The $1,299 base model ships with a 256GB SSD which has read/write speeds which are the same as the old MacBook Pro. While we are not saying that this is so old that it might have been written with a quill and ink, it is certainly a lot slower than the M2 can handle.
YouTube channels such as Max Tech and Created Tech tested the 256GB model with Blackmagic's Disk Speed Test app and found that the SSD's read and write speeds are both around 1,450 MB/s, which is around 50 per cent slower reading and around 30 per cent slower writing compared to the 13-inch MacBook Pro with the M1 chip and 256GB of storage.
The 256GB model is equipped with only a single NAND flash storage chip, whereas the previous model has two NAND chips that are likely 128GB each. This difference likely explains why the new model has a slower SSD, as multiple NAND chips allows for faster speeds in parallel.
At this rate, new entry level Apple MacBooks will need a slot for the user to shovel coal.