MBA SSD facts and thoughts

Discussion in 'MacBook Air' started by diddl14, Oct 22, 2010.

  1. diddl14 macrumors 6502a

    diddl14

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    #1
    Since the new SSD design on the MBA seems pretty significant to the new Apple MacBook (-Air) design, this thread is intended to keep track of the facts and related thoughts/ideas.

    Here the facts from iFixIt 11.6" / 64Gb teardown:
    • The SSD unit appears to be assembled by Toshiba and is model number THNSNC064GMDJ.
    • There are six main chips on this custom board:
    • Four Toshiba TH58NVG7D7FBASB 16GB flash chips which make up the total 64GB.
    • Toshiba T6UG1XBG Solid State Drive controller.
    • Micron OKA17 D9HSJ DDR DRAM cache.
    • The new SSD is 2.45 mm thick compared to the platter-based 5.12 mm thickness of the old Air's drive. Being smaller in two of three dimensions definitely helps the new Air achieve a super-slim profile.
    • The SSD weighs in at a mere 10 grams, compared to the 45 grams of its spinning cousin.
    The Toshiba controller and cache seems similar to one used on Kingston SSDNowV+ Series, see this review

    As shown on the 11.6" MBA About this Mac pages, the SSD is connected via standard SATA-II to the NVidia MCP89 AHCI controller.

    The SSD connector looks indeed like some custom 'micro-SATA' connector, similar but smaller to the mini-SATA announced last year by Toshiba.
    The pins however do not seem to count up as mentioned in an earlier post.
    SATA signaling and power specs can be found on WikiPedia
     
  2. aberrero macrumors 6502a

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    #2
    What people should keep in mind is that larger SSDs are faster. We need to see more benchmarks, but i bet the 128gb drive will show significantly better numbers than the 64gb in the 11.6", which itself is already very fast.

    This is another reason why I think the stock 13.3 is the one to go for. Especially if you only stick with 2gb of ram, having a faster ssd will make swapping less painful.
     
  3. thinkdesign macrumors 6502

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    Overall, how will the performance of the maxed-out new 13" be, compared with the Rev. C w/ SSD? For me, that's the question.
    Specifically. such as, will the playing of videos esp. HD ones, work better on tis new maxed-out 13", compared with the Rev. C Toshiba*-SSD (*April to Oct. 2010) model?

    I am still confused by the conflicting descriptions of this "new" type memory:

    If it's "like an SSD" but Apple just buys it without a metal case around it, to reduce weight and bulk (as I've read from a dozen and one sources, and was told yesterday in an Apple store).... then .... how would that produce a new faster-"on" result?

    Other questions... is this just as bump-resistant as the Rec. C's SSD?

    And, how does the lifespan compare w/ the Rev. C's SSD?
     
  4. Transporteur macrumors 68030

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    #4
    What people should also keep in mind is that this is a myth!
     
  5. tolkan macrumors newbie

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    #5
    Just a question. If the SSD in the MBA is removable can't we just buy the 256GB version from somewhere like iFixit and pop it into the 11.6 to give a 256GB 11.6 MBA?
     
  6. ImperialX macrumors 65816

    ImperialX

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    #6
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    The 11" never had enough internal volume to fit 256GB.
     
  7. altecXP macrumors 65816

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    Until we try I don't think it's possible to know that. This is the same company that blocked out 64-bit on some machines only because they didn't say "pro" and gives artificial RAM limits constantly.
     
  8. idonotliketostu macrumors 6502

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    #8
    They use different density chips

    see here, both pictures are to scale to each other,

    the 11in is 298px because the picture is not perfectly straight and other minute discrepancies

    because 8/298 px is so tiny, and because of pic imperfections, we can assume they are the same size.



    the 256gb uses 32x8chips
    the 128gb uses 16x8 chips OR 32x4 chips (probably the x8 cuz its cheaper technology)
    the 64gb uses 16x4 ship


    Other facts, the 11" macbook air with 128gb is a total rip off, for $100 more
    you get bigger screen 13",
    you get roughtly 2x the total battery capacity
    you get more alum? (a cost of apple)
    1.3x faster cpu
    SD Slot

    This is proof that apple overcharges like a mofo.

