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Apple M3 MacBook Air base model now comes with a faster SSD

The M3-powered MacBook Air

It appears that Apple listened to the widespread criticism around slower SSD speeds on the base model M2 MacBook Air with 256GB storage. Apple chose to include a single NAND chip instead of two 128 GB chips, resulting in slow read/write speeds when compared to the M1 MacBook Air.

Fast forward to now, Apple has taken a U-turn with its latest M3 MacBook Air and started shipping a faster SSD in the base model. That's according to the YouTuber Max Tech who performed a teardown of the 13-inch M3 MacBook Air to reveal two NAND chips fitted on the motherboard.

Max Tech put a 13-inch M2 MacBook Air against a 13-inch M3 MacBook Air in Blackmagic's Disk Speed Test, with both models having 8GB RAM and 256 GB storage. The M3 Air delivered about 80% faster read speeds and 30% faster write speeds than the M2 Air.

The M3 Air outperformed in a real-world test as well when the YouTuber transferred a 117 GB folder on both devices from external storage. Here, the M3 Air won the race by finishing the transfer in 4:29 minutes against M2 Air's 6:29 minutes.

With that said, it's expected that the hardware change has trickled down to the 15-inch M3 MacBook Air as well, although, such development isn't reported yet. A faster SSD can help during resource-heavy workloads when the operating system starts using a part of the SSD as virtual RAM.

Not just the M2 MacBook Air, Apple continued the slow SSD trend by fitting single NAND chips in the base models of the 13-inch M2 MacBook Pro (now discontinued), 15-inch M2 MacBook Air, and M2 Mac Mini. While changes in hardware configuration might deliver inferior numbers in benchmark results, users may not notice a slowdown in everyday usage, Apple told The Verge in a statement.

Apple is currently selling the 13-inch MacBook Air with a starting price of $1,099, meanwhile, its bigger sibling starts at $1,299. In addition to the performance improvements, both models come with WiFi 6E and support up to two external displays.

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