Apple unveils 13-inch MacBook Pro with M2 SoC, claims 40% performance gains

Cal Jeffrey

Posts: 3,523   +1,055
Staff member
TL;DR: Apple unveiled its next-generation M2 silicon at this year's WWDC and the first products getting the new chip are the MacBook Air and 13-inch MacBook Pro. Both laptops start shipping next month.

Apple's smallest MacBook Pro is also its most popular because of its excellent portability. It weighs less than a third of a pound more than the MacBook Air, with a footprint only slightly larger. So users get the portability of an Air with the performance of a Pro. By the way, Apple did not get rid of the TouchBar as some have predicted.

The M2 chip makes the MacBook Pro 13 more powerful than ever. The M2's 8-core CPU and 10-core GPU are even more power efficient than the M1 delivering Pro performance with longer battery life. Apple claims that working with RAW images is almost 40-percent faster than with the M1 and 3.4 times faster than the Intel MacBook Pros.

Unlike the M2 MacBook Air, the Pro has an active cooling system, ideal for some of the newest video games. Graphic-intensive titles like Baldur's Gate 3 or Resident Evil VIII: Village smoothly run thanks to the two extra GPU cores. Apple claims similar performance gains running games as when working with images.

The new MacBook Pro also gets a memory bump. The M2 offers up to 25GB of Unified memory — up from 16GB with the M1 — and 50 percent more bandwidth. The M2 media engine also supports ProRes encode/decode, capable of running up to 11 video streams at 4K and two streams of 8K. Converting to ProRes is also three times faster. Apple claims that the M2's outstanding power efficiency allows the battery to last up to 20 hours during video playback.

The 13-inch M2 MacBook Pro starts at $1,299 and comes with 8GB unified memory and a 256GB SSD. A fully loaded system, which includes 25GB memory and 2TB SSD, will cost users $2,499.

Apple didn't set a specific release date, only saying the M2 MacBook 13 ships next month. Its product page allows users to customize and save a configuration for when sales go live, but there is no word on whether Apple will offer preorders.

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zamroni111

Posts: 358   +210
But I guess apple, nvidia and others still envy amd for able to sell out 43 billion 7nm transistors cpu only chip at whopping $7800.
M1 max even has 14 billions more transistors than 64 cores amd epyc.
 

Dimitriid

Posts: 2,216   +4,268
Kinda surprised they bothered to show some actual PC games running on their hardware: last I check it was a very sore point and I really do not see any of it changing soon: All of the tiny handful of games that are macos native will run about as good as a laptop with a 3070 or so and will probably be outpaced by new Nvidia gpus on laptops as soon as 3 to 4 months from now.

Not saying these aren't good products: If you are a 'content creator' chances are you can do very well if you're willing to put some money down for an M2 macbook and some sort of NAS device (Thunderbolt ssds might be an ok solution for some time but will get very annoying if you deal in large files, like the one these machines are designed to use while video editing)

But I am pretty sure you will not be replacing even a modest gaming laptop with a 3050 or even a 1650 just because of how many more games will actually run on Windows, or even Linux, vs how many can actually run on macos.
 

zamroni111

Posts: 358   +210
Kinda surprised they bothered to show some actual PC games running on their hardware: last I check it was a very sore point and I really do not see any of it changing soon: All of the tiny handful of games that are macos native will run about as good as a laptop with a 3070 or so and will probably be outpaced by new Nvidia gpus on laptops as soon as 3 to 4 months from now.

Not saying these aren't good products: If you are a 'content creator' chances are you can do very well if you're willing to put some money down for an M2 macbook and some sort of NAS device (Thunderbolt ssds might be an ok solution for some time but will get very annoying if you deal in large files, like the one these machines are designed to use while video editing)

But I am pretty sure you will not be replacing even a modest gaming laptop with a 3050 or even a 1650 just because of how many more games will actually run on Windows, or even Linux, vs how many can actually run on macos.
M1 max actually has lower fp32 performance than 3070 mobile.
And with slower vram, it definitively won't be faster in gaming.
 

