MacBooks - SATA vs NVME, Cost vs Speed By Josh Blagden | JB - Mac Help | JBlagden

MacBooks - SATA vs NVME, Cost vs Speed      By Josh Blagden

MacBook Pros used to use SATA connectors for hard drives. But now, the newer models use NVMe. Sure, there’s a speed difference, but you won’t notice a difference unless you’re editing videos or loading a game. The speed of NVMe is wasted unless you’re a video editor, a gamer, or someone who frequently works with large files. For video editing, I can see needing the speed of NVMe because for a professional video editor, time is money. But for a game, it’s just not worth the extra cost. If Apple had gone with SATA, mSATA or M.2 AHCI instead of M.2 NVME, they could have saved consumers a lot of money, and they might have gotten more in profits by selling more MacBooks as a result. I appreciate the fact that Apple has always striven for quality, but unless you’re editing video or playing games, you really won’t to see any difference between NVMe and SATA.

Now, Apple has always had unrealistic upgrade pricing. For example, to upgrade to 8 gigabytes of RAM, Apple would charge $400 - but it didn’t matter because you could do the upgrade yourself for $50 because the RAM wasn’t soldered in as it is on the newer MacBooks. Another example is hard drive upgrades. For hard drive upgrades, Apple charged what it would cost to buy the drive and install it yourself ($150), so it wasn’t totally unreasonable. But with NVMe, Solid State Drives cost more, and there are fewer companies which make them. If Apple had gone with M.2 AHCI instead, they could bring the prices down considerably. If Apple used M.2 ACHI, it would cost $200 instead of $600 to upgrade from 128 to 512 gigabytes of storage or $260 instead of $500 to upgrade from 512 gigabytes to a terabyte, without having to sacrifice thickness for upgradeability. Sure there would be a performance tradeoff, but only when you’re editing video or waiting for a game to load.

If Apple isn’t going to use a standard interface, they should at least be more reasonable about their Solid State Drive upgrade pricing. Instead of charging $600 to go from 128 gigabytes to 512 gigabytes, they should charge $300 or maybe $350. If they bring the upgrade price closer to the price of a new module from another manufacturer, the proprietary interface would be permissible. I wouldn’t mind the proprietary Solid State Drive interface nearly as much if Apple was far more realistic/competitive with its Solid State Drive upgrade pricing, especially since we’re not talking about bringing your MacBook into an Apple Store and having them upgrade the drive for you, but rather a Configure-to-Order upgrade where Apple is simply putting in a different drive.

Also, if they had stayed with a form-factor which is similar to the standard (non-retina) MacBook Pro, they could add a second hard drive in place of the optical drive, which would be really nice. Wouldn’t it be great to have a 512 gigabyte Solid State Drive and a 2 terabyte hard drive in the same laptop? You’d never have to carry an external hard drive during the lifetime of that Mac. 

© Joshua Blagden & Justin Barczak 2013-2015