The latest member of the Apple Silicon processor family has arrived and the M2 chip is even better than the M1 that launched Mac computers on an exciting new path. While Apple supercharged the original chip with three new variants, the M1 Pro, Max, and Ultra, which pushed into new territory themselves, which is the best and how much faster is the M2 compared to the first-generation chip?
Apple’s M1 chip was a revolutionary advance for Mac computers, setting them on a new path that doesn’t rely on Intel’s processors and AMD’s graphics chips. The Mac was always different than a Windows PC but this change at the deepest levels of a computer makes that distinction even stronger. At the same time, using Apple Silicon in Mac computers unifies Apple’s various devices to a greater degree. Apps that run on an iPhone and iPad can also work on a Mac even when the developer doesn’t build an app specifically for the Mac.
Apple’s new M2 processor picks up where the M1 chip left off and fills in the few areas that it was lacking. Most notably, graphics capabilities receive a big lift with the latest technology. The M2 chip promises a 35-percent improvement in GPU performance when compared to the M1. Since Apple’s M2 chip contains two more GPU cores, it can run ten graphics instructions at the same time versus the eight that the previous generation could handle. The CPU has the same number of cores but still manages an 18-percent speed boost, according to Apple. It should be noted that these gains are coming to an entry-level processor and the M2 is still not as fast as the latest M1 variants, such as the M1 Ultra chip that powers Apple’s most powerful computer, the Mac Studio.
Apple’s M2 Still Can’t Beat An M1 Pro
The differences between the new M2 chip and the previous generation are more significant than simply adding more graphics cores, although that definitely helps and ten cores bring the M2 a bit closer to the M1 Pro in GPU performance. Special functions added to the chip accelerate video processing and the M2 can handle 4K and 8K video even in the demanding ProRes format. Since the M1 Pro features up to 16 graphics cores, double that of the M1, a 35-percent gain for the M2 still leaves it short of the higher-power chips introduced in 2021. What the M2 does achieve is bringing more speed while maintaining incredibly low-power usage.
According to Apple, an M2 MacBook offers nearly double the CPU performance of a 12th Gen Intel Core i7-1255U PC laptop while using only 15 watts of power. Apple claims it also beats the same PC laptop which uses integrated graphics with 2.3 times the graphics performance at 15 watts. The new MacBook Pro offers up to 20 hours of battery life just as the 2020 model did. With the new M2, Apple Silicon keeps delivering more performance than before while making chips that sip power gently, delivering long battery life in a very responsive system.