Apple Downgraded the 2019 MacBook Air in This Area (But It May Be a Good Thing)

2019 Macbook Air Credit: CNET
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Apple’s 2019 MacBook Air refresh features a handful of incremental upgrades and a new price point, but a recent report suggests it’s been downgraded in one area.

Specifically, the Cupertino tech giant appears to have outfitted its new 2019 MacBook Air machines with SSDs that are slower than the previous 2018 models, according to testing by French website Consomac.

SSD Testing

Using the Blackmagic Disk Speed benchmarking test, Consomac ended up with the following results when testing both SSDs.

  1. 2019 MacBook Air 256GB SSD had write speeds of 1GB per second and read speeds of 1.3GBs per second.
  2. 2018 MacBook Air 256GB SSD has write speeds of 920MBs per second and read speeds of 2GBs per second.

While write speeds on the new model SSDs have actually increased slightly, the read speeds in the 2019 MacBook Air devices are down about 35 percent.

It’s also worth noting that the base tier 128GB SSD has even slower performance. Consomac tracked write speeds of 500MBs per second and read speeds of 1.3GBs per second.

On the other hand, those speeds are basically the same as the 128GB SSD in the 2018 MacBook Air. In other word, the base tier SSD is slower than higher tier options — but has pretty much stayed the same between generations.

Consomac, for its part, did not test any higher-tier SSDs.

If you’re unfamiliar with read or write speeds, it’s actually pretty simple.

  • The read speed is how long it takes to open a file (read) something from the SSD.
  • The write speed is how long it takes to save a file (write) something to the SSD.

Does This Matter?

While the MacBook Air SSDs appear to have been downgraded slightly, there’s the question of whether this actually matters to end users. In a nutshell, it does — but maybe not in the way you might think.

A 35 percent drop in read speeds doesn’t translate to a 35 perfect drop in SSD performance. In fact, most users probably won’t even notice any dip in speeds during normal, day-to-day usage.

Even with the downgrade, the 2019 MacBook Air still has an SSD that will be suitable for just about any routine task a consumer could throw at it.

But Apple has likely implemented the slower SSDs to allow for the price drop. The 2019 MacBook Air, which features a True Tone display and a new keyboard, actually starts $100 lower than the previous model — $1,099 versus $1,199.

That price point makes the device much more competitive, particularly for students (who can receive an even lower price of $999 with educational discounts).

Since a 1.3GB per second read speed is still fast enough for the vast majority of users, outfitting the new device with a slightly slower SSD and slashing the machine’s price was probably a smart move on Apple’s part.

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