TEST BENCH AND ANALYSIS CONSIDERATIONS
The Samsung NGFF PCIe SSD contains a brand new interface and one that even differs from the new NGFF standard that we has been on display for some time now. This SSD appears to be proprietary to Apple. For this reason, we can’t simply throw it onto our new NGFF Test Bench and test it as we have been with a few other NGFF SSDs for the past while. The only means of testing this SSD is within the new 2013 MacBook Air that it arrived in. This system contains the Haswell Chipset, a 1.7GHz Dual-Core Intel Core i7 processor with Turbo Boost up to 3.3GHz, 8GB 1600MHz LPDDR3 SDRAM and Intel HD5000 graphics, in addition to the SSD.
PERFORMANCE AND PRE-CONFIGURED SYSTEMS
Testing solid state drives that are in pre-configured systems can be a different animal, especially with Mac systems. We first saw this in our review of the 2012 MBA where 4K performance suffered significantly, this later confirmed in our subsequent comparison of Toshiba and Samsung SSDs, along with our review of the OWC Aura Pro SSD. Simply, Apple SSDs do not have the same performance as that of the PC, or actually more likely, SSDs in Apple systems do not display the same performance as they might in a PC system. In considering what we may find by way of performance today, several factors need to be considered:
- The 2013 MBA is a pre-configured system and, as such, Apple has configured it to be as safe and reliable to as many different uses as possible. It is not tweaked or fine tuned in any way.
- The Samsung NGFF PCIe SSD inside is not a FOB (fresh out of box) sample;
- This SSD is a new form factor and cannot be tested separate to the system;
- The MBA arrived with its pre-configured OS, along with a large recovery partition; and
- For us to test in a PC environment, we have to install BootCamp which creates another separate partition for Windows 7.
In short, the culmination of all of these factors pretty much guarantees that performance will suffer to some extent, but how much?
Crystal Disk Info provides some excellent information about the SSD itself to include its health, product information, ‘power on’ information as well as the characteristics of the SSD. We can see that the SSD is capable of TRIM as it is not greyed out as with APM.
Looking at the ‘Power On’ information in CDI, we can throw in yet another possible performance consideration, in that, this system has definitely been through burn-in and accreditation testing before leaving the factory. Let’s take a close look at the new interface before we carry on: