Base Model MacBook Air With M2 Chip Has Slower SSD Speeds in Benchmarks

The first embargoed reviews of the new MacBook Air with the M2 chip have now been published. One notable detail confirmed by The Verge is that the $1,199 base model equipped with 256GB of storage has a single NAND chip, which will lead to slower SSD speeds in benchmark testing, but real-world performance may vary.

MacBook Air M2 Chip Purple Feature
Last month, it was discovered that the 256GB model of the 13-inch MacBook Pro with the M2 chip has up to 50% slower SSD read speeds and up to 30% slower SSD write speeds compared to the equivalent previous-generation model in benchmarks.

The dilemma arises from the fact that Apple switched to using a single 256GB flash storage chip instead of two 128GB chips in the base models of the new MacBook Air and 13-inch MacBook Pro. Configurations equipped with 512GB of storage or more are equipped with multiple NAND chips, allowing for faster speeds in parallel.

In a statement issued to The Verge, Apple said that while benchmarks of the new MacBook Air and 13-inch MacBook Pro with 256GB of storage "may show a difference" compared to previous-generation models, real-world performance is "even faster":

Thanks to the performance increases of M2, the new MacBook Air and the 13-inch MacBook Pro are incredibly fast, even compared to Mac laptops with the powerful M1 chip. These new systems use a new higher density NAND that delivers 256GB storage using a single chip. While benchmarks of the 256GB SSD may show a difference compared to the previous generation, the performance of these M2 based systems for real world activities are even faster.

It's unclear if Apple's statement refers explicitly to real-world SSD performance or overall system performance. Some tests of the base model 13-inch MacBook Pro with the M2 chip showed that SSD speeds were slower even in real-world usage, but results have been mixed. Overall, if the fastest SSD speeds are important to you, we recommend configuring the new MacBook Air with at least 512GB of storage to avoid any potential impact.

Related Roundup: MacBook Air
Related Forum: MacBook Air

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Top Rated Comments

16_inch_MacBook_Air_Pls Avatar
26 months ago
Still waiting for the day Apple makes 512GB/16GB standard.
256 8 has been the starting config for like a decade now.
Score: 68 Votes (Like | Disagree)
antiprotest Avatar
26 months ago

Blown way out of proportion. Vast majority of users won't notice any difference.
On the SSD issue, the "most people will not notice it" people miss the point. The point is whether customers are getting what they pay for or know what they are getting.

"Most people" will think they are paying for a better and faster machine. It is a reasonable assumption. Since it's newer they'd expect everything to be the same or better.

Since it's called M2 vs M1, they'd expect the chip to be faster without having other components drag it back down.

"Most people" will not know they are not getting what they pay for. "Most people will not notice it" actually makes it worse. It makes this seem like a form of fraud.
Score: 51 Votes (Like | Disagree)
ponzicoinbro Avatar
26 months ago

lmao. glad i didn't pre order now.

wtf you doing apple?
It is a base model Air.

A base model.

Air.

What you gonna do with it?

Render Toy Story 10?

Use it as a high capacity high speed quantum universe time travel data center?
Score: 37 Votes (Like | Disagree)
staypuftforums Avatar
26 months ago
That is brutal. Especially for a machine that is going to be swapping like crazy due to the paltry 8 GB of RAM.
Score: 33 Votes (Like | Disagree)
krspkbl Avatar
26 months ago
lmao. glad i didn't pre order now.

wtf you doing apple?
Score: 32 Votes (Like | Disagree)
jchap Avatar
26 months ago
No matter how you spin it, a reduction in performance compared to the previous gen. just doesn’t sound good.
Score: 32 Votes (Like | Disagree)