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.

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.

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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.

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