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Apple put a slower SSD in the 2019 MacBook Air to trim costs

By Shawn Knight · 30 replies
Jul 15, 2019
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  1. Apple last week refreshed its base model MacBook Air and MacBook Pro laptops, adding faster CPUs and better displays while lowering the cost of entry.

    The new MacBook Air now starts at $1,099 – a full $100 less than before, but on Monday, we learned the source of the price cut – slower hardware.

    French tech site Consomac recently tested the 2019 MacBook Air with 256GB of storage. Using Blackmagic Disk Speed Test, the team recorded write speeds of 1 GB/s and read speeds of 1.3 GB/s. In comparison, last year’s equivalent model managed 920 MB/s on the write side but a much faster 2 GB/s when reading.

    For those keeping count, that’s a significant 35 percent drop in read speed.

    Unless you work with large files on a regular basis, odds are, most people probably won’t notice the difference in day-to-day activity but they will notice paying $100 less at check-out (and with a student discount, the MacBook Air can be yours for only $999).

    Permalink to story.

  2. m4a4

    m4a4 TS Evangelist Posts: 1,473   +1,046

    God forbid they cut into their premium to give the customer better hardware.....
  3. lexster

    lexster TS Guru Posts: 535   +265

    Once again, the title of this article is misleading to get views. I can't believe I need to defend Apple here, but the SSD Apple is using is getting better write speeds compared to the last gen model. It's faster in one area but slower in another. It's a calculated trade off that works in this instance.
    Squid Surprise likes this.
  4. Squid Surprise

    Squid Surprise TS Evangelist Posts: 2,563   +1,548

    Completely agree! I love the Apple-haters that come on here :)
    ZackL04 likes this.
  5. cliffordcooley

    cliffordcooley TS Guardian Fighter Posts: 11,499   +5,065

    I'm one of them. But seriously it is faster than the SATA SSD I'm currently using. So who cares! Why complain about any of the NVMe drives at this point, as long as they are faster than SATA performance levels.
    Lounds, p51d007 and Mr Majestyk like this.
  6. MonsterZero

    MonsterZero TS Evangelist Posts: 568   +324

    Well let me just rain on your parade a bit. Why complain? This is just piss poor hardware.

    They are selling you guys budget SSDs at premium prices. With SSD Prices being so low right now it is just another smack in the face to you guys.

    You could easily be sporting 3500MBs read, 1500MBs writes and like 512GB or better with a simple aftermarket NVMe SSD.

    Apple literally picked the clearance bin of SSDs. My 5 year old OCZ vertex 2 SATA SSD probably gets better read/writes than this piece of ****.
  7. cliffordcooley

    cliffordcooley TS Guardian Fighter Posts: 11,499   +5,065

    Your Vertex 2 doesn't get half that performance. The Vertex 2 might be closer to one third.
    Agnomen and lexster like this.
  8. Vrmithrax

    Vrmithrax TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,474   +510

    An approximately 10% uptick in write speed vs a 35% downgrade in read speed? Then, when you consider that your average system does far more reading than writing to the drive, I find nothing "misleading" about categorizing the drive as slower. Yes, it was a calculated trade off, but the numbers ARE fairly high for the amount of speed users are giving up.

    I'm no fan of Apple, and my first knee-jerk reaction to the article was probably like most who don't care for Apple - grumbling about charging premium prices for mid-range hardware, etc. But, realistically, the decision to go with the components they chose could have been driven by any number of factors beyond just pure greed - supply chain availability for particular drives, for example. Hard to know the whys behind the decisions, all we can do is speculate. And, let's face it, you're getting a slower drive but you are also paying less money, so it's not like they just threw crap hardware in there and kept charging their full price.
  9. lexster

    lexster TS Guru Posts: 535   +265

    cliffordcooley likes this.
  10. lexster

    lexster TS Guru Posts: 535   +265

    Write speed is always more important that read speed. 1.3GBps is nothing to scoff at and is often more than most devices ever need, especially a MacBook. Whereas 1000MBps versus 920 is something that can make a difference in many cases.

    Yes it's slower in one metric but faster in another. Calling it slower over-all is what is implied and is misleading.

    In this case, Apple leveraged a more well rounded SSD for a better price and have seemingly passed that savings on to the consumer. I hate to say it, but Apple made a smart move here.
    Last edited: Jul 15, 2019
    Squid Surprise likes this.
  11. ZackL04

    ZackL04 TS Guru Posts: 544   +268

    Id prefer the faster write speeds vs the faster read speeds that my dual core cpu cant even leverage
    Squid Surprise and lexster like this.
  12. Squid Surprise

    Squid Surprise TS Evangelist Posts: 2,563   +1,548

    Care to provide some evidence for your lies? A Samsung 970 - which is just about the only ssd that could provide your ridiculous stats, would NOT be any cheaper.... this is $1100 for the entire laptop.... not too shabby since last model cost $100 more....
    cliffordcooley and lexster like this.
  13. FF222

    FF222 TS Addict Posts: 186   +114

    "Apple put a slower SSD in the 2019 MacBook Air to trim costs"
    "Apple put a slower SSD in the 2019 MacBook Air to INCREASE ITS PROFITS"

    Here. I fixed it for you. You're welcome.
  14. ypsylon

    ypsylon TS Booster Posts: 169   +57

    You could understand that if Apple put x2 NVMe drive to add two more TB3 ports on Air, but no they shafted drive, not expanded I/O at all and kept the prices.

