In 2020, Apple started using its own processors in some of its Macs thanks to the advent of the M1 chip, which we first saw in the Mac mini, 13-inch MacBook Pro, MacBook Air, and then iMac. 24″ Later came the Pro versions, the M1 Pro and M1 Max, coinciding with the arrival of the 14-inch MacBook Pro and 16-inch MacBook Pro in October 2021.
Now, the company has just introduced the second generation of Apple’s processor. We’ve rounded up everything known about Apple’s M2 SoC and its variants, including information about the first Macs to use it: the new MacBook Air and the new 13-inch MacBook Pro.
When will Apple’s M2 chip arrive?
During the keymote At the opening of WWDC 2022, Apple confirmed that the first M2 chips will arrive with the MacBook Air and 13-inch MacBook Pro, which will go on sale this july 2022although for now the exact date has been specified.
Like the M1 series, the M2 is aimed at consumers and not professionals. It focuses on energy efficiency, as well as general performance improvements over the M1, which it will replace.
Although the manufacturing process will still be 5 nanometers, the M2 uses second-generation 5-nanometer technology, as expected. TSMC’s new generation N4P process is an upgraded version that is supposed to offer 11% higher performance and almost 22% higher efficiency.
According to Apple, the M2 offers: “an 18% faster CPU, a 35% more powerful GPU, and a 40% faster Neural Engine.” There’s also 50% more bandwidth compared to the M1, and up to 24GB of fast unified memory, which will please many who felt constrained by the 16GB limit the M1 offered.
Apple is likely to build on the M2 chip and later this year introduce the M2 Pro, M2 Max and M2 Ultra variants.
What features and specifications does the Apple M2 chip have?
This is everything we know about the M2 chip in terms of its performance:
There were those who claimed that Apple would keep the same 8-core CPU of the M1. However, the improvements offered by the M2 should mean that the new Macs are much more powerful and energy efficient than their predecessor.
The aforementioned N4P process allows for higher transistor density, which could allow individual cores to be programmed a little faster than in the M1. There are 25% more transistors than in the M1, which improves the memory controller and its bandwidth.
As in the M1, the CPU cores are divided into high-performance and high-efficiency cores. The high-performance cores are paired with a larger cache, while the efficiency cores have even higher performance, or so Apple says.
Apple states: “Compared to the most advanced 10-core chip in a notebook PC, the M2’s CPU delivers nearly twice the performance at the same power level.”
Compared to PCs with more CPU cores, the M2 is able to offer almost the same performance while consuming less power. According to Apple, “The M2 is capable of nearly 90% of the maximum performance of the 12-core chip while consuming only a quarter of the power.”
Apple has also increased the performance of the graphics card to 10 graphics cores, two more than the current M1. This was something that had already been anticipated in the months leading up to its release.
Apple claims that the 10-core GPU offers “25% better graphics performance than the M1 at the same power level,” thanks to higher cache and higher bandwidth. At full power, performance is 35% higher, according to Apple.
Apple also claims that the GPU offers “2.3x faster performance” compared to the latest integrated graphics (and that uses a fifth of the power).
Some will expect the M2 to support larger RAM than the M1 (the M1 supports a maximum of 16GB of RAM, the M1 Pro supports 32GB, and the M1 Max supports 64GB). We have good news: indeed the M2 is compatible with more memory: up to 24 GB of RAM.
In addition, we have here a memory controller with 100 GB/s of unified memory bandwidth, which is 50% more than the M1.
Apple says that energy efficiency could mean longer battery life, although this is still 18 hours.
Which Macs will have Apple’s M2 chip?
Apple has confirmed updates to the MacBook Air and 13-inch MacBook Pro to integrate the new M2 chip. We expect the current Mac mini with M1 and 24-inch Mac to also receive a similar update, likely in the fall.
Also, since the iPad Pro currently carries the M1 chip, it is possible that the future iPad Pro (2022) will follow the path and go on to incorporate the M2 when it finally arrives.
Will there be an M2 Pro chip and an M2 Max chip?
There will be those who are interested in knowing what the Pro variants of the M2 will be like. The M1 Pro and M1 Max have already proven to be very capable, so there are high expectations for the next generation, especially the M1 Ultra.
Expect his arrival in late 2022 or (more likely) 2023.
And what about the M3 chip?
The M2 promises a lot, but a year later something even more powerful could arrive that represents a big improvement in performance compared to the current generation.
According to Digitimes, TSMC claims to have tested processors with a 3nm process, which will surely be for the M3 and A17 chips. Previously, TSMC had postponed its plans to produce 3nm processors due to the complexity of the process.
again according to Digitimesthe first products using a 3nm processor will arrive during the first quarter of 2023, with production starting in late 2022. Qualcomm, Samsung and Intel should use this 3nm process.
The M3 chip should bring a big improvement in performance compared to the M2 chips, as these high-end chips would be integrated on two motherboards and offer up to 40-core CPUs.