MacBook Pro 14 512 GB with M2 Pro apparently has a 40% slower SSD than its M1 Pro predecessor
Apple MacBook Pros based on the new M2 Pro SoC have started to become available. While it is not uncommon to find lower capacity drives to be somewhat slower than higher capacity ones, it looks like the new entry-level M2 Pro MacBook Pro 14's SSD is considerably slower than the one in the M1 Pro-based MacBook Pro 14. This is a repeat of what we've seen before with the M2-based MacBook Pro 13 and its M1 equivalent.
According to Daniel from ZONEofTECH on YouTube, the 512 GB SSD in the MacBook Pro 14 with M1 Pro is actually 18% faster in writes (3,450 MB/s) and 50% faster in reads (4,081 MB/s) than the new 512 GB MacBook Pro 14 (2,929 MB/s write and 2,703 MB/s read) with M2 Pro in the AJA system test disk benchmark using a 16 GB 10-bit 4K test file.
Findings from 9to5Mac also confirmed the use of fewer, higher capacity NAND in the M2 Pro-based MacBook Pro 14. According to the publication, in the case of the M1-powered MacBook Air, the base 256 GB storage was split between two 128 GB Kioxia NAND modules. Therefore, a 512 GB variant would use four such NAND chips — two on each side of the logic board.
In the M2 generation, however, Apple started using higher density NAND, which meant the base variant of the MacBook Air had only a single 256 GB module in working in isolation.
9to5Mac's tests show a 20% reduction in writes and a near-40% reduction in read speeds in the Blackmagicdesign Disk Speed benchmark. Opening up the 512 GB MacBook Pro 14 reveals only a visible 256 GB NAND chip along with an unpopulated space for use in higher storage configurations. The other 256 GB flash is on the underside of the logic board.
While denser flash is welcome, the perceivable difference in speeds from a previous generation Mac is somewhat disappointing. That being said, the speed impact may not be felt in real-world usage. ZONEofTECH observed that the M2 Pro-powered MacBook Pro 14 can actually be faster in tasks like file copying although Lightroom imports were 2.25x slower with the newer machine.
The net experience with M2 Pro still seems somewhat faster despite the slower SSD given the overall performance advantage over the M1 Pro-powered MacBook Pro, although for most workflows it's just splitting hairs. Most users are unlikely to notice the SSD performance deficit unless they are into long sustained read/writes. Right now, the only workaround is to opt for a MacBook Pro with at least 1 TB storage at checkout.
Given the nominal performance differences and the slower flash, it might actually make better economic sense to opt for the M1 Pro-powered MacBook Pro if you're looking at entry-level variants and save a decent amount of cash particularly with refurbished ones. Stay tuned for our full review for more on that.
BREAKING: We’ve just discovered that the base 14” M2 Pro MacBook Pro (512GB) is considerably slower than the previous 14” M1 Pro model.— Daniel (@ZONEofTECH) January 24, 2023
Apple is likely using single SSD modules again (like the base 256GB M2 Air and M2 MacBook Pro).
More testing to come. pic.twitter.com/3kMiHVDxaF