Thursday, Jun 09, 2022, 10:32 Hardware

An Overview Of The New M2 Chip: What's Changed Since The M1 + Outlook

It was clear even before the first official presentation of the M2 that Apple wouldn't be able to accomplish the same massive increase in performance as with the switch from Intel to the M1. Instead, a more moderate growth and increase in performance was expected, with the M2 being slightly more powerful than an M1, but certainly not more so than an M1 Pro. As we now know, these prognoses have turned out to be correct. Apple has already mentioned several important metrics concerning the M2, and although we'll still have to wait to run our own practical tests and the results of others – the start of sales for the MacBook Air M2 and the MacBook Pro M2 should begin some time in July. Apple documented some of the most important specification changes during the recent Keynote presentation on Monday as well as on the product's web page.

Four Important Performance Values
The 5nm production process based chip presents with the following improvements according to Apple:

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  • 18 percent more CPU performance
  • 35 percent more GPU performance (with 10 GPU cores)
  • 40 percent faster Neural Engine
  • 50 percent more memory bandwidth


If the M1 had any weakness at all, this could have perhaps been found in the chip's memory bandwidth. In comparison to Intel chips, the M1 shined thanks to its "Universal Memory" architecture, although it wasn't able to keep up with top of the line graphics cards. This problem remained the same even in the Pro, Max, or Ultra variations, especially with regards to fill rate, as its CPU and GPU memory was still considerably outclassed by faster video memory. Thus, the documented + 50% from Apple should make for a considerable difference dependent upon the field of use. In terms of energy demand, nothing is stated to have changed – according to the chip mastermind himself, Johnny Srouji.



Other Improvements With The M2
  • 20 Billion Transistors (M1: 16 Billion)
  • More Capable Video-Decoder with Support For 8K H.264 and HEVC
  • Improved Secure Enclave for even more privacy
  • Improved signal processor for better noise reduction
  • Larger Cache


Outlook For Upcoming Processors
It's considered more than certain that the recently shown M2 chip will serve as the base form for the upcoming, upgraded chip variants. This was the exact case with the M1, with the M1 Pro, M1 Max, and M1 Ultra all technically possessing the same single-core performance values. The difference between the chips was made by the number of available cores and the memory connection. Thus, the M2's performance values already give us a pretty good idea of what awaits us with the M2 Pro, M2 Max, and even the M2 Ultra variants. There's even alleged to be another variant above that of even the M2 Ultra on the way this release cycle, intended for the Mac Pro, of course. With the same number of CPU cores in all chips, the performance should increase by around 20% in almost all cases, whereas the new memory format will allow for the chip to encroach upon the performance of high-end graphics cards.

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