2014 MacBook Airs Demonstrating Slower Flash Storage Speeds Than 2013 Models

MacRumors

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Original poster
Apr 12, 2001
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The newly released 2014 MacBook Airs are seeing improved processor performance thanks to updated Haswell chips, but storage performance appears to have declined.

In a series of performance benchmark tests performed by Macworld, tests of the flash storage suggested the new MacBook Airs are performing slower than the 2013 MacBook Airs. The comparison, which included a 2013 11-inch MacBook Air with a 256GB SSD and a 2013 13-inch MacBook Air with a 128GB SSD vs. a 2014 11-inch model with a 128GB SSD and a 13-inch model with a 256GB SSD, found that the 2014 models were twice as slow as the 2013 models at some tasks.
Copying 6GB of files and folders took 28 seconds on last year's 11-inch MacBook Air, but took nearly twice as long (54 seconds) on this year's 11-inch model. With solid-state storage, lower capacity drives are often slower performers, and last year's 11-inch had the higher capacity 256GB of flash. However, the new 11-inch model was also slower than last year's 13-inch model with 128GB of flash storage.
Compressing 6GB of files also took longer on the 2014 MacBook Air, and Macworld described unzipping as "just plain slow" with the new 11-inch version taking three times as long to unzip files as the 2013 model.

Using fewer but larger files, the performance difference narrowed between the two models, but the 2014 11-inch MacBook Air still performed 35 percent slower copying files than the mid-2013 13-inch MacBook Air with the same storage capacity and 53 percent slower when uncompressing files.

The Blackmagic Disk Speed Test also showed the new models running slower than the older models, with write/read speeds as follows (in MBps):

- 2013 13-inch with 128GB SSD: 445/725
- 2013 11-inch with 256GB SSD: 687/725
- 2014 13-inch with 256GB SSD: 520/676
- 2014 11-inch with 128GB SSD: 306/620

All four of the drives in the MacBook Airs tested came from different manufacturers, with two from Samsung, one from Toshiba, and one from SanDisk, which accounts for the performance discrepancies. Speed differences between SSDs used within Apple's MacBook Air computers have been highlighted before in previous models and as suggested in the past, while the speed variations may be noticeable in some high-intensity tasks, they are unlikely to be noticed during day-to-day usage.

Released earlier this week, the new MacBook Airs are available from Apple's website beginning at $899.

Article Link: 2014 MacBook Airs Demonstrating Slower Flash Storage Speeds Than 2013 Models
 

okboy

macrumors regular
Oct 9, 2010
243
448
There was a high failure rate with some past SSD's. I'm glad they're trying others. Better slower speeds and better reliability.
 

LordVic

macrumors 603
Sep 7, 2011
5,471
11,080
um...

am I the only one who is seeing some serious faulty testing going on here?

there doesn't seem to be a like to like test.

going to have to see better and more detailed working of their testing environment and setup.

the two 11"'s tested did not have the same storage SSD's. We all know that there's a density difference and performance with different sized SSD's

then they compared 13" to 11" models, that have other factors as well.

Plus, they're not really giving scientific backing. Just copying files isn't really a good indicator of the real speed. I want to see some actual benchmarks.

Listen, I'm just a skeptic. if you're going to make claims. Back them up
 

KPOM

macrumors G5
Oct 23, 2010
14,494
3,035
Longtime readers of AnandTech know that Apple SSDs are a crapshoot. It used to be that Toshiba and Samsung provided all the SSDs, with Samsung's significantly faster, particularly with encrypted or compressed data. After the Toshiba failed SSD debacle, it seems Apple is sourcing from others. So what Macworld is doing isn't really an "apples to apples" comparison.
 

sentiblue

macrumors regular
Aug 2, 2012
186
85
Silicon Valley
NOT apple to apple

So if somebody was dedicated enough to get 4 machines to do comparisons...

Why did they not choose the same disk options...

They just had to do 13" 128GB vs 256GB and then again 11" with 128GB vs 256GB
 

JoEw

macrumors 68000
Nov 29, 2009
1,520
851
Hopefully apple comments on this, otherwise.. it appears Apple just kept their margin from that 100 dollar cut.
 

Nyy8

macrumors 6502a
Jun 12, 2011
510
126
New England
*Ding Ding*

I just found out how Apple saved $100.

Silly people thinking Apple would cut their margins :D
 

filmbuff

macrumors 6502a
Jan 5, 2011
809
142
This test is so unscientific it's basically worthless. No reason to even bother paying attention to these results.

IF the 2014 models are slower, they're still fast enough that 99.9% of customers will never notice a difference and the other .01% will never be happy.
 

WiiDSmoker

macrumors 65816
Sep 15, 2009
1,288
1,180
Hermitage, TN
This test is so unscientific it's basically worthless. No reason to even bother paying attention to these results.

IF the 2014 models are slower, they're still fast enough that 99.9% of customers will never notice a difference and the other .01% will never be happy.
Half of write speed is going backwards. Newer models are supposed to be better. Stop trying to make excuses. Apple cheaped out here.
 

ValSalva

macrumors 68040
Jun 26, 2009
3,744
195
Burpelson AFB
I wouldn't be surprised if this was true. But then other 2014 MBA's might be faster.

Apple's Q/A is at its worst on the MBA, especially compared to the MBP. Fit and finish is crap compared to the MBP. The displays are less than third rate too.
 

MacSince1990

macrumors 65816
Oct 6, 2009
1,347
1
This test is so unscientific it's basically worthless. No reason to even bother paying attention to these results.

IF the 2014 models are slower, they're still fast enough that 99.9% of customers will never notice a difference and the other .01% will never be happy.
Yeah a three-fold increase in time spent on a process isn't noticeable >_>

these aren't unreliable tests at all.

It's probly a driver/firmware issue.
 

suprakc

macrumors regular
Jun 15, 2013
110
3
Utah
Huh

Honestly couldn't even finish the article there are so many typos. (i.e. the 2013 models are almost twice as slow as the 2013 models?)

And the test is BS.

Getting a 2014 model 13" 256 today.
 

pletopia

macrumors newbie
Jul 1, 2008
25
1
Don't they realize this is like comparing apples (no pun intended) to oranges?!

If you go buy a flash drive from the same manufacturer even, from the same model series, different capacities have different speed ratings ...

Whether these are are SATA drives or even PCIe drives is irrelevant. This is a review from yesterday. In this case the read speeds are the same across the three capacities but the writes are all different depending on if its 128, 256, or 512

http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/plextor-m6e-pci-express-ssd,3763.html