Apple has unveiled the M2, which kicks off the next generation of Apple silicon designed specifically for the Mac.
Built using second-generation 5-nanometer technology, M2 takes the industry-leading performance per watt of M1 even further with an 185 faster CPU, a 35% more powerful GPU, and a 40% faster Neural Engine, according to Johny Srouji, Apple’s senior vice president of Hardware Technologies. It also delivers 50% more memory bandwidth compared to M1, and up to 24GB of fast unified memory, he adds.
“M2 starts the second generation of M-series chips and goes beyond the remarkable features of M1,” Srouji says. “With our relentless focus on power-efficient performance, M2 delivers a faster CPU, GPU, and Neural Engine. And along with higher memory bandwidth and new capabilities like ProRes acceleration, M2 continues the tremendous pace of innovation in Apple silicon for the Mac.”
More Transistors, More Memory
The system-on-a-chip (SoC) design of M2 is built using second-generation 5-nanometer technology, and consists of 20 billion transistors — 25% more than M1. Srouji says the additional transistors improve features across the entire chip, including the memory controller that delivers 100GB/s of unified memory bandwidth — 50% more than M1. Srouji says the new CPU features faster performance cores paired with a larger cache, while the efficiency cores have been significantly enhanced for even greater performance gains. Together, they purportedly deliver 18% greater multithreaded performance than M1.
Compared with the latest 10-core PC laptop chip, the CPU in M2 provides nearly twice the performance at the same power level, says Srouji. He adds that the M2 delivers the peak performance of the PC chip while using just a quarter of the power.
When compared to the latest 12-core PC laptop chip — which needs dramatically more power to deliver an increase in performance and is therefore found in thicker, hotter, more noisy systems with less battery life — M2 provides nearly 90% of the peak performance of the 12-core chip while using just one-fourth the power, according to Srouji.
M2 also features Apple’s next-generation GPU with up to 10 cores — two more than M1. Combined with a larger cache and higher memory bandwidth, the 10-core GPU delivers a big boost in graphics performance, bringing up to 25% higher graphics performance than M1 at the same power level, and up to 35% better performance at its max power.
Compared with the integrated graphics of the latest PC laptop chip, the GPU in M2 delivers 2.3x faster performance at the same power level, and matches its peak performance using a fifth of the power, according to Srouji. He adds that the higher performance per watt from M2 enables systems to have exceptional battery life, and run cool and quietly, even when playing graphics-intensive games or editing massive RAW images.
Apple’s Next-Generation Custom Technologies
Apple says the M2 brings Apple’s latest custom technologies to the Mac, enabling new capabilities, better security, and more:
- The Neural Engine can process up to 15.8 trillion operations per second — over 40 percent more than M1.
- The media engine includes a higher-bandwidth video decoder, supporting 8K H.264 and HEVC video.
- Apple’s powerful ProRes™ video engine enables playback of multiple streams of both 4K and 8K video.
- Apple’s latest Secure Enclave provides best-in-class security.
- A new image signal processor (ISP) delivers better image noise reduction.