The 'Book Review

New MacBook Air Ships with Faster and Slower SSDs, Lion Cuts Battery Life for Older 'Books, and More

This Week's PowerBook and iBook News

Compiled by Charles Moore and edited by Dan Knight - 2011.07.29

General Apple and Mac desktop news is covered in Mac News Review. iPad, iPod, iPhone, and Apple TV news is covered in iOS News Review. All prices are in US dollars unless otherwise noted.

News & Opinion

Reviews

Apple Updates

Products & Services

Bargain 'Books

News & Opinion

2011 MacBook Air Shipping with Faster and Slower SSDs

ZDNet's Jason D. O'Grady reports that in the past Apple used two different OEMs for the SSDs in its MacBook Air, Samsung and Toshiba, with the Samsung benchmarking faster, and the same is true for the 2011 MacBook Airs, with the 128 GB Samsung SSD able to achieve 246 MB/s write and 264 MB/s read speeds while the Toshiba SSD is only capable of 156 MB/s and 208 MB/s, respectively.

O'Grady says you can check which SSD module you have by going to About this Mac > More info > System Report (the new name for System Profiler) and clicking on Hardware > Serial-ATA in the left pane. If the entry for APPLE SSD is followed by SM, you have the Samsung, if its followed by TS you have the Toshiba module.

Publisher's note: Bare Feats has done more in-depth testing and reports one area where the Toshiba SSD outperforms the Samsung, so each has strengths and weaknesses - see the results below.

Core i5/i7 MacBooks Gain Battery Life with Lion, but Core 2 Duo Models Lose Up to 20%

Hardmac's Lionel, citing AnandTech's recent in-depth report on OS X 10.7 Lion, says one aspect that particularly caught his attention was Lion's effect on the battery life of portables.

On a 2011 i7 MacBook Pro he notes a gain in battery life in the order of 5% vs. OS X 10.6.8, but on a 2008 Core 2 Duo MacBook Pro there is a clear loss of battery life - up to 20%, which is significant and thus far unexplained.

Publisher's note: This is probably due in large part to improved energy management in the Intel Core i family of processors, which has been a priority in its chips intended for netbooks and notebooks, and it seems Apple has optimized performance for the newer CPUs rather than the older ones. dk

Legacy White MacBook Remains Available for Education Buyers

AppleInsider's Neil Hughes notes that while Apple removed its white entry-level MacBook from its website and online store, signaling that the five-year-old notebook has been officially replaced by the $999 MacBook Air, the machine will continue to be available for eduction institutions only at $899 for the time being.

3 Ways to Install Lion on a Blank SSD

ZDNet's Jason D. O'Grady ordered his new MacBook Air with a 256 GB SSD but says that's not nearly enough primary storage for him, and he's going to upgrade to a 480 GB SSD from OWC now that they've been confirmed to work in the Mid 2011 MacBook Air. That got him to thinking about how he'd actually install Lion onto a brand-new, blank SSD, since Apple includes no recovery media with the new Airs, instead relying on a recovery partition and Internet booting to bail you out should trouble arise. As it turns out, there are three ways to install Lion on a new, blank SSD in the MacBook Air.

Intel Unveils Refreshed Core i7 Mobile CPU Processors Likely for Fall MacBook Pro Update

Hardmac's Lionel says that since Intel's Ivy-Bridge CPU platform will only arrive in March 2012, it's more than probable that Apple will make a minor update of its MacBook Pro in a few months to keep interest up, projecting that there will be four upgraded Sandy Bridge mobile processors, with three likely to find their way into the MacBook Pro come October or so.

