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Apple Silicon M1 Series vs. M2 Comparison!

Apple Silicon M1 Series vs. M2 Comparison!

Apple just launched the M2 – their second-generation M-series system-on-a-chip (SoC) for Mac computers!

Let’s compare the new M2 against the last-generation M1 series SoCs!

 

Apple Silicon M1 vs. M2 Comparison

On 6 June 2022, Apple unveiled their second-generation M-series system-on-a-chip (SoC) for Mac computers – the Apple Silicon M2!

Built on an improved 5 nm process technology, the Apple M2 has 20 billion transistors – 25% more transistors than the M1.

All those transistors allow the Apple M2 to deliver better performance than the last-generation M1 :

  • Faster Performance cores with a larger cache
  • 18% faster CPU performance
  • 35% more powerful GPU at max. power
  • 40% faster Neural Engine
  • 50% more memory bandwidth
  • up to 24 GB of unified memory
  • a new image signal processor (ISP) for better image noise reduction

The new M2 no doubt offers a significant boost in performance and capabilities over the M1.

On top of that, it partially addressed the limited Unified Memory capacity offered by the M1, by offering a 24 MB option.

The new M2 will debut in the 2022 MacBook Air, and the updated 13-inch MacBook Pro 2022 laptops.

To give you a better idea of how they compare, here is our direct comparison b between the Apple M1 and the Apple M2 :

Specifications M1 M2 Difference
Fab Tech 5nm (N5) 5 nm (N5P)
Transistor
Count
16 billion 20 billion +25%
Die Size 120 mm² NA
CPU Cores
(Performance)
4 x Firestorm
@ 3.2 GHz
4 x Avalanche cores
@ NA GHz
CPU Cores
(Efficiency)
4 x Icestorm cores
@ 2.06 GHz
4 Blizzard cores
@ NA GHz
L2 Cache P-core : 12 MB
E-core : 4 MB
P-core : 16 MB
E-core : 4 MB
P-core : +33%
SLC 16 MB 32 MB +100%
GPU Cores 7 / 8 cores
1278 MHz
8 / 10 cores
NA MHz
+1 / +2 cores
Neural Engine 16 cores
(11 TOPS)
16 cores
(15.8 TOPS)
+44%
Memory Options 8 GB / 16 GB 8 GB / 16 GB / 24 GB
Memory Type LPDDR4X LPDDR5
Memory Speed 2133 MHz 3200 MHz +50%
Memory Bus 128-bit 128-bit
Memory
Bandwidth
68.2 GB/s 102.4 GB/s 50%

 

Apple Silicon M1 Series vs. M2 Comparison

While the M2 may offer significant improvements over the M1, Apple has been careful in not letting it cannibalise sales of the higher-performing M1 Pro, M1 Max and M1 Ultra chips.

Even without testing the new M2, its specifications show that it slots in between the M1 and the M1 Pro.

  • M2 has 8 cores like M1, with 2-4 fewer Performance cores than the M1 Pro.
  • Its Performance cores have L2 cache size of 16 MB, right between M1 (8 MB) and M1 Pro (24 MB).
  • Its 8-10 GPU core count is right between M1 (7-8 cores) and M1 Pro (14-16 cores).
  • Its maximum Unified Memory option is 24 GB, right between M1 (16 GB) and M1 Pro (32 GB).
  • It retains the M1’s narrower 128-bit memory bus, but uses the M1 Pro’s faster LPDDR5 memory.

