Apple’s newest revision of the MacBook Air has a secret weapon packed into its tiny little frame. Rather than the pokey 4200rpm hard drive its predecessors ran on, the new MacBook Airs are sporting the latest buzz-inducing hardware in high-speed data storage: a solid-state drive.
We found that if you put a stock 1.4GHz MacBook Air (2010) up against a stock 2.66GHz MacBook Pro 13” (2010), the Air can write a 500MB file up to 20% faster (meaning takes less time to do the same process) than the MacBook Pro. Unzipping a 1.0GB file is up to 20% faster on the Air too. The Air is faster despite a 1.26GHz processor speed difference!!! That’s some SSD power.
Obviously, this is due to the speed of the SSD drive; adding an SSD can significantly improve performance for any disk-intensive activity. This is not really a new concept; this sort of thing has been mentioned here before. What makes this particular nugget of information extra-interesting is that Apple seems to be leveraging their SSDs as a way to improve performance while keeping processor speed (and, as a result, the heat generated) down.
What really caught our eye, though, is something many would overlook: the MacBook Air’s SSD achieved a transfer peak data rate up to 213MB/s. OWC Mercury Extreme SSDs have achieved peak data rates of 285MB/s!
That means that by simply upgrading your Mac with our SSD, you can improve your Mac’s performance significantly! We did a few tests just to see how big a gain you can get with our SSD over the factory stock HD.
The first test we ran was our 45-step Photoshop Action test. In this test, an image (up to 204 megapixels, depending on machine) is created and a 45 commonly-used filters and processes are run on it to simulate a typical graphics editing session.
As you can see in the results above, adding an OWC SSD resulted in the tests running over twice as fast as with the stock hard drive.
Even if you don’t use Photoshop regularly, you can still see performance boost any time you have to access data on your drive. A standard 5400RPM hard drive (as found in most Apple laptops) has a peak data rate of about 80 MB/s. The OWC Mercury Extreme SSDs, though, top out around 280 MB/s – that’s three and a half times faster!
Of course, here in the real world, we rarely reach these maximums unless we’re copying very large files. More important for average users is how the drive handles the smaller files found in day to day tasks, such as converting an MP3 file, saving a large document, browsing the Web and playing HD video. To simulate that, we ran a test which reads and writes small files on the drive.
As you can see, this is really where the Mercury Extreme SSD really shines, being able to write files to random blocks 38 times faster than the stock hard drive, and read random files a whopping 47 times faster!
Clearly, simply by adding an OWC Mercury Extreme SSD to your Mac, you can enhance performance dramatically…and the older the Mac, the more dramatic the gain.
This may sound like a sales pitch…but the truth rings soundly…take your Mac to the next level with an OWC SSD and experience the true speed of your Mac!
*** UPDATE 11/12/10 ***
We ran some additional tests with a 2.4GHZ MacBook Pro and also learned that our results above were incorrect and that the performance spread difference is actually quite larger!
For sake of timeliness, I’ll forgo the fancy charts and just give you the hard data…no worries, you’ll be able to tell the difference for sure ;-)
11 inch MB Air 1.4GHz with 64GB SSD
13 inch MBP 2.4GHz with 250GB stock hard drive
13 inch MBP 2.4GHz with OWC SSD 240GB
Test #1 — Write time of a 500MB file (lower time is faster)
10 seconds (Air)
35 sec. (Pro w/Stock HD)
10 seconds (Pro w/OWC SSD)
Test #2 — time to unzip 1GB file (lower time is faster)
30.4 seconds (Air)
1min 6 seconds (Pro w/Stock HD)
21.3 seconds (Pro w/OWC SSD)
Test #3 — 4K test READ (more data per second is faster)
8.92 MB/s (Air)
0.753 MB/s (Pro w/Stock HD)
16.995 MB/s (Pro w/OWC SSD)
Test #4 — 4K test WRITE (more data per second is faster)
18.2 MB/s (Air)
1.606 MB/s (Pro w/Stock HD)
24.782 MB/s (Pro w/OWC SSD)
So…what’s this all mean…or what’s the tale of the tape?
The MacBook Air is:
250% faster than the MBP w/HD for 500MB write (OWC SSD is same speed as air)
110% faster than the MBP w/HD for 1GB Unzip (OWC SSD is 43% faster than air)
1080% faster than the MBP w/HD for 4k read (OWC SSD is 90% faster than air)
1030% faster than the MBP w/HD for 4k write (OWC SSD is 36% faster than air)
OWC SSD is:
250% faster than the MBP w/HD for 500MB write
209% faster the MBP w/HD for 1GB Unzip
2150% faster tthe MBP w/HD for 4k read
1440% faster the MBP w/HD for 4k write