The entry-level 14-inch MacBook Pro M2 reportedly has a slower SSD than its predecessor, according to tests by 9to5Mac. In BlackMagic’s drive speed test, the 512GB SSD in Apple’s latest flagship achieved read speed scores of around 2970MB/s and write speed scores of around 3150MB/s, compared with the M1’s 4900 MB/s read and 3950 MB/s write. Pro with a 512 GB SSD was able to do it.
That means the 2023 base model has 39% slower reads and 20% slower writes than the model released in 2021.
The reason for the difference is probably due to the chips. According to 9to5Mac, the 512 GB SSD in the previous generation 14-inch had four NAND storage chips, while the one in the M2 Pro seems to have two. Obviously those are higher capacity chips, so computers have the same amount of storage but with worse performance because they can’t parallelize reads and writes as much.
Building new generations of computers with fewer NAND chips isn’t new to Apple. Both the 256GB MacBook Air M2 and the 13-inch MacBook Pro had slower storage than the M1 versions of those machines. (The situation was even worse with those machines, which had a single NAND chip.) But those are relatively basic laptops; the 14-inch MacBook Pro is a $2,000 computer aimed at creative professionals and developers; It’s not a place where I’d expect Apple to cut corners or sacrifice performance.
It would be even more upsetting if the $2,500 16-inch model with a 512GB SSD also has this setup, though no one has confirmed this one way or the other to my knowledge. We asked Apple about it and the M2 Mac Mini with a 256GB SSD, but didn’t immediately hear back.
Nevertheless, MacRumors reports that the 256GB M2 Mini only has one NAND chip, similar to the Air and 13-inch Pro. Again, I’d say it’s more acceptable on a machine that costs $599. But while it’s unfortunate that the base M2 Mini has a slower SSD than the M1, there’s a trade-off: The M2 model starts at $100. less than its predecessor. Given everything the computer has to offer in terms of real-world performance, it’s perhaps hard to complain.
Fortunately, it seems that MacBook Pro models with upgraded storage don’t have the same impact on performance. tom’s guide Y portable magazine I’ve tested a 14-inch M2 Pro-equipped laptop with a 2TB SSD, as well as one with an M2 Max processor (which is only available with a 1TB SSD and higher), and storage turned out to be about as fast or faster than previous generation models. MacWorld found a similar situation with 16-inch models.
Only for reference, tom’s guide notes that the 2TB SSD paired with an M2 Pro was capable of reading 5293MB/s and writing 6168MB/s, a substantial an advantage over the 512GB model (unsurprisingly, given that the 2TB SSD option adds $600 to the price of the computer).
This is not to say that newer Macs with entry-level SSDs are incredibly slow. The reference screenshots posted by 9to5Mac shows that the 14-incher still has enough bandwidth to play 12K ProRes 422 HQ footage at 60FPS. It also far outperforms the 1TB SSD in my 13-inch MacBook Pro M1, which has been totally sufficient even when I’ve asked it to do heavy video editing tasks, and it’s faster than the MacBook’s 256GB SSD. Air M2 and the 13-inch MacBook Pro. Pro.
Still, it’s a bit of a bummer to see that, in at least one respect, the entry-level M2 Pro machines are considerably worse than their predecessors.