Tuesday, Jan 24, 2023, 16:03 Mac: Hardware

M2 Graphics Performance – M2 Max Almost Just As Fast As M1 Ultra Per New Benchmarks

Apple presented three new Macs this week – the Mac mini with M2 and M2 Pro chips, as well as models of the MacBook Pro 14" and 16" with M2 Pro and M2 Max chips. As far as the CPU goes, there aren't any special surprises and all the performance values remain within the expected range. Geekbench confirmed a similar increase in performance between the M2 Pro and M2 Max chips as between the standard M1 and standard M2.

Now, the first benchmark results for the chips' graphics units have arrived – another area in which Apple increased the number of cores. The M2 Pro comes with nineteen, instead of 16 graphics cores – whilst Apple increased the number of GPU cores for the M2 Max from 32 to 38. Here are the results of each individual series, as per Geekbench's Metal tests:

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ProcessorGeekbench Metal-Score
M1 Pro39,700
M2 Pro52,700
M1 Max64,700
M2 Max86,800
M1 Ultra94,600


Alongside a slightly changed architecture, the increased core count led to an increase in performance of around 30 percent. Although any increase in performance is certainly welcome, it becomes even more so impressive when its arrival doesn't carry any negative impact on battery time. In fact, Apple even advertises that the battery life of the new 2023 MacBook models have increased in comparison to their predecessors.

During OpenCL benchmarks, the M1 Max and M2 Max achieved similar scores – however, OpenCL results aren't necessarily very meaningful, since it's necessary to emulate this interface on M-Macs, similar to OpenGL.

M1 Ultra vs. M2 Max
The M2 Max scored around 87,000 points in the Metal benchmark, nearing the Mac Studio's M1 Ultra which achieved a score of 94,600 points. Thus, the M2 Max offers almost as much graphics performance as the current Mac Studio – but in a laptop.

The M2 Ultra, which Apple is likely to debut alongside the upcoming Mac Pro, could very well carry 76 GPU-cores instead of the M1 Ultra's 64 GPU-core count.

M1/2 Extreme?
Multiple reports have considered the possibility that Apple might offer another chip variant beyond the M1/M2 Ultra – the M2 Extreme. However, newer reports have indicated that Apple may have undergone a change in plans – with the new Mac Pro arriving with just an M2 Ultra instead. Rumors of the M2 Extreme involve a chip with far more than 100 GPU-cores, which would clearly make it the fastest M-Chip in terms of graphics performance.

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