The basic model 13 inches M2 MacBook Pro with 256 GB storage and 8 GB RAM is available now. You probably shouldn’t buy it. With more details on how slow it is compared to higher end versions of the M2 and even the M1 modelIt’s becoming increasingly clear that the cheapest 13-inch M2 MacBook Pro is a real stinker.
Earlier this weekVideos from max tech and tech created showed that storage in the base M2 model was slow compared to the M1 version, with 50 percent slower SSD read speeds and 30 percent slower write speeds. This is because Apple chose to use just one 256GB NAND flash memory chip instead of two 128GB chips like the M1. The likely cost-saving move means reading and writing cannot be done in parallel on two chips. Everything only has to go through one, and that effectively throttles the otherwise high-octane M2 chip.
Now, Max Tech tested The base model with 8GB RAM / 256GB storage against the more expensive 13-inch M2 MacBook Pro with 512GB storage and 16GB RAM, and yes, it’s slower than this laptop too! That’s partly because the higher-spec device uses two 256GB NAND chips instead of one, allowing processes to run in parallel across the two chips. It’s likely the same NAND chips as in the base model – further suggesting the slowdown is related to the decision to only use a NAND chip in the cheaper MacBook Pro.
The slowdown is also due to the lack of RAM.
Using Apple’s Arm-based computer chips Unified Reminder. The GPU and the CPU – all – use the same memory to get work done. In other M1 and M2 devices, 8GB of storage wouldn’t be ideal, but it wouldn’t cause significant slowdowns. But part of the reason other M1 and M2 Macs get away with just 8GB of storage is because they have super-fast SSDs that the processor can use for storage in a pinch. But when you combine 8GB of RAM with the sluggish 256GB of single-NAND storage, you get a laptop that routinely runs tasks at half the speed of its higher-end siblings, which use the exact same processor.
For example, when Max Tech exported 50 42-megapixel images to Lightroom, the 8GB/256GB MacBook Pro completed the task in two minutes. The 16GB/512GB MacBook Pro did it in one minute and seven seconds. That’s nearly double the speed just by using more RAM and faster storage.
The M2 MacBook Pro already feels like a laptop that needs an audience. Weeks away with the refreshed, better equipped and cheaper M2 MacBook Air and M1 MacBook Pro on sale, it was hard to argue why anyone should buy the M2 MacBook Pro. It has great battery life (It took us over 16 hours of aggressive use to kill the battery), but at this point that’s all there is to it. If you really need the M2 MacBook Pro’s promise of battery life, save the extra cash to get the $1,499 version with 512GB of storage and 16GB of RAM.
But I’m curious how many people will opt for the rock-solid $1,499 model if this stinker of a base model exists. Historically, base models are the ones that sell best, which means many people who want this odd machine will flock to the $1,299 base model, despite the stunted performance. If the 13-inch MacBook Pro is, as Apple claims, the second best-selling laptop in the world, then the company is bracing for a big mess very soon.