Lab – Is the 256GB SSD on the new MacBooks really slower?

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We recently tested the MacBook Pro M2 and MacBook Air M2, but it seems that Apple has changed its formula on the SSD side: those of the most affordable MacBooks would be much slower.

Apple MacBook Air (M2 10 GPU / 8 GB / 512 GB)

Introductory price €1849



5 stars by LesNumériques.com

Note Digital

Editor's rating: 5 out of 5

  • All
  • Midnight
  • Starlight
  • Room gray
  • Silver
  • All
  • Midnight
  • Starlight
  • Room gray
  • Silver
  • Fnac.com Used marketplaceFnac.com Used marketplace

    1,663.99

  • UbaldiUbaldi

    1,779.00

  • AmazonAmazon

    1,849.00

  • Fnac.comFnac.com

    1,849.00

  • baker.combaker.com

    1,849.00

  • Darty.comDarty.com

    1,849.00

  • macwaymacway

    1,849.00

  • La Redoute MarketplaceLa Redoute Marketplace

    1,849.00

  • CrabCrab

    1,853.99

  • Top BuyTop Buy

    1,855.94

  • LDLCLDLC

    1,855.96

  • Materiel.netMateriel.net

    1,857.96

  • UbaldiUbaldi

    1,779.00

  • AmazonAmazon

    1,849.00

  • Fnac.comFnac.com

    1,849.00

  • macwaymacway

    1,849.00

  • CrabCrab

    1,853.99

  • Top BuyTop Buy

    1,855.94

  • LDLCLDLC

    1,855.96

  • Materiel.netMateriel.net

    1,857.96

  • La Redoute MarketplaceLa Redoute Marketplace

    2,126.98

  • UbaldiUbaldi

    1,779.00

  • Fnac.comFnac.com

    1,849.00

  • baker.combaker.com

    1,849.00

  • Darty.comDarty.com

    1,849.00

  • macwaymacway

    1,849.00

  • La Redoute MarketplaceLa Redoute Marketplace

    1,849.00

  • Top BuyTop Buy

    1,855.94

  • LDLCLDLC

    1,855.96

  • Materiel.netMateriel.net

    1,858.96

  • AmazonAmazon

    1,849.00

  • Fnac.comFnac.com

    1,849.00

  • baker.combaker.com

    1,849.00

  • Darty.comDarty.com

    1,849.00

  • macwaymacway

    1,849.00

  • CrabCrab

    1,853.99

  • Top BuyTop Buy

    1,855.94

  • LDLCLDLC

    1,855.96

  • Materiel.netMateriel.net

    1,858.96

  • La Redoute MarketplaceLa Redoute Marketplace

    2,073.86

  • Fnac.com Used marketplaceFnac.com Used marketplace

    1,663.99

  • UbaldiUbaldi

    1,779.00

  • Fnac.comFnac.com

    1,849.00

  • baker.combaker.com

    1,849.00

  • Darty.comDarty.com

    1,849.00

  • macwaymacway

    1,849.00

  • La Redoute MarketplaceLa Redoute Marketplace

    1,849.00

  • CrabCrab

    1,853.99

  • Top BuyTop Buy

    1,855.94

  • LDLCLDLC

    1,855.96

  • Materiel.netMateriel.net

    1,857.96

This is how the price table works

Apple MacBook Pro 13 (M2)

Introductory price €1599


Apple MacBook Pro 13 (M2)
5 stars by LesNumériques.com

Note Digital

Editor's rating: 5 out of 5

  • All
  • Silver / 8GB / 256GB
  • Space Gray / 8 GB / 256 GB
  • Silver / 8GB / 512GB
  • Space Gray / 8 GB / 512 GB
  • Space Gray / 16 GB / 256 GB
  • All
  • Silver / 8GB / 256GB
  • Space Gray / 8 GB / 256 GB
  • Silver / 8GB / 512GB
  • Space Gray / 8 GB / 512 GB
  • Space Gray / 16 GB / 256 GB
  • Amazon warehouseAmazon warehouse