  • The Core i7-2640M will have 2 cores, 4 threads, 4 MB of cache, a base frequency of 2.8 GHz and a turbo mode of 3.5 GHz, and will likely cap the high-end of the 13.3" models.
  • The Core i7-2760QM will have 4 cores, 8 threads, 6 MB of cache, a base frequency of 2.4 GHz and a turbo mode of 3.5 GHz, and is likely destined for the base 15" Pro.
  • The Core i7-2860QM will have 4 cores, 8 threads, 8 MB of cache, a base frequency of 2.5 GHz and a turbo mode of 3.6 GHz, and will most likely be fitted into the high-end 15" and 17" Pros.

The i7-2640M has a TDP of 35W and the other two 45W, similar to current Sandy Bridge silicon. Another Core i7 will be offered at 2.7 GHz and 4 cores, but with a TDP of 55W runs too hot for a MacBook Pro.

CPU World's Gennadiy Shvets notes that it's been quite a while since the introduction of the first Sandy Bridge mobile processors from the Core i7 family in January of this year, and since then Intel has launched Sandy Bridge CPUs from other families, with Core i3s and i5s introduced in February, and says we can expect faster Sandy Bridge CPUs to launch in the second half of the year and in the 1st quarter 2012, with the Core i7 first up in refreshed Q4 2011 with four new models: Core i7-2640M, i7-2760QM, i7-2860QM, and i7-2960XM.

Core i7-2640M will have two CPU cores, and four threads, operating at 2.8 GHz with turbo-boost as high as 3.5 GHz when the second core is idle. That's 100 MHz higher than the current fastest dual-core i7-2620M. The CPU has 4 MB L3 cache, 35 Watt TDP, and supports DDR3-1333 memory.

Core i7-2760QM and i7-2860QM will be quad-core chips with locked clock multiplier, running 200 MHz higher than their predecessors, Core i7-2720QM and i7-2820QM. The 2760QM and 2860QM CPUs have 2.4 GHz and 2.5 GHz clock speed respectively, boostable in single-core tasks to 3.5 GHz and 3.6 GHz respectively. The i7-2760QM gets a 6 MB L3 cache, while the i7-2860QM will have an 8 MB L3 cache. Both CPUs support DDR3-1600 memory, and have higher (45 Watt) power requirements than Core i7 dual-cores.

A Core i7-2960XM Extreme Edition will be the only upcoming Core i7 model with unlocked multiplier. Running at 2.7 GHz, it can go as high as 3.7 GHz in turbo mode. It will have an 8 MB L3 cache, 55 Watt Thermal Design Power, and support DDR3-1600 memory.

The new Core i7 CPUs will incorporate all Sandy Bridge features and integrate Intel's HD 3000 graphics controller with 650 MHz stock frequency and 1.3 GHz turbo frequency, and will be available in the 4th quarter 2011.

Publisher's note: Apple has released new MacBook Pro models in Jan. 2006, Oct. 2006, June 2007, Feb. 2008, Oct. 2008, June 2009, April 2010, and February 2011, which averages 9 months between revisions. Thus, October 2011 is a reasonable guess, followed by another generation in the April-June 2012 range. dk

MacBook Air Style Ultra-Thin 15" and 17" MacBook Pros Coming?

AppleInsider's Katie Marsal reports that with Apple's new family of MacBook Airs gaining considerable traction in the marketplace over the past nine months, the company is believed to be working on designing ultra-thin 15" and 17" MacBook models to capitalize on the trend towards ultramobile computing, with the new notebook's rumored to be in the late testing stages, according to a MacRumors report. Marsal says it's unclear at this point whether these machines would be marketed as the next MacBook Pro or as larger models of the MacBook Air, but suggests that Apple might choose to test the waters, as it were, by first introducing a 15" MacBook Air, and suggests that going cold turkey by abandoning traditional optical and hard disk drive equipped MacBook Pros could prove too much of a functionality sacrifice for those who use their laptops as serious computing platforms.

