Some 2023 MacBook Pro SSDs are Slower than 2021 Models: Report

Apple’s new 14-inch and 16-inch 2023 MacBook Pro models with M2 Pro and M2 Max chips have slower storage than their M1 Pro and M1 Max-toting predecessors from 2021 if you buy a base 1TB configuration — reports 9to5Mac.

The publication experienced this issue on an M2 Pro-powered 14-inch MacBook Pro with 1TB of storage, which posted slower SSD speeds in benchmarks than a 512GB MacBook Pro with an M1 chip.

Where the M1 Pro MacBook Pro offered storage read and write speeds of 4,900 MB/s and 3,950 MB/s, respectively, 9to5Mac‘s M2 Pro MacBook Pro could only manage read speeds of 2,973 MB/s and write speeds of 3,154 MB/s. That amounts to a 20% reduction in write speeds and nearly 40% slower read speeds.

Check out the benchmarks in the image below, with the M1 Pro MacBook Pro on the left and the new model’s results on the right.

Image: 9to5Mac

This appears to be caused by Apple using fewer, higher-capacity NAND packages for the onboard storage on this year’s high-end MacBook Pro models.

If that sounds familiar, it is. This is exactly what caused a slight uproar last year when entry-level M2 MacBook Pro and M2 MacBook Air models had their SSD speeds slashed by up to 50% because Apple equipped them with just one 256GB NAND package instead of two 128GB chips. Multiple NAND chips offer faster speeds by operating in parallel.

9to5Mac was able to confirm this by opening their unit up. While their 512GB M1 Pro MacBook Pro had a total of four 128GB NAND packages inside, the M2 Pro MacBook Pro only had two 512GB chips rather than, say, four 256GB packages. While Apple has graduated to using larger storage chips in Macs, entry-level configurations seem to be paying for it with speeds.

Write speeds on the base model 2023 M2 Pro MacBook Pro still exceed 3,000 MB/s (and read speeds get awfully close to it), which is extremely fast, so there should be no discernable impact on everyday use.

That said, slower storage on the base model 13-inch MacBook Pro and MacBook Air wasn’t as much of a problem, largely because only 256GB of storage isn’t recommended for a MacBook anyway. MacBooks also have all their storage soldered right to the motherboard, so upgrading down the line isn’t an option and it is recommended that buyers get more storage from the get-go.

However, the new 14-inch and 16-inch MacBook Pro models start with a base storage of 1TB. That’s enough for most customers, making it likelier for people using them for harder-hitting storage tasks to notice the slower speeds.