13" and 15" MacBook Pros Have a Slower SATA Interface

Discussion in 'MacRumors.com News Discussion' started by MacRumors, Jun 14, 2009.

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  1. MacRumors macrumors bot


    Apr 12, 2001

    As first described in our forums, Apple seems to have quietly downgraded the SATA Interface from 3.0Gbit to 1.5Gbit speeds in some of the new MacBook Pros introduced last week. Readers are reporting that both the new 13" and 15" MacBook Pro models are affected while the 13" MacBook (white), 17" MacBook Pro and 13" MacBook Air retain the 3.0Gbit SATA interface. SATA is the interface between a computer and its hard drives.

    The slower SATA interface is unlikely to affect the bulk of users as even the fastest traditional hard drives are unable to saturate even the 1.5 Gbit interfaces. However, if you are planning on buying a fast Solid State Drive (SSD), it could affect the drive's performance. The downgrade of the interface in the new MacBook Pro has also been confirmed in early benchmarks using a fast enough SSD. Forum user fpnc provides an excellent summary of the findings so far:
    While there is a lot of speculation about if this could be "corrected" by software in the future, there are no definitive answers. At a minimum, it should serve as a caution for those customers who were planning on upgrading to fast SSD drives in their new 13" or 15" MacBook Pros. While you may still see performance benefits over traditional hard drives, the total benefit may be blunted.

    Article Link: 13" and 15" MacBook Pros Have a Slower SATA Interface
  2. Poirot818 macrumors regular

    Oct 26, 2008
    Thank you. Now that you've posted the story there's a much better chance that the other tech sites will pick it up.
  3. jciapara macrumors regular

    Jan 25, 2008
    Won't notice

    I think the majority of users won't notice it, but we'll see
  4. Me1000 macrumors 68000


    Jul 15, 2006
  5. nws0291 macrumors 6502a

    Apr 24, 2006
    I am mad that Apple didn't state this downgrade before I returned my uMBP I bought a week before WWDC. They better fix this ASAP.
  6. Jayomat macrumors 6502a


    Jan 10, 2009
    sorry for the noob question, but is it cheaper for apple to go back to 1,5 ? i guess....
  7. D0rk macrumors member

    May 23, 2009
    Gives me a reason to spend the extra money on a 17 inch, despite not really wanting the extra size and weight.

    Unless this can be resolved by a firmware upgrade, I want to know that I can stick an SSD into my machine in a few years when they are cheaper and get the performance I paid for.
  8. cohibadad macrumors 6502a


    Jul 21, 2007
    ouch. This is very disappointing if not correctable via software. I have an intel ssd in my 15" unibody MBP and was considering flipping it to one of the updated 15" models when I get a new batch for work. That won't be happening until this question is answered. Thanks for the heads up.
  9. fuzzielitlpanda macrumors 6502a

    Mar 24, 2008
    thank you for posting really hoping this will get more attention on other major sites and apple will catch on
  10. drew0020 macrumors 68000


    Nov 10, 2006
    I hope this is correctable with a software fix. Otherwise this is a disgrace Apple!
  11. Serge88 macrumors member


    May 5, 2008
  12. nws0291 macrumors 6502a

    Apr 24, 2006
    It's the same chip as the previous gen that was running a 3gb so hardware was unchanged. They seem to have crippled it through firmware or software.
  13. KingYaba macrumors 68040


    Aug 7, 2005
    Up the irons
    No SSD for you!

    Attached Files:

  14. Phil A. Moderator

    Phil A.

    Staff Member

    Apr 2, 2006
    Shropshire, UK
    AFAIK, before the NVidia chipset was introduced, all the mac portables used 1.5GBit SATA interfaces. It seems to me that for some reason Apple introducce 3.0GBit for a short while and then took it away again.

    It does seem a bit lame, but I can't imagine it having much of a real world impact on most notebook users even with SSDs - it's not very often people read or move huge files (> 150MB) around on the internal hard disk so any real world performance hit is likely to be minimal. Even 1.5GB SATA is far faster than Firewire 800 so it really isn't that much of an issue...
  15. jglavin macrumors regular

    Mar 21, 2006
    Could the slower interface improve battery life?
  16. NorCalLights macrumors 6502a

    Apr 24, 2006
    How is this two steps backwards? If anything, the new MBPs are 10 steps forward, one step backwards.

    I mean really... you're not going to notice.
  17. Unprocessed1 macrumors 65816


    Jun 23, 2008
    No, that's a false rumor.
  18. MrChurchyard macrumors member

    Sep 22, 2008
  19. NorCalLights macrumors 6502a

    Apr 24, 2006
    Oh that's funny... 'cause your signature states that you're using a 5400rpm HD. Even if you plan on upgrading to SSD in the future, I'm going to go out on a limb and say you won't ever see a difference in performance.

    Do you have any idea how fast 1.5Gb/s is? 3Gb/s interfaces on laptops are for spec-whores.
  20. Unprocessed1 macrumors 65816


    Jun 23, 2008
    Maybe he wanted to install a 3rd party SSD, which is both faster and cheaper, like a rational person? Think of that?
  21. WannaGoMac macrumors 68020

    Feb 11, 2007
    Are they becoming Dell/HP or something?

    Seriously, this type of cost saving maneuvers that become the system "Gotchas" when spec'ing a machine is worthy of Dell or HP the way they take small little things out that cost pennies but they do it to save cash anyway.

    Sure hope this is a bug, as it is real lame of Apple to play this game.
  22. alexeismertin macrumors regular


    Jun 2, 2005
    Bristol, UK
    a test

    If somebody has an SSD Macbook/Pro showing SATA at 3g & access to the newer (SD) Macbook Pros with SATA 1.5g, perhaps trying the Apple supplied SSD in the 1.5g MBP and clean installing OSX would show whether this is software or firmware. Yes/No?
  23. Philflow macrumors 65816

    May 7, 2008
    Lol that was funny. Thanks for posting.
  24. designgeek macrumors 65816


    Jan 30, 2009
    Booooooooooooo.:mad: I was planning on upgrading to an SSD, now I think I'll keep my late 8 MBP.
  25. Fatdog macrumors newbie

    Jun 19, 2003
    I was wondering that as well. The AnandTech review of the new MacBook Pros showed an improve battery life that they believed couldn't be completely explained by the bigger battery. It seems unlikely that the slower interface could improve battery life, but I have no idea.

    I do hope that Apple fixes this because some SSDs can max out SATA 1.5.
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