The entry-level 14-inch M2 MacBook Pro reportedly has a slower SSD than its predecessor, according to tests by 9 to 5 Mac. In the BlackMagic Disk Speed Test, the 512GB SSD in Apple’s latest flagship achieved read speed scores of around 2,970 MB/s and write speed scores of around 3,150 MB/s, compared to 4,900 MB/s reads and 3,950 MB/s writes. s that the M1 Was Pro with a 512GB SSD is able.
That means the base 2023 model has about 39 percent slower reads and 20 percent slower writes than the one released in 2021.
The reason for the difference is probably chip. According to 9 to 5 Mac, the 512GB SSD in the previous-gen 14-inch had four NAND storage chips, but the one on the M2 Pro appears to have two. These are obviously higher capacity chips, so the computers have the same amount of storage but with worse performance because they cannot parallelize as many reads as writes.
Building newer generations of computers with fewer NAND chips is nothing new for Apple. The 256GB M2 MacBook Air and 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 decent entry-level laptops; The 14-inch MacBook Pro is a $2,000 computer aimed at creative professionals and developers—not where you’d expect Apple to cut corners or sacrifice performance.
It would be even worse if the $2,500 16-inch model with a 512GB SSD also had this setup, but, as far as I know, no one has confirmed one way or the other. We asked Apple about it, and the M2 Mac Mini with a 256GB SSD, but didn’t get an immediate answer.
But, McRae Reports say that the 256GB M2 Mini, like the Air and 13-inch Pro, has only one NAND chip. Again, I’d argue that 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 did, there’s a trade-off — the M2 model starts at $100 less than his predecessor. Given everything the computer has to offer in terms of real-world performance, it’s perhaps hard to complain.
Surprisingly, MacBook Pro models with upgraded storage don’t seem to come with the same peak performance. Tom’s guide and Mag laptop tested a 14-inch M2 Pro laptop equipped with a 2TB SSD, as well as one with an M2 Max processor (which is only available with a 1TB SSD and up), and the storage managed to be about as fast or as faster than previous-gen models. Son of the World found a similar case with the 16-inch models.
For reference only, Tom’s guide he notes that the 2TB SSD paired with M2 Pro was capable of 5,293 MB/s in reading and 6,168 MB/s writing, which substantial a step up from the 512GB model (as you’d expect, since the optional 2TB SSD adds a cool $600 to the PC’s price).
That’s not to say that newer Macs with entry-level SSDs will be unusably slow. The benchmark screenshots posted by 9 to 5 Mac show that the 14-inch still has enough bandwidth to play back 12K ProRes 422 HQ footage at 60FPS. It also beats the 1TB SSD in my 13-inch M1 MacBook Pro, which was fully adequate even when I ask it to do heavy video editing tasks, and is faster than the 256GB SSD in the M2 MacBook Air and 13-inch. Pro.
However, it’s heartening to see that, in at least one aspect, the entry-level M2 Pro machines are worse than their predecessors.