Apple has ushered in a new era of Mac performance with the announcement of the M2 chip, representing the next step in Apple’s silicon evolution. Leveraging second-generation 5-nanometer technology, the M2 chip builds upon the groundbreaking efficiency and power of its predecessor, the M1. This remarkable leap forward boasts an 18 percent faster CPU, a 35 percent more robust GPU, and a 40 percent faster Neural Engine, promising an unparalleled computing experience. In addition, the M2 boasts a 50 percent increase in memory bandwidth compared to the M1 and supports up to 24GB of fast unified memory. The M2 chip debuts in the completely redesigned MacBook Air and the updated 13-inch MacBook Pro.
Johny Srouji, Apple’s Senior Vice President of Hardware Technologies, shared his enthusiasm, stating, “M2 marks the dawn of the second generation of M-series chips, surpassing the exceptional capabilities of the M1. With our unwavering commitment to power-efficient performance, M2 delivers a swifter CPU, GPU, and Neural Engine, along with enhanced memory bandwidth and innovative features like ProRes acceleration. M2 exemplifies the rapid pace of innovation in Apple’s Mac silicon.”
More Transistors, More Memory
The M2 chip employs a system-on-a-chip (SoC) design harnessing enhanced second-generation 5-nanometer technology, boasting a staggering 20 billion transistors — a remarkable 25 percent increase over the M1. These additional transistors improve various aspects of the chip, including the memory controller, which now delivers a remarkable 100GB/s of unified memory bandwidth, a 50 percent enhancement over the M1. Furthermore, the M2 chip can accommodate up to 24GB of fast unified memory, making it well-equipped to handle larger and more intricate workloads with ease.
Enhanced Power Efficiency and Performance
The new CPU in the M2 features faster performance cores combined with a larger cache, while the efficiency cores have undergone significant improvements, resulting in an impressive 18 percent boost in multithreaded performance compared to the M1. The M2 chip excels at efficiently handling CPU-intensive tasks while consuming minimal power, such as music production with multiple layers of effects or applying complex filters to photos. In comparison to the latest 10-core PC laptop chip, the M2 CPU delivers nearly double the performance at the same power level while using just a quarter of the power. In the case of the latest 12-core PC laptop chip, which demands considerably more power to achieve increased performance, the M2 chip manages to deliver nearly 90 percent of its peak performance while consuming only one-fourth of the power.
The M2 also introduces Apple’s next-generation GPU, featuring up to 10 cores, two more than the M1. Combined with a larger cache and higher memory bandwidth, this 10-core GPU delivers a substantial graphics performance boost, providing up to 25 percent higher graphics performance than the M1 at the same power level, and up to 35 percent better performance at maximum power. Compared to the integrated graphics of the latest PC laptop chip, the M2 GPU boasts 2.3 times faster performance at the same power level and matches its peak performance while using just a fifth of the power. The improved performance per watt of the M2 ensures Mac systems equipped with this chip enjoy exceptional battery life and operate quietly and efficiently, even during resource-intensive tasks like gaming and RAW image editing.
Next-Generation Custom Technologies from Apple
The M2 chip introduces several of Apple’s latest custom technologies to the Mac, enhancing capabilities, security, and performance:
- The Neural Engine now processes up to 15.8 trillion operations per second, representing over a 40 percent improvement compared to the M1.
- The media engine boasts a higher-bandwidth video decoder, supporting 8K H.264 and HEVC video.
- Apple’s potent ProRes video engine enables seamless playback of multiple streams of both 4K and 8K video.
- The latest Secure Enclave ensures best-in-class security.
- A new image signal processor (ISP) provides superior image noise reduction.
macOS, M2, and Apps
macOS has been meticulously optimized for Apple silicon, and the combination of macOS Monterey with the powerful new M2 chip delivers unprecedented performance and productivity for users. Mac computers powered by Apple silicon have access to the largest collection of Mac apps to date, including iPhone and iPad apps that seamlessly run on Mac, as well as universal apps that harness the full potential of M-series chips.
The upcoming macOS Ventura, set to launch this fall, will fully leverage the capabilities of the M2 chip, introducing new features such as Stage Manager and powerful enhancements to Continuity Camera and Handoff in FaceTime. macOS Ventura also incorporates substantial updates to Safari, Mail, Messages, Spotlight, and more.
Apple Silicon and Environmental Responsibility
The M2 chip’s energy-efficient performance aligns with Apple’s commitment to environmental responsibility. The new MacBook Air and 13-inch MacBook Pro, powered by the M2 chip, meet Apple’s stringent standards for energy efficiency. Apple has already achieved carbon neutrality for its global corporate operations and aims to achieve net-zero climate impact across its entire business, including manufacturing supply chains and product life cycles, by 2030. This means that every chip Apple produces, from design to manufacturing, will be 100 percent carbon neutral.
Apple, known for revolutionizing personal technology since the introduction of the Macintosh in 1984, continues to lead the world in innovation with its range of products, including iPhone, iPad, Mac, Apple Watch, and Apple TV. Apple’s software platforms, including iOS, iPadOS, macOS, watchOS, and tvOS, provide seamless experiences across all Apple devices and offer breakthrough services like the App Store, Apple Music, Apple Pay, and iCloud. With a dedicated workforce of over 100,000 employees, Apple remains steadfast in its mission to create the best products while leaving the world in better condition than it was found.
Performance tests were conducted by Apple in May 2022 using preproduction 13-inch MacBook Pro systems with Apple M2, 8-core CPU, 10-core GPU, and 16GB of RAM. Results were compared to production 13-inch MacBook Pro systems with Apple M1, 8-core CPU, 8-core GPU, and 16GB of RAM, using select industry-standard benchmarks. Please note that performance may vary depending on specific computer systems and configurations.