    1,487.07

  • UbaldiUbaldi

    1,575.00

  • AmazonAmazon

    1,576.00

  • Fnac.comFnac.com

    1,599.00

  • baker.combaker.com

    1,599.00

  • Darty.comDarty.com

    1,599.00

  • macwaymacway

    1,599.00

  • GrosbillGrosbill

    1,599.99

  • CybertechCybertech

    1,599.99

  • E. Leclerc - High-TechE. Leclerc – High-Tech

    1,603.90

  • CrabCrab

    1,603.99

  • LDLCLDLC

    1,605.95

  • Materiel.netMateriel.net

    1,608.95

  • RakutenRakuten

    1,829.00

  • UbaldiUbaldi

    1,575.00

  • AmazonAmazon

    1,576.00

  • Fnac.comFnac.com

    1,599.00

  • baker.combaker.com

    1,599.00

  • Darty.comDarty.com

    1,599.00

  • macwaymacway

    1,599.00

  • E. Leclerc - High-TechE. Leclerc – High-Tech

    1,603.90

  • CrabCrab

    1,603.99

  • LDLCLDLC

    1,605.95

  • Materiel.netMateriel.net

    1,608.95

  • Amazon warehouseAmazon warehouse

    1,487.07

  • AmazonAmazon

    1,599.00

  • Fnac.comFnac.com

    1,599.00

  • baker.combaker.com

    1,599.00

  • macwaymacway

    1,599.00

  • GrosbillGrosbill

    1,599.99

  • CybertechCybertech

    1,599.99

  • E. Leclerc - High-TechE. Leclerc – High-Tech

    1,603.90

  • CrabCrab

    1,603.99

  • LDLCLDLC

    1,605.95

  • Materiel.netMateriel.net

    1,608.95

  • UbaldiUbaldi

    1,779.00

  • AmazonAmazon

    1,828.99

  • Fnac.comFnac.com

    1,829.00

  • baker.combaker.com

    1,829.00

  • Darty.comDarty.com

    1,829.00

  • macwaymacway

    1,829.00

  • CrabCrab

    1,833.99

  • LDLCLDLC

    1,835.94

  • Materiel.netMateriel.net

    1,838.94

  • UbaldiUbaldi

    1,808.00

  • GrosbillGrosbill

    1,819.99

  • CybertechCybertech

    1,819.99

  • AmazonAmazon

    1,827.89

  • Fnac.comFnac.com

    1,829.00

  • baker.combaker.com

    1,829.00

  • Darty.comDarty.com

    1,829.00

  • RakutenRakuten

    1,829.00

  • macwaymacway

    1,829.00

  • E. Leclerc - High-TechE. Leclerc – High-Tech

    1,831.90

  • CrabCrab

    1,833.99

  • LDLCLDLC

    1,835.94

  • Materiel.netMateriel.net

    1,838.94

  • baker.combaker.com

    1,829.00

This is how the price table works

The MacBook Pro M2 and MacBook Air M2 both received top marks in our tests. The Pro has seen its performance progress, although the chassis has remained identical to the older generations, and the Air has not only benefited from the benefits of the M2, but also a more modern aesthetic.

We tested models equipped with 512 GB SSDs and 1 TB of storage, which did not allow us to notice any irregularities in their operating speed when they passed through our laboratory. However, according to many users, a problem would concern the 256 GB SSDs embedded in the most available MacBooks. So we got our hands on a MacBook Pro M2 equipped with a 256GB SSD to check what happens.

As we see during the Blackmagic benchmark, even allowing for some margin of error, the result is clear: the SSD on the MacBook Pro M2 256GB is literally half as fast as its 1TB cousin, in both reading and writing.

On the left the speeds of the 1 TB SSD, on the right the speeds of the 256 GB SSD.

On the left the speeds of the 1 TB SSD, on the right the speeds of the 256 GB SSD.

© The Digital

Why and how

How to explain this difference? Apple has decided to integrate a single 256GB NAND storage chip on its entry-level computers instead of the two 128GB chips found on the M1 versions. However, two chips working in parallel are faster than one. We can see in our photo of the inside of the 1 TB MacBook Pro M2 that two modules are present (framed in red), but we find only one on the 256 GB version. Perhaps the manufacturer had to adapt to the difficulties with providing certain components or that they wanted to achieve economies of scale, but in any case it is unfortunate that Apple was not transparent in explaining to users that there is a difference in speeds between SSD sizes.

MacBook Pro M2

The SSD modules inside the MacBook Pro M2.

© The Digital

What effect in reality?

Although the speeds are much lower, the impact in daily use will be almost imperceptible, be it on the boot speed or the opening of applications. On the other hand, it will be more annoying for those who want to transfer heavy files to an external SSD. In this case, we could only advise you to turn to MacBooks with at least 512 GB of storage space.

The problem would a priori be identical on the MacBook Air M2, although we have not been able to verify it ourselves, as we have not yet been able to test a 256 GB version.

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