2011 MacBook Air shipping with (fast) Samsung and (slow) Toshiba SSDs

2011 MacBook Air shipping with (fast) Samsung and (slow) Toshiba SSDs

Summary: In the past Apple used two different OEMs for the SSDs in its MacBook Air SSDs (Samsung and Toshiba), with Samsung benchmarking faster. The same is true for the new MacBook Airs.

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Several months ago, MacRumors noticed that Apple was using two different suppliers for the Solid State Drives (SSDs) in its MacBook Air models -- Samsung and Toshiba. At the time Samsung SSDs benchmarked significantly faster (both in read and write speeds) than the Toshiba SSDs.

Users reported receiving both Samsung and the Toshiba SSDs in the 2G MacBook Airs making it a seemingly random decision, most likely based on inventory available at time of manufacture.

History has a way of repeating itself and the same situation was discovered by TLDToday in Apple's just-released MacBook Air (Mid 2011). Apple's apparently using both Samsung and Toshiba SSDs in the new Airs and the Sammy modules have been benchmarking significantly faster than the lowly Toshiba sticks.

Engadget notes:

The 128GB Samsung SSD in his 11-inch Air was able to achieve 246 MB/s write and 264 MB/s read speeds. When he switched to the 13-inch model, however, speeds dropped to 156 MB/s and 208 MB/s, respectively, using that notebook's 128GB Toshiba SSD.

Sigh.

You can check which SSD module you have by going to About this Mac > More info... > System Report... (the new name for System Profiler) and clicking on Hardware > Serial-ATA in the left pane. If the enter for APPLE SSD is followed by SM, you have the Samsung, if it's followed by TS you have the Toshiba module.

I checked my new MBA13/CTO i7 and (luckily) got the faster Samsung module as denoted by "SM256C" in my System Report.

If you have a new, third-generation MacBook Air, please check your SSD and note it in the TalkBack below. Please also note your configuration, specifically if you have an 11, or 13-inch model and your RAM, SSD configuration. If you ordered a CTO model with the Core i7 please note that as well.

Topics: Toshiba, Apple, Hardware, Laptops, Mobility, Samsung

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Talkback

39 comments
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  • Is their anyway to find out before buying it?

    Otherwise it's all kind of academic.
    Tigertank
    • Message has been deleted.

      Gis Bun
      • Well that was certainly unhelpful

        [Original post deleted - this post removed by author]
        use_what_works_4_U
      • RE: 2011 MacBook Air shipping with (fast) Samsung and (slow) Toshiba SSDs

        @Gis Bun

        Also 'About this mac' -> Hardware -> Serial-ATA
        same
        Anthony E
      • RE: 2011 MacBook Air shipping with (fast) Samsung and (slow) Toshiba SSDs

        @Gis Bun There is a little program in your utilities folder called "system profiler" just hit it.
        rhon@...
      • RE: 2011 MacBook Air shipping with (fast) Samsung and (slow) Toshiba SSDs

        @Gis Bun I cannot believe that Apple would this. This is just outright deceptive. They should at least offer a CTO option for the Samsung. Of course you would pay a "Sa<a href="http://vb.maas1.com/">m</a>sung" tax, kinda like paying more for the Black MacBook ins<a href="http://www.tran33m.com/vb/">t</a>ead of the White.
        alasiri
    • Message has been deleted.

      Gis Bun
      • Nothing to do with being a snob

        [Original post deleted - this post removed by author]
        use_what_works_4_U
  • RE: 2011 MacBook Air shipping with (fast) Samsung and (slow) Toshiba SSDs

    That seems pretty crapy to me. I am sure all the performance spec's are based on the Samy SSD. If you got one with the Toshiba SSD return it and demand a new one with the fast one in it.
    MarkWB
    • RE: 2011 MacBook Air shipping with (fast) Samsung and (slow) Toshiba SSDs

      @MarkWB
      I have mine with Toshiba but I have it replaced.
      eschwartzk
    • RE: 2011 MacBook Air shipping with (fast) Samsung and (slow) Toshiba SSDs

      @MarkWB

      I actually tried this by going to both the Apple Store on 5th Avenue, NY and Calling Apple Care. When I called Apple care I was transferred up to Customer Relations, supposedly the highest level department that a customer can speak with (or so I was told by Cust. Relations).
      Anyway, in the end I was told in a very polite way "Too bad".
      ashadid
  • RE: 2011 MacBook Air shipping with (fast) Samsung and (slow) Toshiba SSDs

    11" i7 1.8GHz, 256 SSD, 4GB RAM special order came with the SM256C.
    paulnoble
  • RE: 2011 MacBook Air shipping with (fast) Samsung and (slow) Toshiba SSDs

    13" i5 1.7GHz, 28 SSD, 4GB RAM came with the SM128C.
    mwalsdorf@...
  • RE: 2011 MacBook Air shipping with (fast) Samsung and (slow) Toshiba SSDs

    Is it possible to identify whether the machine has a samsung ssd Before purchase? For example, can the serial number be used as a indicator some how?
    RbnMan
    • RE: 2011 MacBook Air shipping with (fast) Samsung and (slow) Toshiba SSDs

      @RbnMan
      Unfortunately, there's no way to tell which SSD you'll get before you buy one. Unless you get hands-on with it, obviously. I believe that you'd be able to return it if you weren't happy with it, but it's unclear how Apple could/would apply its restocking fee.
      Has anyone tried returning one of the new Airs?
      - Jason
      Jason D. O'Grady
      • Return

        @Jason D. O'Grady
        When buying mine yesterday, the representative had no problem opening one to see if it was the faster/slower SSD and returning it without the restocking fee until we found the one with the faster SSD.
        Trudeaucj
      • RE: 2011 MacBook Air shipping with (fast) Samsung and (slow) Toshiba SSDs

        There is a solution, if you pick up the unit from an Apple Store.

        While none of the staff at the Apple store I visited knew about this issue with different SSDs, they did agree to have a Genius Bar staff open the unit I purchased and then exchange several times if necessary it if it was a Toshiba. Fortunately, one of the staff found a way to look up in some database the unit's configuration using the serial number and found out that the unit was a Samsung.
        riazdc
  • RE: 2011 MacBook Air shipping with (fast) Samsung and (slow) Toshiba SSDs

    Mine has the Samsung as well, are you sure this is really an issue? I would say maybe it is only the low end that has this Toshiba Drive.
    slickjim
  • RE: 2011 MacBook Air shipping with (fast) Samsung and (slow) Toshiba SSDs

    I have the 11 inch Macbook Air with the fastest I7 processor and 4 gig ram. I have the 250 SSD (Toshiba)
    ahpendo
  • Looks to me like it's random

    and depends primarily on what's in the bucket when the chassis slides by on the conveyor.
    gavin142