Entry-level 2023 Mac mini and MacBook Pro use significantly slower SSDs

Entry-level 2023 Mac mini and MacBook Pros use significantly slower SSDs

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M2 Mac mini with slow SSD graphics
M1 Mac mini is better than the M2 Mac mini in this department.
Graphics: Rajesh/Apple

Apple’s new entry-level M2 Mac mini and 2023 MacBook Pros ship with significantly slower SSDs than their predecessors. This could negatively impact read/write-intensive workflows.

The slowdown is because Apple uses a single flash chip solution on the 2023 models. For comparison, the M1 Mac mini and 2021 MacBook Pros used two flash chips.

Fewer NAND chips to blame for the M2 Pro Macs’ slow SSD performance

Apple was also found using slower storage chips on the entry-level M2 MacBook Pro and MacBook Air. The drop in speeds can be attributed to the switch to a single NAND storage solution on the base M2 Macs. NAND chips provide faster performance in a parallel setup.

The base M2 Mac mini ships with 256GB of storage and uses a single storage chip. Depending on the test, the M2 Mac mini provides 30% to 50% slower storage speeds than the M1 model. The M2 MacBook Pro also posted a similar decline in its SSD performance. While loading or writing large files, the slower read/write speeds will negatively affect the M2 Mac mini’s performance.

A detailed teardown of the M2 Mac mini by YouTuber Brandon Geekbit further confirms this change.

The entry-level 2023 MacBook Pro variants ship with 512GB of storage. The laptop uses two storage chips, down from the four chips found in its predecessor. Like the M2 Mac mini, there’s a similar decline in the SSD performance of the new MacBook Pros.

Upgrade your Mac’s storage if you want faster SSD performance

Apple confirmed the change when the slower NAND issue was first reported on the M2 MacBook Pro. It noted while benchmarks might show a difference compared to the previous generation, the M2-powered Macs will deliver better performance in real-world use. Despite Apple’s reassurance, your workload could take a hit from the slower SSDs on the entry-level Mac mini and MacBook Pro.

If your workflow involves exporting many photos/videos or moving around large files, consider upgrading your Mac’s storage. Do note that even the M2 Mac mini with 512GB storage will not provide the same SSD speeds as the M1 model. This is because it still uses two fewer NAND chips. However, this won’t be an issue on MacBook Pros with 1TB storage.