Looking for a 13-inch MacBook Pro? Well, at Apple we’ve all grown accustomed to the idea that the latest model is the best. So the 13-inch MacBook Pro with M2 (2022), which launched on June 17, is definitely a slam-dunk?
After all, it has the latest M2 processor, which Apple says is a 40% performance improvement over the M1 chip in its predecessor, the MacBook Pro 13-inch (M1, 2020)† In addition to the promised speed boost, this means better battery life, up to 20 hours. And best of all, the new version has launched at the same price as the previous model, so you won’t even pay extra (if that’s still too much for you, keep our Prime Day Apple Deals hubs for any bargains).
Admittedly, no one really got excited about this new MacBook Pro, because in the end not much has changed: it still has the same overall design, same Touch Bar, same 720p webcam. But at the same time, the consensus was that this was a marked improvement over the old model. Until a few YouTubers discovered something Apple kept to themselves.
The problem is, while the M2 processor is indeed faster than the older M1 chip, there’s something else inside the laptop that slows things down: the solid-state drive (SSD), which stores persistent data in solid-state flash. -memory.
Well, it turns out that in the base model (256GB) of the 13-inch MacBook Pro with M2, the SSD only has a single NAND flash storage chip, while the older model had two. This was not published by Apple, and nobody noticed until recently because reviewers are not in the habit of turning their backs on laptops (the PR firms that lend them usually want them back in one piece!)
However, the SSD issue came to light after YouTuber Max Yuryev tested the base version (256GB) with Blackmagic’s Disk Speed Test App (opens in new tab)† He found that the SSD read speeds are about 50% slower and write speeds about 30% slower compared to the previous model. (Watch the video below).
Yuryev’s results were as follows:
- 13-inch MacBook Pro (M1/256GB) Read speed: 2900
- 13-inch MacBook Pro (M2/256GB) Read speed: 1.446
- 13-inch MacBook Pro (M1/256GB) Write speed: 2,215
- 13-inch MacBook Pro (M2/256GB) Write speed: 1,463
Another YouTube channel, Created Tech, came to similar conclusions:
A slower SSD is clearly a problem for anyone who regularly transfers large files, such as graphic designers, motion designers, animators, VFX artists and other creative professionals. With 4K becoming the norm and giving way to 8K and even higher resolutions, the amount of time it takes to move a file will really impact your productivity.
But that is not everything. SSDs are not only used for file storage, but also double as virtual RAM when your existing RAM is maxed out. And that usually happens when you use resource-intensive software, something many creative professionals do on a regular basis.
Should you buy it?
What does all this mean for consumers? Well, to put it simply, if you buy the base model of 13-inch MacBook Pro with M2 (2022) and use it to run Photoshop, After Effects, Premiere Pro, 3DS Max, Maya or similar tools, then it quite possible notice that the performance is actually slower than the 2020 M1 model.
The same problem doesn’t seem to exist on the 512GB model, but it’s a lot more expensive. So if you handle a lot of large files and use creative software that requires a lot of resources, we recommend giving the 13-inch MacBook Pro with M2 a twist and sticking with one of the existing models. (Our guides to the best MacBooks in general, and the best MacBooks for video editing can help you with that choice.)
Either that or wait for the new one MacBook Air 2022which sounds like it will be a lot more interesting.
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