iFixit's M3 MacBook Air teardown confirms how Apple made its SSD so much faster

Apple's new M3 MacBook Air has a much faster 256GB SSD than the older M2 version and now we know how the company managed to do it.

1 minute & 42 seconds read time

When Apple released the new M3-powered 13- and 15-inch MacBook Pro laptops earlier this month it shared plenty of details about the new machines. We know that on the outside at least, not much had changed while the M3 chip was of course the big improvement on the inside. However, as people quickly began to notice when they started to receive their new laptops, there's also a big SSD speed boost to be enjoyed - specifically when you buy the entry-level 256GB version.

People who have been using the new M3 MacBook Air have noticed that the 256GB model is significantly faster when moving files around than the older M2 model with the same configuration. When Apple launched the 256GB M2 MacBook Air it was noted that its SSD file transfer speeds were hampered by the use of a single NAND chip whereas those with more storage had two chips, allowing for faster read and write speeds. Now, it seems Apple has gone a different route with the M3 version.

As confirmed by the iFixit video above, Apple has chosen to use two 128GB NAND chips rather than a single 256GB one for the M3 MacBook Air, allowing for read speeds of up to 82% faster and write speeds of up to 22% faster than the M2 version with the same amount of storage.

It's been confirmed that this change took place with both the 13-inch and 15-inch versions of the M3 MacBook Air so you don't have to pick one to get a faster SSD.

The new M3 MacBook Air starts at $1,099 for the 13-inch version with 256GB of storage while the 15-inch version with the same amount of storage starts at $1,299. Apple still sells the M2 13-inch MacBook Air at a reduced price of $999.

It's important to note that while the M2 MacBook Air with 256GB of storage will benchmark slower than the M3 version with the same storage, it's unlikely that the vast majority of people will ever notice during normal use. There's a case to be made that Apple's decision to use a single NAND chip wasn't flawed, with those who need the utmost speed likely to have chosen more storage which would also have meant getting a laptop with two NAND chips instead of one. As for why Apple took the decision, it was claimed at the time that it was down to the lack of available 128GB NAND chips rather than the company trying to save some money.

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NEWS SOURCES:youtu.be, apple.com

Based in the UK, Oliver has been writing about technology, entertainment, and games for more than a decade. If there's something with a battery or a plug, he's interested. After spending too much money building gaming PCs, Oliver switched to Apple and the Mac - and now spends too much on those instead.

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