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2022 MacBook Pro M2 Max: SSD Speed vs Transfer Size

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MPG tested the Apple 16.2" MacBook Pro with M2 Max Chip Z1740017Z, maxed-out excepting 4TB SSD.

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2022 MacBook Pro M2 Max


Real world speeds through the file system using diglloydTools DiskTester.
disktester run-sequential-suite
--test-size 8G

This test charts the real-world speed for various transfer sizes for both reads and writes, because small I/O sizes are much slower than larger ones.

For example, 32K transfers are highly inefficient vs 1MB transfers—there is a difference of 32X times as many operating system calls to transfer 1MB in 32K chunks as with one call to transfer a 1MB chunk.

Fast small transfers translate to a more responsive system overall, while fast large transfers translate to better throughput for applications processing very large files, or very large numbers of moderate and large files.

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Transfer speed vs transfer size

disktester run-sequential-suite --test-size 8G

The 2022 MacBook Pro M2 Max shows stunningly fast write speeds. Fast enough that one wonders if there is something sketchy going on (eg caching). Because there is no way it is honestly writing 32K chunks at 7.1GB/sec. Moreover the drive has read speeds little better than the 2020 iMac 5K until reads get into the 4MiB size. Apple is doing something special for writes.

See the next test for more weird stuff.

Flash Drive (SSD) Speed vs Transfer Size from 32K through 512MB, APFS
2022 MacBook Pro M2 Max vs 2019 iMac 5K, 2020 iMac 5K

Sustained Performance Filling Capacity

disktester fill-volume

Test volume size, APFS: 3TB ~= 2.78 TiB.

Write behavior is unlike anything MPG has ever seen in an Apple internal SSD, excepting previous M1/M2 Macs. The behavior is repeatable at will.

To see an abrupt breakdown in SSD write speed for sustained writes suggests a 2-tier flash drive(eg high speed flash memory + lower speed flash). The plummet occurs at file ~743 of 1000 (2TB = ~1862GiB volume eg each file is ~1862MiB), equating to 1384 GiB out of the 3728GiB capacity, or about 37% of the 4TB flash drive.

Turning to thermal throttling as a theory, why the sudden plummet? With thermal throttling, one would expect a steady degradation, not an abrupt change.

Even the degraded write speed is in line with prior internal Mac SSDs (3.2 to 3.3 GB/sec) on iMac 5K, Mac Pro, etc. But when not degraded, the 7GB/sec figure is pretty awesome.

The variation in read speed is far from ideal for tasks where consistent I/O speed is needed, eg high-speed video streaming.

Based on invoking the test a 2nd time, it appears that the SSD speed “regenerates” after the first test, so long as there is some time in-between.

The results for reads here are in excellent agreement with the test above: a bit over 6.5GB/sec, which is far above the ~3.3GB/sec achievable in prior Macs.

As reader Don H puts it, commenting on the 2021 Macbook Pro M1 Max, which behaved similarly:

Of course almost no one would have a task that requires this magnitude of data transfer in the real world, and even then the performance is still quite good, even with a slowdown. Short of the PCI-based storage in your Mac Pro this appears to be the fastest storage in any Mac to date. (It’s odd that the early write performance exceeds the read performance by so much, however.)

Sustained transfer speed writing 1000 files of 1862MiB each to 3TB ~= 1.862TiB APFS volume
2022 MacBook Pro M2 Max
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