Now that the next-gen M2 is here, Apple Silicon’s next key is here
When Apple unveiled the M1 chip in late 2020, we were surprised to see speed improvements over its Intel predecessors. A year later Apple did it again with the M1 Pro and M1 Max. Then in March 2022, Apple unveiled the M1 Ultra, filling the M1 chip lineup and dramatically changing our expectations for Apple’s roadmap. At WWDC in June 2022, Apple introduced the next generation of Silicon with the Apple M2. So what now? Here’s how Apple Silicon Transition got started and gone so far and where it’s going.
M1: December 2020
Apple’s M1 processor is based on the 5nm A14 chip that first appeared on the iPad Air (4th generation) and the iPhone 12. It has four high-performance cores with 192 KB L1 indicator cache and 128 KB L1 data cache and is shared with four power-efficient cores including 12 MB L2 cache and 128 KB instruction cache, 64 KB of L1 data cache, and 4 MB L2 cache. Shared. It splits a total of eight cores evenly in strength and efficiency, which makes it remarkably fast compared to previous models. Most models of the system-on-a-chip have an eight-core GPU (an entry-level MacBook Air and a 24-inch iMac has a 7-core GPU) with 128 execution units and 24576 parallel threads.
Memory has also changed. With the M1, LP-DDR4 memory isn’t just soldered to the motherboard, it’s actually part of the chip. This means it’s faster and more efficient than ever, but it’s a bit more limited. You can only get 8GB or 16GB on an M1 Mac and there’s no way to upgrade it after purchase. (This may not be a surprise for MacBook buyers, but it does apply to desktop models as well, although we’re still not sure about the Mac Pro.) And finally, the chip with Secure has a 16-core neural engine with Enclave and USB4 / Thunderbolt support.
M1 Pro and M1 Max: October 2021
We started hearing about the development of an M1X chip earlier this year, but the rumors weren’t entirely accurate. Apple calls its next-generation processors the M1 Pro and M1 Max, and with their names true, they’re a huge jump on the M1.
Built using the same 5nm process as the M1, the M1 Pro and M1 Max bring a new 10-core CPU, consisting of eight high-performance cores and two highly-efficient cores, providing speeds up to 70 percent faster than the M1. The M1 Pro offers up to 200GB / s memory bandwidth with support for Unified Memory up to 32GB while the M1 Max offers up to 400GB / s memory bandwidth with support for Unified Memory up to 64GB.
In terms of graphics, the M1 Pro has a 14-core or 16-core GPU that is 2x faster than the M1, while the M1 Max adds a 32-core GPU option for faster graphics performance from the M1 to 4x faster. According to Apple, the new M1 Max MacBook Pro can transcode ProRes video on a compressor 10x faster than the Intel 16-inch MacBook Pro.
In addition, the chips have a 16-core neural engine, additional Thunderbolt 4 controllers and a new display engine that can run up to four external displays on the M1 Max. You can find them on the 14- and 16-inch MacBook Pros.
M1 Ultra: March 2022
The M1 Ultra came as a surprise during Apple’s “Peak Performance” event in March. Apple has done a good job of wrapping up this processor – rumors circulating about Mac Studio a few days before the event only described the Ultra as an alternative to the M1 Max.
It turns out that the M1 Ultra is a misnomer বলা it’s actually two Max chips that work together. Apple has created an extremely fast interconnection called Ultrafusion that offers 2.5TBps bandwidth between two dyes, allowing the Ultra to be recognized as a single SoC by macOS.
Since the Ultra has two maxes, you can double the specs of a single max and you’ll get a loaddown on the ultra. It has 20 CPU cores, 16 performance cores and 4 efficiency cores and a 48-core or 64-core GPU. The M1 Ultra is available with 64 or 128GB of unified memory with a memory bandwidth of 800GBps. And it has a 32-core neural engine.
The Ultra also has all the media engines available in the Max, but again, it has twice as many: two video decode engines, four video encode engines and four ProRes encode and decode engines. Simply put, it is an ideal processor for video editing.
M2: June 2022
Apple discontinued the M2 at WWDC in June 2022. The first Macs to feature the new chip were the MacBook Air and the 13-inch MacBook Pro. The M2 will eventually replace the M1 as the baseline for the M-Series, but Apple will still offer the Mac with the M1 for a few months and possibly next year.
The M2 is a 5nm chip with a base configuration that has the same number of cores as the M1: eight CPU cores (four performance, four efficiency), and an eight-core or 10-core GPU. It’s similar to the M1, but Apple has improved its performance – the performance core L2 cache has been increased from 12GB to 16GB and the clock speed is higher. Apple says the M2 offers an 18 percent overall CPU boost compared to the M1 and a 35 percent boost with GPU performance.
The M2 has a higher RAM configuration than the M1–24GB with 8GB and 16GB options. The M2’s memory bandwidth is now 100Gbps, higher than the M1’s 68.25GBps. Even faster than the 16-core neural engine M1. The M2 also has an advanced media engine that supports H.264 and HEVC encoding and decoding up to 8K resolution, and includes ProRes video acceleration support.
The M2 will probably enter the Mac Mini later this year. It may also find its way into the 24-inch iMac, but since that model began shipping in May 2021, it may not be updated until early 2023.
M2 Pro and M2 Max: From mid-2023 to late
According to Bloomberg, the next generation of Apple’s high-end laptop processors may have different levels of performance, such as the M1 Pro and M1 Max, consisting of 20 computing cores, 16 high-performance and four high-efficiency cores. Based on what we know about the M2, the M2 Pro and Max may have higher RAM limits and up to 40 GPU cores. Based on the current cadence, we expect that these will launch from mid-2023 to the end, possibly at WWDC or the fall Mac event, but in some reports they may launch after 2022.
M2 Extreme: Mid-2023
When John Tarnas announced the M1 Ultra processor at the “Peak Performance” event, he declared it the last chip in the M1 family. Later in the presentation, he teased the final Mac to transform into Apple Silicon, the Mac Pro. Assuming these two things to be true, Apple is working on a workstation-caliber desktop chip for the next generation of its Mac Pro Tower, something different than a mere upgrade to the M1 Ultra. The Mac Pro chip is rumored to have up to 40 cores due to a four-die process or a pair of chips with 32 performance cores, as well as a 64-core or 128-core GPU.
These numbers look a lot like two M1 Ultra chips. So it is possible that Apple combined two M1 Ultra chips in one mega chip with M1 Max to do something very similar to what it did, which brings a lot of rumored space: 40 CPU cores (32 performance, eight capabilities), 128 GPU cores, 64 neural engine cores, And up to 356GB RAM. Gurman teased the existence of a chip that could be launched next year, temporarily known as the M2 Extreme.
We don’t know if Apple will offer PCI slots for graphics and storage or add more ports for expansion, but the Mac Pro is definitely the most exciting Mac of Apple Silicon Transition. With the launch in November or December we can peek into WWDC’s machines.
M3: Towards the end of 2023
According to the latest rumors, Apple is already working on the third generation of its M-Series processor. It will probably be the first Mac processor to use a 3nm process and will significantly increase speeds compared to the M2 due to a new architecture, possibly more GPU and CPU cores, higher RAM limit and extra Thunderbolt ports. Its code name is Ibiza.
M3 Pro and M3 Max: Late 2024 to early 2025
We don’t know much about the M3 Pro and M3 Max, their codenames are Lobos and Palma, and the chip will be based on the M3 processor. Based on the M1 timeline, this chip may not arrive until 2025