Rob benchmarked it with an SSD, but it’s a third-party one — not the one that Apple supplies as the BTO option. (It’s also much cheaper, at about $400.) Different SSD models vary significantly in performance, so this really isn’t a strong indicator of how Apple’s might perform. This is also why the old benchmarks of the original MacBook Air SSD aren’t relevant to the new one.
Nobody has even published which SSD model Apple is using. As far as I can tell, nobody has actually purchased one.
But from this benchmark, it looks like SSDs are still too young to be worth their price — especially since the Hitachi 7K320 (“normal” hard drive) is such a good performer. In many benchmarks, the 7K320 performs 50-75% as well as a decent 3.5” 7200 RPM desktop drive. For a laptop drive, that’s very impressive.
The laptop SSDs that have been benchmarked so far have all shown severe imbalances: excellent random small-read performance, but awful write and large-read performance. Some users also report slowdowns and brief freezes when multitasking with many simultaneous disk requests. It sounds like their firmware needs to mature — it took hard drive manufacturers decades to get this stuff right.
Once the big hard drive manufacturers have major, mature SSD offerings, they’ll be a much more attractive option.
And fortunately, the hard drive is very easy to replace in the new MacBook Pro (and every MacBook, including the old white one). So when SSDs are faster and cheaper in 18 months, get one. Until then, the dirt-cheap, 320 GB, 7200 RPM offerings are fine. Not desktop performance, but then neither are SSDs, apparently.