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New 13-, 15-inch MacBook Pros using slower SATA

updated 11:45 am EDT, Mon June 15, 2009

MacBook SATA slowdown

Apple has scaled back the SATA interface speeds in some of its new MacBook Pros, testing reveals. Whereas Pros have typically been equipped with 3Gbps SATA, the new 13- and 15-inch systems have been limited to 1.5Gbps. The 17-inch Pro remains unaffected, along with the MacBook Air and the 13-inch plastic MacBook.

Most Pro owners should not see a noticeable difference, as the default hard disks available are unable to approach 1.5Gbps. The new interfaces may however affect people swapping in SSD drives, which in their faster varieties can surpass the 1.5Gbps threshold. It is not clear to what extent practical use may be hampered, as drives have so far been tested only in terms of raw performance. It is also uncertain if throughput could be boosted through a firmware update.




by MacNN Staff

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  1. JeffHarris

    Joined: Dec 1969

    +8

    WTF?

    What's going on with Apple and the MacBook Pro line, especially the 15"?

    Strip the ExpressCard slot from the 15", in favor of a one-trick-pony SD card slot?

    No matte screen option?

    And NOW a slower SATA bus?

    As far as a mobile pro machine, the 15"is it. The 17" is too big and heavy to lug around every day.

    What are they thinking? Save a few bucks on parts?

    One would think that Apple had learned something after the FireWire-free unibody MacBook fiasco.

  1. Roehlstation

    Joined: Dec 1969

    -2

    The point?

    Difference is hardly noticeable, the drives weren't even saturating the bus.

    I know a number of people that may prefer the SD slot over the ExpressCard slot that hardly had any cards available to use in it anyway.

    Save a few bucks on parts? In case you didn't notice, the line all dropped in price an average of $400.

    Can't please everyone I guess.

  1. PookJP

    Joined: Dec 1969

    +3

    Re: JeffHarris

    For what it's worth, Jeff, I'm a 15" owner and would prefer the SD slot, like the glossy screen, and would be affected by the SATA speed change.

    The most important thing to me is the $400 price change. I suspect I'm not alone when I say that drop is well worth the lightly diminished menu of options.

  1. PookJP

    Joined: Dec 1969

    -4

    Re: JeffHarris

    ... "and would NOT be affected by the SATA speed change..."

  1. bobolicious

    Joined: Dec 1969

    +2

    BTO options...

    ...might resolve concerns - eSata expresscards can be finicky but oh so much faster along with twin internal raid SSD drives - pro vs prosumer

    http://www.barefeats.com/wwdc09a.html

    http://www.barefeats.com/mbpp13.html

  1. testudo

    Joined: Dec 1969

    +5

    Re: The point

    I know a number of people that may prefer the SD slot over the ExpressCard slot that hardly had any cards available to use in it anyway.

    Hardly any cards? OK, I guess. And I guess Mac users just don't like options. It is much better to have a slot that can just do one thing than a slot that gives you the capability to do many things.

    And why does it have to be an either/or case? Isn't there enough room in a 15" laptop to have BOTH slots?

    Save a few bucks on parts? In case you didn't notice, the line all dropped in price an average of $400.

    Which is more from Apple cutting prices and margins (due to lower costs, I can't see them cutting margins, actually) then drop in parts.

    Esp. when most PC laptops come with BOTH features and don't even cost $1000 (the one on my desk cost $500, and it also includes a PC card slot along with the other two) and the SD card slot actually supports many different cards.

    Oh, right, but it's in a cheap plastic case rather than hardened aluminum cut from a single block. Except that isn't the case anymore, either.


    Can't please everyone I guess.


    Yeah, well, when Mac users used to say "Well, when I buy a MacBook Pro, I get x, y, and, z features. Make a Dell with those things and it costs the same!", you kind of expect Macs to keep coming with x, y, and z. Not x and w, but we took out y and z.

  1. shawnde

    Joined: Dec 1969

    +2

    This is just stupid

    People ... vote with your wallets. Advertise these shortcomings to everyone you know, and ask them to delay their purchase. Delay your own upgrades and purchases as well.

    From what I can gather, the missing FireWire backfired in a big way at Apple (hence the 3% drop in Mac Sales), so much so that they decided to include it in all their laptops.

    I say we should all unite and do the same thing with regards to all the features we expect from Apple; Matte Screen option, SATAII, ExpressCard slot, etc.

    I totally agree with Testudo on this. Apple is taking advantage of new-found popularity. I always liked them as the underdog, because they'd have to work extra hard to gain my satisfaction; nowadays, they're slacking.

    The ExpressCard slot was very valuable; much more so than a SD card slot. So was the Matte Screen option and the SATAII. Force them to bring it back. Don't buy ANY Apple machines, until they do !!!

  1. zaghahzag

    Joined: Dec 1969

    0

    doesnt make sense

    maybe the 1.5 interface drops down depending on the HD thats inside. 3.0 is pretty standard now and i can't imagine apple saves any money.

    This is actually a major issue for buying this machine. 2 or 3 years from now when you can get a 250 or 500 gig SSD for 150$, and it makes your machine load everything 10x faster, people will want to upgrade.. except that with this slower interface, it will only be 5x faster.

  1. lamewing

    Joined: Dec 1969

    0

    I agree

    I was planning on a new laptop this summer but the new design from Apple really turned me off. Lower SATA speeds, difficult battery to swap out, loss of the express card slot to be replaced by an SD card slot...and the SD card doesn't even fit flush with the system. Why can my 5 year old Canon camera have the SD card fit flush, but a $1000 - $2000 computer cannot, especially when it comes from a company that cares about appearances and style?

  1. manleycreative

    Joined: Dec 1969

    +3

    Hey

    Buy a previous model mac with the features you want and a cheaper price at Powermax.com.

    My Powerbook was an Apple refurb and was replaced with any parts it needed to make it brand new. My next Mac laptop will be the same and money saved.

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