MacBook Pro M2 testing just rumored a surprise downgrade

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This is where the MacBook Pro M2 differs significantly from its predecessor, the M1.

The 14-inch and 16-inch 2021 MacBook Pro.
Dan Ackerman/CNET

According to YouTube tech channels, the new MacBook Pro M2 may be slower than the MacBook Pro M1 if you purchase the default storage model.

For the basic 256GB storage MacBook Pro with the new Apple M2 chip, both Max Tech(opens in new tab) and Created Tech(opens in new tab) compared its SSD read/write speeds to those of the old 256GB M1-equipped MacBook Pro. A 34 percent read speed hit and a 50 percent write speed hit were found in the new MacBook Pro compared to the MacBook Pro M1.

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Upon disassembling their laptops, the two news organizations discovered the same potential root cause for the problem. The 256GB NAND flash chip in the M2 MacBook Pro appears to be the same as the two 128GB chips in the M1 MacBook Pro. It’s likely that this switch was made to save money, but the use of two chips in parallel means faster read/write speeds, which explains why the older MacBook beats the newer one in these benchmarks.

However, if you purchase a MacBook with a larger storage capacity, there is some good news. Zollotech(opens in new tab) testing (via the MacRumors forum(opens in new tab)) shows that the M2 version matches up to the M1 in similar testing for 512GB MacBook Pros. However, you’ll have to pay an additional $200 to get it.

It is possible that Apple’s MacBook Air M2, which goes on sale next month, will use the same SSDs as the Pro when it debuts later this year for a lower price. A slower SSD speed wouldn’t be as critical for most users on the Air as it would be on the Pro, which is designed for more intensive workloads. A two-year-old MacBook Air M1 can still outpace the current model in a noticeable area, but it’s still annoying.

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In our tests, we discovered that the SSD write speed of the MacBook Pro M2 was noticeably faster than the MacBook Pro M1, as was the SSD read speed. On the other hand, our 1TB-specified M2 test unit supports the theory that only MacBook Pros with 1TB of storage suffer from slower speeds.

MacBook Pro M2 (1TB storage) MacBook Pro M1 (256GB storage)
Black Magic Disk Speed Test: Read speed score 2795 2768
Black Magic Disk Speed Test: Write speed score 2954 2405.7

If you’ve just purchased the cheapest MacBook Pro M2, this strange speed gap is bad news because the old model is now receiving discounts where it’s still available. If SSD speed is important to you, but you don’t need any additional internal storage, the MacBook Pro M1 is an excellent choice. The M2 model, on the other hand, offers the best battery life we’ve ever seen in a laptop as well as increased performance from the CPU and GPU.

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