    Such a lovely company.
  15. Lounds

    Lounds TS Maniac Posts: 221   +139

    Why lie? that OCZ vertex 2 is SATA 2 for a start.
  16. kmo911

    kmo911 TS Booster Posts: 120   +12

    Now lets some choose if they want to dowgrade to lesser 120 gb ssd or m2 drive if supported. it would be like running a voodoo 3 on pci .vs agp x8 v 3 3000. pci are stuck at 133 mb. agp are more fast. and if mini pcie 4.0 compared when it gets out. you dont want to downgrade the best with a laptop pc desktop. its enough speed but in cad it would be waitingtime to min ohrs days. benchmarking a ssd or 3dmark it from bootcamp 1803 (not 1903) getting blocked for some reasons.
  17. lexster

    lexster TS Guru Posts: 535   +265

    And yet they dropped the price... Hmm..
  18. lexster

    lexster TS Guru Posts: 535   +265

    No, they dropped the price. Perhaps you need to reread the article.
  19. Vrmithrax

    Vrmithrax TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,474   +510

    Yah, the ardent anti-Apple crowd (of which I am admittedly one) typically seem to either gloss over that fact, or they just have a reading block that won't let them see anything that might shed a positive light on Apple. Many can't stand to have facts cloud the issues at hand.

    They made a choice. Slower drive? Yes. Lower price point? Yes, by what is probably close to the price differential in drives (plus their margin). To be honest, even though there might be a marginal performance hit that users may or may not notice in daily use, the fact that the price lowered is pretty impressive - compare that to some of the recent phone pricing trends, where new generations or refreshes just keep climbing in price. It's nice to see a drop in the "Apple premium" for a change.
  20. FF222

    FF222 TS Addict Posts: 186   +114

    If you think is a contradiction, you need to get back to elementary school and le-learn the basic of math.
  21. cliffordcooley

    cliffordcooley TS Guardian Fighter Posts: 11,499   +5,065

    Dropping the price $100 is not increasing profit. There was a high profit margin before the alteration in SSD choice. Your profit margin argument is null and void. If you want to talk about high profit margin. You will need to talk about their entire line, not just this one device. This topic is about the choice in changing one component. And a decrease of $100 is a fair value for that one component change.
    Squid Surprise, lexster and Vrmithrax like this.
  22. Vrmithrax

    Vrmithrax TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,474   +510

    It directly contradicts your assertion that they increased profits. They put in lower cost drive hardware, and also lowered the price (likely by more than what the cost difference between the faster and slower drive hardware would have been, by the way). That rather invalidates the assumption that they did it for more profits. Because math.
  23. lexster

    lexster TS Guru Posts: 535   +265

    That's interesting advice, given the context of the article...
    Squid Surprise likes this.
  24. Squid Surprise

    Squid Surprise TS Evangelist Posts: 2,563   +1,548

    I see you're a proponent of the "new math".... where 2+2 = 5...

    Let's try some REALITY.... the Samsung 970 EVO PLUS 250GB NVMe SSD costs $70 on Amazon...


    It has Read/Write speeds of 3,500/3,300 MB/s.... that's dramatically better than either last year or this year's Macbook - and since Apple is buying in bulk, I'm willing to wager they wouldn't be paying $70 per drive...

    Therefore, using normal math (2+2=4), I'm going to conclude that Apple is saving far less than $100 by using a slightly cheaper drive. The MINIMUM they are saving would be $70 - and that's assuming the new SSD was FREE and that the previous one actually cost $70.

    As I think we can safely say that both of those assumptions are wrong - the new SSD is certainly NOT free, and the old SSD almost certainly cost LESS than $70 - by decreasing the price of the Macbook by $100, Apple is making LESS profit.

    Care to continue this debate?

    My only condition: you have to use old math, not this newfangled one you are using :)

    Edit: I should also point out that I'm an elementary school teacher... and yes, I do teach math!
    Vrmithrax and cliffordcooley like this.
  25. cliffordcooley

    cliffordcooley TS Guardian Fighter Posts: 11,499   +5,065

    OMG - @Squid Surprise, you have outdone yourself with all that old school math. :D

    P.S. - It feels strange to be defending Apple for once.
    Vrmithrax and Squid Surprise like this.

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