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Newer MacBook Airs shipping with faster Samsung SSDs

updated 05:20 pm EDT, Sat April 16, 2011

MacBook Air upgrades SSD to faster Samsung model

Apple was found on Friday to have given a low-key but significant speed boost to the solid-state drives in newer MacBook Air production runs. Most batches have been using Toshiba's X-Gale SSD, but AnandTech saw a more recent model using what's likely a Samsung-made 470 series drive. The 128GB example is much faster in sustained reads and writes, jumping from about 210MB per second and 176MB per second respectively in the old Toshiba SSD to 261MB per second and 210MB per second in the Samsung storage.

The upgraded drive, which Apple identifies only as SM128C, also supports Native Command Queuing to optimize how it reads and writes to the drive, a feature which the X-Gale lacks.

Apple is known to periodically change suppliers mid-cycle for at least Macs, often because it could source a faster, cheaper, or otherwise better equivalent that appeared after the initial design was sent into production. For the MacBook Air, the swap could lead to genuine performance improvements since the SSD is considered a vital part of its experience. Benchmarks weren't run but should see the Samsung-equipped Air both booth and load large apps at least slightly faster than what testers saw in October last year.

By Electronista Staff


  1. Paul Huang

    Dedicated MacNNer

    Joined: Sep 1999


    side effect of the 3/11 earthquake

    The 3/11 earthquake and the tsunami contributed to this.

  1. samirsshah

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Oct 2010


    good move by


  1. testudo

    Forum Regular

    Joined: Aug 2001


    nothing new here

    Apple, like all computer makers, just buy their components as commodities. Someone has something cheaper, boom, they'll switch. And since they never promote/specify what parts are in the computer, nothing says they can't or won't just switch back to Toshiba at some point.

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