MacBook Air SSD review

MacBook Air SSD review

Summary: What does the MBA's $1,000 SSD give you? According to the Wall Street Journal's Walt Mossberg: not much.

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TOPICS: Apple, Hardware
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What does the MBA's $1,000 SSD give you? According to the Wall Street Journal's Walt Mossberg: not much. Exactly as I predicted 3 weeks ago.

Battery life Walt says:

The SSD MacBook gave me just five more minutes of battery life. Apple says this is because its hard-drive model already uses a very low-power drive.

I said:

Flash drives make exciting copy, but in today’s power-hungry notebooks they don’t make much of difference in battery life

You'd expect a 1.8", 4200 RPM drive to sip power and it does. But the performance should be terrible, right?

Performance Walt says:

The SSD version of the Apple booted up from a cold start, and rebooted with several programs running, about 40% faster. But the gain isn’t as impressive as it seems because even the hard-drive versions of the MacBook Air booted up in under a minute and rebooted in just a little over a minute.

I said:

The Air should boot faster with the flash drive, but an ultra-portable like this will mostly awake from sleep mode, where the difference will be minimal. Once up and running few users will be able to tell the difference.

What about work? Walt says:

I also tested launching Microsoft Word and Excel, and opening a couple of hefty PDF files . . . . The SSD versions were faster. But in most cases, the gains were just a few seconds or even fractions of a second.

I said:

Nor did [Apple] offer any specific performance claims for the flash [drive] . . . .

The Storage Bits take I've been following the flash follies closely for over a year. I would have been surprised if the SSD results had been different.

Kudos to Apple for not hyping the SSD. It is more durable than a disk - but not by much - and if you drop your MBA you're more likely to break the display than the hard drive anyway.

More kudos to Apple for an excellent job of engineering the MBA for maximum battery life and performance with hard drive technology. As Mossberg noted, the ultra-portable Toshiba Portege R500 had significant battery life gains with their SSD, since they'd used a more power-hungry 2.5" drive.

Comments welcome, of course. I'm thinking about getting an MBA - but not with the SSD.

Topics: Apple, Hardware

About

Robin Harris has been a computer buff for over 35 years and selling and marketing data storage for over 30 years in companies large and small.

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2 comments
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  • Thanks for the laugh!!

    [i]More kudos to Apple for an excellent job of engineering the MBA for maximum battery life and performance with hard drive technology.[/i]

    Wait, Apple gets [b]kudos[/b] for selling a $1,000 option that does nothing at all? Seriously? Honestly? What? This is the equivalent of congratulating Microsoft for not creating any Vista Ultimate extras and therefore making Vista Pro look like a better deal.

    I will give you guys credit though. The lengths at which you will go to apologize for Apple's gouging of its consumers is mighty impressive!! :)
    NonZealot
    • Anandtech was completely unimpressed with battery life

      [url=http://www.anandtech.com/mac/showdoc.aspx?i=3220] Apple lies about MBA battery life [/url]

      They concluded that [i]Apple's 5 hour claim is laughable[/i]

      :)
      NonZealot