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Apple unveils M2 chip

Apple’s new M2 chip delivers enhanced power-efficient performance and capabilities. Compared to the M1, the CPU is 18% faster, GPU is 35% faster, and has 50% more memory bandwidth.

Apple last night announced the M2 chip, the next generation of Apple silicon for Mac. Built using second-generation 5-nanometer technology, the M2 enhances the industry-leading performance per watt of the M1, with an 18% faster CPU, a 35% more powerful GPU, and a 40% faster Neural Engine. It also delivers 50% more memory bandwidth compared to M1, and up to 24GB of fast unified memory. 

“M2 starts the second generation of M-series chips and goes beyond the remarkable features of M1,” says Johny Srouji, Apple’s senior vice president of hardware technologies. “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 the M2 is built using enhanced, second-generation 5-nanometer technology, and consists of 20 billion transistors — 25% more than the M1. The additional transistors improve features across the entire chip, including the memory controller that delivers 100GB/s of unified memory bandwidth — 50% more than the M1. And with up to 24GB of fast unified memory, the M2 can handle larger and more complex workloads.

Faster power-efficient performance

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 deliver 18% greater multithreaded performance than the M1, so the M2 can rip through CPU-intensive tasks using very little power, like creating music with layers of effects or applying complex filters to photos. 

Compared with the latest 10-core PC laptop chip, the CPU in the M2 provides nearly twice the performance at the same power level. And, the M2 delivers the peak performance of the PC chip while using 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 — the M2 provides nearly 90% of the peak performance of the 12-core chip while using just one-fourth the power.

The M2 also features Apple’s next-generation GPU with up to 10 cores — two more than the 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 the 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 the M2 delivers 2.3x faster performance at the same power level, and matches its peak performance using a fifth of the power. The higher performance per watt from the 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

The M2 adds additional capabilities, including:

  • The Neural Engine can process up to 15.8 trillion operations per second — over 40% more than the 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.
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