Apple M2 Processor Series

Last modified on June 12th, 2022 at 1:22 pm

Understanding possibly five Apple M2 Series processors

Wikipedia – Apple announced the launch of M2 SoC on June 6, 2022 with the MacBook Air and the 13 inch MacBook Pro. It is the successor to the Apple M1. The M2 is made with TSMC’s “Enhanced 5-nanometer technology” N5P process and comes with 20 billion transistors, which is a 25% increase from the previous generation M1. The M2 can be configured with up to 24 gigabytes of RAM and 2 terabytes of storage. It has 8 CPU cores (4 performance and 4 efficiency) and up to 10 GPU cores. The M2 also increases the memory bandwidth to 100 GB/s. Apple claims CPU improvements up to 18% and GPU improvements up to 35% compared to the previous M1.

The brilliance of Apple silicon is the components of each one are the same. There are just more or less of them in each type. Performance of the various M2 processors really boil down to the base M2 processor performance.

It is a fact that supply chain issues are playing havoc with these releases. Specification compromises are being made to reflect capacity realities. Also keep in mind not all M2 processors will necessarily be released into actual products. The base M2 is in the MacBook Air M2 and available in the beginning of July 2022. The M2 Extreme will be in the next Mac Pro, available in possibly Q4 of 2022. The Mac mini may also refresh its lineup, currently M1 and Intel based, with M2 and M2 Pro models in possibly Q4 of 2022. The 24″ iMac will eventually upgrade to at least the M2. At some point the 14″/16″ MacBook Pros will upgrade to the M2 Pro and M2 Max.

I expect that the M2 Max and M2 Ultra will be released before the end of 2023 as the rest of the Apple lineup refreshes, but who knows, these could instead be released as M3 iterations. By the end of 2023, the M1 Series should be history and fully replaced by the Apple M2 Processor Series in newly released products.

M2 specifications are actual. M2 Pro, M2 Max, M2 Ultra & M2 Extreme specifications are estimates based on leaks!

** If you are browsing this page from a phone, you may want to view the following chart in landscape mode.

ComponentM2M2 ProM2 MaxM2 UltraM2 Extreme
Efficiency CPU Cores44248
Performance CPU Cores48102040
Neural Engine Cores1616163264
GPU Cores options8 or 1016 or 2032 or 3864 or 76128 or 152
Unified Memory options8GB 16GB 24GB16GB 32GB32GB 64GB64GB 128GB128GB or 256GB
Memory Bandwidth100GB/s200GB/s400GB/s800GB/s1600GB/s
Video Decode Engines11124
Video Encode Engines11248
ProRes Encode-Decode Engines11248

One twist, I think it is highly likely the M2 Extreme will not be named the M2 Extreme. This chip could be broken out of the M lineup and become a processor line of its own, with its own naming structure for the exclusive use of the Mac Pro systems.

Assuming a 2 year processor upgrade cycle, by the end of 2025 the M2 Series should be history and fully replaced by the Apple M3 Processor Series in newly released products.

Estimated Performance Benchmarks

Actual production M2 processor benchmarks could vary (very slightly) from these estimates. M2 Single Core will be slightly faster than M1 Series processors. M2 Multi Core and GPU Core will be faster than M1, but the M1 Pro, M1 Max, or M1 Ultra will be significantly faster in Multi Core and GPU Core performance.

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Screenshots above from ‘Apple M2 chip vs M1 Pro – How much SLOWER is the M2?‘ in playlist below.

Keep in mind some of this page is not real until it is real.

Updating content as information becomes available – check back!

Thanks!
–Yehuda

Videos

Yehuda Rothschild Apple M2 Processor Series YouTube Playlist

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