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Apple Still Using SSDs With Varying Speeds on New MacBook Air

Several months ago, we noted that Apple appeared to be using two different suppliers, Samsung and Toshiba, for the solid-state drives (SSDs) on its MacBook Air models. Notably, the Samsung SSDs registered significantly faster read and write speeds than the Toshiba SSDs. User reports indicated that Apple was indeed using both suppliers simultaneously, rather making it a luck of the draw as to which SSD a user received in a given machine.

Engadget now points to a new video produced by TLD Today indicating that Apple is continuing to employ this dual-supplier strategy for SSDs in the new MacBook Air, with the Samsung SSDs continuing to provide substantially better performance than the Toshiba drives.
Jonathan over at TLD discovered a fairly significant discrepancy when benchmarking both MacBook Air models over the weekend. 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.
The report indicates that users are unlikely to notice any difference in day-to-day usage between machines running the drives, although the substantial performance difference does suggest that it may be noticeable for certain high-intensity tasks.

Related roundup: MacBook Air

Top Rated Comments

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40 months ago
Go to the Apple store, tell them you want to buy a Macbook Air, but you only want one with the Samsung SSD. Have them try it out in the store before you buy to make sure.

If enough people do that, Apple will start to get the idea that it matters.
Rating: 37 Votes
40 months ago
This has been discussed ad nauseum on the MacBook Air message boards already. The bottom line is that for most people, this isn't an issue. Apple didn't advertise the higher speeds of the Samsung drive in any of its promotional materials. The Toshiba drives still deliver good performance, and for day-to-day tasks most people aren't going to notice one bit of difference at all. This is no different from a car manufacturer who uses two brands of tires on the production line. It happens all the time. Are we going to look into whether there are different manufacturers of the Bluetooth chipset or backlighting hardware next?

Besides, some benchmarks are showing the Toshiba faster at some tasks:
Rating: 23 Votes
40 months ago
For a component that has a huge impact on performance, this is quite the dick move on Apple's part.
Rating: 12 Votes
40 months ago
And for all we know, the Samsung ones might die in 2 years while the Toshiba ones last 10.
Rating: 12 Votes
40 months ago
Some MacBook Airs Are Slower Than Others ... Hope, Morrissey includes this in the set on his current tour!
Rating: 10 Votes
40 months ago
Or just swap it out for a better OWC one :cool:
Rating: 9 Votes
40 months ago
Paranoia is about to set in with any Air Toshiba users.
Rating: 9 Votes
40 months ago
While this situation is not ideal, I very much doubt anyone would be able to notice the real world difference between the Toshiba and Samsung SSDs. That Blackmagic tool only tests large sequential transfers and not the smaller random ones that affect system responsiveness.

If people bothered to check, you'll find similar variances in the HDDs Apple have traditionally used.
Rating: 9 Votes
40 months ago
So for the same price
And a roll of the dice
You buy a Mac
Which ain't as nice

You walk out
And you read the news
You take it back
But they refuse

I think I'll keep my day job.....;)
Rating: 9 Votes
40 months ago

well, looks like i am one of the unlucky ones who received a toshiba drive in their 13" air. awesome. even if i return it, is there a way to guarantee that the next box they hand me has a samsung drive in it?


Since there is no advertised SSD speed on Apple's web site (or on the box it comes in) what is the lame part?

The question is, would you notice or care if you didn't read an article about it? If the answer is no, then there's nothing lame about it.

So a few people get faster drives. So what? It doesn't affect you.
Rating: 7 Votes

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