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…