Not All New MacBook Air Models Created Equal: SSD Performance

We’ve had a lot of positive things to say about the new Apple MacBook Air for 2011 that was announced last week and along with specs and pricing also gave you a review roundup where most of the opinions was pretty glowing. However, we hear some rather disquieting news today that not all new MacBook Air 2011 models have been created equal and that they in fact have varying SSD’s.

Although this is not likely to make a huge amount of difference in your daily use it does seem somewhat odd that some of the new Airs have different solid state drives to others and if you’re one of the consumers with the lesser SSD performance you might have some reason to feel a little aggrieved. Zach Honig over on Engadget tells how TLD Today revealed in a YouTube video (which you can see below this story) that some new MacBook Airs performed slower than others.

Of course with configurations you can order different SSD capacities for your MacBook Air and different models of Air have different SSD’s but it now seems that the same capacity SSD’s can now give different performances. Jonathan of TLD noted when performing benchmark tests on the new MacBook Airs that the 128GB SSD used in the new 11-inch Air achieved speeds of 246 MB/s write and 264 MB/s read speeds. When doing the same tests on a new 13-inch Air also with a 128GB SSD though, these speeds fell to 156 MB/s write and 208 MB/s read. So what was the difference? The 11-inch Air contained a Samsung 128GB SSD and the 13-inch model had a Toshiba 128GB SSD.

Following this Engadget decided to perform its own tests and verified TLD’s discovery. Apple Insider also reports on these findings and points out that if you want to check which manufacturers SSD you have in your new MacBook Air head to ‘About this Mac’ in the menu bar, select ‘More Info->System Report’ and then click on ‘Serial ETA.’ You’ll then be able to see if you have faster Samsung flash drive or the slower Toshiba one. Apple Insider deduces that it looks as though Apple is using Samsung SSD’s for the high-end 11-inch Air and Toshiba SSD’s for the low-end 13-inch Air. The base 11-inch Air has a 64GB SSD as standard while the high-end 13-inch Air comes with a 256GB SSD.

As we noted at the beginning of this article Apple Insider points out that the different SSD’s are likely to have a negligible impact on normal use but that it is rather intriguing nonetheless. You may also be interested in our recent teardown look of the new 13-inch MacBook Air in which we were satisfied to see that the SSD’s are upgradable. Let us know your thoughts on the differing SSD’s in the new MacBook Airs by sending us your comments.

  • Chang Noi

    With the serial#, the model# and the type# you can probably see on the box what is inside?