To show you what I mean, here is a table I created comparing the key specifications of the M1 series against the new M2 :

Specifications M1 M1 Pro M1 Max M1 Ultra M2
Fab Tech 5nm (N5) 5 nm (N5P)
Transistor Count 16 billion 33.7 billion 57 billion 114 billion 20 billion
Die Size 120 mm² 245 mm² 432 mm² 864 mm² NA
CPU Cores
(Performance)
4 cores
(Firestorm)
3.2 GHz
6 / 8 cores
(Firestorm)
3.23 GHz
8 cores
(Firestorm)
3.23 GHz
16 cores
(Firestorm)
3.23 GHz
4 cores
(Avalanche)
NA GHz
CPU Cores
(Efficiency)
4 cores
(Icestorm)
2.06 GHz
2 cores
(Icestorm)
2.06 GHz
2 cores
(Icestorm)
2.06 GHz
4 cores
(Icestorm)
2.06 GHz
4 cores
(Blizzard)
NA GHz
L2 Cache P-core : 12 MB
E-core : 4 MB
P-core : 24 MB
E-core : 4 MB
P-core : 48 MB
E-core : 8 MB
P-core : 16 MB
E-core : 4 MB
SLC 16 MB 32 MB 64 MB 128 MB 32 MB
GPU Cores 7 / 8 cores
1278 MHz
14 / 16 cores
1296 MHz
24 / 32 cores
1296 MHz
48 / 64 cores
1296 MHz
8 / 10 cores
NA MHz
Neural Engine 16 cores 32 cores 16 cores
Memory Options 8 / 16 GB 16 / 32 GB 32 / 64 GB 64 / 128 GB 8 / 16 / 24 GB
Memory Type LPDDR4X LPDDR5
Memory Speed 2133 MHz 3200 MHz
Memory Bus 128-bit 256-bit 512-bit 1024-bit 128-bit
Memory
Bandwidth
68.2 GB/s 204.8 GB/s 409.6 GB/s 819.2 GB/s 102.4 GB/s

 

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First Look : 2021 MacBook Pro MagSafe 3 + SD Card Slot!

Exclusive on Tech ARP – the first look at the 2021 MacBook Pro ports, including a brand new MagSafe 3 port and an SD card slot!

Here is the first ever look at the MagSafe 3 connector, the SD card slot, and other ports that will ship with the 2021 MacBook Pro!

 

First Look : 2021 MacBook Pro MagSafe 3 + SD Card Slot!

Apple fans who miss the MagSafe port and the SD card reader in their MacBook laptops will have something to cheer for this year!

Apple will not only introduce a new MagSafe 3 connector in the upcoming 2021 MacBook Pro, they will also bring back the SD card slot!

New Apple MagSafe 3 Connector!

The new MagSafe 3 connector is bidirectional and has 5 pins, and will lock and detach magnetically like the previous two generations.

The MagSafe 3 connector is not compatible with older MacBook computers, and has a pill-shaped design with a thinner profile.

The MagSafe 3 port is located on the left side of the 2021 MBP, next to two Thunderbolt 3 (USB4) ports, and a 3.5 mm audio jack.

Ports on the left side of the 2021 Apple MBP | Copyright : Tech ARP (www.techarp.com)

Return Of The SD Card Reader!

We are also glad to report that Apple will (finally) bring back the SD card reader that many photographers LOVED, and bemoaned when Phil Schiller killed it in 2016.

Now that Schiller is out of Apple, it looks like it’s been resurrected for the 2021 MacBook Pro. Utility finally trumped cumbersome!

The SD card reader is located on the right side, together with a third Thunderbolt 3 (USB4) port and a HDMI 2.0 port.

Ports on the right side of the 2021 Apple MBP | Copyright : Tech ARP (www.techarp.com)

 

2021 Apple MacBook Pro : What Else Is New?

So what else is new in the 2021 MacBook Pro, other than MagSafe 3 and the resurrected SD card reader?

14-inch + 16-inch Models

There will be two 2021 MacBook Pro models – with 14-inch and 16-inch displays.

Apple M1X SoC

There will no longer be Intel CPU options, only the Apple M1X SoC.

Nothing much is known about the Apple M1X, other than it is a more powerful version of the M1 that has stunned many with its performance.

But rumours have it that it will have 12 processor cores, split into two performance clusters :

  • P Cluster (Performance) : 8 x Firestorm (?) cores
  • E Cluster (Efficient) : 4 x Icestorm (?) cores

It will have a more powerful GPU than Apple M1‘s 8-core GPU.

