I heard that the flash storage in the MacBook Air is faster than SSD since it doesn't need to go through a SATA interface. How much faster is the MacBook Air's hard-drive compared to a traditional SSD?

  • just to clarify, the storage in MBA is 'Flash Memory' not SSD.
    – garikapati
    Dec 29, 2010 at 17:06
  • @garikapati: thanks for the clarification, I updated the question.
    – Senseful
    Dec 29, 2010 at 17:18
  • 3
    All consumer level SSDs use NAND Flash memory, typically the cheaper MLC type. Technically an SSD is any storage device that uses solid state chips to store it's data. It could be DRAM, SLC/MLC NAND flash, memristors etc. See ramsan.com for an Enterprise level SSD. Good luck affording one for personal use ;-)
    – Ausmith1
    Jan 1, 2011 at 4:24

3 Answers 3


It's still a SATA interface, just miniaturized, hence it's name mSATA. There is a great picture at the following link that shows just how tiny an mSATA drive is compared to a regular 2.5" laptop hard drive. Intel's SSD 310: G2 Performance in an mSATA Form Factor


From everything I've heard, it's smaller, but not faster.

Article. Article. Article.

Take a look at the benchmarks, especially in the second article. The second and third say that it still uses SATA, just mini/micro or something like that.


Directly comparing the new MacBook Air against the older model on SSD performance alone, the new MacBook Air is much faster. This is from personal experience and from benchmarks found on various sites posted below:

Old MacBook Air SSD: http://forums.macrumors.com/attachment.php?attachmentid=100432&d=1201904233

New MacBook Air SSD: http://arstechnica.com/apple/guides/2010/10/116-macbook-air-ars-answers-your-burning-questions.ars/2

Can't comment on SSD comparisons with regards SSD drives found in other MacBook models.

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