Apple Silicon M1 MacBook Air SSD Really Is Twice as Fast as Previous Model

As customers are receiving their new Apple Silicon Macs, we're starting to see more benchmarks and testing being posted in our Apple Silicon forum. One forum user (abbotsford1980) shared SSD Benchmarks for their new M1 MacBook Air with 256GB storage:

apple silicon macbook air ssd benchmarks

The benchmarks confirm that the new ‌MacBook Air‌ SSD is approximately twice as fast as the previous model with 2190 MB/s writes and 2675 MB/s reads. Apple did announce this performance boost when launching the new machine, and attributed the improved speed to the ‌M1‌'s storage controller as well as new flash technology:

The ‌M1‌ chip’s storage controller and latest flash technology deliver up to 2x faster SSD performance, so previewing massive images or importing large files is faster than ever.

The 2019/2020 Intel ‌MacBook Air‌ was criticized for actually offering a slower SSD than the 2018 model. The 2019/2020 ‌MacBook Air‌ SSD speeds were 1319 MB/s reads and 1007 MB/s writes.

Related Roundup: MacBook Air
Buyer's Guide: MacBook Air (Buy Now)

Top Rated Comments

eric89074 Avatar
10 weeks ago
The switch to Apple silicon has been a home run, and this is just the beginning.
Score: 36 Votes (Like | Disagree)
ersan191 Avatar
10 weeks ago
Apple really undersold this thing, imo.
Score: 32 Votes (Like | Disagree)
zoom25 Avatar
10 weeks ago
The new iMac can't come soon enough.
Score: 22 Votes (Like | Disagree)
FactVsOpinion Avatar
10 weeks ago
Apple has proven to be unusually honest with claims like this.

The all around performance of these new models is surprising, but to find out that Apple’s claims weren’t bogus is not surprising—not to me anyway.
Score: 22 Votes (Like | Disagree)
UndefinedxJoker Avatar
10 weeks ago
First time in a long time that an Apple product gets nothing but positive news.
Score: 16 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Erehy Dobon Avatar
10 weeks ago


So it's twice as fast today because the cut the speed in half in the previous models? Why did they have to move to slower SSDs in the MacBook Air to begin with?

The usual factors are things like size, cost, power.

Remember that Apple a price window for every one of its products. Making a $3000 MacBook Air doesn't make sense. They learned this after the 10th Anniversary Mac.

And we should go back to the point that Johny Srouji pounded over and over at the WWDC keynote (in June) as well as the M1 Mac event earlier this month: Apple is focused on performance-per-watt.

The point isn't to beat AMD Threadripper, EPYC, or GeForce 3090 outright. The point is to provide maximum performance at a certain power threshold (the nominal 10W comparison was the one Srouji repeatedly referred to in the M1 event).

It's worth pointing out that m.2 NVMe PCIe Gen4 sticks generate a lot more heat than the Gen3 sticks do. Apple doesn't control every single piece of silicon in the new M1 Macs. They still rely on third-party silicon for much functionality, including the RAM in the SoC package.

The SSD storage isn't even on-die nor in the SoC. They are elsewhere on the motherboard.
Score: 15 Votes (Like | Disagree)

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