This all sounds plausible, and I do hope the ease of transition part is the way Apple will proceed. The current MacBook Pro line's aluminum unibody design is now closing on its third anniversary, which is a relatively long time in the PC industry, although far from unprecedented for Apple, which stuck with the same basic professional laptop form factor from January/September (15") 2003 to October 2008 in both PowerBook and MacBook Pro iterations, and the dual-USB iBook design from May 2001 to May 2006 - then essentially continued it with a modest facelift as the original polycarbonate MacBook in white and black versions until October 2008 as well. Viewed from that historical perspective, the late 2008 unibody design is a relative spring's chicken, and my hope would be that it will be continued for some time yet - the 13" version in particular rivaling the 2000 PowerBook Pismo as my favorite Apple notebook model ever.

I like the MacBook Air, but I have misgivings about giving up onboard optical drives yet, and while I might be able to struggle along with just a 256 GB SSD, the latter are still prohibitively expensive, and 128 GB is just plain inadequate for this very tentative cloud computing user. I want my important data under my direct stewardship where I can get at it without the intermediary medium of the Internet.

That said, I'll concede to the inevitability that the next-generation MacBook Pro is going to be strongly influenced design-wise by the MacBook Air, the operative question being how much of the traditional Pro model functionality and connectivity will survive the transition.

As for timing, the MacBook Air just got a substantial refresh, and the MacBook Pro's were revamped in February (possibly the definitive traditional laptop iteration for users who prefer that and want OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard compatibility for legacy software and conventional user interface conventions), so I'm skeptical that we'll see a Pro redesign before early 2012, although an add-on 15" MacBook Air model could be a possibility before Christmas - still an unlikely prospect I think.

TUAW's Michael Rose suggests that chances are the ultra-thin 15" notebooks purportedly being tested now will be MacBook Pros and not larger Airs, and says there's also a 17" model in the works, hoping for an affordable SSD of decent capacity and retention of a relatively full suite of ports (or at least a Thunderbolt breakout dongle).

Last October, Steve Jobs said the then-new redesigned MacBook Air was the future of notebook computing, and I don't doubt his prescience. Thinner MacBook Pros are a given. The only imponderables are when, and how much Pro capability will be sacrificed to ultra-thin design.

Publisher's note: I wouldn't be at all surprised to see the MacBook Pro line lose built-in optical drives within the next two versions. After all, you can carry a bus-powered USB SuperDrive if you need one, but most users never will. I would be surprised if the next MacBook Pro update didn't include connectors for the same SSD modules used in the MacBook Air, and I would be surprised if the next MacBook Pro model doesn't have at least one hard drive bay, albeit limited to 9.5mm thick hard drives to keep the form factor as slim as possible without eliminating the hard drive option. dk

2011 MacBook Air 'the Best Laptop Apple Has Ever Made'

BGR's Jonathan S. Geller says that after a week of using the new Mid 2011 MacBook Air, he's persuaded that it's an entirely different beast from the spitting-image preceding Core 2 Duo models, which in his experience were slow, easily bogged-down by normal tasks, and would heat up at the drop of a dime. Happily, he says, all that has changed with the latest MacBook Air, which he maintains is what an Apple laptop should be in 2011 - a light, travel-ready laptop that is now also a full-fledged mobile workstation capable of replacing your current laptop and doing everything better (and sexier) - in his estimation the best laptop Apple has ever made with the cost of entry lower than it has ever been before.

11" MacBook Air 'The Best Laptop I've Ever Owned'

ZDNet's Joel Evans says he thinks the 11.6" MacBook Air is the best laptop ever, with its best attributes being portability and battery life. Not only can it last more than 5 hours on a single charge, he says but with only 10 minutes of charge remaining, a simple hook to power for 30 minutes brings you 3 hours of computing fun again.

He further enthuses that anticipated negatives were quickly turned to positives either by usage or by finding some workarounds. For example, if the screen size seems too small, enlarge the font or change the screen resolution, and Mid 2011 update brings a faster processor, more storage space, a backlit keyboard, and more, all with the same form factor.

