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

DISK SPEED TEST

From our Mac world, we found a benchmark program called Disk Speed Test that simply provided the read and write scores of each SSD, the Toshiba being on the left with Samsung on the right.

We believed the Samsung might be the highlight of this test, however, the performance results of the Toshiba were higher than expected, especially with 363MB/s performance for the write transfer speed.

PCMARK VANTAGE X64 HDD SUITE

The SSD Review uses benchmark software called PCMark Vantage x64 HDD Suite to create testing scenarios that might be used in the typical user experience. There are eight tests in all and the tests performed record the speed of data movement in MB/s to which they are then given a numerical score after all of the tests are complete. The simulations are as follows:

  • Windows Defender In Use
  • Streaming Data from storage in games such as Alan Wake which allows for massive worlds and riveting non-stop action
  • Importing digital photos into Windows Photo Gallery
  • Starting the Vista Operating System
  • Home Video editing with Movie Maker which can be very time consuming
  • Media Center which can handle video recording, time shifting and streaming from Windows media center to an extender such as XBox
  • Cataloging a music library
  • Starting applications

If you are new to testing and considering benchmark software, this is the best you can get because the program goes well beyond the results of simulated testing as we have already done. In comparing SATA 2.0 SSDs, we have reached the bandwidth limit and the performance of most new SATA 2 SSDs is as high as it can get with typical high sequential access speeds in the area of 280MB/s read and 270MB/s write.

We needed a way to differentiate these drives and to find a method that can actually put one drive above another and this is exactly what Vantage testing does. Its tests combined can provide an accurate comparison between drives and its tests individually can assist a smart shopper in finding the best SSD for their needs. Next to actual true to life testing which can take an insurmountable length of time, PCMark Vantage is the only program that can compare any SSD, side by side, regardless of SATA interface or controller in use.

APPLE SSD TS128E 128GB SSD TOTAL POINT SCORE

If you recall, we weren’t impressed with the Total Point Score (36892) of the Samsung PM830 and attributed it to the software configuration of the Apple environment.  The Total Point Score was 36892 and our disappointment was more to the fact that none of the tests had resulted in SATA 3 speeds. As much as we might expect the Toshiba to do better as PCMark Vantage HDD Suite is comprised of typical user activities which favor compressible data, the Samsung PM830 had done very well in our previous independent testing as well.

Toshiba ‘LSI SandForce Driven’ 128GB SSD achieved a Total Point Score of 56812 points and SATA 3 speeds were reached in several tests, the highlight being testing in Windows Media Player which had a high transfer speed of 368MB/s.  Quite frankly, this was very surprising as it demonstrated to us that, even with the MBA’s pre-configured system, the SSD was still capable of great things.

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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