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Old Jun 23, 2012, 02:50 PM   #1
hypercard
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2012 11" SSD sudden slow down

I got my new 2012 MBA 11" (i5, 128GB TS128E Toshiba SSD, CTO 8GB RAM) on Thursday - wonderful, speedy little machine.

Since I read fantastic things about the SSD speed of this years model I was curious about the speed of mine and one of the first things I did (after a clean install which I always do with new Macs) I tested it with "Blackmagic Disk Speed Test" from the Mac App Store

http://itunes.apple.com/at/app/black...st/id425264550
http://osxdaily.com/2012/06/19/macbo...book-air-2011/
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G63WEcZ7RO8

and - boom - I got indeed the reported 360 MB/s write and 460 read MB/s read speed and was thrilled. But after a few iterations (the disk speed test runs in a loop) the write speed suddenly dropped to 220-260 MB/s and has stayed there ever since.

I clean installed (boot from recovery partition, wiped/repartitioned the disk, reboot/reinstall with internet recovery) the machine twice since (and also did a PRAM and SMC* reset) - the speed test never ever reaches over 300 MB/s in the write test again (read speed stays the same) - I'm frustrated.

Especially since the speed was initially there I've got the impression that there's something "broken".

Funny thing is, the first test with the never again reached write performance - even was on battery power

I haven't called AppleCare yet, but I imagine they wont discuss SSD speeds (measured with 3rd party tools) - since their marketing specs just say "up to twice as fast" as previous years model - but I'll give it a try.


What speed results do you get, fellow 2012 MBA 11" owners?

Any ideas or suggestions other than to return it?




* [Regarding the SMC reset, I'm assuming the method described under "Resetting the SMC on portables with a battery you should not remove on your own" is still valid for the 2012 Airs: http://support.apple.com/kb/HT3964
I find the SMC reset procedure unfortunate, because there is neither described for how long the keys should be pressed, nor is there any confirmation of the action on the machine (that I would be aware of).]
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Old Jun 23, 2012, 02:56 PM   #2
jgc
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I have the same thing as well -- struggles to even register to 250 MB/s write. Usually I get 225 write/460 read. I have a feeling it's just the SSD. I have the base 13" with 8 gb RAM and a Toshiba drive.
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Old Jun 23, 2012, 02:59 PM   #3
mixman
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Toshiba 250/450
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Old Jun 24, 2012, 01:49 AM   #4
Beau10
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Guess I should register my "me too" on this one, got in the 350 range on writes the first 3-4 times then it dropped down about 100. Toshiba 128.
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Old Jun 24, 2012, 03:23 AM   #5
wharzhee
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Ssd hard disk aren't meant to be written on continuously. They are good for reading, and you should retrain from writing on them for no good reasons. Such as formatting your hard disk every month.

Using the bench test continuously(sorry to say) is stupid. Cause it tends to write and over exert the ssd. And ssd hard disk wears and tears, and do slows down eventually after numerous writes.

People usually use a good sized ssd hard disk for the OS, and a large sized spinning hhd for data keeping.
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Old Jun 24, 2012, 03:35 AM   #6
hypercard
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wharzhee View Post
Ssd hard disk aren't meant to be written on continuously. They are good for reading, and you should retrain from writing on them for no good reasons. Such as formatting your hard disk every month.

Using the bench test continuously(sorry to say) is stupid. Cause it tends to write and over exert the ssd. And ssd hard disk wears and tears, and do slows down eventually after numerous writes.

People usually use a good sized ssd hard disk for the OS, and a large sized spinning hhd for data keeping.

Then how would you benchmark it, or does performance not matter to you?

As for the duration of the test, we're talking a few minutes, not hours, here - any copying of data from your old Mac would mean more stress to the SSD.

I get the impression that Apples custom SSD firmware does something here - for whatever reason.
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Old Jul 13, 2012, 04:28 PM   #7
dmelgar
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Count me in on experiencing this as well and not being happy about it.

One of the most important aspects of the MBA is having fast SSD. I'm upgrading from a 2010 MBA so I was hoping for faster SSD.

From that I can tell, it looks like its a Toshiba vs. Samsung SSD issue (again).

The 256GB drives seem to be Samsung. I had an 11" ultimate and it benchmarked 425/450. Awesome numbers. And consistent.

As the OP says, then I received this base 13", I was pleasently surprised to see 365/450.

I upgraded to Mountain Lion. Apparently that was enough disk activity to kick it into low gear. Now getting 240/445. And the 240 is being generous.

It doesn't seem right to drop that much for no reason. Its almost as if they built in a benchmark fudge factor. Get a new machine, try it out, get impressed with 365MB/sec. But actually use it and its only 240.

I cant think of a rational explanation for the dramatic performance drop. It doesn't seem plausible to have such a drop be needed. The initial benchmark is very misleading.

Has anyone been able to restore the original speed. Could this be a defect, possibly a software defect in the SSD?

