Two major upgrades offered to all of Apple's new MacBook lineup are updated SSDs and native USB 3.0 support. The same updated SSD is present across all of Apple's lineup: from the MacBook Air to the next-gen MacBook Pro. Based on the model number in Apple's System Report I'd guess my review sample features a Samsung based drive. Toshiba was a secondary source in the past, and with its announcement of a 6Gbps controller I wouldn't be surprised to find that in systems as well. 

Apple claims the new SSD is capable of up to 500MB/s read performance. I ran a few tests using Quick Bench to validate Apple's claims. In general it looks like read speed approaches 500MB/s, while sequential writes are closer to 400MB/s. I don't want to draw any conclusions based on the random data just yet because it's like Quick Bench is using a 100% LBA span for these tests, while I typically run at a more limited LBA span for my random tests.

Note, the SSD in the next-gen MacBook Pro is physically removable similar to the drive in the MacBook Air. The drives aren't interchangeable however and I'm not sure if the two even use the same physical interface.

USB Performance - 8.3GB File Copy

USB 3.0 performance is much improved over the previous generation MacBook Pro. I used an Apricorn SATA to USB 3.0 adapter to measure copy time to/from a 512GB OCZ Vertex 4 SSD. The performance gap between USB 2.0 and 3.0 is nothing short of significant.

More details on the next-generation MacBook Pro as we make it through our review.

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  • TEAMSWITCHER - Monday, June 11, 2012 - link

    The flash drive isn't soldered to the motherboard, but it does look like a custom module. The RAM however is soldered and that scares the crap out of me.

    The standard warranty for a MacBook is only one year, and I have had Apple DIMMS go bad after that...twice now. With industry standard memory modules I can easily diagnose and replace them. It's a cheap repair given the current DRAM pricing.

    The extended three year warranty is $350.00, but a Mac can easily have a effective service life of about 5-6 years in my experience. I know this for a fact as my kids have adopted my previous MacBook Pros. Am I to throw the $2200 laptop in the trash if a single RAM chip goes bad after three years? Or pay Apple another $500.00 for a new logic board? I don't think so.

    The tech industry is swooning of the MacBook Pro with Retina Display, but I'm thinking it's really just techno-bling for Apple Elitists. Maybe in a year or two the design will change to something a bit more reasonable.

    Until then, if I need to get a New MacBook Pro, I'll stick with the thicker design and the low DPI screen. It has the same CPU and GPU specs, is still portable, but user serviceable, and upgradable.

    I have been such a loyal Apple fan-boy over the years, I can't believe I just wrote all this. Is anyone else thinking about this like I am?
    Reply
  • repoman27 - Tuesday, June 12, 2012 - link

    I've actually seen more SO-DIMM slots on Apple motherboards that have failed after several years than the memory modules themselves.

    That being said, I always buy Macs with the bare minimum of RAM installed and upgrade later for a fraction of what Apple has the gall to charge. So it irks me that they make this an up front cost and charge a high premium on a component that typically depreciates in price quite steadily.

    RAM usually carries a limited lifetime warranty as well, so if Apple wasn't willing to resolve an issue that cropped up after the first year of ownership (or three w/ AppleCare), then they're also shorting you on the industry standard warranty period for a product that they are charging such a premium for.
    Reply
  • xpro - Tuesday, June 12, 2012 - link

    I have been looking for the same info. Even though OWC has SSD options for the macbook air their prices are unjustifiable to me.

    I would be interested in getting the base model and upgrading the ram but if the ram is soldered in like the macbook air I would be very disappointed and may sacrifice the "retina display" for the user serviceable macbook pro.

    I can't wait for a teardown!
    Reply
  • Kristian Vättö - Monday, June 11, 2012 - link

    Not surprised that it's Samsung (and most likely the same controller as 830 Series). It's the most logical choice given that Samsung supplies lots of Apple's components, plus 830 Series offers great performance and very mature controller and firmware. Reply
  • iwod - Tuesday, June 12, 2012 - link

    Could someone explain why they dont get a Marvell Controller instead?

    Why stick to Samsung?
    Reply
  • Kristian Vättö - Tuesday, June 12, 2012 - link

    Do you mean a third party Marvell based SSD (from Plextor or Micron/Crucial for instance) or an in-house SSD with Marvell controller?

    If you mean the first one, then the answer is fairly simple. Apple has close relations with Samsung since they have provided Apple with components for years. It's cheaper to buy in bulk (buy these and we give you a discount on those) and the relations already exist. On top of that, e.g. Plextor has no OEM channel. Of course, I bet they would make one if Apple asked but right now they are a relatively small company compared to Samsung - they might not be able to keep up with the demand.

    As for an in-house SSD design with Marvell controller, it can take years to develop and validate one, and it's very expensive. I don't think the gains of an in-house design would really be worth the price. Apple already equips their SSDs with custom firmware anyway.

    Samsung's advantage is that they make every single component they use in their SSDs. That makes them independent of other suppliers, which means they know exactly what their supply level is and also makes competitive pricing possible. When you're as flash hungry as Apple is, you need a supplier that can supply you with enough SSDs. On the other hand, Samsung's 830 is extremely competitive in performance as well, so there is no downside.
    Reply
  • ImSpartacus - Monday, June 11, 2012 - link

    On my 1280x800 Chrome browser, all three instances of "USB *.0" are at the beginning of each line of the paragraph. It reminded me of xkcd:

    http://xkcd.com/276/
    Reply
  • bigdisk - Monday, June 11, 2012 - link

    haha. Why do I find that so hilarious? Reply
  • piroroadkill - Tuesday, June 12, 2012 - link

    Because it is, it's making me smile, that for sure Reply
  • tipoo - Tuesday, June 12, 2012 - link

    People just don't understand us lovers of symmetry. Reply

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