SSD vs HD on the Mac – Quick and Dirty Benchmark

Recently I switched from my old Macbook (first unibody version, late 2008) to the new Macbook Air. The main difference in terms of specs as far as I’m concerned is the disk, as the cpu and memory are virtually the same. The old Macbook had a 5400 rpm Fujitsu drive, the Macbook Air has an Apple TS256C SSD

Lately I’ve been interested in quantifying the performance of SSDs vs old hard drives to see if we can use them for IndexTank somehow. I still have the old Macbook lying around, so I ran the disk test with Xbench. Check out the results:





Because of the physical nature of SSDs (no moving parts, lower seek times) I expected a significant difference in random read and write times, especially for small chunks. The test confirms this, the most significant difference is in Uncached Reads for 4k blocks (close to 25x improvement) and Uncached Writes for 4k blocks (almost 20x).

Obvious conclusion: as much as SSDs are a nice-to-have for personal computers, they will make a huge difference for cloud applications. For many applications they offer a speed that starts to approach what you can do with memory, but at a tiny fraction of the cost and with permanent storage as a bonus. I can’t wait to see SSDs in the cloud.

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