Newest MacBook Air packs slower storage than 2018 model

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MacBook Air 2018
Bag one before they're all gone.
Photo: Apple

Apple’s newest MacBook Air costs $100 less than the previous model — but how was that saving made?

It turns out Apple may have cut corners on storage to shave money off the notebook’s price tag. Tests have found new machine packs slower storage than the 2018 MacBook Air.

Now that Apple has ditched the 12-inch MacBook, the MacBook Air is its most portable machine. And it’s a pretty terrific notebook for $1,099 (or $999 if you’re a student).

Your money gets you Intel’s latest Core i5 processors, at least 8GB of RAM, Touch ID, and a gorgeous Retina display with Apple’s terrific True Tone technology.

But there’s a catch with the new model.

Beware slower SSD speeds

Consomac has been putting the 2019 MacBook Air through its paces and has discovered a drop in storage speeds.

A test of the 256GB model using the Blackmagic Disk Speed benchmarking software revealed write speeds of 1GB/s and read speeds of 1.3GB/s. The 256GB MacBook Air released in 2018 recorded write speeds of 920MB/s and read speeds of 2GB/s.

While write speeds are comparable, then, read speeds have dropped by around 35%. Fortunately, the difference between the 128GB model for 2019 and the 128GB from 2019 is negligible.

Is this a big deal?

Should we be concerned that SSD speeds appear to have fallen with the new MacBook Air? Probably not.

It’s certainly possible that Apple is using slightly cheaper storage now that the MacBook Air costs less. But it’s also possible that other 2019 machines will have slightly faster SSDs. We shouldn’t read too much into a single speed test.

It’s also worth remembering that benchmark performance and real-world performance are very different. A 35% drop in write speeds may seem significant, but it’s highly unlikely that 2019 MacBook Air owners will notice it at all.