Almost two years since the launch of Apple's M1 chip — the first ARM-based "Apple Silicon" hardware — we finally have a successor: M2. While the M1 chip was notable for showing what Apple could accomplish with a more efficient mobile design (a dramatic departure from Intel's power-hungry x86 processors), the goal of M2 is about refinement rather than breaking new ground. This time, it's all about efficiency.
But given how far Apple has scaled the M1 — to the point where it basically fused two chips together to create the mighty M1 Ultra on the Mac Studio — it'll be intriguing to see how far Apple can take the M2's design (we've yet to hear about an updated Mac Pro, don't forget).
The M2 chip supports up to 24GB of unified memory, compared to just 16GB with the M1, as well as double the memory bandwidth (1000 GB/s). And once again, it offers 8 cores (4 high performance, 4 high-efficiency). Apple claims the efficiency cores are vastly improved, and overall you can expect an 18 percent increase in multithreaded performance over the M1. The M2 chip can be equipped with up to 10 GPU cores, which are 35 percent more powerful than the M1's at their greatest power state.
Video editors may benefit the most from this new chip, as the M2 includes support for ProRes encoding and decoding, along with 6K external displays. The chip's neural engine is also 40 percent faster, which will significantly speed up AI tasks.
The M2 chip will arrive first in the redesigned MacBook Air, which adds a bigger screen and loses the iconic wedge shape, as well as the 13-inch MacBook Pro. (Hopefully, it'll make its way to the Mac Mini soon.) While the M2 may seem like an incremental update, that's not exactly a bad thing for Apple. The M1 astounded us two years ago, and the many variations of that chip can still take on the latest from Intel and AMD. If anything, the existence of the M2 chip should drive down the cost of M1 machines significantly.
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