Apple M1 vs M2: What’s the difference?

Apple M2 vs M1 chip Source: Pocketnow


At WWDC 2022, Apple introduced the second generation of its custom silicon chips for the Mac, the Apple M2. The M2 chipset will power the next generation of Apple devices, including the upcoming MacBook Air, MacBook Pro and the other future Mac and iPad models.

Although it sounds like just another number upgrade on paper, the debut of the Apple M2 chipset is significant as it marks the development of the remarkable Apple M1. We were all impressed with the Apple M1 when it was launched in 2020, and now the M2 has come with even more improvements on board. In this article, let’s take a look at the comparison of the Apple M1 vs. Apple M2 chip and find out the improvements it brings in CPU, GPU and other key areas.


Apple M1 vs M2: Specifications Showdown

Category M2 chip M1 chip
Manufacturing process 2nd Gen 5nm technology 1. Gen 5nm technology
CPU 8 cores 8 cores
CPU configuration 4 high-performance cores (12 MB shared L2) + 4 energy efficient cores (4 MB shared L2) 4 high-performance cores (16 MB shared L2) + 4 energy efficient cores (4 MB shared L2)
GPU Up to 10 cores Up to 8 cores
RAM (Unified Memory) Up to 24 GB Up to 16 GB
Memory bandwidth 100 GBps 68.25 GBps
Transistors 20 billion 16 billion
Neural motor 16 cores (15.8 TOPS) 16 cores (11 TOPS)

Apple M1 vs M2: CPU

Apple M2 vs Apple M1 Source: Apple

Both Apple M1 and M2 chipsets are based on ARM architecture. Both chipsets have an 8-core CPU, four of which are high-performance cores and four are energy-efficient cores. While the cores of the Apple M1 were based on the company’s A14 Bionic processor, the CPU of the M2 is based on the A15 Bionic processor (the same CPU found in the iPhone 13 series). According to Apple, the CPU on the new M2 is 18% faster than ‌M1‌ at the same power.

The underlying architecture of both chips is quite similar, with the M1 and M2 chips having the same data cache and instruction cache. The only difference in terms of cache size is that the shared cache size for the high-performance cores on M2 is slightly larger than M1 – 16MB instead of 12MB on ‌M1‌. The increase in shared cache size should provide significant improvements in the performance of CPU-intensive tasks.

When it comes to the manufacturing process, the Apple M2 is based on second generation 5nm node technology. While the Apple M1 is also based on 5nm node technology, Apple says the new manufacturing process provides better performance and power efficiency. The new M2 chip also has 20 billion transistors – 25% more than the original M1.

Apple M1 vs M2: GPU

Apple M2 vs Apple M1 Source: Apple

The M2 chipset can be upgraded to up to 10 GPU cores, while the M1 chip has a maximum of 8 GPU cores. Apple says the graphics performance of the M2 chipset is much improved over the last generation, giving up to 25% better performance than the M1’s GPU at the same watt and up to 35% better performance at max power. Along with the new Metal engine, Apple says you can even play AAA titles on M2 Macs (some of which will be launched later this year).

Technically, the Apple M2 can deliver up to 3.6 teraflops of graphics performance, whereas the M1 GPU maxes out at 2.6 teraflops. The company claims that the M2’s GPU can render up to 55 gigapixels per second, as opposed to 41 gigapixels per second. second on the Apple M1. Thanks to the improved GPU, Apple says that a MacBook with an M2 chipset can run cool and quiet, even when playing graphics-intensive games or editing massive RAW images.

Apple M1 vs M2: Media Engine

Apple M2 Media Engine MacBook Air 2022 Source: Apple

Both the Apple M1 and M2 come with a dedicated media engine. While the first generation of Apple silicon supports hardware encoding and decoding for H.264 and HEVC video formats, the Apple M2 chip also adds support for Apple’s ProRes video format. In addition, the chipset also has higher bandwidth for video decoders, enabling the new media engine to support 8K H.264 and HEVC video playback.

Apple M1 vs M2: Unified Memory (RAM)

Apple M2 vs Apple M1 Source: Apple

When we move to the Unified Memory segment of the Apple M2, there are some serious upgrades in this department. While the unified memory (RAM) of the Apple M1 is based on LPDDR4X and occupies a maximum of 16 GB, the unified memory of the Apple M2 is based on the latest LPDDR5 platform and comes in 8 GB, 16 GB and a new 24 GB configuration. The new chipset also has higher bandwidth. The new M2 chipset can deliver up to 100 GB / s total memory bandwidth, which is a significant upgrade over the ‌M1‌s 68.25 GB / s memory bandwidth.

Apple M1 vs M2: Neural Engine

The Apple M1 surprised us all with its AI and ML capabilities thanks to its lightning-fast neural engine, which is capable of processing up to 11 trillion operations per second. The new Apple M2 chip tops this figure and can deliver up to 15.8 trillion operations per second – a 40% upgrade over the ‌M1‌. Finally, the chipset also comes with the new Secure Enclave, which adds an extra layer of protection over the M1 and also has a new image signal processor (ISP) that enables better image noise reduction.

Apple M2 chip specifications Source: Apple

Overall, the new Apple M2 chipset offers a significant improvement over the Apple M1. While progress is not revolutionary, it lays a promising foundation for the second-generation Apple Silicon Pro, Max and Ultra variants. You may not notice a marked jump when you upgrade from an M1-based Mac to an M2-based Mac, but if you upgrade from an Intel Mac, you will definitely notice the difference. If you have questions regarding the Apple M1 vs. M2, let us know in the comments below!

MacBook Air M2 2022

Powered by M2

13.6-inch MacBook Air (2022)

The latest MacBook Air is powered by M2 Apple Silicon, which offers even better performance than the M1 series of chips. It has excellent battery life and all the performance you need for multitasking, editing and working on the go.

Powered by M1

13.3-inch MacBook Air

The M1 MacBook Air comes with an Apple-designed M1 chip for a huge leap in CPU, GPU and machine learning performance. It has an 8-core CPU that delivers up to 3.5 times faster performance to tackle projects faster than ever.


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