The new 14-inch and 16-inch MacBook Pros have arrived, and in almost every way they’re a solid improvement over the 2021 models. They have better graphics, longer battery life, and faster connectivity. . They look the same on the outside, but the internal upgrades are real.

    But there are two aspects of these machines that may end up being worse than the original 2021 models – and they’re not unimportant.

    Apple MacBook Pro seen from the side.

    SSD issues

    Macs are generally known for using super-fast storage, even in the cheapest machine configurations. With last year’s M2 launches, however, the company took a turn to make its entry-level laptops a bit cheaper.

    By using a single NAND chip on the 256GB models of the MacBook Air and 13-inch MacBook Pro, storage speeds were significantly slower than on the larger capacity models. In fact, in some real-world tests like large file transfers, these MacBook M2s were slower than the MacBook M1s. The lack of transparency was frustrating, but considering the price of these laptops, it wasn’t huge.

    The M2 MacBook Air motherboard is revealed in a YouTube teardown.

    I certainly thought that with the MacBook Pro M2 Pro and M2 Max this problem would be avoided entirely. But according to some new reports, these 512GB configurations of the new MacBook Pros also have slower storage speeds, suggesting that Apple cut the same bend this time around. Remember: Apple doesn’t even sell a 256GB version of these MacBook Pros, so these are the cheapest models you can buy.

    The problem is, even if you choose one of the base configurations, buyers of these MacBook Pros are far more likely to notice the speed difference, or at least be frustrated that Apple hasn’t been more open.

    Luckily, this is a problem that can apparently be avoided by opting for one of the larger capacity SSDs. The second problem, however, is one that is much harder to avoid.

    Heat and thermals

    The new MacBook Pro seen from the side.

    From the start, efficiency has been a big selling point for Apple Silicon. It’s miraculous how quiet and cool the M1 Macs are, despite the stellar performance and battery life. These are all benefits of having more efficient chips that create less hot air.

    The M2 didn’t play quite the same, however. In the fanless MacBook Air, the M2 did indeed offer extra performance, but at the cost of extra heat. When running more intense benchmarks, I saw internal temperatures as high as 108 degrees Celsius on my own review unit. It’s just too hot for a laptop to safely get. Other laptop makers limit CPU temperatures to 100 degrees Celsius, but rarely do devices even approach that threshold. The fact that Apple doesn’t have a similar cap on the M2 chips is a bit concerning, and it’s a cause for increased throttling of long and demanding workloads. It was a similar scenario with the M2 on the 13-inch MacBook Pro, despite active cooling.

    But again, these were laptops that weren’t necessarily made for these types of more demanding tasks. So most people using their MacBook Air M2 won’t be in this situation often. But the 14-inch and 16-inch MacBook Pro are different. These machines are aimed almost exclusively at those who need the extra performance required by creative applications.

    Although I haven’t tested them myself yet, I expect these new 14-inch and 16-inch MacBook Pros to run a little warmer this time around for the same reason as the MacBook Air M2. I hope to back this up with my own temperature measurements soon, but the reason for this wait has everything to do with technology rear the new M2 Pro and M2 Max chips.

    An Apple representative in front of a MacBook Pro presentation.

    The new chips are based on the same chip architecture as the base M2. Apple calls it “2nd Gen 5nm”, which sounds great, at least on paper. But considering what these could have been, they are more of a palliative measure than a true evolution.

    Production issues around TMSC’s 3nm chips have been well documented, and at one point they seem to have been what the M2 Pro and M2 Max were supposed to be based on. The 3nm chips would have been more efficient, giving Apple the performance boost it wanted without the extra heat. There were even rumors of the new MacBook Pros moving to TSMC’s 4nm, like the A16 chip in the iPhone 14 Pro and 14 Pro Max. Instead, what Apple ended up releasing here is based on the same 5nm process node as the original M1 Pro and M1 Max.

    And again, we know how these perform with the base M2 chips from an efficiency standpoint. It is not that they are ineffective, far from it. But these are overclocked chips that are pushed harder than with the M1 chips, and this is going to create changes in the performance and thermals of these machines. As YouTuber Max Tech points out, Apple says the performance improvements are within the same power envelope, but doesn’t acknowledge that previous MacBook Pros often didn’t run at these higher power levels.

    So yes, the claimed 20% improvement in CPU performance and 30% better graphics over previous models is probably real. Apple added more cores to the CPU and GPU, and increased the base clock speed – and boom, there’s your performance boost. But further testing is needed, especially to see how it handles throttling in tasks like long video renders.

    Don’t get me wrong, there’s so much to love about these new MacBook Pros. And if you’re coming from an older MacBook or Windows laptop, there’s not much to complain about. But for me, the details surrounding the M2 and SSD choices tempered the excitement over the release of the MacBook Air and 13-inch MacBook Pro last year – and it’s a similar story here.

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