Apple M1 Pro vs M2, which is better? Apple has been making CPUs for a long time, the first CPU created by Apple dates back to 2007 to be exact. Although they don’t really compare to the desktop processors we know, they still thrive in their own ecosystem where everything is constantly monitored and custom-built for that processor.
Today we pit two Apple chips against each other to see which one will come out on top. Unfortunately, it’s not so clear. Apple’s M2 chip is not yet publicly available, so we’ll base our information on snippets we can find online.
The Apple M1 Pro family
Apple M1 chips have variants, much like any CPU manufacturer creating more than one variant of a CPU.
The processors that are part of the Apple M1 family are:
- M1 Pro
- M1 Max
- M1 Ultra
There are a few main differences between the versions of the M1 chips, including changes in core count, GPU core count, architecture, and nm process.
For today’s article, we’re going to focus on the M1 Pro and its differences from Apple’s M2 processor.
The Apple M1 Pro has two variants in itself, but is basically a single-threaded processor built on the 5nm manufacturing process. The M1 Pro features the ARM LITTLE.big hybrid architecture to produce variants containing either 8 cores (6+2) or 10 cores (8+2).
The performance cores have a greater presence inside the M1 chips, always being the greatest number. Lower efficiency cores are generally limited to two per chip. The way the LITTLE.big architecture works in the M1 chip is exactly how it works in Intel processors.
The lack of hyperthreading for the M1’s performance cores would provide a single-core advantage if the clock speed was high enough. This is because the physical processor core would not have to share resources with the supporting thread, which would slow down both the core and the thread due to inefficient resource allocations.
Most operating systems have usability optimizations to prevent this from being a problem, but it still is in some cases.
The core speed of the Apple M1 Pro leaves a bit to be desired compared to some of the high-end mainstream processors. The maximum speed for the performance core is set at 3.2 GHz, and the maximum for the efficiency cores is 2.0 GHz.
You may notice that these clock speeds are significantly lower than what we are used to seeing these days and there are several reasons for this.
Apple has complete control over its own technology, we realize this is a redundant statement as almost every company does. However, Apple may create custom applications and operating systems specific to the limited number of Apple-designed hardware components.
This means Apple can code line-by-line near-perfect interactions between operating systems, programs, and hardware. This is not possible with other manufacturers of larger processors, for example, because the possible combination of operating systems, hardware and programs works in very large numbers. Because of this, processor manufacturers outside of Apple can’t monitor every interaction to make sure it’s as efficient as possible, which is why some processors perform better on certain operating systems or with certain hardware. .
Hard-coding interactions in this way allow the M1 Pro to perform well at lower clock speeds, thereby the processor can be allowed to operate at lower clock speeds to increase electrical efficiency.
It’s these lower clock speeds that allow the latest portable Apple products to run so long on single loads while maintaining high performance values.
Apple M2 chip
As we said before, the M2 chip has not yet been released to the public. But since it’s made by Apple, we can assume the same is true for the M2 chip as it is for the M1 Pro. What we mean is that the M2 is also designed specifically for Apple products (obviously) and we can take any potentially lower clock speeds with a pinch of salt. As we know, the incredible synergy of devices that Apple creates within its products.
The Apple M2 chip is built on second-generation silicon, with a smaller 5nm process from TSMC. This immediately tells us that the M2 chip should have a higher IPC than the M1 chips.
It is unclear which architecture Apple has opted for the M2 chip, we assume that it will again be ARM’s LITTLE.big and will create a configuration (6 + 2) for the eight processor cores of the M2.
All we know is that the Apple M2 chip will feature eight CPU cores and 10 GPU cores. The processor is built on TSMC’s 5nm processor architecture and contains 20 billion transistors. This M2 chip looks incredibly promising, especially compared to the standard M1 chip.
Since there is very little information about the M2 chip, we have to jump right into the performance as Apple has released information about it.
Apple has released information suggesting that the M2 chip gets an 18% increase in CPU performance over the M1, with the GPU getting a 35% boost.
The M1 Pro is about 1.7 times faster than the original M1 chip. Contains two additional CPU cores and eight additional GPU cores. The M1 Pro also manages to squeeze an impressive 33.7 billion transistors into its design, far more than the M2 chip.
The M2’s GPU is 35% faster than the M1 chip, according to Apple. But the M1 Pro, with up to 16 GPU cores and significantly more memory bandwidth, is about twice as fast as the M1. So expect the M1 Pro to still be around 40% faster than the M2.
Additionally, the new M2 chip offers more maximum memory compatibility (24GB) and memory bandwidth (100GB/s) than the original M1 chip. But the M1 Pro allows support for up to 32 GB of memory and 200 GB/sec of memory bandwidth.
Apple M1 Pro versus M2: final word
It looks like Apple’s M1 Pro will always be a bit faster than the M2 chip (about 40%), but the M2 chip, like the M1, will come in variants. We don’t yet know what these variants will be called or if they will follow the same naming convention.
Apple will release an “M2 Pro” version at some point in the future, and that would likely smoke the M1 Pro chip. As the base M2 chip manages to be only 40% slower than the M1 Pro but with MUCH less physical hardware and resources. We can’t wait to see what Apple pulls out of the bag on this one. we hope you enjoyed our Apple M1 Pro vs M2 article.