Two major upgrades offered to all of Apple's new MacBook lineup are updated SSDs and native USB 3.0 support. The same updated SSD is present across all of Apple's lineup: from the MacBook Air to the next-gen MacBook Pro. Based on the model number in Apple's System Report I'd guess my review sample features a Samsung based drive. Toshiba was a secondary source in the past, and with its announcement of a 6Gbps controller I wouldn't be surprised to find that in systems as well. 

Apple claims the new SSD is capable of up to 500MB/s read performance. I ran a few tests using Quick Bench to validate Apple's claims. In general it looks like read speed approaches 500MB/s, while sequential writes are closer to 400MB/s. I don't want to draw any conclusions based on the random data just yet because it's like Quick Bench is using a 100% LBA span for these tests, while I typically run at a more limited LBA span for my random tests.

Note, the SSD in the next-gen MacBook Pro is physically removable similar to the drive in the MacBook Air. The drives aren't interchangeable however and I'm not sure if the two even use the same physical interface.

USB Performance - 8.3GB File Copy

USB 3.0 performance is much improved over the previous generation MacBook Pro. I used an Apricorn SATA to USB 3.0 adapter to measure copy time to/from a 512GB OCZ Vertex 4 SSD. The performance gap between USB 2.0 and 3.0 is nothing short of significant.

More details on the next-generation MacBook Pro as we make it through our review.

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  • wfolta - Friday, June 15, 2012 - link

    Looking at the System Information report, it says "Vendor ID: 0x14e4", etc, with "Link Width: x1" and "Link Speed: 2.5GT/s". I just copied iMovie (1.45GB) to a Sandisk Extreme III 8GB card (from Dec 2008, contains FAT32 filesystem) and it took 5:30 (min:sec). I was also copying from my old MacBook Pro via WiFi, etc, so it wasn't the only thing running. Reply
  • wfolta - Friday, June 15, 2012 - link

    (The Extreme III SDHC card I used is rated at 6 MB/s, i.e. has the little "6" in a circle. If my calculation is correct, my transfer rate was actually 4.4 MB/sec. Not sure if that's an improvement or not. Hope the info is helpful.) Reply
  • Mike Kobb - Tuesday, June 12, 2012 - link

    On my current Mac, I'm using an OWC SSD, which uses a SandForce controller. I also use FileVault 2. The SandForce's write performance is penalized when writing encrypted data, so although my read speeds are in the 500MB/sec ballpark, my writes are about half that.

    iFixit claims that the controller for the new Air is a SandForce with Toshiba markings. If that's true, the Air would suffer the same write penalty when using FileVault.

    Could you please do some write tests with encrypted data to see how the Retina's SSD performs? And, if you do disassemble and can identify the controller, that'd be great!
    Reply

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