If the new MacBook Pro and Mac Mini equipped with the unpublished M2 Pro and M2 Max easily surpass the competition in SSD speed, the situation is not so favorable when the comparison is made with their predecessors. Several tests carried out by specialized vehicles reveal that Apple’s releases have lower transfer rates compared to the previous generation, due to the same decision that hindered the performance of the MacBook Air M2 — the use of a reduced number of memories.
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Despite not being revolutionary as the first generation of machines with Apple Silicon, the recently announced MacBook Pro 14 and 16 inches, in addition to the Mac Mini 2023, drew attention due to the arrival of the M2 Pro and M2 Max chips, consistently more robust than the Apple’s first generation of processors. Compared to their predecessors, both showed average gains of 20% in CPU and 30% in GPU, in addition to boosted numbers in Artificial Intelligence and video rendering.
However, users who purchase the base version of one of these novelties will have a not very pleasant surprise: the SSD storage used by Apple is slower than that of the MacBook Pro and Mac Mini with M1. The first tests were done by the site 9to5Mac and reveal 30% to 50% drops in transfer speeds compared to older machines. Breakdowns by 9to5Mac himself and YouTube channel Brandon Geekabit reveal why: the use of just one storage module instead of 2 or more.
The most basic versions of the older MacBook Pro and Mac Mini adopted lower density NAND memories (the type dedicated to storage), which required the brand to use two or more units to reach 256 GB or 512 GB. In the end, this architecture delivered positive results, since there were two or even four communication channels for the data to travel, guaranteeing very high speeds.
With devices equipped with the M2, M2 Pro and M2 Max, the situation was changed: denser NAND memories were used, leading Apple to reduce the number of chips installed to just 1. As a result, data was limited to travel on a single channel, thus leading to the drastic reductions observed, especially problematic when we consider that these devices are not exactly accessible and seek to serve professionals.
The curious situation is more delicate with the 512 GB MacBook Pro 14 — even though it has more capacity than the Mac Mini by default, the number of NAND modules installed compared to the model with the M1 Pro chip dropped from 4 to just 2, limiting rates transfer in the same way. None of the tests actually evaluated the 16-inch MacBook Pro, but it’s likely that the larger machine also suffers from a similar problem in its most basic variant.
It is worth remembering that this is not the first time that this has happened with Apple devices – last year, the company was involved in controversies with the MacBook Air M2 for the same reason. The company ensured that this would not be noticed in everyday use, thanks to the faster M2, an answer that should be given again with discussions involving the new Macs.
It is important to point out that this does not completely invalidate the performance gains of the new processors, and in the case of users and professionals who need the improvements provided by the new generation without being able to spend a lot, these versions are still welcome. That said, it’s always disappointing to see a product debut with downgrades compared to its predecessors, leaving the recommendation to avoid them, investing a little more to get models with greater capacity, which will have guaranteed high SSD speeds.
Source: Digital Trends, iMore