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macrumors bot
Original poster
Apr 12, 2001

As customers are receiving their new Apple Silicon Macs, we're starting to see more benchmarks and testing being posted in our Apple Silicon forum. One forum user (abbotsford1980) shared SSD Benchmarks for their new M1 MacBook Air with 256GB storage:


The benchmarks confirm that the new MacBook Air SSD is approximately twice as fast as the previous model with 2190 MB/s writes and 2675 MB/s reads. Apple did announce this performance boost when launching the new machine, and attributed the improved speed to the M1's storage controller as well as new flash technology:
The M1 chip’s storage controller and latest flash technology deliver up to 2x faster SSD performance, so previewing massive images or importing large files is faster than ever.
The 2019/2020 Intel MacBook Air was criticized for actually offering a slower SSD than the 2018 model. The 2019/2020 MacBook Air SSD speeds were 1319 MB/s reads and 1007 MB/s writes.

Article Link: Apple Silicon M1 MacBook Air SSD Really Is Twice as Fast as Previous Model

smoking monkey

macrumors 68020
Mar 5, 2008
Does that mean if you have a bucketload of photos on the machine it will be able to access them much faster and handle the 10,000s of thousands better in photos app?


macrumors 68020
Apr 20, 2016
La Jolla, CA
Very good news, very good news in-deed !

By my calcs, it can Write Full-Res 12.2 Mpx photos @ 44.9 fps !

Almost 50% better than the best iPhone is capable of capturing Full-Res 12 .2 Mpx photos.

Those Skilled in the Art should immediately see the value !
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Erehy Dobon

Feb 16, 2018
No service
So it's twice as fast today because the cut the speed in half in the previous models? Why did they have to move to slower SSDs in the MacBook Air to begin with?
The usual factors are things like size, cost, power.

Remember that Apple a price window for every one of its products. Making a $3000 MacBook Air doesn't make sense. They learned this after the 10th Anniversary Mac.

And we should go back to the point that Johny Srouji pounded over and over at the WWDC keynote (in June) as well as the M1 Mac event earlier this month: Apple is focused on performance-per-watt.

The point isn't to beat AMD Threadripper, EPYC, or GeForce 3090 outright. The point is to provide maximum performance at a certain power threshold (the nominal 10W comparison was the one Srouji repeatedly referred to in the M1 event).

It's worth pointing out that m.2 NVMe PCIe Gen4 sticks generate a lot more heat than the Gen3 sticks do. Apple doesn't control every single piece of silicon in the new M1 Macs. They still rely on third-party silicon for much functionality, including the RAM in the SoC package.

The SSD storage isn't even on-die nor in the SoC. They are elsewhere on the motherboard.
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Erehy Dobon

Feb 16, 2018
No service
There are also different ways of designing SSDs. Better performance can be achieved with large caches and perhaps more bandwidth to the memory chips. That requires money, space, and power.

You can see this in many of the Samsung 9xx EVO devices.

This is one of the benefits of having a multiple drive system. Put more write performance into the system drive and less into the auxiliary drive.

I see this myself in my own Windows PC that has PCIe 4.

SSD performance is yet another example of why the popularly quoted synthetic benchmarks (like Geekbench) are a p--- poor way of assessing overall system performance. Some of these benchmarks don't measure disk performance at all.

And disk benchmarks can be suspect. Writing a single 250MB file to a blank drive is not really a good measurement. Writing five hundred smaller files of differing sizes totalling 1TB to a drive that is 50% full is a closer example to real world usage.
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