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Some 2011 MacBook Airs allegedly shipping with slower Toshiba SSDs

Certain units, independent of model or SSD capacity, may contain either a slower Toshiba SSD or a faster Samsung SSD

According to some early adopters of the recently released 2011 MacBook Air, the solid-state drives found inside may not all be alike and in fact could be slower than others.

Youtube user tldtoday posted a comparison test between a MacBook Air with the supposedly slower SSD and an Air with the faster SSD. For example, the slower 128GB SSD in the user’s 13-inch model clocked in at about 160MB/sec write and 210MB/sec read, while his faster 128GB SSD in the 11-inch model clocked it at about 250MB/sec write and 260MB/sec read.

A blog post from also confirmed the Youtube source as the poster’s 13-inch 2011 MBA sported the slower SSD as well. Electronista claims the type of drive is independent of the model and SSD capacity as the website’s own 13-inch model actually contains the faster 256GB SSD.

So, exactly what is happening here? This event is in fact reminiscent of another incident back in mid-April when Apple was found to be updating a number of 2010 MBAs with faster Samsung SSDs of model number SMxxxC (xxx being the size of the drive, i.e. 128 or 256). Prior to that discovery, all stock 2010 MBAs were equipped with Toshiba SSDs with model number TSxxxC. As a result, some MBAs were shipping with faster Samsung drives while others with slower Toshiba drives. The case appears to be continuing with these initial batches of 2011 MBAs.

Electronista stresses that the performance impact of the drive difference could be negligible. However, we imagine that users who transfer large movies or data files frequently would be most affected in the long run.

It is currently unknown if Apple is planning to eventually phase out the slower Toshiba SSDs in favor of the Samsung drives or if they will continue to use both drives in order to diversify supply for stock purposes. Regardless, curious owners of a new 2011 MacBook Air may want to watch the source video below to check out what SSD they have under the hood.

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> Notebook / Laptop Reviews and News > News > News Archive > Newsarchive 2011 07 > Some 2011 MacBook Airs allegedly shipping with slower Toshiba SSDs
Allen Ngo, 2011-07-25 (Update: 2021-05-18)