MacBook Air 13″ Ivy Bridge (mid-2012) MBA Ultrabook Review and SSD Performance Analysis

CRYSTAL DISK BENCHMARK VER. 3.0 X64

Crystal Disk Benchmark is used to measure read and write performance through sampling of raw (0/1 Fill/compressible) or random data which is, for the most part, incompressible. We are testing with Random or highly incompressible data samples for the Samsung PM830 as this drive does not use compression in storage and test results are very similar regardless of the data sample in use, compressible or incompressible.

The high sequential read and write scores being somewhat lower than ATTO is typical and we honestly expected low 4k random read and write scores as is shown by the 14MB/s read and 30MB/s writes scores.  This is definitely the result of a pre-installed OS and further reasoning might even include our choice to create a dual boot system as we did.  For the typical user, there is no need to panic though as no visible performance degradation will be observed.

A quick look at our report with the new PM830 shows low 4k results of 21MB/s read and 82MB/s write transfer speeds although performance was below that with all other transfer speed results in the same test.

AS SSD BENCHMARK VER 1.64

Up until recently, AS SSD was the only benchmark created specifically for SSD testing and it uses incompressible data which is favored by many SSD enthusiasts. Our left AS SSD result displays transfer speeds with IOPS on the right

Considering that AS SSD is the most difficult of all performance benchmarks, the high sequential write transfer speed of 399MB/s while testing in highly incompressible data is great.  The 4k results are, once again, very low and the disk access times are a bit low as well, this again probably a direct result of the pre-installed OS. A quick look at the IOPS result also shows a great 4k-64Thrd result of 66,680 IOPS.

AS SSD Copy Bench is also a great utility as it mimics real life use, in that, it simply creates three files (iso/Program/Game) and moves each from one part of the SSD to another, recording the transfer speed reached and time it took for the transfer.  Although we would have liked seeing higher transfer speeds that hit the SATA 3 range, the transfer times are fairly decent.

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dravo1
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dravo1

Does Apple still offer the extended AppleCare hardware warranty on these units? Almost a necessity.

Les@TheSSDReview
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Yes, I noticed it in a Google search. The unfortunate part is how they maintain such control. On any other laptop, if say the RAM or ssd went dead, you could simply replace it…not with Apple! It practically mandates the warranty…agreed.

Claran
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Claran

Great article.
To give you some help with … “Now if I could just figure out this right mouse button thingy” To Go to System Preferences and click on Trackpad. Under “Point & Click” you will see a settings for “Secondary Click”. This will give you a “Right Click’ function.

Sorry if you were looking for “right mouse” help in Windows 7, I cannot help you there.

Les@TheSSDReview
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Thank you and it was the right most button in Win 7 for the most part but I was surprised at the ability to personalize on the mac side. Thank you very the response by the way.

asw74
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asw74

Les, I was a Windows guy through and through like you were. Call me petty but when my wife insisted on buying the 2011 macbook air (after using a Lenovo X61), I felt ‘betrayed’. After 3 Hail Mary’s (you know, for protection)…needless to say, after a few days with the MBA, it is an ‘experience’ and the best designed hardware in any notebook/ultrabook I have seen to date. I had to fight her for the privilege of using the MBA ;p. I now easily recommend the MBA to all my friends who want to buy a notebook. OSX was another… Read more »

Les@TheSSDReview
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Yes…small hiccups as well… Office Outlook just crashed and I lost some messages. In Win 7… What is a crash? Litttle things to work out I am sure but sincerely like the system and OS.

asw74
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asw74

These are quickbench results for the original Samsung 256GB SSD on the MBA 2011 and the OWC 6G SSD 480GB (I upgraded last week).

Original: https://www.box.com/s/g6dg77qgv4gu5xuvi8st
OWC 6G SSD: https://www.box.com/s/07350f2899bd6fea063c

David Lindegren
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David Lindegren

Migrating an OSX boot drive using Superduper! is very easy, especially if OWC would release a similar “external drive enclosure” for the new “air” as well. You could also exchange the drives, put your old one in an external enclosure and then use the migration assistant to move the information from your old drive to the new one when installing OSX on the new drive.

Les@TheSSDReview
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I will look closely into this. If you do the migration, does it affect your registration with any of the OS X utilities like iTunes/itore etc and also, once the migration is complete, does it automatically delete the source drive? The deletion of source drive is the big one.

David Lindegren
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David Lindegren

I am not sure how the iTunes/store is affected.

What do you mean by deletion? As far as I know it does not automatically delete the source, but if you want it to I guess you can just format it. Superduper! allows for some scripting and stuff to be run after the mirroring so it might be able to do what you are looking for.

Les@TheSSDReview
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Yes it may be what I am looking for. The reason I ask about it formatting the source is because this is an Apple thing so there arent two copies. I would like that, however, as it is easier to maintain a duplicate of the laptop.

asw74
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asw74

I just did a migration last week to the 480GB OWC drive with carbon copy cloner. The new version (last few months now) of CCC has the option to clone not only the primary partition but the hidden OSX install source partition as well. I bought the external enclosure, stick the 480GB SSD in it, cloned the main partition and the hidden partition. Before you physically replace the SSD, press ALT during bootup and you can boot off the newly cloned drive running off USB (this is an amazing feature of OSX that I wish MS could do with Win).… Read more »

asw74
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asw74

By the way CCC will automatically detect when you destination drive is missing the hidden OSX source partition and all you have to do is follow the on screen instructions, easy.