Let’s be honest: we’re all seriously excited about the new MacBook Pro, powered by the second generation of Apple Silicon. The M2 chip is a real powerhouse, with excellent performance and efficiency, comfortably outperforming the previous generation M1 (although not M1 Max and M1 Ultra) in almost all areas.
But if you’re thinking about buying the entry-level 13-inch MacBook Pro M2 – which comes equipped with a 256GB SSD – you might want to think twice. youtubers maximum technology (opens in new tab) and Technology created (opens in new tab) did comparison tests between the base models of the MacBook Pro M2 and M1 and found that the SSD of the M2 version was actually slower; significantly slower, as you can see.
Max Tech ran the Blackmagic Disk Speed Test, a common benchmark for testing storage speed on macOS devices. Alarmingly, the SSD of the M2 MacBook Pro turned out to be slower than the M1 version in both read and write speeds, with read speeds 50% slower, while write speeds came back around 30% worse. Here are the exact speeds recorded:
- MacBook Pro 256GB M1 Read Speed: 2900MB/s
- MacBook Pro 256GB M2 Read Speed: 1446MB/s
- 256GB M1 MacBook Pro Write Speed: 2215MB/s
- 256GB M2 MacBook Pro Write Speed: 1463MB/s
Why is the M2 model so much slower? Opening the chassis reveals a key difference between the 256GB MacBook Pro M1 and M2; while the M1 version used two 128GB NAND chips running in parallel, the new model only features a single 256GB chip.
The dual-NAND format allows the chips to reach higher speeds, hence the chasm in performance between the two models. It’s unclear why Apple changed the design, but the most likely explanation is that using a single NAND chip reduces manufacturing costs. Higher spec models of the MacBook Pro M2 with more storage appear to be unaffected by the drop in speed.
Review: Is this a real issue for the M2 MacBook Pro?
It’s worth noting that the speeds recorded on the MacBook Pro M2’s 256GB SSD are still very fast, comfortably outperforming HDD storage (or 2.5-inch desktop SATA SSDs). For those of you who aren’t regularly transferring large files, we hope this isn’t too much of a problem.
Still, it’s important to remember that MacBooks are able to use SSD space as ‘virtual RAM’ when the laptop’s actual RAM is at 100% usage, so the 256GB M2 model’s performance ceiling will be slightly lower than than the more expensive versions. If you run memory intensive programs it can lead to a noticeable drop in performance. The silent change is a bit bogus from Apple, especially as the first review units of the M2 MacBook Pro featured the unaffected 1TB SSD.
The 13-inch 256GB M2 MacBook Pro will cost $1,299, but higher-spec models start at $1,499. It’s not a small jump in price, but opting for a larger SSD might be a smart choice if you think slower speeds might affect you. It is also unknown at this point if the next 256 GB model of the new MacBook Air will be affected.