Teardown Reveals New 13-Inch MacBook Air SSD is Nearly Twice as Fast as SSD in New 11-Inch MacBook Air

Apple on Monday refreshed its MacBook Air lineup, adding Broadwell chips and Intel 6000 graphics. Both models received the same processor updates, but the 13-inch MacBook Air got an extra boost -- new PCIe-based flash storage that Apple says is "up to two times faster" than the flash storage used in the previous generation MacBook Air. The 11-inch MacBook Air did not receive the same flash storage update.

iFixit decided to test Apple's "two times faster" claim by comparing SSD speeds between a new 11-inch MacBook Air and a new 13-inch MacBook Air, with results that suggest the SSD in the 13-inch MacBook Air is indeed nearly twice as fast as the SSD in the MacBook Air.

Average write speeds for the 11-inch MacBook Air using Black Magic's Disk Speed Test were 315MB/s, while average read speeds were 668MB/s. The 13-inch MacBook Air saw average write speeds of 629.9MB/s and average read speeds of 1285.4MB/s.

flashstorage13inchmacbookair
An iFixit teardown of the 13-inch MacBook Air conducted this morning suggests the notebook is using Samsung flash memory with a Samsung controller. A teardown of the 11-inch MacBook Air, which does not feature the faster flash storage, was equipped with SanDisk flash memory and a Marvell controller. In comparison to the Samsung flash storage used in the previous-generation 13-inch MacBook Air, iFixit said "it's definitely an update."

The new 13-inch MacBook Air is available from Apple's online and retail stores with prices that start at $999. The higher-end $1,199 model can be configured with up to 512GB of flash storage.

Related Roundup: MacBook Air
Tag: iFixit
Buyer's Guide: MacBook Air (Neutral)

Top Rated Comments

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74 months ago
I do love the irony that the main benefit of this new model results from using more Samsung parts.
Score: 31 Votes (Like | Disagree)
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74 months ago
Swap successful

We took the SSD out of our 13" unit, put it in the 11" Air, and benchmarked it.

It worked great! The 11" was just as fast as the stock 13". Perhaps Apple will add this as a build-to-order option. Or you could just swap it out yourself later if you really want the 11" now.

Kyle
iFixit
Score: 24 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
74 months ago

iFixIt has consistently put down any and all Mac products because they don't like the reliability and claim they can't fix or replace everything they used to be able to. Luddites.

i guess its no big deal for those people who just throw things away when the break and buy a new one. "green" indeed. Do you trade in your car when you get a flat? Sell your home when the AC breaks?
Score: 10 Votes (Like | Disagree)
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74 months ago
That's impressive, but not impressive enough to make me wanna buy it.
Score: 10 Votes (Like | Disagree)
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74 months ago

I can personally speak to this. Once I buy a mac I typically keep it for 5-6 years and only upgrade because the new OS doesn't support the old hardware. My macs run strong until the end. With windows pc's they last only a year or so depending how much you spend.

Are you being serious with that last statement? There are plenty of Windows computers that can and do run strong for years.
Score: 9 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
74 months ago

I just bought a 2014 model back in June. Why does it always seem like the major advancments come soon after you make your purchase?

Were you unconscious for 8 months? June (aka "Soon") was 9 months ago. Just look at the complaining when Apple _doesn't_ update their machines for extended periods. The Mac Pro is a good example.
Score: 9 Votes (Like | Disagree)

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