MacBook Air SSD performance not worth the $3000

The MacBook Air is nice, but as we discovered in our in-depth review, not everything is sunshine and roses—at least with the hard drive model. But there’s a higher-end Air as well—1.8GHz with a 64GB solid-state flash drive instead of your traditional ATA hard drive. We picked up an SSD Air so that we could try it out, run some benchmarks, and report back to you on how much (or little) of a difference that extra $1,300 makes.

As expected, the SSD Air performed better than the HDD Air in most tests, as its clock speed is slightly higher (1.8GHz versus 1.6GHz). But what we’re really interested in are the disk tests, as those tell us exactly how well the SSD performs against the 4200rpm drive in the HDD model.

The overall disk test scores aren’t much different—29.37 on the HDD and 34.30 on the Air. But the SSD performs a fair amount worse than the HDD model when it comes to sequential read and write tests. The SSD was able to write sequentially between 14.67 and 13.86MB/sec, and sequentially read between 7.29 and 49.59MB/sec (the first and second numbers are differentiated by the size of the blocks being written). Comparatively, the HDD model sequentially writes between 31.35 and 33.33MB/sec, and reads between 6.32 and 32.74MB/sec for the same-sized blocks. (link)

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