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New MacBook Air uses screaming fast PCIe SSD

New MacBook Air uses screaming fast PCIe SSD

The new Mac Pro isn't the only new Mac model with PCIe-based Solid State Drive storage. The new MacBook Air, which began shipping this week as soon as it was introduced on stage at WWDC, also uses the technology, according to Ben Lovejoy at 9to5Mac.

Previous MacBook Air models - and all other Macs - have used Serial ATA (SATA) for their main storage. The new MacBook Air is the first shipping Mac model to use PCIe as its primary storage interface instead.

SATA 3.0 transfer speeds top out at 600 megabytes per second, but MacBidoulle benchmarked write speeds of more than 668 MB/s, with read speeds of more than 729 MB/s. And even with that, the PCIe 2.0 2x interface that the MacBook Air uses isn't the bottleneck - it can work at up to 1 gigabyte per second downstream and upstream. As faster SSDs become available, you can expect to see even greater performance.

If you have a Mac Pro (not the shiny and new one, the old and busted big box), you can drop in a PCIe SSD card from OWC and others.

Impressive performance for Apple's lightest weight laptop, and an early indication of what we can expect down the road as more Mac models adopt this new technology.

Peter Cohen

Managing Editor of iMore, Mac and gaming specialist and all-around technologist. Follow him on Twitter @flargh

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There are 7 comments. Add yours.

stephen007 says:

"can work at up to 1 gigabit per second downstream and upstream"

That should read gigaBYTE per second. Don't want to lose a factor of 8 there :-D

Peter Cohen says:

Oops. Quite right, fixed.

richard451 says:

it's an odd time as the Macbook Air is faster and lasts longer than the Macbook Pro.

Apple basically osbourned the mbp. I feel sorry for anyone who buys one until the refresh.

mech1164 says:

It really depends on what you need it for. If you need the beefiness of the MBP with the optical stuff then you go with that. If you travel lots and need power w/o plug in then the MBA is the way to go. Nevermind that the MBP's have retina for those who want it.

Peter Cohen says:

Apple has such tight control over their channel inventory that I don't think this is a problem.

erikbock says:

I will be waiting. I'm not hard pressed to upgrade from my 17" MBP that is the last silver keyboard version, but I want a 15" Retina Mac but not until it get Haswell. I don't really need the 802.11ac but the proc is a must. They are just delaying the revenue stream at this point. If they hurry up they might get it this fiscal year.

erikbock says:

I want the Haswell Proc in the MBP Retina 15"