2011 MacBook Air the Best Laptop That Apple Has Ever Made?

AppStorm's Joshua Johnson says that there are plenty of doubts to be had about the overall direction Apple has taken for its line of MacBooks: Is the MacBook Air an acceptable replacement for the plain old MacBook? Have the risk-takers at Apple stripped off too much, or have they created the best MacBook ever?

Johnson observes that Apple is a company completely dedicated to not caring about what you think you want, instead focusing on the core principles underlying customer demands and combining them with up-and-coming technology - the MacBook Air being a perfect example - and that after a slow start with the original Airs, the MBA has morphed into an extremely portable and impressively powerful machine, noting that its standard solid state drives (SSDs) are a thing of beauty whose speed you really can't appreciate until you've experienced it yourself. And now performance is enhanced further by incorporation of Intel's latest Sandy Bridge CPUs, which boast speeds up to two 2.5 times as fast as the previous generation Airs.

However, Johnson says it's still not a slam-dunk to call the new MacBook Air the best MacBook ever, and if you're on a $1,200 budget for a new laptop and compare the 11.6" MacBook Air with 128 GB flash memory and 4 GB RAM to the 13" MacBook Pro at that price point, the Pro gives you a 2.3 GHz dual-core i5 vs. the Air's 1.6 GHz dual-core i5, and a 320 GB hard drive with more than 2-1/2 times the capacity of the Air's 128 GB flash drive.

13" MacBook Pro Still Has a Place in an Airy World

forkbombr's Stephen M. Hackett says that when he reviewed the 13" MacBook Pro back in 2009, he was impressed how good of a fit it was for his needs as an IT professional, and the same remains true today. In fact, Hackett says he's picking up the high-end 13" MacBook Pro as a replacement for the 15" Core 2 Duo MacBook Pro he currently has at work, observing that the littlest Pro is a great cross between power and portability, noting that pro users need FireWire 800, ethernet, and more onboard, and he knows he can't live with a MacBook Air as his primary work computer.

13" MacBook Pro 'One of the Best Portable Computers an IT Professional Could Ask For'

EggFreckles' Thomas Brand says the 13" MacBook Pro is stuck between a rock and a hard place in Apple's current portable Macintosh line up - the rock being Apple's upgraded MacBook Air with competing performance and rockstar good looks, and the hard place being Apple's 15" MacBook Pro with twice the number of cores and a hard-to-beat high-resolution display.

Customers who want portability are going to choose the MacBook Air.

Brand predicts that customers who want performance are going to choose the 15" MacBook Pro, the cool kids will choose the Air, and the 13" Pro only the choice of cost conscious serious computer users who need a compact, low-priced platform with all of the legacy ports and optical drive the MacBook Air lacks.

Brand thinks the 13" Pro is on the bubble, and Thunderbolt adapters will soon make its legacy I/O ports obsolete, while the App Store/iTunes has already made the optical drive a thing of the past [editor's note: not if you have expensive software programs that require CD or DVD installs and/or libraries of data backups on optical disks].

"So," says Brand, "given the 13" Pro's 4.5 pound figure, lackluster screen resolution, and legacy compatibility, who would buy one today?"

Well, for one - him, citing the upgradable performance the 13" Pro offers over the MacBook Air, and the legacy ports he still needs to get the job done, and noting that while the 13" MacBook Pro may not have the quad-core processor of its larger siblings, it does have a respectable 2.7 GHz dual-core i7 CPU that is noticeably faster than anything available on the MacBook Air, with the additional and substantial advantage of upgradability. Brand's 13" Pro is equipped with a 6G 559 MB/s OWC 120 GB SSD, which he says is 295 MB/s faster than the standard SSD available in the MacBook Air, and is also capable of taking up to 16 GB of RAM - four times the amount soldered to the non-memory-upgradable 13" MacBook Air's logic board.

He concludes that it would be sad to see the 13" MacBook Pro go, because it makes one of the best portable computers an IT professional could ask for.

