write performance, TRIM support, etc."



Rather than relying on traditional 2.5-inch or 1.8-inch SSDs, the new MacBook Air drives utilize a new form factor known as mSATA. After the thinner and lighter MacBook Air was unveiled last year, Toshiba announced its Blade X-gale SSD series, the same hardware found in Apple's thin-and-light notebook.







Though Samsung and Apple compete in making notebooks, phones and tablets, Apple is also Samsung's largest customer, with a reported $7.8 billion in purchases planned for 2011. Samsung provides the custom-built processors Apple uses in its mobile devices like the iPhone and iPad, and also provides liquid crystal displays.



Another major component Samsung is responsible for is flash memory, with that partnership forged through a landmark deal in 2005. Flash memory has since become a crucial part of Apple's product line, ranging from the iPhone to the iPad to the new MacBook Air.

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 17
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 23,374member
    The original report I read also indicated there was no was to tell which flash memory module is used in any specific MacBook Air without opening it up.
  • Reply 2 of 17
    Interesting. But the MBA is still lightning quick compared to my HDD based MacBook Pro!
  • Reply 3 of 17
    mstonemstone Posts: 11,510member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Gatorguy View Post


    The original report I read also indicated there was no was to tell which flash memory module is used in any specific MacBook Air without opening it up.



    Maybe you could run some benchmark test to see how fast it is thus confirming which one it is.
  • Reply 4 of 17
    oskiooskio Posts: 60member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by mstone View Post


    Maybe you could run some benchmark test to see how fast it is thus confirming which one it is.



    Pretty sure they were referring to opening up the packaging the MBA comes in. You can't just look at to packaged MBA's and tell by the serial which has the newer drives....not yet.
  • Reply 5 of 17
    When I look in 'About this Mac" on my MBA (delivered March 7) shows Apple SSD SM128C. If this helps?
  • Reply 6 of 17
    tipootipoo Posts: 1,120member
    Thats a sizeable jump, 50/30 improvements are nothing to sneeze at. But like Anandtech said, more testing is needed for random read performance, load performance, garbage collection, etc. If I was buying new though, I'd make sure I got the newer part first.
  • Reply 7 of 17
    blowabsblowabs Posts: 70member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by tipoo View Post


    Thats a sizeable jump, 50/30 improvements are nothing to sneeze at. But like Anandtech said, more testing is needed for random read performance, load performance, garbage collection, etc. If I was buying new though, I'd make sure I got the newer part first.



    Boy, I was gonna buy a refurb soon...but now I'm gonna wait till all the mba's have the Sammy's in them. Probably wont be thruout till the summer/fall....?....
  • Reply 8 of 17
    mhiklmhikl Posts: 471member
    No big notice from Apple is understandable. They don't want to upset recent purchasers of the older sims; and they don't want a rush for exchanges. This is sort of common practice amongst all in the computer field, isn't it?



    I want an Air so badly. This is just more reason to get one. When will my MacBook die on me so I have no choice but to run and buy? Ah, it still has the advantage of larger storage.
  • Reply 9 of 17
    blowabsblowabs Posts: 70member
    I want it so badd too. My 7 year old 12" PB G4 wont die. Now to wait for a refurb - i think it might be awhile to,,,,,,;-[
  • Reply 10 of 17
    smiles77smiles77 Posts: 668member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by swift93 View Post


    When I look in 'About this Mac" on my MBA (delivered March 7) shows Apple SSD SM128C. If this helps?



    TUAW says:

    So, how do you tell which blade SSD your MacBook Air is equipped with? Go to the Apple menu and select About This Mac. Click the More Info button to launch the System Profiler app, and then select Serial-ATA from the Contents source list. If you see Apple SSD SM128C, you have the newer, faster Samsung blade SSD. If you see Apple SSD TS128C, you have the older, slightly slower Toshiba blade SSD.
  • Reply 11 of 17
    herbapouherbapou Posts: 2,227member
    I wonder how companies can buy components from another then sue them on another thing.



    What if Samsung says: Ok we will stop making the A5 chip then. Wont that created a major shortage of ipads depending on how long it takes for Apple to setup another place to make the A5
  • Reply 12 of 17
    smiles77smiles77 Posts: 668member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by herbapou View Post


    I wonder how companies can buy components from another then sue them on another thing.



    What if Samsung says: Ok we will stop making the A5 chip then. Wont that created a major shortage of ipads depending on how long it takes for Apple to setup another place to make the A5



    One word: contracts.
  • Reply 13 of 17
    blowabsblowabs Posts: 70member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by tipoo View Post


    Thats a sizeable jump, 50/30 improvements are nothing to sneeze at. But like Anandtech said, more testing is needed for random read performance, load performance, garbage collection, etc. If I was buying new though, I'd make sure I got the newer part first.



    Boy, I was gonna buy a refurb soon...but now I'm gonna wait till all the mba's have the Sammy's in them. Probably wont be thruout till the summer/fall....?....
  • Reply 14 of 17
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by blowabs View Post


    Boy, I was gonna buy a refurb soon...but now I'm gonna wait till all the mba's have the Sammy's in them. Probably wont be thruout till the summer/fall....?....



    Bought my 13" 1.83 / 128GB CTO in early January and it's a SM128C.
  • Reply 15 of 17
    rtdunhamrtdunham Posts: 428member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by bastula View Post


    Bought my 13" 1.83 / 128GB CTO in early January and it's a SM128C.



    bought my 11" 1.6 GHz 128 GB on 12/8 and it's got the Toshiba SSD.
  • Reply 16 of 17
    rtkanertkane Posts: 29member
    Bought my 13" in the beginning of March and have the Samsung drive. It may be faster on paper, but I don't think I've read anywhere that anyone has seen a difference in real world use, only in tests.
  • Reply 17 of 17
    Bought my 11" in early January, and I have the SM128C



    Benchmarks agree with the findings. Consistently getting ~210 MB/s write and ~260 MB/s read.
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