Apple’s Silicon chips mark the company’s move away from Intel’s counterparts that have powered a wide range of Mac machines for many years. The M1 chip is a huge success, with most praising its exceptional performance, which makes way for the M1 Pro and M1 Max driving the 14-inch MacBook Pro and 16-inch MacBook Pro introduced in late 2021.
According to sources, Apple has been working on the next generation of the M1 chip which is expected to power a new crop of Macs this year. Some leaks have suggested that the M2 chip will be less powerful than the M1 Max and Max Ultra, but it will be more power-efficient.
We have gathered everything we know so far about Apple’s next-gen Silicon chip in the section below.
Back in December 2021, rumors said that Apple could reveal its M2 chip at its March event. But it was nowhere to be found. Instead, we saw the announcements of the new Mac Studio with M1 Ultra chip.
DylanDKT, a reliable Apple leaker, said that the new M2 chip will be released in the second half of 2022. This time frame matches Apple’s WWDC 2022, which is expected to be held in June. Sources added that the new MacBook Air 2022 will be the first Mac machine with an Apple M2 chip under the hood.
Last month, Bloomberg reported that the Cupertino firm was testing at least nine new Macs with 4 different configurations of the M2 chip. These include the M2 Pro, M2 Max, and M2 Ultra variants. Meanwhile, the Mac models used in the test include a MacBook Air, a Mac Mini, and an entry-level MacBook Pro.
The M2 chip is expected to be built on TSMC’s 4-nanometer process and will feature the same 8-core CPU as the M1. But it will have additional GPU cores, with 9 and 10-core GPU options. These additional cores will allow for performance improvements and power-efficiency when handling demanding tasks.
Despite those improvements, the differences will not be significant when compared with the M1 chip. According to sources, the base M2 chip will mainly target the MacBook Air range and the next-gen iPad Pro. Meanwhile, the more powerful M2 Pro and M2 Max will power the MacBook Pro and Mac Mini.
While there are no specific details on the M2 Pro, the M2 Max chip is expected to feature a 12-core CPU and a 38-core GPU, along with 64GB of unified memory.
Which Products will run the M2 chip?
According to DylanDKT, the M2 chip will be included in the new MacBook Pro. However, this Mac model will be an upgrade to the 13-inch MacBook Pro 2020 with the M1 chip, which will be discontinued this year.
It remains unknown which M2 variant will power the new 13-inch MacBook Pro 2022, but we can expect it to be the M2 Max. Also, there will be no design changes coming to the 13-inch model. Instead, Apple will focus on hardware improvements.
According to reports, Apple will release a brand new 16-inch MacBook Pro 2022 with the M2 Max chip under the hood. It will serve as an upgrade to the current 16-inch model. Apart from hardware changes, the new model will feature the same design with a notch at the top of the screen.
Some reliable sources say that the M2 chip will power the new iPad Pro this year. In fact, Apple incorporated the M1 chip into its iPad Pro in 2021 and received a warm welcome. The M1 chip has added a huge performance boost and a handful of features. Leaks say that the new iPad Pro will come with the entry-level M2 chip with more CPU and GPU cores.
M2 Ultra and M2 Extreme
According to rumors, Apple is now testing a new M2 variant, called Extreme. The new variant will include up to 4 M2 Max chips combined, allowing for an exceptional performance boost. However, the new chip will not see the day until March 2023. Also, the next-gen Mac Pro will be the first to come with the M2 Extreme under the hood.
In terms of the M2 Ultra, it is expected to come with the same UltraFusion design as the M1 Ultra. There are no details on the specs, but we can expect the same CPU and GPU cores as the current M1 Ultra.
M2 and M2 Max CPU Estimates
It’s hard to estimate how the M2 CPU will perform, but we gave it a try. In fact, we estimated M2 CPU performance by taking the M1 and M1 Max scores and adding some performance boost. And we got some exciting results.
The M2 chip single core performance hits around 1,800 in Geekbench 5, while the M2 Max is slightly better during the same test. The 1,800 score mark puts the new chip in line with Intel’s upcoming Core I9 Alder Lake laptop CPU.
In our multi-core performance test, the M1 Max comes out on top, scoring more than 14,000 thanks to its additional CPU cores. Meanwhile, the entry-level M2 scores under 9,000.
M2 and M2 Max GPU Estimates
As for our GPU estimates, we use 3DMark’s new Wide Life to take the M1 and M1 Max scores and then scale up to the M2 and M2 Max. Here are our results.
The base M2 chip scores over 6,000 while the M2 Max scores over 26,000. This is close to Nvidia RTX 3070 laptop GPU.
The Bottom Line
The new M2 chip might not come with a significant performance boost. Instead, Apple will focus on optimizing power-efficiency across the board. The base M2 will target consumer products such as MacBook Air, 13-inch MacBook Pro, and Mac Mini. Meanwhile, the M2 Max and Pro will be included in 14-inch and 16-inch MacBook Pros and Mac Studio, which are aimed at professionals and graphics designers.