Benchmark testing has indicated that the 256GB variant of the 13-inch MacBook Pro with M2 chip offers slower SSD performance than its M1 equivalent, and now real-world stress testing by YouTuber Max Yuryev of Max Tech suggests that the 256GB SSD in the 13-inch MacBook Pro is also underperforming in day-to day-usage.
The M2 MacBook Pro with 256GB SSD and 8GB RAM was slower than the M1 MacBook Pro with 256GB SSD and 8GB RAM across multiple usage tests involving Photoshop, Lightroom, Final Cut Pro, multitasking, and file transfers. In a multitasking RAM test, the M1 consistently loads content faster with multiple apps open, and in a 50 image export test in Lightroom with apps open, the M1 was again quicker. It was able to export 50 images in 3 minutes and 36 seconds, while the M2 took 4 minutes and 12 seconds.
In these tests, the built-in 8GB unified memory of the MacBook Pro is being used by various processes, with the machine using the SSD for virtual memory. The virtual memory swapping results in slower system performance overall.
These results were consistent across all of the performance stress tests done by Max Tech, and benchmark tests conducted by Max Tech on Saturday demonstrated the same discrepancy. The M2 MacBook Pro’s read speeds appear to be around 50 percent slower, while the write speeds appear to be around 30 percent slower.
13-inch MacBook Pro (M1/256GB) Read Speed: 2,900
13-inch MacBook Pro (M2/256GB) Read Speed: 1,446
13-inch MacBook Pro (M1/256GB) Write Speed: 2,215
13-inch MacBook Pro (M2/256GB) Write Speed: 1,463
Max Tech attributes this performance difference to Apple’s choice of NAND flash storage. In the M2 MacBook Pro, there is a single 256GB NAND flash storage chip, while the M1 MacBook Pro has two NAND chips that are likely 128GB each. Multiple NAND chips allow for faster speeds in parallel, which could account for the M2’s seemingly disappointing performance.
Slower SSD performance appears to be limited to the 256GB version of the 13-inch MacBook Pro, as higher capacity machines have not demonstrated the same issue. Potential MacBook Pro buyers should be aware of this performance problem as it could impact purchase choice.
It is not clear why Apple opted for a different NAND chip setup in the M2 MacBook Pro, and further testing is required to determine just what is going on. Apple has not responded to our requests for comment as of yet, but we will update this article if we hear back.