2011 MacBook Air: Fast and Slow SSD

If you are in the market for a 2011 MacBook Air, you better check the SSD (solid state devices) that comes with the laptop. Apple ships both Samsung and Toshiba SSDs. Why is Apple using two suppliers? It’s probably due to shortage of SSDs. What’s the difference between Samsung and Toshiba SSD? The difference is in speed, not by a whole lot, but it’s something to consider when making a big purchase. You want the best bang for your buck. Here the details about the speed difference from Engadget:

The 128GB Samsung SSD in his 11-inch Air was able to achieve 246 MB/s write and 264 MB/s read speeds. When he switched to the 13-inch model, however, speeds dropped to 156 MB/s and 208 MB/s, respectively, using that notebook’s 128GB Toshiba SSD.

We compared speeds on two generations of 13-inch models, and confirmed Jonathan’s findings.

During our tests, the 256GB Samsung drive in our older 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.

Samsung SSD is definitely the way to go. How can you tell if you have the Samsung or Toshiba SSD? From ZDNet:

You can check which SSD module you have by going to About this Mac > More info… > System Report… (the new name for System Profiler) and clicking on Hardware > Serial-ATA in the left pane. If the enter for APPLE SSD is followed by SM, you have the Samsung, if it’s followed by TS you have the Toshiba module.

It might be preferable to buy a 2011 MacBook Air directly from an Apple Store, rather than buying it online. At the very least, you can check the SSD before making a purchase.

The MacBook Air SSDs From Samsung are Faster

According to Ars Technica, Apple is now shipping MacBook Airs with SSDs that are made by Samsung instead of the original SSDs supplied by Toshiba. The switch seems to increase writing and reading performance speeds, on the 2010 MacBook Airs by 20-25 percent, according to tests performed by AnandTech.

I happen to have the MacBook Air, purchased around early December 2010. I wanted to know if I have the original Toshiba SSD or the new Samsung SSD. Before I digging in, I had a feeling that I had the older SSD. I have been very happy with my MacBook Air since I purchased it. But, knowing if I had the faster SSD would be nice.

Go to the System Profiler by accessing the Apple menu and then clicking About this Mac. Go to the section called Serial-ATA, you will see the Model number of your SSD device. Mine says: APPLE SSD TS128C. That means I have the older Toshiba.

It would have been nice to have the faster Samsung SSD, but I have been very happy with my new MacBook Air’s performance. No complaints here. So the question is, how do I get the new SSDs? Is it even possible to swap devices?