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MacBook Air trumps Sony VAIO Z in SSD booting showdown

updated 12:05 pm EDT, Tue October 26, 2010

MacBook Air SSD faster than Sony VAIO Z in testing

A new showdown (video below) between the 11-inch MacBook Air and the Sony VAIO Z has landed an unusual victory for Apple. Despite the Z having dual SSDs in a RAID stripe and theoretically outperforming the single SSD of its rival, it took almost three times longer to start in the Laptop test, launching from a cold boot in about 40 seconds where the Mac took just 15 for the same task. Wake from hibernation was also about twice as slow on the Sony system at five to six seconds where the Mac can take just two to three.

Both were beaten by the iPad, whose ARM chip and mobile OS help it start quickly and wake almost instantly.

The Mac was helped by being a relatively fresh system where the VAIO already had installed apps, but the startup times were also defined by the operating systems themselves. Windows, even under 7, has traditionally taken longer to boot and resume versus a Mac with a similar-performing drive. The gap has traditionally stemmed from both the amount of overhead of the software itself as the way the two handle third-party system utilities that load on startup.

Sony in particular has been one of the most frequent symbols of the problems with unwanted software affecting performance on Windows PCs. The company was once one of the most prominent installers of "craplets," or background utilities, trial apps and other software that would load by default and slow down the entire computer. It has since trimmed back the amount of software, but some software comes standard and can only be removed if the buyer pays $50 extra for Windows 7 Professional and opts for a Fresh Start. All Macs go without extra menubar items by default and only ever have trial apps sitting in the Applications folder, where they won't automatically load or clutter the desktop.

Electronista also understands that the MacBook Air's SSD is also relatively fast for a mass-produced SSD, peaking at about 160MB per second. The best drives in the market are often 250MB or faster but are both expensive and usually available only as aftermarket models from OCZ and other specialists.

by MacNN Staff



  1. lamewing

    Joined: Dec 1969



    This is an example of worthless journalism and a pointless subject. Simply put ... SO WHAT?

    Okay, the New air boots faster than the Sony. (They state 15 seconds, but I question that number as I cold-booted one yesterday in the University Street Apple Store in Fort Worth and it took about 35 seconds.) it also wakes faster.

    Why is this important? Only a small subset of computer users care. Both of the machines are fast and we get that. Who really cold boots that often and who cannot wait an extra 30 seconds to 1 minute? Are our lives so rushed these days that we cannot sit still for 30 seconds?

  1. ggirton

    Joined: Dec 1969


    I disagree

    Nothing is more important than eliminating unnecessary wait time.
    This may seem minor but it is actually a HUGE win for the little Macbook Air.

    I've had hands on the Sony and, even in spite of the OS/X advantage,
    I was very impressed. Until now.

    You go ahead and let your live dribble away in little 10- and 8-second waits. Not me.

  1. YangZone

    Joined: Dec 1969


    '08 MBP boots in 30 seconds

    'Am happy with the late '08 MBP - A *fast* (Wintec) expresscard ssd holds Mac OS X, usual Apple applications, Photoshop, FCP, Parallel/Windows 7, a few others, and, of course, swap files, etc.
    The 1TB internal hard drive is for user data and less used applications.
    All the benefits of fast booting, fast launch, instant wake-from-sleep, etc. and then, plenty of data storage capacity.

    With this setup it'll *still* be a while before a MBP (or anything) comes out that will look like a must-have upgrade. Usually that envy comes a lot sooner.

  1. Jeronimo2000

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Yes, stupid. Yes, pointless.

    @ggirton: "Nothing is more important than eliminating unnecessary wait time."

    Uh, how often do you boot your machine? Or to be precise, how often would you boot a MacBook Air? Exactly - not that often, if you had any brains. You just open the lid and there it is. There's a reason Jobs touted the "30 day standby" battery time. Who in their right mind would completely shutdown a MacBook, unless it's for more than a couple of days (like when you're on holiday)? Just smash that lid shut and be done with it.

    To argue about boot times is just stupid and pointless. Especially when what you REALLY are comparing are Mac OS X and Windows boot times, which don't relate to any remotely sensible judgement of the hardware.

  1. slapppy

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Now its their turn

    Now that a Mac boots faster than any POS Windows machine, the Windows braggarts are now dismissing the smack down as irrelevant! LOL!!!

  1. facebook_Roger

    Via Facebook

    Joined: Oct 2010


    different OS's

    This is more comparing the boot time of the OS than the hardware, I think.

  1. malax

    Joined: Dec 1969



    "Electronista also understands that the MacBook Air's SSD is also relatively fast for a mass-produced SSD, peaking at about 160MB per second."

    Odd sentence. Technically the new MBA doesn't have an "SSD" and certainly not a "mass-produced" one. What it has is flash storage that is not packaged into a solid state drive.

  1. shiggie

    Joined: Dec 1969


    both cold and hibernate boots

    I'm pretty happy with my boot times, but I rarely do that, so hibernate is a slightly more relevant, though I usually just put it to sleep.

    But, Roger's right - I'm booting into Linux most of the time, so I wish they'd tested that. And a clean Windows 7 install would be nice too, without all that c*** that Sony throws in "for free".

    Not that a few seconds on startup with make up for a 1920x1080 display, or, well, running linux.

  1. wrenchy

    Joined: Dec 1969


    I wonder how the times

    would compare if you removed all the junk-ware from the Sony?

  1. TheLlama

    Joined: Dec 1969


    APPLE & GOOGLE -v- Dinosaurs!

    I'm laughing about how DEFENSIVE Windows/PC user are over this comparison, but they don't see the big picture! It's not that Apple is faster, it's that the WIN/PC platform is dying from lack of innovation!

    Eventually when GOOGLE & APPLE have made irrelevant for most consumers (not gearheads who are only 3-5% of current users) to buy WIN/OS or any PC (from a cheap netbook to a top Sony Vaio-Z), will you realize that your still using the equivalent of a 20'th century electric TYPEWRITER, while APPLE & GOOGLE users are in the 21'st century using 24'th century Star Trek devices!

    Look at the COST of the three devices, and if you want an Android/Samsung/HP tablet it will cost you $600-$900!
    iPad = $499
    11" Macbook Air = $999
    Sony Vaio Z = $2500 (w/ dual SSD & RAID)

    This is where APPLE will out perform even GOOGLE (and others), who is using Microsofts old model of letting OEM's produce cheap products that will be tossed aside, recycled, or broken in 2 years, while APPLE products from 10 years ago are still working fine!

    So keep buying those great MS/WIN products like MS/Office, a Zune, or that new W7 phone (filled with bloatware & viruses), and the rest of the World in 5 years will be using APPLE/iOS/OSX or GOOGLE/Android products, but you will still be able to type an angry letter with your WORD App from MS/Office 2012 (the LAST version sold!)

    Predictions: (5yrs - Worldwide Computer/Phone/Handheld Users)

    1. GOOGLE = 40% - 50% (because it will be the cheapest option)
    2. APPLE/iOS/OSX products = 30% - 40% (but the best in quality, innovation, & ease of use)
    3. MS/WIN, RIM & others = 10% - 20% (of the Computer/Phone/Handheld devices sold)

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