Apple revealed its second-generation System-on-a-Chip (SoC) design for Mac computers last year, known as the M2. Today the company has revealed two upgraded versions with faster performance, which are coming to several new Macs.
Apple has revealed the M2 Pro and M2 Max, which are designed to replace the M1 Pro and M1 Max chipsets that were found in the Mac Studio and 14 and 16-inch MacBook Pros. Both chips are more powerful than the base M2 that is currently offered in the MacBook Air, 13-inch MacBook Pro, and iPad Pro. Apple has also integrated a “next-generation, 16-core Neural Engine” and hardware-accelerated H.264, HEVC, and ProRes video encode and decode support.
The M2 Pro has 20% more transistors (40 billion) than the M1 Pro, twice the unified memory bandwidth of the M2 (200 GB/s), a 10 or 12-core CPU, and support for up to 32 GB of unified memory. It can be configured with up to 8 high-performance CPU cores and 4 high-efficiency cores, and the GPU can have up to 19 cores — three more than the M1 Pro. Apple says graphics performance is up to 30% faster than the M1 Pro.
Meanwhile, Apple is billing the M2 Max as “the world’s most powerful and efficient chip for a pro laptop.” It has 400 GB/s of unified memory bandwidth, which is twice the amount in the M2 Pro and four times the amount in the base M2. It has the same 12-core CPU as the M2 Pro, but the GPU can be configured up to a whopping 38 cores. The chip also supports up to 96 GB of memory.
Apple hasn’t had any significant competition in performance-per-watt since the introduction of M1, and the new M2 Pro and M2 Max chips look like decent upgrades. We’ll have to wait for real-world benchmarks and reports of possible catches (like the SSD problems on base M2), though.