Apple Conducts Testing on High-End Macs Featuring New M2 Chips


In the upcoming Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC), Apple is set to unveil a range of fresh products, including potentially new Mac desktop computers. According to Mark Gurman from Bloomberg, the renowned tech company has been conducting tests on a pair of top-of-the-line Macs featuring their upcoming M2 Max processor and the yet-to-be-announced M2 Ultra chip.

Earlier this year, Apple introduced the M2 Max on their MacBook Pro laptops (14- and 16-inch variants) and the Mac mini. The desktop version of this chip is said to boast 8 high-performance cores, 4 efficiency cores, and 30 graphics cores. Additionally, it will come equipped with 96 GB of RAM and will run on macOS 13.4, Apple's latest computer software, straight out of the box.

Meanwhile, the unannounced M2 Ultra chip is expected to be the more powerful option of the two, featuring twice the number of processing cores .Specifically, it is anticipated to sport 16 high-performance cores, 8 efficiency cores, and 60 graphics cores. Bloomberg suggests that Apple may even offer a more potent version with 76 graphics cores. Testing of the M2 Ultra computer configurations includes memory options of 64GB, 128GB, and 192GB.

Gurman also reveals that the M2 Ultra chip was originally developed for future iterations of the Mac Pro, which currently relies on Intel processors. However, the Mac Pro is being tested under the codename Mac 14,8, while the new high-end desktops with the M2 Max and M2 Ultra chips are known as Mac 14,13 and Mac 14,14. This suggests that they may be distinct desktop PCs, potentially new models of the Mac Studio series that currently utilizes the M1 Max or M1 Ultra chips.

Apart from the high-end desktop computers, Apple may also unveil new laptops at WWDC. Possibilities include a 15-inch MacBook Air powered by a processor comparable to their current-generation M2 chip, as well as a more budget-friendly version of the 13-inch MacBook Pro.

What Is Apple M2 Chip? 

Apple's WWDC 2022 keynote on June 6 marked the introduction of the Apple M2 chip, which serves as the foundation for Apple's second-generation custom silicon. This is a significant development as the M2 chip builds upon the impressive M1 chip, which made its debut in 2020 and currently powers the new 13-inch MacBook Air 2022 and MacBook Pro 2022. These new laptops are the successors to highly regarded MacBooks, so the inclusion of the M2 chip generates great anticipation regarding its capabilities.

Key Features and Improvements of the Apple M2 chip:

- The M2 chip is a 5-nanometer successor to the remarkable M1 chip.

- It features an 8-core CPU and a 12-core GPU, offering enhanced performance compared to the M1 chip.

- The chip boasts 20 billion transistors, which is a 25% increase over the M1 chip.

- It supports a unified memory bandwidth of 100 GB/s.

- The M2 chip can accommodate up to 24GB of unified memory.

- It incorporates a 16-core Neural Engine, which demonstrates improvements over the M1 Neural Engine.

- The chip is capable of playing back multiple streams of ProRes 4K/8K video.

Release Date and Configurations of the Apple M2 chip:

The Apple M2 chip was initially introduced in two new laptops: the 13-inch MacBook Air and MacBook Pro, which were launched in the summer of 2022. You can find the M2 chip in the 13-inch MacBook Air 2022 (starting at $1,199) or the MacBook Pro 2022 ($1,299). Thus, acquiring an M2-powered MacBook requires an investment of over $1,000. Additionally, the M2 chip is available in the Mac mini M2, which is a more affordable and powerful version of Apple's compact Mac.

Specifications of the Apple M2 chip:

The M2 chip can be configured with an 8-core CPU and up to a 10-core GPU. This represents an improvement over the original M1 chip, which featured up to an 8-core CPU and an 8-core GPU. However, the M2 chip does not match the core counts of the higher-end M1 Pro and M1 Max chips, which offer CPU core counts ranging from 8 to 10 and GPU core counts ranging from 16 to 32.

According to Apple, the M2 chip delivers up to 18% greater multi-core performance than the M1 chip. Our testing corroborates this claim, as we had the opportunity to benchmark the M2 chip using a 13-inch MacBook Pro 2022 review unit equipped with a 1TB SSD, 16GB of RAM, and an M2 chip featuring an 8-core CPU and 10-core GPU.

In the Geekbench 5.4 multi-core CPU performance test, the M2 chip helped the 2022 MacBook Pro achieve a score of 8,911, which is quite impressive. It surpasses the score of 7,521 earned by the M1-equipped MacBook Pro from 2020 and outperforms many of the best Windows laptops featuring the latest Intel CPUs, including the Lenovo Yoga 9i Gen 7 that we recently tested with a 12th Gen Intel Core i7-1260P CPU (7,150).

The M2 chip also incorporates a 16-core Neural Engine, similar to the M1. In the case of the M2, the Neural Engine can process up to 15.8 trillion operations per second, which is over 40% more than the M1's capability, as claimed by Apple.

With regard to memory, the M2 chip supports up to 24 GB, delivering up to 2x the performance of the M1 chip while utilizing only half the power. This represents a significant improvement in performance and power efficiency, aligning with Apple's assertion that the M2-powered 13-inch MacBook Pro 2022 can provide up to 20 hours of video playback on a single charge. Our testing has confirmed that the 13-inch MacBook Pro is one of the longest-lasting laptops available.

The M2 chip also introduces a new media engine capable of decoding up to 8K HVEC and H.264 video, with the ability to handle multiple ProRes streams in 4K and 8K.

Additionally, Apple claims that the M2 chip's image signal processor (ISP) offers substantial enhancements over the M1, ensuring an improved visual experience during video calls. Our testing confirms the validity of this claim.

Outlook for the Apple M2 chip:

The release of the M2 chip, which serves as the successor to the groundbreaking M1 chip from 2020, is an exciting development, particularly for Mac enthusiasts eagerly awaiting a new 13-inch MacBook. The M2 chip represents a mid-grade offering within Apple's silicon lineup, surpassing its predecessor, the M1, in performance without reaching the heights of the top-tier M1 Pro and M1 Max chips.

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