Apple’s new M2 Pro and M2 Max chips: here’s what you need to know

Apple M2 Pro and M2 Max chips
Apple's new chips: M2 Max (left) and M2 Pro (right)

Overnight, Apple announced its next generation of Mac processing technology: the M2 Pro and M2 Max processors, both designed to increase power and efficiency.

Alongside the new chips, Apple also announced the 2023 MacBook Pro 14 and 16-inch models powered by M2 Pro and M2 Max, and the compact 2023 Mac Mini which supports the brand’s M2 and M2 Pro chips.

What’s different about the M2 Pro and M2 Max?

Both processors are more powerful than the previous generation across both CPU and GPU performance. Starting with the M2 Pro, Apple offers up to a 12-core CPU version and a GPU with as many as 19 cores, backed by up to 32GB of memory. Meanwhile, the beefier M2 Max expands the GPU capacity up to 38 cores, along with a huge 96GB memory upper limit. Any way you look at it, that’s a significant improvement over the 2022 MacBook Pro.

For comparison, here are some key stats on how the new chips improve over previous hardware:

  • M2 Pro
    • 200GB/s unified memory bandwidth is double that of the M2
    • Contains 40 billion transistors, nearly 20% more than M1 Pro
    • Graphic speed performance is up to 30% faster than M1 Pro
  • M2 Max
    • 67 billion transistors, 10 billion more than M1 Max, and more than triple M2
    • 400GB/s unified memory bandwidth doubles M2 Pro’s capacity
    • Graphic speed performance is up to 30% faster than M1 Max

To summarise, both processors are designed to power through graphical intensive work, like multimedia editing, faster, let you multitask between powerful apps better, and produce higher gaming performance. Plus, with the new hardware sporting 16-core Neural Engines, machine learning tasks face and voice detection, and image and video analysis should also be more efficient.

According to Apple’s internal benchmarking, a 16-inch MacBook Pro equipped with an M2 Pro processes images in Photoshop up to 40% faster than the same device using an M1 Pro, and up to 80% faster than using an Intel Core i9 chip. Another provided example also indicates improved coding performance in Xcode, Apple’s software development app. Here, the M2 Pro in a MacBook Pro compiles code up to 25% faster than an M1 Pro, and more than double the speed of a Core i9.

M2 Pro and M2 Max specs

Here’s a quick-glance rundown of the maximum specifications you can get with both processors.

SpecificationM2 ProM2 Max
CPUUp to 12-core CPU with eight performance cores and four efficiency cores12-core CPU with eight performance cores and four efficiency cores
GPU19-core GPU38-core GPU
MemoryUp to 32GB unified memory
200GB/s memory bandwidth
Up to 96GB unified memory
400GB/s memory bandwidth
Neural Engine16 cores16 cores
Transistors40 billion67 billion

Better macOS Ventura performance and sustainability

Apple launched macOS Ventura late last year, bringing together a range of features and increased functionality between different devices. One of the bigger features included in the update was Stage Manager, a multitasking ecosystem designed to make managing multiple apps at once easier. According to Apple, Stage Manager and the various core app updates introduced by macOS Ventura run smoother on the new processors.

Additionally, Apple claims both chips contribute toward the company’s sustainability goals of net-zero climate impact by 2030. Designed with power efficiency in mind, the new MacBook Pro has the longest battery life of any Mac to date, lasting up to 22 hours. In other words, it means less time plugged in, and more time on the go.

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