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.