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Apple unveils its M2 processor which builds on the success of its M1 chip

A graphic for the M2 chip

At its annual WWDC conference, Apple unveiled the successor to its M1 processor which it has imaginatively named the M2. The new chip is built on the 5-nanometre process and brings an 18% CPU boost over the M1, a 35% increase in GPU performance, and a 40% faster Neural Engine. It also brings 50% more memory bandwidth compared to the M1 and supports 24 GB of unified memory.

M2 CPU performance

Passing comment on the M2 chip, which will now power the new MacBook Air and 13-inch MacBook Pro, Johny Srouji, Apple’s senior vice president of Hardware Technologies, said:

“M2 starts the second generation of M-series chips and goes beyond the remarkable features of M1. 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, M2 continues the tremendous pace of innovation in Apple silicon for the Mac.”

Getting down to the nitty-gritty, Apple said that the M2 chip, which uses second-gen 5-nm technology, includes a whopping 20 billion transistors, 25% more than are used in its predecessor. These additional transistors allow the chip to handle even more complex workloads meaning users should see an improvement when it comes to tasks that require intensive processing.

M2 CPU performance vs Windows CPU

A new Apple product reveal wouldn’t be complete without knocking the competition. According to the company, the M2 provides nearly twice the performance at the same power level as the latest 10-core chip found in a Windows laptop. Compared to a 12-core chip found in PCs, the M2 provides nearly 90% of the peak performance at just one-fourth of the power usage.

M2 GPU performance

Aside from performance improvements, the M2 chip unlocks next-gen technologies on Apple computers. The company highlighted the following items:

  • The Neural Engine can process up to 15.8 trillion operations per second — over 40 percent more than M1.
  • The media engine includes a higher-bandwidth video decoder, supporting 8K H.264 and HEVC video.
  • Apple’s powerful ProRes video engine enables playback of multiple streams of both 4K and 8K video.
  • Apple’s latest Secure Enclave provides best-in-class security.
  • A new image signal processor (ISP) delivers better image noise reduction.

Aside from the power usage reductions that M2 delivers, Apple says that every chip that it makes, from design to construction, will be 100% carbon neutral. This will help the firm deliver on its commitments to protecting the planet.

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