While the new Mac mini with the M2 chip starts at a lower price of $599 (RMB4,499 in China), the base model with 256GB of storage has a slower SSD read and write speed than its predecessor with the M1 chip and 256GB of storage.
A teardown of the new Mac mini shared by YouTube channel Brandon Geekabit shows that the M2 chip version of the 256GB model comes with just one 256GB storage chip, while on the M1 chip version, there are two 128GB storage chips. This difference explains why the newer models have slower SSDs, as multiple NAND chips allow for faster speeds.
“We have confirmed through the Blackmagic Disk Speed Test benchmarking application that the SSD read and write speeds for the new 256GB Mac mini are each approximately 1500 MB/s, which is 30 to 50 percent slower than the read and write speeds of its equivalent predecessor, although benchmarking results and actual performance may vary. “
Users seeking the fastest SSD speeds should be sure to configure the M2 Mac mini with at least 512GB of storage to avoid this issue, the slower SSDs can affect file transfer speeds and overall performance slightly, as Macs temporarily use SSD space as virtual memory when physical memory is fully used.
As for the high-end Mac mini with the M2 Pro chip, the base model with 512GB of storage appears to have two fewer NAND chips than the previous Intel-based model, according to a teardown shared by Brian Stucki of MacStadium.
The 13-inch MacBook Pro and MacBook Air models with the M2 chip and 256GB of storage also have slower SSDs due to their single NAND chip, so apparently, Apple hasn’t decided to change the course of the new Mac mini.
In a statement shared with The Verge last year, Apple claimed that M2-based Macs have “faster” performance in real-world activities, but it’s not clear whether the statement was referring to SSD performance or overall system performance: “Thanks to the improved performance of M2, the MacBook Pro and MacBook Air models have been able to deliver the same performance.
“Thanks to the M2 performance boost, the new MacBook Air and MacBook Pro 13-inch are incredibly fast, even when compared to Mac laptops with the powerful M1 chip. These new systems use new, higher-density NAND to deliver 256GB of storage using a single chip. While the 256GB SSD benchmark may be different compared to the previous generation, these M2-based systems perform even faster in real-world activities.”
Also according to 9to5Mac, the new 2023 MacBook Pro also has slower SSD speeds when configured with 512GB of storage due to fewer NAND chips.