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  • dagamer34 - Wednesday, November 09, 2011 - link

    The Toshiba SSD is so bad, I feel like you're getting shafted. At this point, Apple should just ditch them since they are definitely causing slower performance compared to a Samsung SSD. Reply
  • BrianTho2010 - Wednesday, November 09, 2011 - link

    I agree they should dump Toshiba, but they most likely have not due to long term supply contracts with Toshiba. I imagine that if Toshiba can not get their act together, Apple will not renew the SSD supply contract, but in the mean time Apple is stuck with junk SSD's from Toshiba. Reply
  • Calin - Thursday, November 10, 2011 - link

    Apple is constrained not by performance, but by production capacity. In order not to have items "out of stock", they'll use whatever SSDs they can find (as long as the producer can produce them, give a decent warranty, and make them both error-free and long living). Oh, and respond well to increases in requests, and be geographically separated (such as a quake or typhoon or tsunami doesn't destroy all the production).
    Until another partner can be identified that does all of this AND gives faster drives is identified, selected and taken in chains... I mean contracts signed - Toshiba is there to stay
  • TheGaussianFunk - Thursday, November 10, 2011 - link

    You guys are missing the point completely. The OWC SSD is using TOSHIBA modules also..... I'm assuming Apple can't source the high-end modules in the quantity and time-frame they need it in. Reply
  • GotThumbs - Thursday, November 10, 2011 - link

    OR.......... Apple chooses to use the older (less expensive) components and maintain the HIGH profit margins in continues to make. I would bet that a high % of Apple laptop owners have no clue what technology is inside their laptop...just that its an Apple book and looks Cool. Why else would a large number of email, FB, web-surfing users spend so much money when they can get a PC for around half the cost.

    Apple has a marketing advantage in that many people will buy thier products regardless of cost because it's a fashion accessory for many of these people (IMO).
  • bji - Thursday, November 10, 2011 - link

    It's more than looking cool. It has unique functionality and a unique interface that some people value. Sorry you are too dumb to understand that. Reply
  • wkw1766 - Friday, November 11, 2011 - link

    "Sorry you are too dumb to understand that.". What is with the chip on your shoulder? Kind of a harsh reaction to someone elses opinion. Reply
  • ex2bot - Friday, November 11, 2011 - link

    I, too, disagree with your assessment. There are unknowledgeable Mac buyers just as there are unknowledgeable Windows machine buyers. There are also knowledgeable buyers who choose to pay more for the advantages the Macs offer, such as superior design and construction, support, and OS X.

    Of couse, there are also knowledgeable Windows buyers. If someone can live without the design and construction, and sees no advantage in the often superior tech support and in OS X, then, sure, they're not going to want to pay more. Different perspectives. But to belittle all Mac owners because their values differ from yours makes you seem ignorant.

    I'm an expert user myself, but I've had to deal with Apple a few times for warranty repair (mostly optical drives), and I appreciate dealing with someone from the U.S. who doesn't insult my intelligence. I've experienced how HP has jerked some of my friends around for warranty repair, and I've read numerous accounts of abysmal support from HP and other manufacturers.

    Mac Fanbot
  • MySchizoBuddy - Friday, November 11, 2011 - link

    I would bet that a high % of "PC" laptop owners have no clue what technology is inside their PC laptop. Reply
  • Focher - Tuesday, November 15, 2011 - link

    This argument died with the MacBook Air (and iPad and iPhone) because competitors price their matching models at the same (or sometimes higher) price points.

    As every independent review (supported by personal experience) has highlighted, the MacBook Air is a very fast machine from an end user perspective. While technology sites can do deep testing to highlight performance differences, it doesn't make a bit of difference to the vast majority of users.

    Your argument does hold true to an extent. The "large number of email, FB, web-surfing users" could easily get by on something else. An iPad.
  • taltamir - Thursday, November 10, 2011 - link

    The toshiba SSD is just barely faster than a HDD. Users are getting shafted as they thing they are getting a real SSD. Reply
  • ezorb - Wednesday, November 09, 2011 - link

    No one buys an AIR because its fast, its not! people buy it because its shiny and small. (and it very good at both of those function)

    Also it seams stupid to throw out a validated design and replace it with and after market solution with known firmware issues? and to what end? shave a quarter second off word document load time?

    the only reason to buy this product is to increase capacity by more then double, that is the only good reason to buy this product.
  • solipsism - Wednesday, November 09, 2011 - link

    These ultraportables boot up in 10 seconds and awake from hibernation in 1. Seems to me they more than responsive for most consumer's needs, especially if we're talking about drive access when most are coming from HDDs. Reply
  • futurepastnow - Thursday, November 10, 2011 - link

    That responsiveness is, indeed, the reason for consumer SSDs. Much of the speed of these drives is only valuable to server and workstation-y tasks, but everyone can appreciate their programs opening almost instantly.

