MacBook Air (mid-2012) MBA Review Part 2 – Samsung and Toshiba (SandForce) SSDs Go Head To Head

REPORT ANALYSIS AND FINAL THOUGHTS

The best news we can see in this report is that, for potential MBA owners or even new owners, we have demonstrated first hand that the two SSDs chosen by Apple are top tier SSDs and among the best available today.  Deciding on which to get may even be an easier choice as it seems that current 64 and 128GB systems are Toshiba SSDs while 256 and 512GB systems seem to be that of Samsung.  This actually has a very logical ring to it as most typical consumers don’t have a need for the increased capacity or performance with respect to the increased transfer of incompressible data that a photographer, videographer or musician might have.

In examining the overall benchmark results, any thoughts that the Toshiba ‘LSI SandForce Driven’ SSD might have substandard specifications and performance compared to the Samsung were quickly put to rest through initial performance results above 500MB/s.  From that point, both the Toshiba and Samsung SSDs took turns at being the top dog in each benchmark; that was until PCMark Vantage results were compared.

PCMark Vantage favors compressible data testing and that might give Toshiba the advantage to some extent, however, that could easily be countered by the fact that we are testing with a higher capacity Samsung PM830 SSD which has higher performance ratings than it’s 128GB little brother.  As well, we have tested the PM830 in its new state and in a mSATA form factor to which it had amazing PCMark Vantage results.  The fact that the Samsung did so poorly in Vantage testing (36892 pts) and couldn’t break into SATA 3 transfer speeds even once, showed a very sharp contrast to the Toshiba SSD, which had several test results in the SATA 3 range and a Total Point Score almost 20000 points higher at 56812.

The icing on the cake has to be the partnership between LSI SandForce and both Toshiba and Apple, a partnership that many never would have predicted a few months ago.  SandForce, a company that released it’s first SSD processor to the market just over three years ago, has pushed like no other to make it’s mark in the SSD world.  For that effort, LSI SandForce has been rewarded partnership with just about every SSD manufacturer in the world except Crucial/Micron and Samsung.  As much as we might have thought the LSI purchase of SandForce or even Intel’s partnership was a vote of confidence for this company of just over 190 employees (prior to LSI purchase), this partnership with Toshiba in building a new Apple SSD just seems like a final nod of approval.

Apple MacBook Air (mid-2012) Prices at Amazon

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Nox
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Nox

🙂 Thank you so much for this excellent review, exquisite not only in its findings but also in terms of the amazingly simplistic manner in which you presented the essential facts and clearly bring about the important distinctions between the Toshiba SandForce Driven SSD and the Samsung SSD to light. As a novice to SSD’s and the MBA alike, your findings have not only made it easier for me to choose the MBA with the specs that fits my budget, I also no longer feel like I’m getting a “lesser deal for my buck” from Apple by choosing one blindly… Read more »

Les@TheSSDReview
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Thank you for that detailed return and glad we could help!

John Curtis
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Perfect drive to offload outlook ost file and windows search index 🙂

Dexter
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Dexter

@Les: Thanks for the review.. Quick question:Since you have both the MBA’s 128GB/256GB with you, can you please check & let us know which panels(Samsung/LG) do they have & your comments about the visible contrast & color vibrancy difference on both-I know I’m requesting this info on theSSDreivew site & reviewing panels is by no means your primary focus but i’ll be extremely grateful if you can help me (& others like me) with this since I can’t seem to be able to get a clear answer from other websites & forums to help me decide if I’ll be okay… Read more »

Vineet
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Vineet

Hi,
I have a question.. I have X1 Carbon (2012). I am looking to upgrade my ssd to higher capacity. Can you please suggest which would be the best and the cheapest ?