Today only, Amazon offers the OCZ 90GB Agility 3 2.5″ Serial ATA 6Gb/s Internal SSD, model no. AGT3-25SAT3-90G, for $99.99 with free shipping. That’s the lowest total price we could find by $30. This Sandforce-controlled drive advertises 500MB/s+ read write times when connected to a SATA3 controller.
Early last week, Apple discontinued the white plastic MacBook, which had been an education-only item since mid-2011, but is continuing to sell the product to education institutions while supplies last. The remaining supplies are being sold for $899, and sources say that Apple’s white MacBook inventory for educational institutions is still rather high. While white MacBooks for education are a thing of the past, Apple is not giving up on education: they are launching two new MacBook Airs for schools programs today.
The first new program is called MacBook Air 5-Pack Bundles and allows schools to purchase the MacBook Air in bundles of five at a discount. There are six bundle options, and each bundle saves schools $20 per MacBook Air:
I had a chance to meet with Samsung Storage solutions at CES 2012 this week and got the low down on its new OEM SSDs that Apple tends to buy in large numbers. Samsung and Toshiba are the OEMs that provide the SSDs in MacBook Airs. Samsung’s 470 OEM SSD product is noticeably faster than the Toshiba model that Apple also puts in otherwise identical MacBook Airs. We have talked about the speed difference before and how Air-buyers often will pay a premium for the faster Samsung drives.
Well, the speed difference is about to get even more noticeable. Samsung told me that it sold out of the 470 series OEM SSDs late last year and the company only makes a much faster variety: the 830 series.
How fast is the 830 Series controller/chips? I had a chance to speed test the popular 2.5-inch 830 model late last year when it debuted. Typical speeds were over 400MB/s write and 500MB/s reads (below, left). That is almost twice as fast as the current MacBook Air SSD from Samsung (below, right), which itself is significantly faster than Toshiba’s SSD.
Samsung stopped short of announcing it is shipping the 830s to Apple, but the company confirmed it ran out of 470s a while ago and all of its SSD customers were receiving the updated 830 series. Samsung also confirmed that Apple is still a customer.
Today I ventured to the Las Vegas Apple Store to check the speeds of the MacBook Airs. I checked a new 128GB MacBook Air right out of the box which had the same “APPLE SSD SM128C” listed in System Profiler as my year-old Air. I checked the speed and it is indeed the old disk (same as above, right), which means the new Samsung SSDs haven not hit stores —at least here anyway.
Theoretically, a few things could happen at this point…
These are going to compare nicely to the Promise RAID setup that has similar speeds, but it does not have a price or release date yet. The vibe seemed to be like Q2 with perhaps an announcement at Macworld.
Next up is the Hitachi G-Drive series of Thunderbolt Drives, and these drives are 8TBs…
The Apple Store offers discounts on previous-generation, factory-refurbished 3-lb. MacBook Air notebooks, as listed below. Plus, each system, released less than a year ago, qualifies for free shipping and Lion up to Date. At up to $300 off, each model is at the lowest total price we’ve seen. Sales tax is added where applicable. Each item carries a 1-year Apple warranty, the same as new units. Items are removed from The Apple Store when sold out. The laptops (each model listed below features 2GB RAM):
For those who missed out on the Black Friday specials, Amazon still offers the entry level Core i5 MacBook Air for $849.99 plus free shipping. That’s a significant $150 off of retail and the lowest price available. This latest MacBook Air includes an Intel Core i5 1.6GHz “Sandy Bridge” dual-core processor, 11.6″ 1366×768 LED-backlit display, 2GB RAM, 64GB SSD, AirPort Extreme (802.11n wireless), Bluetooth 4.0, Facetime camera, Thunderbolt port, and Mac OS X 10.7 Lion.
Amazon also still has the lowest prices on the entry level MacBook Pro ($1049). Other price lows (mostly from MacMall) can be found here. Read more