NAS Storage Blog

NAS storage news, reviews, tips and tricks

2013 MacBook Air uses PCIe flash for storage

The Apple MacBook Air 2013 uses PCIe (PCI express) flash in order to store data and the read and write of data is fast, very fast. When I added an OWC 480 GB 6G SSD to my Mac Mini earlier this year, I never thought I would see better read and write operations for a while but I was wrong. My new 13 MacBook Air with PCIe flash is faster than my Mac Mini when it comes to I/O operations. The MacBook Air is capable of reading data with a bandwidth that is higher than 700 MB/s.
I had to read a bit about the PCIe standard in order to find out why the PCIe is so fast.

PCI Express or just PCIe is a high speed bus which is capable of delivering a very high data throughput and that is just what we want. When the MacBook Air uses PCIe it avoids the potential SATA bottleneck and thereby use a more native data transfer.
I did a read/write test with the Disk Speed Test tool and I was very impressed by the performance. The MacBook Air is capable of writing with more than 420 MB/s and reading with more than 710 MB/s with these numbers in mind I had to compare them with my OWC Mercury EXTREME Pro 6G SSD. See the numbers in the table below.

Storage device Read Write
OWC Mercury EXTREME Pro 6G SSD 520 MB/s 435 MB/s
MacBook Air PCIe flash 716 MB/s 429 MB/s

The new 2013 Mac Pro also uses PCIe flash for storage so it will be interesting to see some benchmarks from the beast when it will reach the public later this year.

I you are going to get a new MacBook Air I strongly recommend to upgrade RAM. 4 GB RAM is not enough those days so add the extra 4 GB and reach 8 GB RAM total. You can not upgrade from 4 GB RAM to 8 GB RAM yourself, because the modules are molted to the motherboard so unless you are a technical genius and can do the upgrade yourself buy the extra RAM.

Leave a Reply