MBA flash drive vs. MBP SSD

Discussion in 'MacBook Air' started by Duncanreally, Oct 25, 2010.

  1. Duncanreally macrumors member

    Joined:
    Feb 24, 2010
    #1
    I have a recent (3 month old) 13 inch MBP with the 512GB SSD. I'm considering a 13 inch MBA with the 256GB NAND flash drive. Obviously I'll have to manage with less storage space, but apart from that, what is the difference between the two drives? Will the newer one in the Air be faster, as it is an Apple custom component rather than an off the shelf part?

    I think the new Air is great value, BTW. The SSD in my MBP cost a fortune (but it is really really fast). Also, before anyone says "just keep the MBP", my assistant wants one, so I'll be buying either another MBP or a MBA anyway.

    So which is faster MBP with standard 512GB SSD or new MBA with standard 256GB NAND flash?

    cheers
    Duncan
     
  2. idonotliketostu macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Feb 28, 2008
    #2
    Depends on brand of your SSD and the controller it uses. If you got the SSD from apple, it's not that fast but it's still faster than the new MBA card ssd.

    On a sidenote, can I be your assistant too. I wanna be spoiled!
     
  3. Duncanreally thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Feb 24, 2010
    #3
    Really? That's surprising (and disappointing). Is there somewhere with benchmarks for this? I'd hoped that the Air flash NAND card would be faster as it was custom made for the Air.

    D

    PS My 512GB MBP scored 229 on xbench's disk test when new, and the first MBA benchmark I've seen (with a 128GB flash drive) got 227 (http://forums.macrumors.com/showthread.php?t=1035618&highlight=xbench). So it's basically the same speed. I'd like to see the benchmark for the 256GB MBA, I expect it will actually be faster.
     
  4. drjsway macrumors 6502a

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    Jan 8, 2009
    #4
    Untrue.
     
  5. miata macrumors 6502

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    Oct 22, 2010
    Location:
    Silicon Valley, Earth
    #5
    Have you see a benchmark between these two? And is there a comparison to aftermarket SSDs for the MBP as well?
     
  6. richardhunt macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Oct 2, 2007
    #6
    I've read in more than one place that the late models MBP's SSD's use the same controller that is used on the new batch of MBA's (Toshiba). So performance should be very close if not the same.
     
  7. hachre macrumors 6502a

    hachre

    Joined:
    Sep 26, 2007
    #7
    The previous SSD Apple shipped (in the original Air) was far slower than everything on the market. The new "SSD" in the Air is faster than an Intel X-25.
     
  8. miata macrumors 6502

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    Oct 22, 2010
    Location:
    Silicon Valley, Earth
    #8
    This is great news. Is there a link to soem kind of benchmark results?

    The other tricky thing about SSD is that some implementations have serious performance degradation over time. It would be good to know if Apple has addressed that as well.
     
  9. hachre macrumors 6502a

    hachre

    Joined:
    Sep 26, 2007
    #9
    As far as we know the degradation still occurs. In my personal opinion Mac OS 10.7 in Summer 2011 will fix this.

    The benchmarks we have are from people on this board, this is the MacBook Air, look at the numbers near the bottom, the score for Sequential and Random write:
    http://forums.macrumors.com/showpost.php?p=11293489&postcount=1

    And here is my MBP with an Intel X-25 in it as a comparison:
    http://forums.macrumors.com/showpost.php?p=11293569&postcount=7
     
  10. KPOM macrumors G5

    Joined:
    Oct 23, 2010
    #10
    Has anyone tried reconditioning using DiskTester? It's $40, and I'm not about to "recondition" the SSD on the Air that I'm getting rid of soon, but would this be a useful purchase in a year or so from now after I've had the new Air for a while?
     
  11. hachre macrumors 6502a

    hachre

    Joined:
    Sep 26, 2007
    #11
    Some tests say it does help, yes. But it isn't doing a TRIM, which would be the #1 solution. The degradation isn't as horrible as often claimed though. I have only noticed a about 3 MB / sec lower performance on my Intel drive since I have started using it 1 year ago and I use it heavily... (That is from 92MB / sec to 89 MB / sec) I don't really care... I haven't had the IO spiking of death yet where write performance constantly breaks down to 0...
     
  12. ImperialX macrumors 65816

    ImperialX

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    Jul 17, 2007
    Location:
    Tokyo, Japan
    #12
    You can install Windows 7 on an alternate partition, and every few months, erase the Mac partition in NTFS, use the TRIM command on it, and reformat it back to HFS+.
     
  13. hachre macrumors 6502a

    hachre

    Joined:
    Sep 26, 2007
    #13
    That's hours of work :/

    And how do you actually trigger the TRIM command?
     
  14. GDOX316 macrumors newbie

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    Jul 12, 2010
    #14
    if this is true, I am very, very happy.
     
  15. mongoos150 macrumors 6502a

    mongoos150

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    Sep 20, 2005
    #15
    I seem to remember hearing something about 10.7 Lion supporting TRIM?
     
