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

CRYSTAL DISK INFO VER 3.9.3

Crystal Disk Info provides some excellent information about the SSD itself to include its health, operating temperature, product information, power on’ information as well as the characteristics of the SSD. In the case of the Apple SSD TS128e,we can confirm such things as the drives Power On Count and Power On Hours along with supported features, one of which identifies TRIM as being functional, at least when being tested in Windows 7.

To clarify for those not having read our first report, we found very few software programs to properly assess storage performance in the Mac environment and, in fact, we were tied to testing the Samsung SSD in a dual boot mode (Mac/PC) as the OS, and hardware such as the SSD, is proprietary to the system and a SSD cannot be simply removed, formatted, reset and benchmarked.  This was the same with our new MBA.

ATTO DISK BENCHMARK VER. 2.46

ATTO Disk Benchmark is perhaps one of the oldest benchmarks going and is definitely the main staple for manufacturer performance specifications. ATTO uses RAW or compressible data and, for our benchmarks, we use a set length of 256mb and test both the read and write performance of various transfer sizes ranging from 0.5 to 8192kb. Manufacturers prefer this method of testing as it deals with raw (compressible) data rather than random (includes incompressible data) which, although more realistic, results in lower performance results.

The ‘LSI SandForce Driven’ Toshiba is showing it’s colors right off and bringing in excellent performance of 551MB/s read and 523MB/s write while the Samsung sits just behind with 507MB/s read and a high of 460MB/s write. These results were expected as SandForce controlled SSDs excel in highly compressible data testing which is the bread and butter of typical consumer use.

5 comments

  1. 🙂 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 over the other, something that I was thinking of considering in 2011, while being at the same crossroads as I find myself today.

    Last year I had decided NOT to opt for the MBA, considering the vast difference in the performance between the Toshiba & Samsung SSD’s & having no way to determine how to go about choosing the best SSD without leaving things to fate! As usual, the “Genie-Ass’s” @ Apple were of No help at all-Many did not even know what I was talking about! This year, thanks to your review, I find myself better equipped and more empowered to make the right decision!

    In light of Apple’s known business practice of “discrimination” in sourcing SSD’s from two different vendors and not giving a choice to the end user as to which SSD we want to purchase at the point of sale, your review breathes new hope & light in the current scenario by empowering the end user with the required information so that we get to know what we’re paying for and helping us set our “expectations” accordingly.

    I’m also grateful to you for investing your time & effort in publishing your findings in record time & thanks for not taking your reader’s patience for granted, unlike some of your colleagues in the same industry! Like last year, I was waiting for Anandtech for publishing their in-depth review for the 2012 MBA’s & it’s SSD to finally decide if one was worth switching to this year, and after waiting for what seemed to be an eternity, it looked like Anand had found his dream machine in the new Retina MBP and having reviewed it thoroughly, he & his team seemed uninterested in helping prospective MBA buyers this year.. they may be hard at work on it right now-I don’t know & I no longer care but I’m surely glad I stumbled upon you site and got the information I was looking for! Thanks a ton!!! 🙂

  2. Perfect drive to offload outlook ost file and windows search index 🙂

  3. @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 with getting an LG Panel, as it’s all a lottery anyways! Thanks a ton, in anticipation!

  4. 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 ?

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