Apple M2 Pro and M2 Max – Built with the latest TSMC technology, higher CPU, GPU count, and everything else you should know

The Apple M2 is currently found in the new MacBook Pro and the redesign of the MacBook Air. While there are other products waiting to be introduced by the new SoC, the M2 marks the arrival of the more powerful custom silicone, the M2 Pro, and the M2 Max. Not only do we expect to find it in the updated 14-inch and 16-inch MacBook Pro models, but in other devices as well. To see how Apple intends to raise the bar with these two regions, here’s all the information you needed to know about them.

The M2 Pro and M2 Max could be the first Apple to be manufactured using TSMC’s advanced 3nm architecture, delivering improvements never seen before.

The M2 was a disappointment, but it wasn’t Apple’s fault, seeing how we unnecessarily raised our expectations to incredible levels. Given the M1’s capability, we thought the company could launch a miracle, but real-world physics plays a pivotal role in highlighting these limitations. Off the bat, the M2 couldn’t be mass-produced on TSMC’s cutting-edge 3nm architecture because this manufacturing technology wasn’t ready, but we expect Apple to make up for that with the M2 Pro and M2 Max.

An earlier report stated that TSMC 3nm chips will enter mass production later this year, indicating that the first batch of M2 Pro and M2 Max will be shipped to Apple. Unfortunately, if consumers think we’ll have the first wave of new chip-fueled products in late 2022, they’re wrong because a ton of products are made entirely and Apple Silicon are just pieces of a complete puzzle.

This mass production schedule also means that Apple’s A16 Bionic found in the iPhone 14 Pro and iPhone 14 Pro Max won’t be made on a 3nm process but a 4nm architecture instead. According to this schedule, the new products sporting the M2 Pro and M2 Max will start appearing in the first quarter of 2023. However, due to the complexities of mass production of 3nm chips, TSMC may struggle to meet Apple’s orders on a larger scale, which means delays in hardware devices Next generation.

Over the course of a few years, TSMC will have several 3nm variants available to customers, including Apple. The M2 Pro and M2 Max are expected to be built on the N3, which is the first variant, and in the future, the N3E, N3P, N3S and N3X will be available accordingly. The Taiwanese manufacturer claims that compared to the N5, which is also known as 5nm, the N3 will provide up to 30 percent increased performance while consuming up to 15 percent less power.

We’ll see if TSMC’s claims translate into real results, but for now, these are some impressive gains and will benefit Apple’s Silicon lineup significantly.

Increased CPU and GPU Cores across M2 Pro and M2 Max Range

The M1 Pro and M1 Max can be configured with up to 10 CPU cores and a 32-core GPU. With the M2 Pro and M2 Max, Apple is expected to break that limit, increasing the number of cores in both areas. Unfortunately, there is little information surrounding the M2 Pro, but we have reported in the past that the M2 Max can promote up to 12 GPU cores and 38 GPU cores. A 12-core CPU will consist of 10 performance cores and two energy efficiency cores.

Before you get too excited about the M2 Max, note that it’s a top-tier variant with high CPU and GPU core counts, so you’ll have to pay a premium to Apple to get access to those many cores. We think there will be lower power levels available, and what follows is just speculation as to what you’ll get from the upcoming custom silicon.

  • M2 Pro Basic Edition – Octa-core CPU, 16-core GPU
  • M2 Pro Layer 2 – CPU 10 Cores, GPU 16 Cores
  • M2 Pro Top Version – 10 Cores CPU, 20 Cores GPU
  • Basic Edition M2 Max – CPU 12 cores, GPU 28 cores
  • M2 Max Top Version – CPU 12 cores, GPU 38 cores

At the time of writing, we haven’t heard anything about the less powerful M2 Pro and M2 Max versions, so the aforementioned CPU and GPU core counts could change during Apple’s official announcement. The tech giant is also expected to keep the standard RAM limit to 64GB, which is the maximum amount supported on the M1 Pro and M1 Max. However, this time around, new memory chips can support the LPDDR5 standard, making them faster and more energy efficient.

It is highly doubtful that many users will even opt for the 64GB RAM option since it accounts for a large amount of memory for any operating system, be it macOS or Windows and, we may add, quite expensive. Just like last time, the 64GB RAM option will likely be exclusive to the M2 Max. We should also see an increase in the number of Neural Engine cores, which is currently 16 for the M1 Pro and M1 Max options.

Should you upgrade to the M2 Pro or M2 Max MacBook Pro models when they launch?

If you currently own any M1 Pro or M1 Max MacBook Pro, it wouldn’t make sense for you to upgrade, since you might not see the massive performance gains when you switch to the M2 Pro or M2 Max. Energy efficiency could be on the rise thanks to the new TSMC 3nm architecture, which will translate to better battery life when running the same workload. However, there is still a huge upside for the customer to invest a significant portion of the change in one of these devices.

Remember that at launch time Apple’s 14-inch MacBook Pro featuring an eight-core CPU and 14-core GPU M1 Pro costs $199, and with the M2 Pro MacBook Pro, we don’t expect to see a price difference in the base model. Then again, we’re still excited and patiently awaiting the M2 Pro and M2 Max launch and will be offering other comparisons and benchmarks in the future, so stay tuned.

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