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Second-generation M2 Apple Silicon chip arrives in MacBook Air, MacBook Pro

Apple has used WWDC 2022 to announce its second-generation Apple Silicon chips in the M2 processor with more performance per watt than the M1.

As predicted, Apple has unveiled the M2 processor, with over 20 billion transistors, and starting off a next generation of chips.

"M2 starts the second generation of M-series chips and goes beyond the remarkable features of M1," said Johny Srouji, Apple's senior vice president of Hardware Technologies. "With our relentless focus on power-efficient performance, M2 delivers a faster CPU, GPU, and Neural Engine."

"And along with higher memory bandwidth and new capabilities like ProRes acceleration," he continued, "M2 continues the tremendous pace of innovation in Apple silicon for the Mac."

Apple says that the new 5-nanometer M2 processor contains:

  • 20 billion transistors
  • 100 gigabytes per second memory controller
  • up to 24GB memory LPDDR5
  • 18% faster CPU
  • 40% faster Neural Engine, processing up to 15.8 trillion operations per second
  • 35% more powerful GPU
  • Higher-bandwidth video decoder, with 8K H.264 and HEVC video
  • Updated Secure Enclave for "best-in-class" security
  • New image signal processor for better image noise reduction

The 100 gigabytes per second memory controller is 50% more than was possible in the base M1 processor. The M2's 20 billion transistors are 25% more than M1.

"The performance cores are faster and feature a larger cache," continued Srouji, "efficiency cores have been significantly enhanced for even greater performance gains."

"The 10-core GPU delivers a big boost in graphics performance and two delivers up to 25% higher graphics performance at the same power level as M1," he said. "The GPU in M2 delivers 2.3 times faster performance at the same power level.'

Srouji claims that this means "much higher performance per watt" yet also enables the system "to run cooler with exceptional battery life."

Source: Apple

Apple says that "compared to the latest 12-core PC laptop chip... M2 provides nearly 90 percent of the peak performance of the 12-core chip while using just one-fourth the power."

The company says it bases this figure on performance measuring of the 12-core testing MSI Prestige 14Evo (A12M-011) with Core i7-1260P and 16GB of RAM. Apple also notes that this and similar PCs need "dramatically more power to deliver an increase in performance."

The new M2 also features a next generation of the Secure Enclave, plus an advanced neural engine. It also provides a higher bandwidth video decoder which means M2 can play back multiple streams of 4K and 8K video.

"The fact that we're already starting our next generation of Apple silicon for the Mac is remarkable," said John Ternus, senior vice president of hardware engineering.