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Apple’s new Haswell-powered MacBook Airs produced SSD read and write speeds so fast in benchtests by French site MacBidouille that they initially thought it must have been a bug in their test software. A second run in different software revealed that, no, the latest Airs really do offer read & write speeds higher than the maximum possible with SATA 3.

The secret, noted by AnandTech in its own tests, is that Apple is using the same PCIe-based SSDs in the latest MacBook Air as they announced for the new Mac Pro … 

On the storage front, Apple officially leads the charge with the move to PCIe based SSDs. The upcoming Mac Pro, as well as the new MacBook Airs both use PCIe based SSDs instead of SATA drives. A quick look at OS X’s system profiler reveals a PCIe 2.0 x2 interface, capable of 1GB/s in each direction.

PCIe (Peripheral Component Interconnect Express) is the standard already used in the ExpressCard slot used in some laptops, and offers a direct link to the motherboard without the bottleneck created by a SATA interface (SATA 3 tops out at 600MB/s).

AnandTech‘s tests confirmed MacBidouille‘s results, with even higher speeds seen on larger file transfers, describing it as the first time PCIe storage has been seen in a mainstream consumer device.

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While Apple’s focus for the new CPU was better battery-life rather than faster speed, tests by Primate Labs (via MacRumors) show that the processor speeds are 3-8% faster than the previous models.

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