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Apple's Base M3 MacBook Air Gets A Dramatic Storage Speed Boost

MacBook Air nextpit Test 12
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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 in terms of performance and connectivity when viewed on paper, there is one notable improvement introduced in the M3 MacBook Air (review). We're referring to the base model that Apple did not mention.

Base Apple M3 MacBook Air gets faster storage speed

One would do well to remember that Apple's base M2 MacBook Air (review) model with 256 GB storage was criticized for having a slower SSD storage speed than the 512 GB variant and M1 MacBook Air. Many benchmarks showed the 256 GB M2 MacBook Air plodded along at around 1.6 GB/s read speed, making it less than half the data speed of the 512 GB variant at 3.5 GB/s.

The issue was primarily isolated as Apple making use of a single NAND chip on the 256 GB instead of having two 128 GB chips, similar to the M1 MacBook Air.

First discovered by YouTuber Max Tech, the data speed on the base M3 MacBook Air is dramatically faster than the M2 counterpart. It generates a data speed of 2.8 GB/s which is close to the 3 GB/s speed in our M3 MacBook Air with 512 GB storage. It's also almost double the rate of its predecessor.

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

Further inspection by the source discovered that Apple installed two 128 GB SSD chips on the M3 MacBook Air. A teardown from iFixIt also confirmed the dual chip setup on the latest MacBook Air machine.

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

In terms of other specifications 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 sizes with space gray, midnight black, starlight, and silver colors to choose from.

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

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Jade Bryan

Jade Bryan
Junior Editor

I still remember how amazed I was when I first got hold of the Nokia 3210 back when I was a kid, and it was during that time I developed my love for technology, particularly for mobile phones. I started sharing my knowledge through writing in different blogs and forums back in Nokia Nseries era. I even make videos before where I put different phones side-by-side. Today, I'm still an avid enthusiast of smartphones, but my interests have evolved into smart devices and electric vehicles.

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