Apple revealed the new MacBook Air during last month’s WWDC event, with a larger screen, faster M2 chip, and a MagSafe connector. However, it does fall short of the model it replaced in one critical area: the SSD.
The Verge confirmed in its review of the new MacBook Air that the base model (8 GB of RAM, 256 GB of storage) has a single NAND chip for internal storage, while the other storage capacities use two chips. That gives the new M2 MacBook Air slower read and write speeds than the old M1 Air — the same downgrade present on the new MacBook Pro.
Dave2D on YouTube included more specific disk benchmarks in his video review. The new 256 GB MacBook Air has read speeds of around 1450 MB/s, while the previous 256 GB Air and the 512 GB versions of the new Pro and Air all have double the performance, at around 2900 MB/s.
Apple told The Verge in a statement, “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.”
The drive in the new MacBook Air is still incredibly fast, and the reduced speeds would only be noticeable in workloads with intensive file operations, like compiling software or working on 4K video projects. However, most people working on those types of projects probably wouldn’t buy the cheapest Air anyway, since it only has 256 GB of storage.
If you buy the new MacBook Air with 512 GB storage or higher, you won’t have the slower SSD. However, that configuration starts at $1,499, which is $300 more than the base model, and $500 more than the older M1 MacBook Air (which Apple is still selling). That’s a lot of money.