When Apple introduced the new MacBook Pro at WWDC and the M2 chip on the MacBook Air, there were some changes from the M1. Built using the same architecture and 5nm process, the chip brings predictable gains over the M1 and we assume it will apply to high-performance M2 variants: the M2 Pro, M2 Max, and M2 Ultra.
Now we are not so sure. A new report from DigiTimes claims that Apple has “booked TSMC capabilities for its upcoming 3nm M3 and M2 Pro processors.” While it’s not surprising that the M3 will use a 3nm process, we expected that the entire M2 run would stick to the same 5nm process that Apple used with the M1.
If Apple switches to the M2 Pro (and possibly the M2 Max and M2 Ultra as well) in a 3nm process, the upcoming 14-inch and 16-inch MacBook Pros, Mac Studio, Hi-End Mac Mini and Mac will be refreshed. The Pro can accelerate faster than our M2. Based on our benchmark, the M2 brings a fairly 20 percent better CPU performance and a 35 percent boost in graphics performance, which would be a nice upgrade for the rest of Apple’s Mac lineup.
But switching to a 3nm process can be seriously antecedent. Okay, we don’t know for sure what that means for the M2 variants, but it could mean that high-performance M2 chips add more performance than base M2 chips. When TSMC outlined the technology behind the 3nm process in 2020, it said the mode would “improve performance by 10-15 percent at the same power level or reduce power by 25-30 percent at the same transistor speed.”
This will be a significant boost for the M2 Pro and other high-end chips and will create a huge M3 improvement platform. We’ll have to wait until the next members of the Apple M2 family are unveiled to know for sure what they’re bringing, but according to recent rumors, it may not be too long.