    What apple should have done was put 128gb in the base model and +$300 for 256gb
    Ofocurse this is only for the customer's sake, 64gb is useless and we all know how cheaply apple get's it flash memory.
    if 128gb was the base model, the many wouldn't have done the $200 upgrade.



    note: i bought the 11in + 4GB + 128gb + cpu upgrade because I am a dumbass + sucker + i've long for teh 12" powerbook replacement ever since it got killed

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
     
  9. AtmChm macrumors regular

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    #9
    I don't think so. I was wondering that myself, but if you look at the xbench posts on their website, you'll see that the disk drive performance is only slightly better than the late Rev C MBA with TS128B SSD. In fact, I HIGHLY suspect that the SSD in the late Rev C MBA is the identical Toshiba "flash" drive they are using now. My guess is the technology became available in the spring, and Apple was working on the MBA update. For whatever reason, it made sense to replace the old Samsung SSD (which was MUCH slower) with the Toshiba "flash" drives. So, anyway, on xbench you will see posts from the last day or so showing the new MBA SSD coming in at about 250 on the drive test. The late Rev C TS128B comes in at about 220. HOWEVER, I don't have a feel for how the better graphics on the new MBA will enhance video playing.

    Also note, you have to get the 256GB SSD in order to get the processor upgrade to 2.1 GHz C2D. Again, looking at the posts on xbench, the overall scores for the new MBA 1.8 GHz are lower (~150) than the Rev C with TS128B SSD (~175). So, the question is, what are you getting with the new top end MBA vs. the late Rev C with TS128B SSD? Upgraded graphics, better screen, 2 usb ports, another slot on the right side (which strangely the website does not say what it is!), what looks to be a different screen hinge design, option for 4 GB RAM, and the "wedge" case. I'm convinced Apple did not solve the heat issue with the faster processor. I think that is why the 2.1 GHz is only available as an option on the top end machine.

    So, if I could get a Rev C with TS128B SSD for substantially less than the new top end MBA, I would probably buy it. But you have to decide whether those extra goodies on the new MBA are worth the added price.

    I can verify my Rev C MBA w/TS128B SSD does boot much faster than the older models - about 25 seconds. I would also say waking from sleep is "instantaneous". One difference that I have not checked out, to get the "30 hour standby" the new MBA goes into "hibernation" after 1 hour in sleep mode. I don't know if you can make the Rev C do this or not. Seems like it is just an issue of a setting in the Power settings.
     
  10. epictempo macrumors regular

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    #10
    Is the 128 SSD really faster than 64 or just a myth? This will change my buying decision if true.
     
  11. shanmugam macrumors 68020

    shanmugam

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    #11
    thanks for the interesting analysis, definitely faster than the traditional HDD.

    wish this comes to macbook and macbook pro soon. :rolleyes:
     
  12. C64 macrumors 65816

    C64

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    #12
    Simply buy an SSD? Same thing, except an SSD has an enclosure around the flash chips.
     
  13. shanmugam macrumors 68020

    shanmugam

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    it is not myth, based on the SSD implementation usually the bigger SSD are faster than the smaller sized SSD.

    so 128 GB is faster than 64 GB (but then again, apple implementation of SSD is different from traditional SSD drives)

    you can see newegg's tech specs page for intel SSDs, you can see the specs 128GB have double the speed of 64GB.

    i might be wrong, this is what I roughly understand from anandtech articles ... :eek:
     
  14. shanmugam macrumors 68020

    shanmugam

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    for $999 if Macbook comes with 128GB, will you buy that or still thinking about upgrade route?

