The newer, cheaper MacBook Air has slower, cheaper SSD drive

Benjamin Mayo for 9to5Mac(from Consomac):

As tested by Consomac using the Blackmagic Disk Speed Test, the 2019 MacBook Air can attain read speeds of 1.3 GB/s read and 1 GB/s write performance.

The equivalent 256 GB SSD 2018 MacBook Air could top 2 GB/s read and around 0.9 GB/s write speeds.

Therefore, the new SSD component in use has marginally superior write speeds but 35% slower read speeds, falling from 2 GB/s to 1.3 GB/s. (The 128 GB SSD option has slower 0.5 GB/s write speeds, but this drop-off was also observed in the 128 GB 2018 Air.)

MacDailyNews Take: Win some, lose some…


    1. SSD performance on 1.3 GB/s read and 1.0 GB/s write will not hamper the performance of the MBA in the least. It appears that some people have forgotten that Apple’s SSD implementation is significantly faster than the M.2 standard commonly used by Windows laptops – much faster than the Class 10, 20, and 30 SSDs that Dell uses in comparable laptops. Even the Dell Class 40 is only faster in read, but much slower in write.

      The SSD is not likely to be the performance bottleneck in any laptop, particularly when they are faster Apple-spec SSDs. The Other Steve is right…size is more important. I wish that Apple would double the base SSD on every new Mac.

      For the rest, please save your angst for real concerns. The MBA SSD performance is not one of them.

      1. I don’t know where you’re getting your information, but pretending that regression of performance of Apple’s soldered-in SSD is an insult to everyone else here. Just because it doesn’t matter to your web-surfing performance doesn’t mean that it won’t affect the performance to someone else’s workflow.

        We get that it’s the Air, and Apple is trying to move it into the entry-level price slot. However, I contend that you don’t do this by buying cheaper internals and soldering them in. That is not worthy of any premium brand. Since when is it okay for Apple to be so anti-user in your book?

        This is a continuation of Tim’s beancounterism. The aftermarket has long offered SSDs that are faster than the “Apple-spec” that you claim, and at significantly lower prices than Apple charges per GB. This is just a way for Apple to extract more money (Applecare is the only way to affordably replace a damaged laptop SSD now) and force planned obsolescence (when your dinky SSD fills up, you have to either buy cloud rental or buy a new laptop or carry around an external drive). Dell doesn’t pull this shit, Dell simply offers many options from cheap to expensive with much better bang for the buck. Why anyone would make excuses for richer-than-god Apple for being such tightwads is beyond me.

        1. I did not say anything about the installation method of the SSD. I specifically addressed the issue of the “slower, cheaper SSD” that MDN saw fit to hype. The point is, this is still a very fast SSD device, even though its theoretical write speed is 1.3 GB/s rather than 2/0 GB/s. This SSD is much faster than the SSD’s in many Windows laptops, for instance. And (as you pointed out), this SSD is in Apple’s entry level laptop. Therefore, as I stated, there is really no reason for worry or complaints. It simply doesn’t matter.

          It would be interesting to compare actual SSD read/write performance (not the SSD specs) from the previous MBA and the new model with the slower SSD. My guess is that the SSD is not the performance bottleneck. If that is true, then you may not observe a significant performance impact in the real world.

          Think about it, Mike.

          1. Well, from a performance standpoint, it undoubtedly is a step backwards … even if the typical use case supposedly won’t notice.

            And this change would be fine if it came with a $500 price cut to actually make it finally competitive to its market segment…but it didn’t.

            It also would be find if the Windows market was still largely sticking with the SATA interface with is comparative performance bottleneck…but they’re not standing still: the M.2 NVME’s have been coming on quite strongly in their products.

            In digital tech in particular, the bar invariably moves higher, not lower, which is why this sort of step backwards for the Air can’t not be disconcerting.

        2. Dear Mike:
          Do you write anything that isn’t “bitch, bitch, bitch?” I’ve yet to read anything you’ve submitted that is informative or positive. Here’s your solution:

          GO BUY A DELL !!!

  1. MacDailyNews Take: Win some, lose some…

    Yeah, maybe you’d expect some shortcuts on the part if commodity box manufacturers, but not a premium brand like Apple. Either keep things steady or improve. Don’t degrade.

    1. The Crucial P1 1TB NVME drive currently costs $99 and gets up to 2,000 MB/s reads and 1,700MB/s writes

      So for half the cost of the 256GB upgrade, you can get 4x the storage…

      Apple is not only soldering on the SSD, they’re using an inferior SSD and charging a premium price for it!

      The thing that sucks now is that you’re forced to pay the Apple tax if you want one of their computers with a decent amount of storage / ram

      I used to recommend Apple to everyone… but that was when you could actually replace the hard drive and ram… in some cases beyond what the Apple “maximum” was…

  2. The update did not need downgraded components in a marginally powered machine. “Production Experience” is what used to empower companies to lower prices without losing profits, but Apple seems to reap all those rewards for themselves these days.

    What it could have benefited from (IMO of course), given that the upgrade of the 13″ MBP entry-evel model opened up a decent amount of performance difference between the the two lines, was what the Air has long had – a processor upgrade option that would have halved the difference. Still no overlap, nice margins for Apple, a better option for tasks like photo editing, and I believe it would have sold well.

    1. Apple products used to be a good value for the price, but now they overcharge for the hardware and give you no way to actually upgrade it.

      It’s unfortunate because I loved their computers, but there’s no way I’m going to pay $600 for a 1TB soldered on SSD upgrade that probably has performance equaling that of a $100 equivalent NVME drive.

      The base price of the computers have always been on the high end, but the upgrades should cost 1/4 of the price… they charge more than the full price of the hardware needed for each tier of storage and the amount they include essentially forces people into purchasing an upgrade if they want to make full use of their $1,000+ machine

  3. if they start including cheap drives like this they should really add an NVME slot back to the board…

    Apple charges a premium and if they don’t include premium components, there’s even less of a reason people should buy there products

    A 256GB SSD at 1.3GBps is not very premium…

  4. Apple really needs to adjust the SSD upgrade pricing… +$200 going from 128GB to 256GB is insane considering you can buy a 1TB NVME drive that’s faster for $100

  5. It is still ridiculous pricing on the SSDs.
    To upgrade from a silly 128 GB SSD to a usable 1TB SSD, you must spend $600. Suddenly your “entry level” computer costs >$1500.

    Ditto for the Mac mini (although a few months ago, I’m pretty sure this upgrade was $800).

    Apple needs an entry-level laptop and desktop which doesn’t not require bleeding-edge SSDs or allows user-serviceable SSDs. You can easily find high-quality 1TB SSDs for less than $200. A 1TB upgrade costing $600 is insanely not-great.

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