Apple’s Entry-Level M2 MacBook Pro Turns Into a Celeron Under Heavy Load

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There’s an old adage in tech about never buying the first generation of any product. As far as Apple Silicon is concerned, however, you might be better off if you did. Reviewers keep finding new ways that the new, M2-equipped MacBook Pro base system is a weaker product than its predecessor. Now, there’s evidence from real-world tests that the M2-equipped base model MacBook takes a hefty penalty when put under a heavy DRAM load. For now, only the baseline M2 with 256GB of SSD storage and 8GB of unified memory is known to be affected.

In the past few days, we’ve seen evidence that the entry-level MacBook Pro offers just half the SSD controller channels of the M1 and that this impacts its theoretical storage performance. We also know that the 13″ base system gets as hot as 108C in tests. Thanks to a new video by the same channel, we’ve now got evidence that the baseline M2-equipped system loses a significant amount of performance and system responsiveness when under load when compared to the 16GB M2.

Vadim Yuryev of YouTube tech channel Max Tech has been putting the M2 through its paces, including some tests between an 8GB M2 with both 256GB and 512GB of storage. This test isolates the impact of the SSD and reveals a problem with the design. At least some of the 8GB M1’s performance came courtesy of its SSD controller configuration — and with just one IC, the platform can’t maintain the same speeds.

Data and graph by Max Tech

A 12.5-percent performance hit doesn’t seem so bad, though we normally wouldn’t expect the shift from one NVMe SSD to another to cause this kind of disparity.  But look what happens when Yuryev loads the system with a Chrome browsing session at the same time. Both of the systems above and below are 8GB systems:

Data and graph by Max Tech

This trend was not unique to Chrome; Safari looks the same. A 4K video export in a different…