    Given that, I'm not sure it's worthwhile to upgrade a Macbook Air just for speed. The stock SSD is so much quicker than a hard drive that it's probably "fast enough" from a responsiveness angle.
  • Ratman6161 - Thursday, November 10, 2011 - link it is knowing that there was a better option out there but you didn't get it just because by sheer luck you got the Toshiba rather than the Samsung. Reply
  • BrianTho2010 - Wednesday, November 09, 2011 - link

    The firmware issue was fixed in the latest update. I can confirm this with my Vertex 3 that had daily blue screens and lock ups.

    The Air, and Ultrabooks in general, are a great solution for someone needed a super portable notebook that they can do all of their day to day tasks on without sacrificing much performance compared to a full sized 15" notebook. When you introduce a great SSD like the SandForce solutions, you make the gap between UltraBook & Notebook performance even smaller.

    Lastly, this product is NOT for your average Air buyer. You have to actually open the product to install. 98% of notebook/ultrabook/netbook owners do not feel comfortable opening their computer.
  • Beenthere - Thursday, November 10, 2011 - link

    ONE firmware issue was fixed with the last update. We don't know how many more firmware updates will be required for true reliability and compatibility. Reply
  • ciparis - Wednesday, November 09, 2011 - link

    That was the thinking last generation. Now the Air lineup is a great choice for plenty of reasons: it's the thinnest, lowest-price, AND is the only line ditching unacceptably slow spindle drives across the board. SSDs make a bigger impact compared to a spindle drive than getting a somewhat faster CPU does, unless you're constantly CPU-bound (most aren't).

    That said, once you have an SSD, the contrast between a slow and a faster SSD pales compared to not having an SSD at all. So it's still tough to argue for the upgrade, from that point of view... at least if you have the Samsung.
  • Mitch89 - Thursday, November 10, 2011 - link

    It's obvious you haven't used the latest generation Air, its performance is excellent. It's even more impressive when you consider just how compact the machine is, and the battery life. Reply
  • ckryan - Wednesday, November 09, 2011 - link

    I don't own any OWC stuff; They once claimed that their 2281s were impervious to the 2281 issues because they had built in special optimizations. As it turns out, there aren't really that many differences between an OWC 2281 and a Patriot/Mushkin/etc 2281. They look the same, get made in the same place, and use the same firmware. I thought that was a little ridiculous.

    The good news is that it really does seem as if the second generation SFs are operating as they were intended. My Mushkin Chronos Deluxe which suffered two types of SF "BSoD"s was fixed by 3.3.2. After the first couple crashes, I had moved the drive to a secondary, non boot position, where the drive would crash every thirty hours for the two months I'd had the drive (it was running 24/7). It happened like clockwork, regardless of motherboard -- H67,P67, and Z68. I grabbed the 3.3.2FW and it's been running for two weeks straight.
  • MrTeal - Wednesday, November 09, 2011 - link

    Is there any reason why the Toshiba drive should be getting higher sequential and random read speeds while encrypted? The random reads especially seem strange, they're almost 8% faster with the drive encrypted. Reply
  • bubbl33 - Wednesday, November 09, 2011 - link

    In my experience slow drives always get a performance boost when encrypted. This is because data gets buffered in memory, so it's at the expense of cpu (for the encryption) and memory usage. Reply
  • ciparis - Wednesday, November 09, 2011 - link

    You get a fair amount of compression for "free" (from a disk point of view) when encrypting non-binary data. Reply
  • Calin - Thursday, November 10, 2011 - link

    Encrypting 10MB of data produces 10MB of encrypted data. Encrypting 1 bit of data produces 64 bits of data (or more, or less, depending on encryption algorithm).
    Encrypting does not give you compression, it just slows you down. And file/folder compression might slow you down as for a 1-byte write you might need to write a lot of changes in the target file/folder
  • ciparis - Thursday, November 10, 2011 - link

    That's incorrect, but note the terminology (I wrote "non binary"). Ascii data, when encrypted, normally goes through a process very similar to compression. This is desirable, or the resulting entropy would leave too many clues about the file contents. The end result is much smaller files for typical user documents, and (as the results show) faster HD throughput.

