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MacBook Air SSD - Is it worth the money?

Is the $1,300 solid state drive (SSD) for the MacBook Air worth the money? Doesn't seem so. Sure, there are some gains, but you have to look hard to find them.
Written by Adrian Kingsley-Hughes, Contributing Writer

Is the $1,300 solid state drive (SSD) for the MacBook Air worth the money? Doesn't seem so.

Ars Technica have published a review where they put an SSD-equipped MacBook Air up against one packing a standard hard drive and found marginal performance gains - certainly not gains that are worth the additional hefty price tag.

Boot times, while not "instant on" aren't too shabby, but again the MacBook Pro beats the MacBook Air SSD:

No, the SSD Air is not "instant-on." Unfortunately, it took 28.5 seconds to boot. Fortunately, that's still 12 seconds faster than the HDD model and 11.5 seconds faster than the Santa Rosa MacBook. It was still 2.5 seconds slower than the Santa Rosa MacBook Pro, however.

The bottom line works out as follows:

  • The MacBook Air SSD is marginally faster than the MacBook Air packing a standard hard drive.
  • Both are whipped by a MacBook.
  • All three are whipped by the MacBook Pro.

Here's the conclusion that Ars Technica come to:

The $1,300 question is whether the SSD is worth the extra cash. The answer seems to be no. I

One are not covered is robustness - an SSD is likely to be able to take more of a hammering than a standard hard drive, and it's certainly going to be more resistant to shaking and vibration. However, I'm left wondering how robust the whole MacBook Air is - no point having a robust SSD drive if the notebook falls apart.

Battery life is far from clear cut too. Battery life times seem all over the place and even taking the most optimistic numbers the SSD version only gets 29 minutes more battery life than the HDD version - you can hardly use battery life to justify the extreme cost of the drive.

SSDs are a while away from being ready for prime time, especially from the perspective of price.

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