Apple’s Base MacBook Pro 13 With M2 Has a Much Slower SSD Than the Previous Model

Apple’s Base MacBook Pro 13 With M2 Has a Much Slower SSD Than the Previous Model
MacBook Pro 13 (Photo: Phillip Tracy/Gizmodo)

Apple boasted at WWDC 2022 about the performance of its M2 chip but failed to mention anything about slower SSD speeds in the refreshed MacBook Pro 13. As MacRumors reports, YouTubers Max Tech and Created Tech discovered that the base model with 256GB of storage has significantly reduced storage speeds compared to the previous M1 MacBook Pro.

And by significantly, I mean that the read and write speeds are about 50% and 30% slower, respectively, than before. The two YouTuber channels used Blackmagic’s Disk Speed Test app as a performance benchmark. Max Tech clocked a 1,463 MB/s write speed on the M2 MacBook 13, which is down from 2,215 MB/s on the M1 version.

Here are the full Disk Speed Test results gathered by Vadim Yuryev at Max Tech.

  • 13-inch MacBook Pro (M1/256GB) Read Speed: 2,900 MB/s
  • 13-inch MacBook Pro (M2/256GB) Read Speed: 1,446 MB/s
  • 13-inch MacBook Pro (M1/256GB) Write Speed: 2,215 MB/s
  • 13-inch MacBook Pro (M2/256GB) Write Speed: 1,463 MB/s

When I first saw these numbers, my instinct was to blame the testing software — benchmark errors aren’t so uncommon. But that’s not what is happening here. Apple is indeed skimping out and we have proof. Yuryev disassembled the new Pro 13 and found that the 256GB model has only one NAND flash storage chip whereas the previous model had dual 128GB chips. This is an important difference, because multiple NAND chips running in parallel can enable faster speeds.

Apple conveniently sent us, and most other reviewers, a 1TB unit so we haven’t had a chance to verify these results. We’ll do further testing when we get our hands on a base model and will update this article with additional findings. More expensive models with 512GB and up achieve similar speeds to the previous versions — only those trying to save a buck by buying the base edition are stuck with slower storage speeds.

We don’t know why Apple chose to equip the base MacBook Pro 13 with only one NAND chip, but lowering costs (and keeping margins high) in a way that isn’t visible to customers is one theory. Supply chain issues that continue to impact the entire industry is another one. We’ve reached out to Apple for comment and will update this article as soon as possible.

Whatever the case, Apple hasn’t been transparent about the reduced SSD speeds, which could significantly impact performance when running certain workloads, like when transferring files to an external drive. We can only hope the company didn’t cut any corners with the new MacBook Air, the laptop we think most people should buy over the Pro 13 anyway.

Here’s our review of the 13-inch M2 MacBook Pro.