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Performance variation found in SSDs shipping with new MacBook Airs

Apple last week refreshed its popular line of MacBook Airs, offering 128GB SSDs on both an 11- and 13-inch model, but a recent discovery reveals that not all SSDs perform equally.

TLD Today benchmarked the 128GB SSDs shipping on both the 11- and 13-inch models and discovered a discrepancy in the performance of the flash drive speeds.

The 128GB Samsung SM128C SSD in the 11-inch MacBook Air achieved 246 MB/s write and 264 MB/s read speeds while the 128GB Toshiba TS128C SSD in the 13-inch model was only able to achieve speeds of 156 MB/s and 208 MB/s, respectively.

Engadget followed up with a similar series of its own tests and was able to verify the discrepancy.

“During our tests, the 256GB Samsung drive in our older [MacBook Air] model achieved 214 MB/s write and 251 MB/s read speeds, while the 128GB Toshiba drive in the new MacBook Air scored 184 MB/s and 203 MB/s during write and read tests, respectively,” the publication said.

Users can check which drive is installed in their MacBook Air by clicking on "About This Mac" in the menu bar and going to More Info -> System Report, and finally, clicking on Serial ATA.


Despite the seemingly significant drop in speed, the impact is likely to be negligible in day-to-day usage. The discovery, however, remains interesting and may suggest that Apple is using Samsung parts to supply the manufacturing lines for the high-end 11-inch MacBook Airs and Toshiba parts for the low-end 13-inch model.

The entry level MacBook Air comes with a 64GB SSD while the high-end 13-inch offers a 256GB SSD as standard.

Readers are encouraged to report their own findings in comments.