Apple’s entry-level M2 MacBook Pro turns into a Celeron under heavy load

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There is an old saying in technology that never buy a first generation product. As far as Apple Silicon is concerned, however, you could be better off if you do. Reviewers are looking for new ways that the new, M2-equipped MacBook Pro base system is a weaker product than its predecessor. Now, real-world testing has found evidence that the M2-equipped base model MacBook takes a hefty fine if placed in a heavy DRAM load. For now, only the baseline M2 with 256GB SSD storage and 8GB of unified memory has been reported to be affected.

Over the past few days, we’ve seen evidence that only half of the entry-level MacBook Pro M1 offers SSD controller channels and this affects its theoretical storage performance. We also know that the 13 ″ base system gets as hot as 108C on the test. Thanks to a new video from the same channel, we have now found evidence that the Baseline M2-equipped system loses a significant amount of performance and system responsiveness when under load compared to 16GB M2.

YouTube tech channel Max Tech’s Vadim Ureiv M2 is running at speed, with some tests on the 8GB M2 with both 256GB and 512GB of storage. This test isolates the effect of the SSD and reveals a problem with the design. At least some of the 8GB M1’s performance comes courtesy of the SSD controller configuration – and with just one IC, the platform can’t maintain the same speed.

Data and graphs by Max Tech

A 12.5-percent performance hit doesn’t seem so bad, although we usually don’t expect a transfer from one NVMe SSD to another that would cause such a discrepancy. But see what happens when Urive loads the system with a Chrome browsing session at the same time. Both the top and bottom systems are 8GB systems:

Data and graphs by Max Tech

This trend was not unique to Chrome; The safari looks similar. Exporting a 4K video to a different application had the same problem. Performance tanks when placed in a working pressure system, and reactivity is damaged. These problems continue across several benchmarks. When the M2’s RAM is full, the system often takes a heavy performance hit. M1 does not system.

Data and graphs by Max Tech

In these tests, the 512GB M2 model is not 15 percent faster, it is 55 percent faster. And according to Max Tech’s video, system responsiveness on M2 systems with 8GB of RAM goes into the tank when these exports enter gear. The tested 16GB variant did not have these issues.

Comparing the M1 with the 8GB and 16GB flavors, it showed that it lost performance when equipped with only 8GB of RAM, but the performance hits were much lower. The M1 with 8GB was 1.23x slower than the M1 16GB in specific tests. M2 8GB slows down to 1.79x.

Why is this happening?

The problem here is that M2 is being forced to stream data from SSD once it runs out of main memory. The Baseline M1 has two physical connections to the IC that make up its SSD. M2 has one. This means that when the system tries to lean on the SSD instead of the extra memory, the M2’s SSD cannot feed the CPU. I’m really surprised at how slow the M2 is in web browsing when rendering the output (it’s not clear if the 8GB M1 has been similarly affected, the video compares the 8GB and 16GB M2 flavors).

Obviously, sometimes there is a performance difference between 8GB M2 and 16GB M2, even when DRAM power is not being pushed. The M2’s low SSD controller bandwidth can hit non-compute benchmarks and real-world workloads, depending on how you load the system.

What’s the matter? I would argue that it does, for a variety of reasons:

First, it’s a clear performance regression on first generation products and it’s never good. Second, it introduces uncertainty and suspicion into the product line. In some cases, an 8GB M2 is 1.15x – 1.8x slower than a 16GB M2. Third, Apple is doing a poor job of communicating about exactly how much DRAM and SSD storage its customers have to pay to enjoy an M2 that isn’t effectively crippled.

There is no such thing as a memory upgrade if you buy an M1 or an M2. With the price of DDR5 down, there is no way to buy a system now and double its RAM in a few years. The RAM you pick up today will allow the system to last the rest of its life, which is why it is one A little Apple has not revealed how big the performance will be for the M2’s Gimpy storage. Apple, if anything, needs to do a better job than the equivalent PC maker to understand how important RAM loadout is for the long-term life of a system.

Fourth, there is evidence that the 8GB M2 user experience will go straight to hell if you tap out of its RAM, when the M1 is not seen, based on the relative performance of each loss. Seeing Maxtek trying to surf the web on an 8GB M2 while running a workload gave me a flashback to running antivirus scans and surfing the web on bad old single-core days.

I doubt Apple would argue that the various workloads tested by Urive are not representative of the workloads expected to be run by customers. It’s fair, a point – but only a point. Apple Silicon has no problem with the same work pressure with the same RAM as the first generation. Moreover, Apple did not reach out to reviewers and did not suggest sticking to their simple test after the return of M1 reviews in 2020.

Lots of audio / video benchmarks have been released that show that an M1-equipped laptop is capable of beating Apple’s Intel-based. Desktop, And I personally know a few people who took advantage of the Apple Silicon launch to shuffle CPU manufacturers. Baseline M2 is a clear step backwards from M1 in that regard. This is especially true if you are looking for a new MacBook capability. Nowadays 8GB RAM is not so much, however, if you only need to buy a system with 8GB, buy an M1 based system that takes 25 percent performance hits (compared to M2) and is responsive, runs out of memory, M2 entry-level Not the MacBook Pro which takes 1.8x Shi Celeron’s ram in the late 1990s offered hits and responsiveness when it ran out.

Don’t buy an entry-level M2

At the moment, there is no reason to consider a 13-inch M2 MacBook Pro if you have the option to purchase a different MacBook. An 8GB M1 system matches most other computer benchmarks with an 8GB M2 system and runs cool, possibly cheaper, and can be more responsive to heavy loads. While these issues don’t seem to affect the more expensive models, which offer more RAM, fan and SSD storage, the M2-powered MacBook Pro starts at 1299. It’s good in the boutique area for PC laptops, and it requires you to buy a system that can perform. One Simultaneously work high performance while surfing the internet.

The complicated thing is that these M2 base models are only available from Apple without any waiting. If you want one of the non-crippling machines, you’re looking at a few weeks delay and a lot more money.

I’ve been passionate about Apple Silicon from the start, but need a good laptop for a good chip and the Baseline 13-inch MacBook Pro has definitely been compromised. Warning importer.

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