You may be considering purchasing a new Apple Macbook and are trying to decide between the models M1 vs M2. In this article, we will compare the features and specs of both laptops to help you make your decision. We will also share our thoughts on which laptop is the better buy.
At the WWDC 2022 event, Apple finally unveiled the new flagship M2 chip after a gap of around 1.5 years. The Apple M2 chip will be powering the next generation of Apple devices, this includes the latest MacBook Air as well as the upcoming Macs and iPads. Now, it is right to wonder how much of a performance difference Apple M2 brings in comparison to M1, and that is what we have compiled for you in this article.
We will be comparing the Apple M1 vs Apple M2 chip to find out the improvements in CPU, GPU, power consumption, etc.
Apple M1 vs Apple M2: In-depth Comparison (2022)
Here is the specs comparison between the Apple M1 and M2 chips to give you an overview. You can glance over the on-paper specs below to glance over the new upgrades Apple’s new M2 chip provides in comparison to Apple M1.
|Apple M1||Apple M2|
|Fabrication Process||5nm||2nd-gen 5nm|
|Transistors||16 billion||20 billion|
|GPU Cores||7 or 8||8 or 10|
|Frequency (Max)||3.2GHz||Information not available yet|
|TDP||20 to 24W||Information not available yet|
|Neural Engine||16 cores; 11 TOPS||16 cores; 15.8 TOPS|
|Unified Memory (RAM)||Up to 16GB||Up to 24GB|
Apple M2 vs M1: Price
Apple’s M2 chip debuts in two new laptops, the 13-inch MacBook Air along with the MacBook Pro. These are set to hit the market in July of 2022.
The make-or-break factor might be the price, so, here it is, the pricing starts at $1,199 and $1,299 (respectively) in the U.S. Sad to say, but don’t expect to get a new M2-powered MacBook for under $1,200.
The cost of the new MacBook Air M2 is $200 more than the costs of an M1-powered MacBook, as the M1 Air still sells for a starting price of $999. Of course, you will always have the option of getting a Mac mini with M1 (starting price: $699) if you really want, however, it will be a bit less portable.
Apple M1 vs M2: The CPU and its upgrades?
Apple had announced that it is focusing on power efficiency rather than running behind superior performance at the cost of battery life. So, the Apple M2 chip is built on the 2nd-gen 5nm technology, this change is supposed to bring better power efficiency. Yes, the Apple M1 is also developed on 5nm tech, however, the 2nd-gen process node comes with more refinement as well as optimization.
The Apple M1 and M2 both come with the same amount of CPU Cores with 8 cores, however, the transistor count has increased to 20 billion on the M2, whereas M1 is at 16 billion transistors. This is partly due to the larger GPU core (which will be discussed below). The new 8-core CPU on the Apple M2 comes with 4 high-performance cores along with 4 high-efficiency cores, similar to the Apple M1.
As it seems, the underlying architecture is also similar. The high-performance cores on the Apple M2 have been developed on the Ultrawide microarchitecture with 192KB instruction cache, 128KB data cache, and a Shared 16MB cache, and when compared to the Apple M1 chip, well, there is nothing to compare, it also shares the same cache size. However, the noticeable difference is the Shared cache size is 12MB on the M1 against M2’s 16MB.
When the high-efficiency cores are compared, both the chips are built on the Wide microarchitecture having 128KB instruction cache, 64KB data cache, as well as a Shared 4MB cache. To be put simply, the efficiency cores have not been revamped a lot, while the performance cores have gotten a larger Shared cache on the new Apple M2.
To give the not-so-distinguishable figures some context and assurance for Apple fanatics, the CPU on the Apple M2 is 18% faster than Apple M1 in the same power envelope. It is not some sort of breakthrough upgrade; however, Apple has maintained the same power consumption while providing 18% greater performance without even increasing the 8-core count. You could say that the Apple M2 has gotten a decent upgrade over the M1 in the CPU sector.
Apple M1 vs M2: GPU
The Apple M2 comes with a 10-core GPU (8-core on lower-end Macs), and 2 more cores, when compared to the Apple M1 which has 8 GPU cores (on some Mac, 7 GPU cores in M1). The company is willing to offer better graphics performance with the new Apple M2 chip. As per Apple, the M2 chip offers 25% better graphics performance than Apple M1. If you push the Apple M2 GPU to its highest power state, it has the ability to offer 35% better performance. It can be said that the M2’s GPU is significantly better than the M1’s GPU.
The GPU on the Apple M2 is equipped with a larger L2 cache, it can deliver up to 3.6 teraflops of performance, whereas the M1 GPU can only deliver 2.6 teraflops. The M2 GPU has the ability to render up to 55 gigapixels per second, whereas the M1 GPU can only render at 41 gigapixels per second. So, overall, the Apple M2 GPU has gotten a serious upgrade over its predecessor.
Apple M1 vs M2: Unified Memory
Apart from the CPU and GPU, there is Unified memory to compare on both the chips. The new M2 chip supports Unified memory of up to 24GB with a bandwidth of 100GBps. While the M1 only supports up to 16GB of Unified memory with a bandwidth of 68.25Gbps.
Well, this is partly thanks to the LPDDR5 memory interface used by the M2, whereas the M1 sports the older LPDDR4X memory channel. The Unified memory is accessible to the entire chip, it has been custom-designed by Apple.
Apple M1 vs M2: Media Engine
The M2 has seen good improvements in the Media Engine department, as well. It has an updated Media Engine that adds support for ProRes, the M2 can also both encode as well as decode. On top of that, the new Media Engine supports 8K H.264 along with HEVC videos, which should result in simultaneous 4K as well as 8K video streams. There is also 6K external display support, which is the same as the Apple M1.
Apple M1 vs M2: The Secure Enclave and Neural Engine
There is the next-generation Secure Enclave on the Apple M2 chip which provides an extra layer of security. The latest 16-core Neural Engine on the Apple M2 has the ability to deliver up to 15.8 trillion operations per second (TOPS). The previous Apple M1 chip also has a 16-core Neural Engine; however, it can only reach up to 11 TOPS. Simply put, the updated Neural Engine on the Apple M2 is 40% faster than the M1’s Neural Engine.
Apple M1 vs M2: Opinions
The Apple M2 is not a revolutionary breakthrough when compared to its predecessor, the OG Apple M1. Moreover, it does not imbue the same level of excitement that the Apple M1 had brought when it was unveiled in 2020.
The GPU has been noticeably improved. The core architecture is largely similar; however, the theme is power efficiency. You will be getting unparalleled battery life and performance, nearly18 hours of video playback on the M2 MacBook Air.
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