    Binary data, though, doesn't give much (if anything) in savings.

    You can see this for yourself if you're on a system with gzip or pgp installed; just compress something and check the size.
  • ciparis - Thursday, November 10, 2011 - link

    I don't know why I wrote gzip... morning coffee deficit. PGP or equivalents. And "encrypt" not "compress". Reply
  • bji - Thursday, November 10, 2011 - link

    Wha??? Encryption algorithms don't care about the encoding of the data they are encrypting. ASCII bytes and non-ASCII bytes look the same to the algorithm and have the same size when they come out. If this wasn't true - it would be a SECURITY FLAW in the encryption algorithm. If you can tell something about the format of the input data from the output, then you are leaking information and reducing the strength of the encryption algorithm.

    You may be conflating two issues here. I have no doubt that some security packages include built-in pre-encryption of the data, as a convenience. Maybe the default options for the tools you are using compress the data before encrypting it to speed up the compression algorithms.
  • bji - Thursday, November 10, 2011 - link

    Whoops, morning coffee deficit of my own. I meant "pre-compression of the data", not "pre-encryption of the data". Reply
  • Qapa - Thursday, November 10, 2011 - link

    Any news about the OCZ Octane?

    Googling only shows up people asking about it as well.

    Anand, do you have any news about it you can share?

  • netmann - Thursday, November 10, 2011 - link

    Nice review, I was waiting for it... However I was hoping to see some benchmarks of Windows 7 in MBA with OWC SSD versus Asus Zenbook UX21. Any chance? Reply
  • Visual - Thursday, November 10, 2011 - link

    Can someone explain to me why random read is slower than random write?

    Seems to me that there is plenty more complexity and factors that could slow down a write... like if it's not a full block, the drive needs to read the current block so the rest of its content is not lost, erase it or find another already empty one to use, and finally write to it. Then there is waiting for updating the block mapping info, garbage collection and who knows what else...

    Is the drive just not waiting for any of those things, instead reporting that the write is done while in fact it has only been written in the DRAM cache? Well, if that is the case then wouldn't a long enough period of such random writes eventually fill up the cache and make the drive have to wait for all the operations anyway? Why does that not happen in the benchmarks?

    Or it is something completely different? Would someone please enlighten me?
  • Visual - Thursday, November 10, 2011 - link

    > SandForce achieves this performance advantage by using real time compression and data deduplication algorithms to reduce the amount of data actually written to the NAND

    Ah damn, it was right there in the article... Though it still seems a bit too high of a difference to be because of compression, I'll accept that. I do wonder though, why don't you test with random or already compressed data to show the other side of the rainbow :p
  • Visual - Thursday, November 10, 2011 - link

    And then again, you encrypted data tests still show write much faster than read... back to square one.
    Also, I promise, this is my last comment without having read the article carefully. Sorry about that.
  • Donnie Darko - Thursday, November 10, 2011 - link

    While I appreciate that the value comment is precarious to make (since some people obviously value things differently) you are talking about a +$500 upgrade to a 1000-1200 laptop.

    Is it a 50% increase in your user experiance or performance to justtify the 50% increase in product price?
  • FATCamaro - Thursday, November 10, 2011 - link

    What is the OSX version of BSOD? Reply
  • peterfares - Thursday, November 10, 2011 - link

    Kernel panic Reply
  • StefanoT - Thursday, November 10, 2011 - link

    Now some people will really be tempted to open up their MBAs and toss in this drive, as it has a bigger capacity and higher speed. Reply
  • Squuiid - Thursday, November 10, 2011 - link

    TRIM anyone?! Reply
  • robm62 - Thursday, February 23, 2012 - link

    I have a late 2010 Air (purchased in 2011/02). I use this machine as a desktop replacement and laptop for Java dev. (but no video)

    There is nothing wrong with performance. I doubt I would notice a 'faster' SSD 400MB sequential writes!??! While that's fast, any internet fetching would swamp that in no time (think Maven).

    What I want eventually is a decent speed, low cost, upgrade from the 64G that came with the machine (and is only half used up) but that does NOT degrade battery life. How about $99 128G, 5Watts at idle and 15W under load.

    That would be better all around product. Why pay for gee whiz performance I won't utilize at the cost of battery life?

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