Apple Said to Add Macronix as Supplier of Flash Memory for MacBook Air

DigiTimes' Josephine Lien and Jessie Shen report that Apple has added Macronix International as another supplier of NOR flash memory for the new MacBook Air in order to support strong sales of the recently-launched ultra-thin notebook series, according to industry sources.

Macronix reportedly is also the NOR flash supplier for Apple's Mac-series desktops.

Reviews

Flash Storage Shootout: 2011 MacBook Air with Toshiba, Samsung, and OWC Aura

The 13" Mid 2011 MacBook Air ships with either a Samsung or Toshiba flash drive. Bare Feats wanted to see if there was any difference in performance - and wondered how both compare to the OWC Aura Pro Express SandForce based module.

Tested SSDs include 128 GB and 256 GB Toshiba modules, a 256 GB Samsung module, and OWC's 240 GB Aura Pro Express. Excerpts:

"The Samsung flash storage is faster than the Toshiba flash storage for large sequential transfers. However, the Toshiba was faster doing small random transfers. The 'tie' is broken by our Finder Duplicate test. Winner: Samsung .  . . unless .  . . you upgrade to the Aura.

"The OWC Aura Pro Express SandForce based flash storage is significantly faster than both the Samsung and Toshiba in the small random test. And though the Samsung keeps up with it in the large sequential test, the Aura has key features missing from the Samsung such as over-provisioning. Big Winner: Aura"

Link: Flash Storage Shootout: 2011 MacBook Air with Toshiba, Samsung, and Aura

iFixit's 13" Mid 2011 MacBook Air Teardown

PR: iFixit's Director of Technical Communication Miroslav Djuric tells us that while the new MacBook Air is visually very similar to the last revision, there are more changes "under the hood" than are is evident at first glance, including of substantial improvements to the chipset and IO controllers. Djuric notes that moving to Intel's built-in Intel HD Graphics 3000 IGPU from the Nvidia GeForce 320M chipset in the previous model freed up "tons of room" on the logic board and allowed Apple to squeeze a new Platform Controller Hub with Thunderbolt support onto the board.

Mid 2011 MacBook Air TeardownOn the downside, Djuric says that Wednesday's Apple hardware announcements, while exciting in one context, also marked a sad day for consumer repair, with Apple deciding that the entry-level model of the "svelte and sexy" MacBook Air will replace the "simple and serviceable" white plastic MacBook as Apple's price-leader laptop, with the consequence that while users' backpacks will be significantly lighter, future repairability and upgradability will suffer tremendously. He notes that unlike the plastic MacBook, the Air has a proprietary SSD, soldered (non-upgradeable) RAM, and replacing the LCD panel on it is "incredibly challenging," with iFixit giving it the same dismal 4 out of 10 repairability score as the previous-gen Air.

You can check out iFixit's Miroslav Djuric talking about the new MacBook Air on YouTube.

Teardown highlights (13" MacBook Air):

  • The lovely USB reinstall stick from last year's model is nonexistent. So if your Lion starts getting hiccups, you'll have to take it to an Apple Store to get it resolved, or pony up $69 for a Lion installer on a USB thumb drive that Apple says will be available next month.
  • A Broadcom BCM20702 chip on the wireless board adds Bluetooth 4.0 support with BLE. BLE chips hold many advantages over classic Bluetooth including 128 bit AES security, 6 ms latency (classic Bluetooth is 100 ms), and less power consumption.
  • A Broadcom BCM4322 Intensi-fi Single-Chip 802.11n Transceiver gives this Air the ability to get Internet... through air.
  • Just like in the mid-2010 MacBook Air, the SSD is not soldered on the logic board. Thankfully this means you can upgrade the SSD for more storage, but you're still out of luck if you need extra RAM.

