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’13 Retina MacBook Pro 13″, 15″ Initial SSD Speed Comparison

stopwatchAfter securing a 13-inch model and 15-inch model of the new MacBook Pro with Retina display that was unveiled Tuesday at Apple’s special event, we’ve done some benchmarking with each model to get an early look at how the new PCIe SSDs perform.

2013 13″ MacBook Pro with Retina Display

  • 128GB SanDisk SSD
  • 312.9MB/s write
  • 728.6MB/s read

2013 15″ MacBook Pro with Retina Display

  • 256GB Samsung SSD
  • 676.7MB/s writes
  • 728.6MB/s read

The 256GB Samsung SSD in the 15″ model offers about a 400MB/s increase in write speeds over the 128GB SanDisk SSD as our 13-inch model was configured.

UPDATE: OWC Now Offers SSD Upgrades for 2013-Current MacBook Air & MacBook Pro with Retina display models and OWC Reveals Apple Boot Camp Support for SSDs

The Caveat

Results can vary with different brands and configurations. And it’s worth noting that some SSDs that Apple is installing have a Marvell controller and others have a Samsung PCIe controller. Both have varying strengths and weaknesses, but both are fast for typical uses.


Rest assured that we’re hard at work on our own, faster SSD option for all the new PCIe SSD-based Macs for next year – just as we’ve brought for every model introduced 2012 and earlier. In the meantime here are the quick benchmarks:

13” Retina MacBook Pro with a 128GB SanDisk SSD:

13 Bench1

13 Bench 2

15” Retina MacBook Pro with a 256GB Samsung SSD:

15 Bench 1


15 Bench 2

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  • I don’t know about anyone else, but I’m tired of waiting. I’m literally this week going to spend what I imagine is double what OWC would charge to buy a 1TB OEM because I can’t wait any longer and there’s no suggestion from OWC I can find as to whether they’re EVER going to release one.

  • Could you at least mention which MBPr uses what NGFF ?
    – type M ?
    – type M+B ?
    Are both using M only, what sockets are used? etc..

    • MacBook Pro models use an Apple-designed form factor … they are not following any industry standards.

  • looking for a SSD upgrade for the “late 2013″ MB Pro 15” Retina. Looking for ANY feedback as to when this will be available!!

    • The best source I have found is getting PCIe 2.0 X 2 that you’re looking for is, unfortunately eBay. Good news is it’s genuine OEM and crazily about 1/2 the price, unfortunately none are brand new.

  • I would buy an OWC 1 TB PCIe SSD for my 13″ late 2013 MacBook Pro in a heartbeat!

  • Any updates on the development of the MBPRD PCIe SSD replacement?

    I know you guys may not want to speculate on dates unless the product is ready…

    But I would really like to ask if you can give at least a broad stroke of of a possible time frame, like *if all goes well* in which quarter of the year we can expect it?

    This way I will know if I have to hunt for a second-hand disk, or get through Apple itselft to upgrade my MBPRD storage.

  • Hi – am/was getting ready to purchase the Apple 13″ MBPr late 2013 model – midrange – 8GB 1600MHz memory, 256GB PCIe-based flash storage. I was planning to do so till I read your comment above:

    “An OWC SSD?

    Rest assured that we’re hard at work on our own, faster SSD option for all the new PCIe SSD-based Macs for next year – just as we’ve brought for every model introduced 2012 and earlier.”

    If I thought the odds were quite high that you folks would succeed – I would just buy the base model [but with 8GB ram] and grow my flash memory via OWC at a later date.

    i.e., On a scale of 1-100 – what do you estimate the odds that OWC will develop in 2014 a compatable plugin [solder in?] SSD for the Haswell Chip late 2013. I’ve been researching this for a couple of months – and would much rather grow my storage from you people.


  • I have a mid 2010, 13 inch Macbook Pro, which I am thinking about upgrading with a SSD and the max 8GB Ram. Has there been any benchmark testing to compare these upgrades with a more recent Macbook Pro?

