SSD Speed Variations in 2014 MacBook Air Still Due to Drive Brand Mix, Not Broader Changes

Discussion in 'MacRumors.com News Discussion' started by MacRumors, May 6, 2014.

  1. macrumors bot

    MacRumors

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    [​IMG]


    For many years, Apple has used different suppliers for the solid-state drives (SSDs) in its MacBook Air models, with drive performance varying among manufacturer brands. A recent study by Macworld demonstrated rather dramatic differences in SSD read and write speeds between tested 2013 and 2014 models, but at the time it was unclear whether the poorer performance for the 2014 models was still simply due to drive brand variances or if there was something specific to the 2014 machines causing an overall degradation in performance.

    Other World Computing (OWC) has now performed some apples-to-apples testing between 2013 and 2014 models with SanDisk SSDs, and has found that performance is nearly identical.

    In OWC's testing using Blackmagic Disk Speed Test, the new MacBook Air model with a 128 GB SanDisk SSD reported read/write speeds of 705/315 MBps, while the 2013 version also with a 128 GB SanDisk drive scored similarly with read/write speeds of 711/316 MBps.

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    Macworld's testing of four machines (various combinations of 2013/2014 models at 11 and 13 inches) had included drives of two different capacities from three different manufacturers, making it difficult to determine the exact cause of the performance differences.

    This variability in brand performance was noticed years ago, when Apple started using both Toshiba and Samsung SSDs in its MacBook Air models. Apple continues to use drives from different manufacturers in its 2014 models, including units from Samsung, Toshiba and SanDisk. How various batches of drives from the different manufacturers are assigned to various machines is unknown, and consumers are unable determine which brand of SSD is in their MacBook Air without opening the box and either booting the machine to examine system profile information or physically opening the machine.

    Apple's new MacBook Airs are available from Apple's website beginning at $899, while the 2013 models are being sold at significant discounts through a number of retailers.

    Article Link: SSD Speed Variations in 2014 MacBook Air Still Due to Drive Brand Mix, Not Broader Changes
     
  2. Moderator

    maflynn

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    #2
    The included pictures don't really illustrate a huge difference. Things appear to have stabilize perhaps.
     
  3. macrumors member

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    #3
    If people are seriously disappointed at +/- 5 MB/s when speeds are 700MB/s+.. there are some other serious issues..
     
  4. macrumors regular

    Populus

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    #4
    It would be nice, by reading the serial number, to know if you are the "lucky" owner of a SanDisk drive...
     
  5. macrumors 68020

    pgiguere1

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    #5
    This was a realistic hypothesis from the start. The initial benchmarks never were conclusive enough to start making sensationalistic headlines. I'm disappointed by the reporting of the various Apple websites on that one. It's not like the performance variation across different component manufacturers was an unknown phenomenon.
     
  6. macrumors 68020

    Kissaragi

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    #6
    I was thinking the exact same thing!
     
  7. macrumors regular

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    #7
    That was the point of the picture- that the speeds of both SanDisk drives are equal.
     
  8. macrumors newbie

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    #8
    Macbook Air 2013

    this test was with samsumg 128GB on the Macbook Air 2013.
     

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  9. macrumors 68030

    NutsNGum

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    #9
    You know some people on here though..
     
  10. macrumors regular

    polterbyte

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    #10
    Yet more evidence that the upgrade may make sense from a technology standpoint (newer tech being used in the '14 MBA), but does not from a performance standponint.
     
  11. macrumors 6502a

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    #11
    The pictures compares Sandisk 2013 vs 2014 and it's meant to show that Sandisk is consistently slow. Not sure about Samsung's performance in 2014, but if they are consistent with 2013's benchmarks too if you happen to get a model with a Samsung SSD you will get about twice the write speed compared to a Sandisk model:

    http://blog.macsales.com/19008-performance-testing-not-all-2013-macbook-air-ssds-are-the-same
     
  12. macrumors G3

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    #12
    First it was the Dell Panel Lottery, then came the Apple Lottery.
     
  13. macrumors 65816

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    #13
    So the difference is negligible, then.

    I'd rather have the £100 TBH.
     
  14. macrumors 65816

    DTphonehome

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    #14
    I don't understand why Apple can't mandate a certain level of performance from suppliers.

    Or, maybe they do, and some drives are faster than the minimum required speed?
     
  15. macrumors 68030

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    #15
    I'd say they require a minimum speed.

    99.999999% of users will not notice a difference - especially once you hit PCI-e speeds.

    The only people that seem to care are news sites that are in need to click bait headlines.
     
  16. macrumors 68020

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    #16
    Makes a significant difference when using Pages. :D
     
  17. Moderator emeritus

    Hellhammer

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    #17
    That comparison is not valid since they are comparing a 128GB SanDisk SSD with a 512GB Samsung one. Write speed is limited by NAND performance, so the higher the capacity, the higher the write performance (more NAND = more parallelism = higher performance). Someone posted a benchmark of a 128GB Samsung SSD above, which shows the two being fairly equal in performance.
     
  18. macrumors 6502

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    #18
    Seriously, I have a 2013 MBA and have never bothered to check the speed of the SSD. All I know is it boots up really quickly even after a restart and it's much much much faster than my last Mac which had a platter hard drive.
     
  19. 69Mustang, May 6, 2014
    Last edited: May 6, 2014

    macrumors 68000

    69Mustang

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    #19
    Testing a Sandisk v Sandisk only proves the Sandisk speed stayed virtually the same. I would like to see a test with comparable 2013 and 2014 models with SSD's from Sandisk, Toshiba, and Samsung. Only then will we have a better indication if there is really an issue. This test and the one from MacWorld with mixed drive capacities only serve to confuse rather than elucidate.
     
  20. macrumors 68020

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    #20
    I thought this changed. I remember the Samsung 830 series got faster write speeds as the storage capacity increased, but with the 840 Pro series, the speeds remained constant.
     
  21. macrumors 65816

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    #21
    Or Safari... :rolleyes:
     
  22. macrumors 65816

    556fmjoe

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    #22
    It's a genuine problem for people who buy spec sheets to brag about on the internet, rather than computers for accomplishing tasks.
     
  23. macrumors 603

    Joined:
    Nov 25, 2009
    #23
    So, this proves the superiority of Samsung components. Perhaps Samsung should start requiring that whoever uses their components should puts "Samsung inside" logo on the devices. This would help consumers a lot. Why should the consumer pay the same price for a device that is twice slower?
     
  24. macrumors 6502a

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    #24
    Didn't know about that, thanks for the info. Still if you mean the screenshot showing 397MBps write speed that's 25% faster which is less dramatic but still significant.
     
  25. macrumors 68000

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    #25
    My poor rMBP :( Those new flash drives are sexy.
     

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