Samsung updates MacBook Air class SSDs to 6Gbps SATA 3, 500MB/s reads and 350MB/s writes

Variant of SSD that could go in future MacBooks Pros and Airs

We told you back in April that Apple was upgrading from Toshiba SSDs to Samsung-built drives in the latest MacBook Air lineup. Today a report from Anandtech notes the Samsung PM810 (a customized variant of the same drive currently ships in the 2011 Air) has received some substantial upgrades in its latest refresh.

Samsung has announced the PM830, the latest generation of the PM810, which is slated to pack a 6Gbps SATA 3 that provides up to 500MB/s reads and 350MB/s writes, according to Samsung.  That 150% to double the real world speed of the current Samsung Air SSDs and easily beats Apple’s Pro line options.

The new drive will also be shipping with up to 512GB capacity, a nice bump up from the current 256GB offered in the MacBook Air.

Normally it wouldn’t be much of a stretch to think that Apple might naturally include this upgraded SSD in the next MacBook Air refresh. However, with tension growing between Apple and Samsung due to patent related lawsuits (if you haven’t heard by now), more and more questions are being raised about the sustainability of Samsung being one of their main competitor’s part suppliers.

According to a story from The Economist, Samsung might turn out to be a much more important supplier than you may have thought. While companies like Taiwanese-based Foxconn are known to provide many of the cheaper components that make up Apple devices, the report notes Samsung “provides some of the phone’s (iPhone) most important components” including flash memory, DRAM, and processor components. However, they are also quick to point out Apple is one of “Samsung’s largest customers”.
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2011 Macbook Air SSD speeds are not consistent

TldToday has discovered in the recently released Macbook Airs speed is not consistent among SSDs. While running tests, TldToday found that the 128GB Samsung SSD in the 11-inch MacBookAir scored 246 MB/s write and 264 MB/s read speeds, but when he switched to the 13-inch model speeds dropped to 156 MB/s and 208 MB/s using a 128GB Toshiba SSD. Engadget ran similar tests and confirmed Tld’s findings. In the video above you can find how to check if your MBA has the faster Samsung, or the slower Toshiba. Let us know if you see speed differences in normal usage.

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