As expected, the 15-inch MacBook Air with 256GB of storage has a single NAND chip, according to MaxTech YouTube channel. This will result in the 256GB model having slower SSD read and write speeds than the 512GB, 1TB, and 2TB models that have multiple NAND chips for higher speeds, but actual results will vary.
The 256GB models of the latest 13-inch MacBook Air, 13-inch MacBook Pro, and Mac mini also feature a single NAND chip, with benchmark results showing a 30% to 50% decrease in SSD speeds over previous-generation models. Apple previously used two 128GB slices for 256GB Macs, but has switched to a single 256GB slice for newer models.
Slower SSD speeds can affect tasks like moving files to an external drive, and overall system performance can suffer slightly during heavy workloads, as Macs temporarily use SSD space as virtual memory when physical RAM is fully used. However, the average customer who buys a 15-inch MacBook Air is unlikely to notice a slower speed. Customers who need the fastest speeds should configure the 15-inch MacBook Air with at least 512GB of storage, which is a $200 upgrade over the 256GB model.
The 15-inch MacBook Air launched today after orders began last week. The laptop has the same M2 chip and overall design as the 13-inch model, with key new features including a larger screen and two additional speakers. Pricing for the 15-inch model starts at $1,299, while the 13-inch model now starts at under $1,099.