    SSD prices are getting cheaper, what i am saying, one day it will become standard in all the laptops.

    if any one can do it , that is probably APPLE (read $50 billion) and also their Laptop pricers has enough margins for 128GB Standard SSDs from $999 macbook all the way to $2299 MBP :)

    next revision of 80GB intel SSD coming soon retails for the price is $100 (like the current 40GB SSD) so 128 SSD not too much to ask, apple might get it for $75 for 128 GB SSD from Toshiba/Samsung/Micron/Whoever...
     
  15. Transporteur macrumors 68030

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    #15
    Actually, that might have been the case in the early stages of SSD drives. But if you buy a 100GB or 200GB drive of the same sort today, there won't be any noticeable differences.

    Apple only uses a different form factor, the SSD technology itself comes from Toshiba, for both the 64GB and 128GB models.

    Please don't rely on tech specs of online shops!
    The sizes for Intels G2 drives are 160 and 80GB and no, the 160GB is not twice as fast as the 80GB drive. They've got the same speed, the only difference is that the 160GB has a maximum write performance of 100MB/s, whereas the 80GB levels off at 80MB/s. Everything else, which includes read performance of all kinds and IOPS are absolutely the same.
    But than again, that's only the Intel drive. I'm not sure which controller the Toshiba uses (I'd think Indilinx), but a general statement that bigger drives are always way faster is nothing than a myth. In some cases that might apply (Intel as described earlier), but even if, the differences are minimal.
     
  16. shanmugam macrumors 68020

    shanmugam

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    #16
    may be you are right with the current generation SSD Drives

    http://www.anandtech.com/show/3965/intels-3rd-generation-x25m-ssd-specs-revealed

    I got this url from other thread, the below article is a year old

    http://www.anandtech.com/show/2738
     
  17. aberrero macrumors 6502a

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    #17
    Like I said, we need to look at benchmarks, but it is something to keep in mind. The difference on Intel is significant for example, particularly between 40gb and 80gb.

    The Kingston SSDNow V+ on newegg does list the same specs for all three capacities though, so maybe it doesn't matter for this controller.
     
  18. melterx12 macrumors 6502a

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    #18
    I think the SSD is a bad idea, its too soon for SSD storage to be used as standard option. SSDs are still much too expensive $/GB to be used mainstream.
     
  19. Transporteur macrumors 68030

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    #19
    But that difference is mainly because of the 40GB is X25-V instead of X25-M. Different product lines with different performance.
     
  20. aberrero macrumors 6502a

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    #20
    Not really. IIRC, they have the same controller.
     
  21. deeddawg macrumors 604

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    #21
    Good think this isn't a mainstream device then, eh? :)
     
  22. Hellhammer Moderator

    Hellhammer

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    #22
    That's correct, they both use Intel PC29AS21BA0 controller. Maybe Intel is crippling the performance via firmware
     
  23. Transporteur macrumors 68030

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    #23
    Indeed. But the X25-V seems to have some kind of special status. Although it uses the same controller, it uses only half the amount of chips, which result in a drastically reduced performance.

    If we compare the X25-M, however, the 80GB and 160GB drives use the same amount of chips, only with higher density in the 160GB version.. In this case, the performance differences are marginal because the controller can utilise all its channels in both cases.
     
  24. drjsway macrumors 6502a

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    #24
    um, the 11" MBA has a higher pixel density than the 13".
     
  25. diddl14 thread starter macrumors 6502a

    diddl14

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    #25
    More on the Toshiba controller:
    Detailed outline of SSD internals, nice article if you're looking for more insight on what these new Apple 'flash sticks' are composed of.
    Detailed Benchmark of a 128GB SSDNow with Toshiba T6UG1XBG. Although the Apple version might have a different firmware, overall performance can be expected to be similar.

    Earlier revisions of the Toschiba controller (TC58NCF602GAT) used in the Kingston SSDNow seem to be based on a rebranded JMicron 612 controller. I didn't find hard evidence however various forums indicate that the Toshiba T6UG1XBG is based on a JMicron 618 optimized for Toshiba flash (for example, the Samsung flash drivers are removed).
     

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