Removing the SSD

  • Mid 2011 MacBook Air TeardownOther than a larger plate to accommodate the bigger die face of the Core i5 processor, the heat sink looks nearly identical to the one used on the Core 2 Duo Airs of last year. Djuric says iFixit will do some testing to see if temperatures are any higher in this machine.
  • Surprisingly, there isn't too much excess thermal paste between the processor and the heat sink. This is a nice departure from Apple's recent trend of assaulting processors with gobs of thermal paste.

Big players on the logic board include:

  • Intel Core i5 Processor-2557M with integrated Intel HD 3000 graphics
  • Intel E78296 01PB10 / E116A746 SLJ4K Platform Controller Hub. They're guessing this includes an integrated Thunderbolt controller. It's not this part, but it's similar.
  • Hynix H5TQ2G838ZR 4 GB RAM
  • SMSC USB2513B USB 2.0 Hub Controller
  • Mid 2011 MacBook Air TeardownShifting to integrated graphics on the processor freed up a lot of room on the board - enough for Apple to add the sizable Thunderbolt-capable Platform Controller Hub.
  • A new addition to the upper case is the network of LEDs attached to the keyboard backlight cable. A couple LEDs transmit light through fiber optic channels to evenly illuminate the keys on the keyboard.
  • The thickness restrictions of such a thin display were the deciding factor in not equipping the Air with a FaceTime HD camera.

This Is My Next Reviews the New 13" MacBook Air

This Is My Next's Joanna Stern says that while the new 13" MacBook Air doesn't look any different than its predecessor, she doesn't think anyone is going to complain, noting that the Air's aluminum unibody construction has proved to be incredibly sturdy, and compared with Sony's new VAIO Z's carbon fiber housing, the Air's metal build certainly feels more rigid, and alongside the Sony's flimsy screen panel, Apple's is like a brick wall - the rigidity of the hinge is downright impressive.

Stern acknowledges that the three-pound 13" MacBook Air does weigh 0.4 pounds more than the VAIO Z, but assures that you won't notice the difference on your shoulder. On the downside, there's no onboard ethernet port, which can be frustrating when traveling, so don't leave home without Apple's $29 USB-to-Ethernet adapter. Stern also observes that while the MacBook Air's 13.3" 1440 x 900 resolution display is nice, with the Sony VAIO Zs matte, 1920 x 1080 resolution screen.

In actual use, Stern says the new Air feels twice as fast as the model it replaces, and worries that she once internalized about using an Air as her primary system have gone away in a few days of heavy use, and thanks to the prodigious power of the Core i7 CPU even the much-maligned Intel integrated HD 3000 graphics render performance roughly equal to that of the Nvidia GeForce 320M IGPU in the preceding model, although again the VAIO Z is faster when plugged into its Light Peak-based AMD Radeon HD 6650M GPU.

Stern observes that while this this new version of the MacBook Air might just a minor spec-bump over the old one with a new processor and a Thunderbolt port, in reality, it's much more than that: In her estimation this is the first Air that's capable of replacing not just the old white MacBook but even the MacBook Pro for some users - and selling for less than $1,300, it's cheaper than most high-end Windows 7 ultraportables while beating them in battery life and ergonomics. At last a grown-up laptop with enough horsepower and battery life to make lot of users very happy while still able to fit in a manila envelope.

The Register Reviews 13" Core i5 MacBook Air

The Register's Stephen Dean reports that the lightweight, streamlined design of the MacBook Air is undeniably attractive and leaves most of its ultraportable PC rivals looking like a chaotic collision of metal and plastic. However, it comes at a premium price, given the relatively modest specification of its processor and other components, with this latest update receiving no price cut but at least getting a very decent speed bump, with Intel Sandy Bridge Core i5 CPUs and faster 1333 MHz RAM displacing last year's Core 2 Duo processors and 1066 MHz memory, plus a Thunderbolt port doubling as an external display connector a backlit keyboard.