Dimitriid

Posts: 2,216   +4,268
M1 max actually has lower fp32 performance than 3070 mobile.
And with slower vram, it definitively won't be faster in gaming.
Well if they're exactly the same cores just a bit more of them then true it will remain 3050ti or similar performance, I was just assuming they're actually improved GPU cores but I'm not actually sure anymore. And I'm not sure about the vram thing since these use UMA for everything.

But I agree which is why I'm a bit baffled at their attempt: devices are clearly designed to use GPU cores to accelerate compute tasks and video editing and encoding and gaming is just a happy accident.
 

Tams80

Posts: 115   +78
For the price, the entry model isn't too bad, but damn is 8GB of unified memory likely going to send up stinging down the road for quite a few people.

I can see a lot of students getting them and expecting them to be as performant as the higher end models later when they try something for than typing up an essay.

Dammit, if Apple keeps developing their chips like this and MacOS becomes viable for games, this hater may end up buying one.

The low hanging fruit has been picked. Don't expect such large improvements in the future without radical changes like the shift to ARM.
 

Mr Majestyk

Posts: 1,262   +1,149
Nice upgrade but honestly next years Zen 4 based Phoenix will much more enticing from AMD and will have GPU to decimate M2 and Intel's iGPU. M2 will no doubt use less power, but Rembrandt is already excellent and Phoenix will be even better..
 

Watzupken

Posts: 634   +518
But I guess apple, nvidia and others still envy amd for able to sell out 43 billion 7nm transistors cpu only chip at whopping $7800.
M1 max even has 14 billions more transistors than 64 cores amd epyc.
There is no need to envy. The amount of chips that say Apple sells each year is massive and all of them at a steep premium when you consider things like an iPhone selling for 1 grand at above. The BOM for the iPhone is unlikely to be anywhere close to the price they sell. That is why Apple has grown so fat over the years.
 

zamroni111

Posts: 358   +210
Well if they're exactly the same cores just a bit more of them then true it will remain 3050ti or similar performance, I was just assuming they're actually improved GPU cores but I'm not actually sure anymore. And I'm not sure about the vram thing since these use UMA for everything.

But I agree which is why I'm a bit baffled at their attempt: devices are clearly designed to use GPU cores to accelerate compute tasks and video editing and encoding and gaming is just a happy accident.
and almost no professional users will use macbook air and pro 13 for video editing.
as it also practically can't be used for for gaming except for ios/ipad games, they become waste of silicon and electricity.
 
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Dimitriid

Posts: 2,216   +4,268
and almost no professional users will use macbook air and pro 13 for video editing.
as it also practically can't be used for for gaming except for ios/ipad games, they become waste of silicon and electricity.
Well that really depends on what you call professional to me: Anyone that makes a living by editing video in any capacity, to me counts as a video editing professional: yes that includes vloggers and streamers even if what they do is minimal super basic editing, it is editing done for actual compensation in the form of youtube revenue splits and sponsorships and crowd funding campaigns.

To me the world is now much bigger than considering a "Professional video editor" just a tiny handful of guys working in Hollywood for movies and tv series, now anything that's audio visual on youtube, twitch, tiktok, etc. That actually gets manipulated in any way after the fact counts as a video editor and if they're big enough to get actual revenue out of it, they're not professional too.
 

Puiu

Posts: 5,626   +4,600
TechSpot Elite
But I guess apple, nvidia and others still envy amd for able to sell out 43 billion 7nm transistors cpu only chip at whopping $7800.
M1 max even has 14 billions more transistors than 64 cores amd epyc.
The difference is that the 7800$ AMD chip completely destroys the M1 Ultra in CPU intensive tasks like those that run on servers.

A more direct comparison would be the Threadripper lineup and the new 5000 series' 64 core CPU is 2-4x the MT performance (depending on the task it can be even more) with similar ST. The biggest difference is in the fact that you are stuck with the same GPU/RAM from the moment you buy it and the GPU is anemic for workstation workloads. SSD upgrades are also difficult.
 
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