Apple Gave the Base M3 MacBook Air a Dramatic Storage Speed Boost

Apple refreshed the MacBook Air this month by equipping the lineup with a faster M3 chipset, dual external monitor support, and Wi-Fi 6E. While the upgrades appear to be very limited to the performance and connectivity when viewed on papers, there is one notable improvement introduced to the M3 MacBook Air (review) particularly on the base variant that Apple has not mentioned.

Base Apple M3 MacBook Air gets a faster storage speed

It could be remembered that Apple’s base model of M2 MacBook Air (review) with 256 GB storage was criticized for having a slower SSD storage speed than the 512 GB variant and M1 MacBook Air model. Many benchmarks shown that the 256 GB M2 MacBook Air outputs around 1.6 GB/s read speed or more than half the data speed of the 512 GB variant at 3.5 GB/s.

The issue was primarily pointed out due to Apple utilizing a single NAND chip on the 256 GB instead of having two 128 GB chips similar on the M1 MacBook Air.

As first discovered by YouTuber Max Tech, the data speed on the base M3 MacBook Air is dramatically faster than the M2 counterpart. Accordingly, this now generates a data speed of 2.8 GB/s and close to 3 GB/s speed of our M3 MacBook Air with 512 GB storage. It’s also almost double the rate on the predecessor.

You get dual monitor support with the M3 MacBook Air!
The M3 MacBook Air finally allows two external monitors in the Air! / © nextpit

By further inspection the source found that Apple installed two 128 GB SSD chips on the M3 MacBook Air. A teardown from iFixIt has also confirmed the dual chip setup on the latest MacBook Air machine.

But compared to the M3 MacBook Pro (review), the SSD storage speed on the M3 MacBook Air is considerably slower, which is due to Apple opting for a more advanced SSD chip on the Pro models. Regardless of the difference, though, the speed bump on the base M3 MacBook Air is still a welcome upgrade after all.

In terms of other specs and price, the M3 MacBook Air starts at $999 and has an 8-core CPU while the GPU can be configured for up to 10-core alongside the RAM starting from 8 GB all the way to 24 GB. It’s offered in 13-inch and 15-inch size with the colorways available in space gray, midnight black, starlight, and silver.

Do you think these SSD speed differences are noticeable in typical users in most conditions? We’re eager to hear your thoughts on this. Let us discuss in the comments. 

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