Is there any discussion of this on the Apple support forums?
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Old Jul 13, 2012, 05:34 PM   #8
mober
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even though I don't have the toshiba ssd, but the 256 samsung one, I ran a test with the app you mentioned for comparison reasons... here's what's going on on my machine.

mba 2012
Code:
APPLE SSD SM256E:

  Capacity:	251 GB (251,000,193,024 bytes)
  Model:	APPLE SSD SM256E                        
  Revision:	CXM09A1Q
Code:
du -hs /
 37G	.
Attached Thumbnails
Click image for larger version

Name:	DiskSpeedTest2.png
Views:	41
Size:	403.6 KB
ID:	347897  
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Old Jul 13, 2012, 05:43 PM   #9
hypercard
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dmelgar View Post
Count me in on experiencing this as well and not being happy about it.
...
Is there any discussion of this on the Apple support forums?
yes, i opened the same thread over there:

https://discussions.apple.com/message/18729101#18729101

sadly with the same results: some guys reporting the same problem and that's it essentially...
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Old Jul 14, 2012, 04:10 AM   #10
mikkker007
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Smile

At the end of the day.........who cares?.... if you're happy with the machine and its doing what it says on the box....... wheres the issue?? when I put my foot down, i don't care if number 7 cylinder is a little down on compression..... its "within" normal tolerance's .... and..... I'm still accelerating...... chill out... enjoy one of the best machines on the planet......
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Old Jul 14, 2012, 05:15 AM   #11
kodeman53
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Originally Posted by mikkker007 View Post
chill out... enjoy one of the best machines on the planet......
Sadly, there are some people whose OCD prevents them from enjoying anything because they can't rest until they find a 'flaw' then they can't rest until they share it with everyone else. Also sad are the people who believe them. The huge Samsung v LG thread is a perfect example of much OCD ado about absolutely nothing.
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Old Jul 14, 2012, 08:55 AM   #12
KPOM
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My guess is this has something to do with the SandForce controller's garbage collection routine and that it can be corrected with a software update (or perhaps will work out over time as the SSD's GC routine does its thing).

In the meantime, don't worry about it. It would be great if Samsung saw itself primarily as a supplier rather than competitor of Apple, but that isn't the world we live in. As long as that is the case, Apple will use multiple suppliers.
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Old Jul 14, 2012, 08:58 AM   #13
pankajdobariya
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In the meantime, don't worry about it. It would be great if Samsung saw itself primarily as a supplier rather than competitor of Apple, but that isn't the world we live in. As long as that is the case, Apple will use multiple suppliers.
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Old Jul 14, 2012, 09:35 PM   #14
dmelgar
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Originally Posted by mikkker007 View Post
At the end of the day.........who cares?.... if you're happy with the machine and its doing what it says on the box....... wheres the issue?? when I put my foot down, i don't care if number 7 cylinder is a little down on compression..... its "within" normal tolerance's .... and..... I'm still accelerating...... chill out... enjoy one of the best machines on the planet......
It is a big deal.
Folks overly fixate on CPU speed. With a MBA, the SSD speed is a major part of the performance of the machine. This isn't a cosmetic imperfection, it's a major hit to the machines performance.

How would you like it if your 2.0ghz CPU benchmarked as 2.0ghz when you first got it, then an hour later suddenly benchmarked as 1.3ghz from then on.

I'd guess people would be upset. Folks pay an extra $100 for a measily 0.2ghz speed increase and here we have a sudden 33% drop in disk write speed.
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Old Jul 16, 2012, 07:49 PM   #15
dmelgar
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I asked Anand from Anandtech. Basically he didn't know. Was surprised the Toshiba ever benched 360MB/sec on random data. He pointed me to his new review, http://www.anandtech.com/show/6063/m...-2012-review/1
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Old Jul 31, 2012, 12:12 PM   #16
dcorban
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Originally Posted by dmelgar View Post
here we have a sudden 33% drop in disk write speed.
Synthetic benchmarked write speed.

When your real-world file saving and copying starts taking 33% longer, let us know.
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Old Jul 31, 2012, 12:20 PM   #17
dmelgar
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Synthetic benchmarked write speed.

When your real-world file saving and copying starts taking 33% longer, let us know.
I don't know why you think there something magically "synthetic" about this benchmark. The results seem consistent with actual performance.

My initial install of Mountain Lion went much faster than the 2nd install. After the 1st install it was still benching 360MB/sec, but after the 2nd it was 240MB/sec.

My theory is that maybe its fast on the initial write. But once its written it has to erase then write. In any case, 240MB/sec seems to be the actual mark, much slower than the Samsung.
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Old Aug 13, 2012, 09:41 AM   #18
magbarn
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Originally Posted by dmelgar View Post
It is a big deal.
Folks overly fixate on CPU speed. With a MBA, the SSD speed is a major part of the performance of the machine. This isn't a cosmetic imperfection, it's a major hit to the machines performance.

How would you like it if your 2.0ghz CPU benchmarked as 2.0ghz when you first got it, then an hour later suddenly benchmarked as 1.3ghz from then on.

I'd guess people would be upset. Folks pay an extra $100 for a measily 0.2ghz speed increase and here we have a sudden 33% drop in disk write speed.
Since once again we have to playing the Apple OEM source lottery, are all the 128gb this craptastic Toshiba drive? Thinking about getting a MBA 11 128 model and will likely upgrade to 256gb to avoid this crappy sandforce drive (Hate sandforce on the PC side as well, too many failures)
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