M2 Pro and M2 Max – New versions of the Apple silicon introduced

Apple today presented the new versions of its System on a Chip (SoC). The new chips are called M2 Pro and Max M2 and thus follow the nomenclature introduced with the M1 chip. The advancements of the M2 chip are even more powerful and more energy-efficient than their predecessors. Also, their CPU and GPU units can share up to 96GB of memory. You can find more data and information about the new central processing units, which are used in the Mac mini and MacBook Pro models also presented today, in this article.

Details about the predecessors: M1 Pro and M1 Max from 2021

Apple today introduced the M2 Pro chip and the M2 Max chip. They are not only a further development of the M2 chip from 2022, but also more powerful than the M1 Pro and the M1 Max from 2021. Here you can find the technical details.
Apple today introduced the M2 Pro chip and the M2 Max chip. They are not only a further development of the M2 chip from 2022, but also more powerful than the M1 Pro and the M1 Max from 2021. Here you can find the technical details.

Up to 12 CPU cores and up to 38 GPU cores

The new M2 Pro chip builds on the architecture of the M2 chip and expands it to deliver even more performance - and that energy-efficiently. Depending on the configuration, up to 12 CPU cores are used. In addition, up to 19 GPU cores can be used for fast calculations of complex graphics. Up to 32 GB of RAM is available for this. 

The new M2 Max chip, on the other hand, can do even more. It is equipped with up to 38 GPU cores, i.e. a graphics unit that is twice as large. For professional performance on the go, Mac models with the M2 Max chip can also have three times as much RAM as in Mac models with the M2 Pro chip, i.e. up to 96 GB of RAM. By the way, the neural engine of both chips has 16 cores. In addition, a Media Engine (Pro) or two Media Engines (Max) and other updated components are used on the new Apple Silicons (see below).

"Only Apple makes SoCs like the M2 Pro and M2 Max. They deliver incredible pro performance and industry-leading power efficiency' said Johny Srouji, Apple's senior vice president of hardware technologies. "With even more powerful CPU and GPU, support for more shared memory and an advanced media engine, the M2 Pro and M2 Max represent an impressive evolution of Apple chips."

The M2 Pro chip in detail

The new M2 Pro is built using the second generation 5nm architecture and offers 40 billion transistors. That's twice as many as the M2 and almost 20% more than the M1 Pro. The memory bandwidth for the shared RAM is 2 GB/s for the M200 Pro. This is also a doubling compared to the conventional M2 chip. In addition to the four high-efficiency cores of the CPU unit, up to eight high-performance cores are used. CPU elements with 10 or 12 cores can be selected. The performance should be 20% faster than the M1 Pro. 

The M1 Pro chip managed a maximum of 16 GPU cores; the new M2 Pro chip can now be configured with up to 19 graphics cores. It also has a larger L2 cache. Compared to its predecessor, the graphics speed is said to have increased by 30%. Image editing, graphic design, video editing, gaming and other areas of application are thus raised to the next higher level in the mobile area. According to Apple, gaming should now be possible at “console level”. The image calculation in Adobe Photoshop is also said to be 40% faster than with the M1 Pro and 80% faster than with a MacBook with an Intel Core i9 CPU.

The new Apple M2 Pro chip is a powerful Apple silicon with up to 12 CPU cores, up to 19 GPU cores, up to 32 GB of shared memory, a neural engine with 16 cores and other exciting specs.
The new Apple M2 Pro chip is a powerful Apple silicon with up to 12 CPU cores, up to 19 GPU cores, up to 32 GB of shared memory, a neural engine with 16 cores and other exciting specs.

The M2 Max chip in detail

The specs of the M2 Max are even more impressive. With 67 billion transistors, it not only offers more than three times the M2 chip, but also 10 billion more transistors than the M1 Max chip. A memory bandwidth of 96 GB/s is available for the up to 400 GB shared memory of the CPU and GPU unit. Even extremely computationally intensive work should therefore run quickly and smoothly. The CPU values ​​are the same as with the M2 Pro, i.e. four high-efficiency cores with eight high-performance cores - a total of 12 cores.

However, the graphics unit offers up to twice as many cores as in the M2 Pro, i.e. up to 38 cores. A larger L2 cache is also used here than in the previous chips. Compared to the M1 Max chip, the graphics speed could be increased by 30%. From visual effects in films or digital environments to training AI models and stitching photos in the gigapixel range, everything and much more should be possible.

"Together with 96 GB of RAM, the new MacBook Pro with M2 Max can handle graphics-intensive projects that competing systems can't even open“, It says in the press release to the new chips. For comparison, a Windows 11 PC with an Intel Core i9 processing unit and NVIDIA Quadro RTX 6000 Graphics graphics unit as well as 24 GB GDDR6 RAM was used - a rendering process was tested on it and on the M2 Max system using OTOY Octane X 2022.1 and OTOY OctaneRender 2022.1 , which required 40 GB of graphics memory.

The new Apple M2 Max chip is a powerful Apple silicon with up to 12 CPU cores, up to 38 GPU cores, up to 96 GB of shared memory, a neural engine with 16 cores and other exciting specs.
The new Apple M2 Max chip is a powerful Apple silicon with up to 12 CPU cores, up to 38 GPU cores, up to 96 GB of shared memory, a neural engine with 16 cores and other exciting specs.

Improvements for both chips in different areas

In the press release linked above, Apple not only lists the technical data of the M2 Pro and M2 Max, but also the improvements to certain chip technologies. These four points are mentioned:

  • M2 Pro and M2 Max feature the next-generation 16-core Neural Engine, which can perform 15,8 trillion operations per second. This makes it up to 40% faster than the previous generation.
  • The M2 Pro has an extremely powerful and efficient media engine that supports hardware accelerated H.264, HEVC and ProRes video encoding and decoding. This enables playback of multiple streams of 4K and 8K ProRes video with very low power consumption. The M2 Max has two engines to encode video and two ProRes engines to encode video up to 2x faster than the M2 Pro.
  • Apple's latest image signal processor delivers better noise reduction and works with the Neural Engine and computational video to give the camera higher image quality.
  • The next-generation Secure Enclave was installed for even more security of personal data and login values ​​(e.g. fingerprint for Touch ID).

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