  16. Duncanreally thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Feb 24, 2010
    #16
    Thanks for the data. very encouraging. I ordered the 13inch Air with 256Gb flash drive. I'll post the xbench results for it when it arrives.

    cheers
    D
     
  17. CiccioAtSea macrumors regular

    CiccioAtSea

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    Oct 23, 2010
    Location:
    Principality of Monaco
    #17
    well... I think that if Apple is really going to use ssd in all his machinetrim MUST be supported by osx, right?
     
  18. NC MacGuy macrumors 603

    NC MacGuy

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    Feb 9, 2005
    Location:
    The good side of the grass.
    #18
    Really?

    Results 288.77
    System Info
    Xbench Version 1.3
    System Version 10.6.1 (10B504)
    Physical RAM 4096 MB
    Model MacBookPro5,5
    Drive Type INTEL SSDSA2M160G2GC
    Disk Test 288.77
    Sequential 187.32
    Uncached Write 164.31 100.88 MB/sec [4K blocks]
    Uncached Write 158.18 89.50 MB/sec [256K blocks]
    Uncached Read 153.83 45.02 MB/sec [4K blocks]
    Uncached Read 409.00 205.56 MB/sec [256K blocks]
    Random 629.96
    Uncached Write 749.24 79.32 MB/sec [4K blocks]
    Uncached Write 293.39 93.92 MB/sec [256K blocks]
    Uncached Read 1702.23 12.06 MB/sec [4K blocks]
    Uncached Read 981.35 182.10 MB/sec [256K blocks]


    Disk Test 287.36
    Sequential 188.55
    Uncached Write 162.39 99.71 MB/sec [4K blocks]
    Uncached Write 160.26 90.67 MB/sec [256K blocks]
    Uncached Read 156.08 45.68 MB/sec [4K blocks]
    Uncached Read 414.90 208.53 MB/sec [256K blocks]
    Random 603.78
    Uncached Write 663.44 70.23 MB/sec [4K blocks]
    Uncached Write 292.61 93.67 MB/sec [256K blocks]
    Uncached Read 1472.15 10.43 MB/sec [4K blocks]
    Uncached Read 979.57 181.77 MB/sec [256K blocks]
     
  19. hachre macrumors 6502a

    hachre

    Joined:
    Sep 26, 2007
    #19
    Hmm, all the other benchmarks I've seen so far were slower... Maybe it depends on how long they haven't been reconditioned?

    In any case the new flash drive in the Airs is very good, even compared to your very high rating the Airs are only about 15% lower in random performance... The original SSDs were more like 90% slower... On other benchmarks I've seen the Airs were up to 100% faster than the Intel drives...

    Are these two runs on your SSD or are you comparing two things here?!
     
  20. NC MacGuy macrumors 603

    NC MacGuy

    Joined:
    Feb 9, 2005
    Location:
    The good side of the grass.
    #20
    Two separate runs on same drive.
     
  21. Phycoduck macrumors regular

    Phycoduck

    Joined:
    Sep 18, 2008
    #21
    So does anyone know what the R/W speed is?

    I tried the new Macbook Air yesterday, and the capabilities are very impressive.

    But i cant help thinking this is all down too the NAND Memory and nothing else.

    Is NAND Flash cheaper the SSD, and are the R/W speeds around the same?

    I would be very interested if you can buy a NAND Flash SATA drive for current Macbooks... if we find the answers to the above questions.
     
  22. mark28 macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Jan 29, 2010
    #22
    The difference between a SSD in the MBP and the SSD in the MBA is that the MBA is custom made.

    Instead of using a regular SSD drive, they inserted 4 Flash modules from Toshiba. The advantages of this is that it saves space for it's small form factor.

    MBA has a faster boottime due to newer firmware. Good 3rd party SSD is faster than the Flash modules in the MBA however despite booting slower.
     
  23. lasuther macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Feb 13, 2004
    Location:
    Grand Haven, Michigan
    #23
    Barefeats has benchmarks for the MBA flash drive and multiple SSDs. The MBA was very middle of the road and not as fast as the best SSDs, but better than a hard drive.
     
  24. WardC macrumors 68030

    WardC

    Joined:
    Oct 17, 2007
    Location:
    Fort Worth, TX
    #24
    I own a 2.13GHz/SSD 2009 model MacBook Air, I am getting the 1.6GHz/128GB model now, I plan to do a comprehensive review including all disk benchmarks comparing the two SSDs, which I will publish on my website. Stay tuned late next week for my full review.
     
  25. akm3 macrumors 68020

    Joined:
    Nov 15, 2007
    #25
    In the AnandTech review he noticed that this particular controller was very good at resisting the effects of an untrimmed drive, and while it still loses performance, it is very minimal compared to others, and it self heals as blocks are re-written. Bottom line is Trim is still important and he still is looking forward to it in Lion, but that it shouldn't be that big of an issue in the meantime.
     

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