Entry-level M2 MacBook Pro's SSD is slower than M1 MacBook Pro | Cult of Mac

Entry-level M2 MacBook Pro’s SSD is slower than M1 MacBook Pro

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13-inch MacBook Pro with an Apple M2 processor
Another cost-cutting move from Apple.
Photo: Apple

Apple’s new M2 MacBook Pro ships with a notably slower SSD than its predecessor. Tests show the speed difference is as big as 50% in some scenarios.

Announced at WWDC22, the M2 MacBook Pro went on sale June 24.

M2 MacBook Pro’s SSD is 50% slower than M1 model

Tests conducted by YouTuber Max Tech reveal the SSD on the entry-level M2 MacBook Pro with 256GB storage is 50% slower than the outgoing model.

In Blackmagic’s SSD write test, the M1 MacBook Pro’s storage attained speeds of 2,215MB/s. In comparison, the M2 MacBook Pro peaked at roughly 1,463MB/s, which is about 30% slower. The same story continues in the read test. The M1 MacBook Pro’s SSD achieved a speed of 2,900MB/s, while the new MacBook topped out at 1,446MB/s.

The slower SSD speeds mean the M2 MacBook Pro will be slower to open large files and apps. This is despite the M2 chip bringing a 20% to 30% performance and efficiency uplift.

Why the M2 MacBook Pro’s storage is slower

A teardown by the YouTuber reveals the reason behind the M2 MacBook Pro’s slower SSD. Apple only uses a single 256GB NAND chip on the base model. This is unlike the M1 MacBook Pro, where even the base model features two 128GB storage chips. NAND storage tends to perform better in parallel, which is why higher-density SSDs offer better read/write speeds.

Apple continues to use the NAND chips in a dual configuration on 512GB and higher storage models, so their performance remains unaffected. This is likely a cost-cutting measure to maximize Apple’s profit margin. It remains unclear if the company will adopt a similar strategy for the M2 MacBook Air.

The M2 MacBook Pro product listing page on Apple’s website does not mention the slower SSD speeds on the entry-level model. None of the initial reviews of the machine talked about the slower SSD performance, primarily because Apple sent them a configuration with 1TB storage.