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macrumors bot
Original poster
Apr 12, 2001

The first embargoed reviews of the new MacBook Air with the M2 chip have now been published. One notable detail confirmed by The Verge is that the $1,199 base model equipped with 256GB of storage has a single NAND chip, which will lead to slower SSD speeds in benchmark testing, but real-world performance may vary.


Last month, it was discovered that the 256GB model of the 13-inch MacBook Pro with the M2 chip has up to 50% slower SSD read speeds and up to 30% slower SSD write speeds compared to the equivalent previous-generation model in benchmarks.

The dilemma arises from the fact that Apple switched to using a single 256GB flash storage chip instead of two 128GB chips in the base models of the new MacBook Air and 13-inch MacBook Pro. Configurations equipped with 512GB of storage or more are equipped with multiple NAND chips, allowing for faster speeds in parallel.

In a statement issued to The Verge, Apple said that while benchmarks of the new MacBook Air and 13-inch MacBook Pro with 256GB of storage "may show a difference" compared to previous-generation models, real-world performance is "even faster":
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.
It's unclear if Apple's statement refers explicitly to real-world SSD performance or overall system performance. Some tests of the base model 13-inch MacBook Pro with the M2 chip showed that SSD speeds were slower even in real-world usage, but results have been mixed. Overall, if the fastest SSD speeds are important to you, we recommend configuring the new MacBook Air with at least 512GB of storage to avoid any potential impact.

Article Link: Base Model MacBook Air With M2 Chip Has Slower SSD Speeds in Benchmarks
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macrumors newbie
Oct 30, 2020
I mean it was apparent to everyone who looked at the specs. Apple cut the costs on the base memory module by putting in only a single 8gb module which throttled its read/write speed. This is compared to the previous M1 versions 2x 4gb memory modules which although their single read/write was slower than this one had 2 pathways. So the new ones are faster memory modules but its just the base 8gb has less bandwidth because of the single channel whereas the 16gb option on the M2 is faster than the 16gb on the M1 because (iirc) it's LPDDR4 v 5.

Not really a concern if you were paying attention. Most people who use these laptops won't need the faster speeds and for those that do they'll upgrade.


macrumors 604
Aug 20, 2015
Still waiting for the day Apple makes 512GB/16GB standard.
256 8 has been the starting config for like a decade now.
256/8 has been the starting config for a long time, but Macs are actually the cheapest they've ever been, especially when you factor in inflation.

As for the actual specs, 8GB of RAM definitely runs a lot faster with the M-series architecture -- and onboard SSD space can be a lot less of a factor now that cloud storage and high-speed internet are so widely available. Those who need more RAM or storage can still spec it for, ultimately, a lower inflation-adjusted price than ever before.


macrumors 601
Apr 19, 2010
How much is this likely to impact real-world usage for most people? (Genuinely asking here)
In tests there are noticeable differences even loading regular web pages (after swap kicks in). Users might not notice if upgrading from a slower machine but might notice even if upgrading from M1.

Might also notice a significant and sustained difference when transferring large files compared to the M1 and other recent machines.
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macrumors regular
Jun 2, 2014
Apple really should be shipping these with 16 x 16 gigabyte modules!!! That’s the only way people who blow $1k on a computer so they can post benchmarks and return it will get top performance!!!:rolleyes:


macrumors 68020
Jul 20, 2012
It is a base model Air.

A base model.


What you gonna do with it?

Render Toy Story 10?

Use it as a high capacity high speed quantum universe time travel data center?
of course not.

the M1 air had faster speeds and this thing is from £1,249

this is a whole new level of being cheap and ripping off customers from Apple. it's disgusting and you should be ashamed of yourself for defending them.
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macrumors 601
Apr 19, 2010
Blown way out of proportion. Vast majority of users won't notice any difference.
On the SSD issue, the "most people will not notice it" people miss the point. The point is whether customers are getting what they pay for or know what they are getting.

"Most people" will think they are paying for a better and faster machine. It is a reasonable assumption. Since it's newer they'd expect everything to be the same or better.

Since it's called M2 vs M1, they'd expect the chip to be faster without having other components drag it back down.

"Most people" will not know they are not getting what they pay for. "Most people will not notice it" actually makes it worse. It makes this seem like a form of fraud.


macrumors 68040
Apr 2, 2007
That statement they gave to the verge is 95% deflection and 5% reality.

These are the facts, it's cheaper for Apple to use a single 256GB chip than it is to use two 128GB chips. And so you lose half your read/write speed due to the SSD controller not having multiple chips to read from and write to at the same time.

This has been an issue played out continuously even going back to the first SSD equipped Retina Macs. Whenever Apple increases the maximum attainable storage level without increasing the quantity of NAND chips the lowest end models use fewer than the optimal number of NAND flash chips which reduces performance.
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