  • My new 2013 15″ MBPr has a 512 GB Drive (APPLE SSD SM0512F). Blackmagicdesign sped test shows it has a 711.7MB/s sustained write speed and a 730.7MB/s read speed (average of 8 cycles of 5GB stress test)

  • Is the read/write performance difference solely attirubutable to the different vendor and controller of the SSDs? Or do other factors play any role? Because the rmbps tested vary a lot in terms of RAM, CPU (clock speed, core no., cache)? How about the capacity? One is 128Gb the other is 256GB. Could this have an impact on your results?

    • The MBP 15 is able to achieve these speeds because it has a 4-channel PCIe connection to the SSD, in contrast to the 2-channel link on the MBP 13 and MacBook Air models, though from some reader reports this may be the case only on models fitted with 1TB drives. PCIe is a high-speed serial link used only on the latest Macs, replacing the slower SATA connections of earlier machines. SATA 3 is good for around 600MB/sec, which was more than fast enough for hard drives but not capable of keeping up with the speeds of modern SSDs. PCIe 3.0 is capable of a theoretical maximum of 8GB/sec, allowing plenty of spare capacity for faster future generations of SSD.

      Per lane (each direction):

      v1.x: 250 MB/s (2.5 GT/s)
      v2.x: 500 MB/s (5 GT/s)
      v3.0: 985 MB/s (8 GT/s)
      v4.0: 1969 MB/s (16 GT/s)
      So, a 16-lane slot (each direction):

      v1.x: 4 GB/s (40 GT/s)
      v2.x: 8 GB/s (80 GT/s)
      v3.0: 15.75 GB/s (128 GT/s)
      v4.0: 31.51 GB/s (256 GT/s)
      It seems likely that Apple was keeping things simple by citing the performance available across the range rather than noting the far higher speed of the top-of-the-range model.

      • Thanks. In your opinion what is the likelihood that the late 2013 mid-range 13-inch rmbp equipped with 256GB SSD has the exact same Samsung SSD determined in the 15-inch model reviewed by OWC? If they are the exact same SSD, can we assume the write/read speeds would be the same? Or would the better quad-core i7 CPU or, for RAM upgraded custom-made machines, 16GB RAM affect the read/write speeds?

        • Good question!! Unfortunately Apple consistently keeps their upgrade plans relatively close to the vest. With that said my guess would be an upgraded CPU.

          The only caveat here would be if there is a significant reduction in all wrong SSD prices.

          • Thanks for the replies. Please excuse me, but your replies are rather technical and/or do not directly pinpoint my queries, though I admit I posted them in a tech-savvy blog and digressed a bit by comparing different capacities. Anyhow, let me explain my main concern, which perhaps I must have mentioned in the first place:

            a) I am considering buying the mid-level 13-inch Haswell which has 256GB SSD. Currently the only 256GB SSD used by another Haswell rMBP in the line up is the base 15-inch Haswell one. Because OWC published the results for this model and the base 13-inch Haswell model equipped with 128GB SSD and found out a gread deal of difference in terms of write speeds, I am concerned that I may encounter similar results with my intended purchase, i.e. mid-level 13- inch Haswell rMBP, if its 256GB SSD is manufactured by Sandisk, or manufactured by Samsung with different specs compared to the SSD of the base 15-inch Haswell model. That’s why I am trying to find out whether the mid-level 13-inch Haswell rMBP’s and base 15-inch Haswell rMBP’s 256GB SSDs are the exact same Samsung one.

            b) In addition, if they are the same one, I would like to also know whether the better CPU of the base 15-inch Haswell would lead to better write/read speeds compated to mid-level 13-inch Haswell despite they share the same SSD, and whether RAM upgrade would make it even better. In short, here I am trying to find out whether better CPU and/or RAM may increase even the same SSD’s performance in a given computer.

            • The difference in write performance is mainly affected by the processor on the SSD. Other factors such as CPU and RAM affect SSD performance but in this instances the greatest determining factor is the brand processor on the SSD.

  • really looking forward to (read: urgently waiting for) the PCIe SSD upgrades from OWC for my MBA 2013.. (500+ GB)