2013 MacBook Air NGFF PCIe SSD Review (256GB) – Pre-Configured MBA Doesn’t Set The ‘PC’ Performance Bar

MAC STORAGE PERFORMANCE

As much as we have posted some of these prior, we felt it necessary to include our specific 2013 MBA tests to provide and even flow to our report.  The three tests below consist of Disk Speed Test, QuickBench and NovaBench.

DiskSpeedTest SSD

QB Large Test

As we can see by the above two results, high sequential performance is as it should be and results above 700MB/s are a great start.  Disk Speed Test also provides some very valuable media numbers to assist with video and gaming needs.

2013 MacBook Air QB 4k

ZoneBench 4K

When looking at 4K performance while testing in OSX Mountain Lion, results highs of 30MB/s low 4K random read and 75MB/s low 4K random write are excellent and display that this SSD is configured ideally for this environment.

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James Smerdon
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James Smerdon

Actually, it isn’t an NGFF (M.2), this is a custom Apple form factor. This has already been posted at major media outlets. http://www.anandtech.com/show/7058/2013-macbook-air-pcie-ssd-and-haswell-ult-inside

Les@TheSSDReview
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Thats the first I have seen of Anands update and thanks. We figured that it was a proprietary design and based very closely on the NGFF/M.2. The problem is that both Apple and Samsung are very tight lipped because of contractual agreements.

CrAppleJinxer
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CrAppleJinxer

Apple is like Dell, HP, Gateway, Cisco and other past darlings of American offshore out sourced manufacturing stampede out of the country. The whole object is change something in the design just enough to make it impossible to substitute another more common part. Similar to what all these non-manufacturing companies do with GPU manufacturers too. This enables companies like Apple to claim they actually invented something new or different. But like always it’s never in the best interest of consumers. The bottom line, it’s all part of these Gypsy Barker Type Snake Oil Selling Companies (that don’t even make any… Read more »

gaadoslav
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gaadoslav

It IS M.2. That “UPDATE” which they published is sign of incompetence.

Jim
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Jim

It’s a custom Apple design, not M.2. Since there’s no PCIe routed off of
the CPU in Haswell ULT, these 2 lanes come from the on-package PCH. <—look at the connection alone on the SSD and you can tell.

Zaxx
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Zaxx

A bit surprised that this issue with 4Ks goes all the way back to 2012…and still no fix? For the premium u pay for Apple, this should have been resolved by now. It’s giving Samsung a black eye before this type form factor launches fully.

Les@TheSSDReview
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Yes but it doesnt seem to be just the Samsung as the SanDisk suffered same in our testing of the Sammy/SanDisk in comparison. It is almost like there is a configuration issue with BootCamp or any Win7 installation that is partnered with IOS.

BootCamp User
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BootCamp User

Been an issue with BootCamp since the very get go. Because the Intel Macs boot UEFI rather than BIOS, Windows won’t load AHCI drivers without some major tweakery (Google – “BootCamp Win 7 AHCI”), consequently the bog standard MS IDE drivers are loaded and performance is pretty bad. Apple don’t seem overly concerned about correcting this

Bogdan
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Bogdan

Try to repeat the benchmarks using Windows 8 installed in EFI mode. I am sure you will get very different results.
* On 2013 MBA you can install Windows 8 in EFI mode (this will install Windows with AHCI drivers) via bootcamp using the latest OS X updates.

Les@TheSSDReview
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Already did that and we saw no appreciable difference. My first venture was to install all 3 OS’s and try all… Have tested in not only boot camp, but also in Parallels. Performance is not really fair in Parallels as typical reads and writes are 3058MB/s and 2730MB/s….gotta love virtual environments.

Bogdan
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Bogdan

Please check this link: http://www.pcper.com/reviews/General-Tech/MacBook-Air-11-2013-Review-Windows-Perspective/Windows-Experience-and-Storage-P

Do you have any plans on testing the new iMac with PCIe flash storage in Windows 8?

Les@TheSSDReview
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No. Our system has had BootCamp removed and we are running Parallels right now…

Bogdan
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Bogdan

Did you had the chance to test the iMac PCIe flash storage in Windows 8? If so, can you please share the results?

Les@TheSSDReview
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This was answered previously and to reiterate, there are no appreciable differences between performance in Win 7 or Win 8. Thank you for your comments and feel free to join the Forums for further discussion if you have some benchmarks that you might like to provide.

Bogdan
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Bogdan

The last question was about iMac, not about Macbook Air performance.
Regarding Macbook Air, I just wanted to point out that in the below article they obtained much improved 4K perfomance in Windows:
http://www.pcper.com/reviews/General-Tech/MacBook-Air-11-2013-Review-Windows-Perspective/Windows-Experience-and-Storage-P

Thank you for your answers and patience.

Les@TheSSDReview
Guest

Where are you finding this performance improvement…from the ATTO benchmark itself? This, in itself, is not telling whatsoever and it doesn’t matter whether you are speaking of the iMac or Air, they are based on the same architecture as far as storage testing is concerned.