The Apple world is in a bit of an uproar after it was discovered the new M2 MacBook Pro has slower SSDs than its predecessor.
Apple unveiled the M2 at WWDC 2022 in June. The new processor is the next generation of Apple’s custom silicon. While users are understandably excited about the performance gains the new processor brings, it seems some models may be held back by subpar SSD performance.
According to The Mac Observer, reviewers started noticing that the base 256GB M2 MacBook Pro had read speeds roughly 50% slower than the M1, while write speeds were roughly 30% slower. This not only impacts the computer’s speed when reading and writing data but also when using drive space for swap when the OS uses drive space as virtual RAM. This can happen when the physical RAM is being heavily used and is a practice all modern systems employ. The faster the drive, the better the system can approximate real RAM, making a slower SSD a potentially significant bottleneck.
According to YouTube channel Max Tech, the issue stems from the base model only using a single 256GB chip for the SSD instead of the two 128GB chips the M1 used. Using two chips allows them to operate in parallel, giving significant performance boosts.
Interestingly, reviews of the 512GB model show comparable performance to the M1 MacBook Pro. This would seem to indicate the more expensive model uses two 256GB chips.
Given Apple’s notoriously tight-lipped nature, the company has not commented on why it chose to include a single chip in the base M2 MacBook Pro instead of the superior dual-chip configuration. In all likelihood, however, the decision was probably made in response to the ongoing semiconductor shortage.