Dean also observes that 13" model has put on a bit of weight, increasing from last years 1.32 kg to 1.35 kg, and thinks that at the price Apple should include an external SuperDrive as a standard accessory - and there's still no built-in ethernet or FireWire.

Apple Updates

Apple Cautions Against Snow Leopard Install Attempts on Mid 2011 MacBook Air

If you were harboring faint hope that OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard might run on the new revision MacBook Airs so that you'll still have access to legacy applications containing PowerPC code, it's an official no-go. A new Apple Knowledge Base article says that if you try to install a version of OS X (Snow Leopard or Lion) that was released before the Mid 2011 MacBook Air, the following symptoms may manifest:

  • The computer begins to start up normally to a gray screen with the Apple logo, then switches to display a progress indicator (a spinning gear) for a few seconds. Then the built-in display changes to black and the LCD backlight remains lit. This symptom usually appears when you attempt to start up with a version of Mac OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard or earlier.
  • A prohibitory sign (a circle with a line through it) appears on the screen. The computer then powers off after about a minute. This may occur if you install a version of Lion other than the version originally installed on your MacBook Air.

Products Affected:

  • MacBook Air (13-inch, Mid 2011)
  • MacBook Air (11-inch, Mid 2011)

To resolve the problem, reinstall the proper operating system build by restarting the computer while pressing and holding the Command and "R" keys. The right revision of Mac OS X for this computer should be available for installation through the Mac OS X Utilities pane that opens.

You can verify if the wrong version of Lion is installed (as in the second symptom) by starting the computer in verbose mode:

  • Shut down the computer.
  • Restart the computer while you press and hold the Command and "V" keys.
  • The text on the display should say, "This version of Mac OS X is not supported on this platform!".
  • Exit verbose mode by pressing and holding the power button until the computer shuts down.

Not the happiest news for Mac veterans, but Apple appears bound and determined to push us into OS X 10.7 Lion - and soon iCloud as well. Of note, however, is that the Knowledge Base article makes no mention of a similar issue on the new Core "i" Mac mini models, but we would recommend getting clarification about that before proceeding with an attempted Snow Leopard install.

For additional information about how to reinstall OS X Lion, refer to the Users Guide included with the computer or About Lion Recovery.

Products & Services

2.5" SanDisk Ultra Solid State Drive Ships to Retailers

SanDisk Ultra Solid State DrivePR: SanDisk Corporation has introduced the SanDisk Ultra solid state drive (SSD) for the retail market. The new SSD can extend the life of desktop and notebook PCs and offers greater performance, durability, and power efficiency than a hard drive.

The SanDisk Ultra SSD is a convenient drop-in solution for technology enthusiasts looking to upgrade their own PCs for an enhanced user experience. The new SSD features:

  • Fast performance: the drives up to 280 MB/sec1 sequential read and 270 MB/sec sequential write speeds deliver fast data-transfer rates; up to 3 Gb/s random speeds surpass other SATA II SSDs and enable faster system boot and application launch times
  • Power efficiency: the drives low power consumption extends battery life, and with no moving parts, the SSD offers silent operation
  • Long-term reliability: Mean Time Between Failure (MTBF)2 of up to 1,000,000 hours

Replacing a computer's hard drive with the SanDisk Ultra SSD is more cost effective than buying a new PC, says Kent Perry, director, product marketing, SanDisk. Our new SSD delivers greater speed and reliability than a hard drive at an affordable price.

The drive comes in 60 GB3, 120 GB, and 240 GB capacities carrying MSRPs of $129.99, $219.99, and $449.99, respectively. Consumers in the United States can order the drive now from online retailers such as newegg.com.

  1. Based on SanDisk internal testing; performance may vary depending upon host device, OS and application. 1 megabyte (MB) = 1 million bytes.
  2. Based on parts stress analysis.
  3. 1 gigabyte (GB) = 1 billion bytes. Some capacity not available for data storage.

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