Just recently at the WWDC in early June, Apple introduced the second generation of its in-house ARM processors. The M2 should therefore bring more performance in many areas than the M1 chip announced a year and a half earlier. At the developer conference, Apple also showed the first Macs to be equipped with the new System on Chip (SoC): On the one hand, this is an extensively revised MacBook Air 2022 with, among other things, a larger Retina display with less bezel, MagSafe for charging, new colors (Midnight and North Star alongside Space Gray and Silver), move away from the wedge case and 1080p webcam.
On the other hand, it is a MacBook Pro 13″ 2022, which has no changes apart from the new chip. Originally, it was said that both notebooks would not be launched until July. Now the MacBook Pro will start shipping on June 24th. Apple provided us with a test device in advance.
M2 processor with more CPU power
Although the M2 processor from TSMC is still being manufactured with a 5-nanometer structure width in what is now the second generation of the process, it has 25 percent more transistors. Apple has accepted an enlargement of the die area. The number of CPU cores has not increased, four high-performance and four efficiency cores remain. According to Apple, they should work up to 18 percent faster.
In our test with Cinebench 23 it was a 12.7 percent increase in performance and with Geekbench 5 18.42 percent. The program reported a clock rate of 3.37 GHz, the Powermetrics tool indicated 3.504 GHz and 2.86 GHz for the energy-saving cores. The values for the M1 are 3.2 and 2.06 GHz.
More cores and more power for the Apple GPU
Instead of 8, the GPU of the MacBook Pro M2 now has 10 GPU cores, which according to Apple should deliver 35 percent more graphics performance. In our test with the Geekbench 5 synthetic metal benchmark, it even achieved 39 percent more, in the games Rise and Shadow of the Tomb Raider, which are not yet optimized for ARM, it was 38 and 48 percent more.
Improved media engine in M2
The video unit contained in the SoC now also decodes and encodes the ProRes format in the MacBook Pro M2 in addition to H.264 and H.265 (HEVC) in 8K resolution. The increased performance can eliminate a bottleneck in some video formats: The rendering of our 4K project in Final Cut Pro accelerated by a whopping 343 percent, with Full HD it was “only” 71 percent more and with 8K ProRes there was an additional 56 percent . Nevertheless, the M2 still lags behind the performance of the M1 Pro, M1 Max and M1 Ultra in MacBook Pro 14 and 16 inches and the Mac Studio.
The higher performance of the Apple M2 is also due to a level 2 cache that has been increased from 12 to 16 MB, a bandwidth of the 128-bit wide memory interface that has been increased by 50 percent to 102 GB/s and the use of LPDDR5-6400 instead of LPDDR4X -4266 modules as main memory. Another new feature is that the MacBook Pro 13″ can be ordered with 24 instead of a maximum of 16 GB of RAM. However, these models currently have a longer delivery time. Our test device came with 16 GB, the basic model only has 8 GB of RAM. That for AI calculations According to Apple, the responsible neural engine should work 40 percent faster, but still has 16 cores.