Base Model M3 MacBook Air Has Faster SSD Speeds After Controversy With Previous Model

The base model 13-inch MacBook Air with the M3 chip, 256GB of storage, and 8GB of RAM has significantly faster SSD speeds compared to the equivalent model with the M2 chip, according to benchmark results shared today by YouTube channel Max Tech.

Apple MacBook Air 2 up hero 240304 feature
Max Tech's teardown video confirms that Apple has returned to using two 128GB storage chips for the new 13-inch MacBook Air with 256GB of storage, compared to a single 256GB chip in the equivalent model with the M2 chip. This change results in faster SSD read and write speeds in tests, as the two chips can process requests in parallel.

Max Tech ran Blackmagic's Disk Speed Test tool with a 5GB file size test on both the M2 and M3 models of the 13-inch MacBook Air with 256GB of storage and 8GB of RAM, and they found the SSD in the M3 model achieved up to 33% faster write speeds and up to 82% faster read speeds compared to the SSD in the M2 model.

The change very likely extends to the base model 15-inch MacBook Air with the M3 chip, although Max Tech has yet to tear down that model.

Apple's decision to switch to a single 256GB chip for the base model MacBook Air in 2022 was controversial, even though the slower SSD speeds are unlikely to be noticed by the average MacBook Air user working on common day-to-day tasks. Nevertheless, customers who purchase an M3 model no longer need to worry about configuring the laptop with at least 512GB of storage in order to avoid the slower speeds.

M3 MacBook Air Dual 128GB Chips

Two 128GB storage chips in the new base model 13-inch MacBook Air (via Max Tech)

The new MacBook Air models with the M3 chip launched Friday. Apple continues to sell a 13-inch MacBook Air with the M2 chip and 256GB of storage for $999, so customers who want maximum SSD performance should avoid that model.

Related Roundup: MacBook Air
Related Forum: MacBook Air

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Top Rated Comments

KPOM Avatar
15 weeks ago
With this and the dual monitor support in clamshell mode Apple seems to be responding to criticisms about previous models.
Score: 49 Votes (Like | Disagree)
arcite Avatar
15 weeks ago

I'm still using a (13-inch, Mid 2012) MacBook Air that came with 4 GB RAM, and 120 GB SDD. I have 59 GB of free space left. It just depends what you use your machine for. For me daily home stuff like email, browsing, etc.
And yes, I'm definitely ready for an upgrade!!
Browsing the web and writing emails with less than 1tb HD and 48gigs of Ram? Brave man.
Score: 37 Votes (Like | Disagree)
yeah Avatar
15 weeks ago
These video thumbnails nowadays are way too cringey and full of clickbait.
Score: 31 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Mrkevinfinnerty Avatar
15 weeks ago
256gb is derisory for the price though, that really shouldn't exist in 2024
Score: 29 Votes (Like | Disagree)
turbineseaplane Avatar
15 weeks ago

Ok, great. Now MR posters can finally stop complaining about this minuscule issue.

Now, onto the last “minor” complaint - 8 GB as the entry level RAM configuration.
When do MR posters who complain about the complaining finally stop though?
That's the REAL question!

Score: 19 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Lounge vibes 05 Avatar
15 weeks ago

The MaxTech channel is on another level of cringe and baiting.

I certainly hope they're swimming in money from posting their garbage 'cause I sure ain't getting anything from watching their stuff.
Video title: “M3 MacBook Air Overheating - What was Apple Thinking?!”
conclusion of video: the new MacBook Air is impressive.
They literally called it “impressive” in the video, but you would never guess that by the title and the over exaggerated first 10 minutes.
Literally, the conclusion was that yes, it throttles, but even when it throttles, it’s still faster than the M2. And (surprise surprise) it absolutely never overheated once in the video.
It got hot, but overheated implies that it stopped working, which it absolutely did not.
Score: 19 Votes (Like | Disagree)