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Apple announces new flagship M2 processor

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Apple is ready to move beyond the M1

Image: Apple

Apple is introducing its new M2 chip today at the company’s Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC). After the M1, M1 Pro, M1 Max, and M1 Ultra chips, Apple is now ready to move on to a more powerful M2 chip, with big promises of performance improvements.

Much like the original M1 chip, the new M2 uses Apple’s custom Arm silicon, and it’s built on a 5nm process complete with 20 billion transistors — 25 percent more than the original M1. All of these transistors should boost performance, and Apple is promising a 18 percent faster CPU, and 35 percent faster GPU inside the M2 compared to the original M1.

That performance is apparently 1.9x faster than the “latest 10-core PC laptop chip,” according to Apple. To get better performance over the M1, Apple is using new performance and efficiency cores on the M2, alongside 100Gbps of memory bandwidth and 24GB of unified memory — that’s 50 percent more bandwidth than the M1. Apple is using four high-performance cores, with four high-efficiency cores on the M2, with a shared 16MB cache on the performance cores and a shared 4MB cache on the efficiency ones.

Apple’s M2 also features a next-generation secure enclave and neural engine, and an updated media engine that supports 8K H.264 and HEVC video. In reality, this means systems that run M2 chips will be able to play multiple streams of 4K and 8K video simultaneously.

Apple’s new M2 processor features.
Image: Apple

On the GPU side, Apple is improving things once again with the M2. There are now up to 10 cores, two more than the original M1. A larger cache and higher memory bandwidth should boost graphics performance here, and Apple is promising up to 35 percent better performance at the M2’s max power compared to the original M1.

The first Mac to get the M2 chip is one of Apple’s most popular laptops, the MacBook Air. The wedge shape of the MacBook Air has been switched up for a thinner profile this time, and the M2-equipped laptop also comes with MagSafe charging. The new MacBook Air also ships with a bigger 13.6-inch display, better camera, and promises of 18-hour battery life. More details on the new MacBook Air right here.