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Apple unveils M2 with 50% more memory bandwidth than M1

By Jessie Chiang
Tue 7 Jun 2022

Apple says M2 delivers new levels of power-efficient performance to the completely redesigned MacBook Air and updated 13-inch Macbook Pro.

The company says, compared to M1, M2 has an 18% faster CPU, a 35% more powerful GPU and a 40% faster Neural Engine. It also delivers 50% more memory bandwidth than M1 and up to 24GB of fast unified memory.

Apple's senior vice president of hardware technologies, Johny Srouji says M2 starts the second generation of M-series chips and goes beyond the remarkable features of M1

"With our relentless focus on power-efficient performance, M2 delivers a faster CPU, GPU and Neural Engine," he says.

"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."

Apple says the system-on-a-chip (SoC) design of M2 is built using enhanced, second-generation 5-nanometre technology and consists of 20 billion transistors, 25% more than M1. 

It says the additional transistors improve features across the entire chip, including the memory controller that delivers 100GB/s of unified memory bandwidth.

Apple says 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. 

It says, compared with the latest 10-core PC laptop chip (Samsung Galaxy Book2 360 with Core i7-1255U and 16GB of RAM), the CPU in M2 provides nearly twice the performance at the same power level. And, M2 delivers the peak performance of the PC chip while using just a quarter of the power.

The company says the latest 12-core PC laptop chip (MSI Prestige 14Evo with Core i7-1260P and 16GB of RAM) needs dramatically more power to increase performance and is therefore found in thicker, hotter, more noisy systems with less battery life. But Apple says M2 provides nearly 90% of the peak performance of the 12-core chip while using just one-fourth of the power.

M2 also features Apple's next-generation GPU with up to 10 cores, two more than 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 M1 at the same power level and up to 35% better performance at its max power.

Apple says, compared with the integrated graphics of the latest PC laptop chip, the GPU in M2 delivers 2.3 times faster performance at the same power level and matches its peak performance using a fifth of the power.

It says the higher performance per watt from 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 says M2's Neural Engine can process up to 15.8 trillion operations per second. It says the media engine includes a higher-bandwidth video decoder, supporting 8K H.264 and HEVC video. The company says its powerful ProRes video engine enables playback of multiple streams of both 4K and 8K video. 

Apple says the power-efficient performance of M2 helps the new MacBook Air and 13-inch MacBook Pro meet Apple's high standards for energy efficiency. By 2030, Apple plans to have a net-zero climate impact across the entire business, including manufacturing supply chains and all product life cycles. This means that every chip Apple creates, from design to manufacturing, will be 100% carbon-neutral.

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