Memory

The Apple M1X will use the same unified memory design as the M1, built directly onto the package for near-instantaneous access.

However, it will offer larger memory options – 24 GB and 32 GB are possible – in addition to 16 GB currently available with the M1.

External Display Support

A big limitation of the Apple M1 is its support for just one external display of up to 6K resolution at 60 Hz.

The 2021 MacBook Pro will support at least two external displays, if not more, via its Thunderbolt 3 and HDMI ports.

OLED Touch Bar Gone!

Good riddance to the pointless OLED Touch Bar. That’s gone for the 2021 MacBook Pro models.

 

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Dr. Adrian Wong has been writing about tech and science since 1997, even publishing a book with Prentice Hall called Breaking Through The BIOS Barrier (ISBN 978-0131455368) while in medical school.

He continues to devote countless hours every day writing about tech, medicine and science, in his pursuit of facts in a post-truth world.

 

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Apple M1 : How Fast Are Its CPU + GPU?

The Apple M1 is the first ARM-based SoC (System on a Chip) designed by Apple to be used as the CPU for Mac computers.

Here is EVERYTHING you need to know about the Apple M1, including how fast its CPU and GPU really are!

 

Apple M1 : First ARM SoC For Mac Computers!

The Apple M1 is the first ARM-based SoC (System on a Chip) designed by Apple for use in Mac computers, debuting in :

  • 2020 MacBook Air (4th Gen) : US | UK | AU | MY | SG
  • 2020 MacBook Pro (6th Gen) : US | UK | AU | MY | SG
  • 2020 Mac mini (5th Gen) : US | UK | AU | MY | SG

Packing 16 billion transistors, it is the first chip to be manufactured on the new 5 nm TSMC process technology.

As an SoC, it combines 8 CPU cores, an 8-core GPU, a 16-core Neural Engine, an image signal processor (ISP), an NVMe storage controller, a Thunderbolt 4 controller and a Secure Enclave – all in a single chip.

The Apple M1 is paired with either 8 GB or 16 GB of LPDDR4X memory using a system-in-a-package design.

8-Core CPU : ARM big.LITTLE Design

The Apple M1 uses the ARM big.LITTLE design for the CPU. Its 8-core CPU is divided into two performance clusters :

  • P Cluster (Performance) : 4 x Firestorm cores (up to 3.2 GHz)
  • E Cluster (Efficient) : 4 x Icestorm cores (up to 2.06 GHz)

The P Cluster is designed for high-performance, with a power consumption of 13.8 watts. It has a large 12 MB shared L2 cache, with a 128 KB dedicated L1 cache for each Firestorm core.

The E Cluster, on the other hand, is designed for a low power consumption of just 1.3 watts. It has a smaller 4 MB shared L2 cache, with a 64 KB dedicated L1 cache for each Icestorm core.

8-Core GPU : Mysterious Indeed!

The M1 uses an Apple-designed 8-core GPU, of which very little is known. Apple only says that it can handle up to 25,000 concurrent threads.

But from what we can tell, it has 128 execution units with an FP32 performance of 2.6 teraflops per second, a 82 GT/s texture fill rate, and a 41 GP/s pixel fill rate.

16-Core Neural Engine

The Apple M1 features a 16-core Neural Engine, which is capable of executing 11 trillion operations per second.

LPDDR4X Unified Memory

The Apple M1 uses a unified memory design, which means the CPU and GPU share the same memory.

Apple offers 8 GB and 16 GB LPDDR4X SDRAM options, built directly onto the package for near-instantaneous access.

Rosetta 2 Translation

As most Mac apps are compiled for x86 processors, they need to be translated to work with the Apple M1, which uses the totally different ARM architecture.

That’s where Apple Rosetta 2 comes in – introduced in macOS Big Sur, it translates or emulates x86 apps so that they can run properly on the M1 processor.

Certain apps, especially games, may require third-party software like Wine or CrossOver to work properly, like this example of The Witcher 3 running on the Apple M1.

 

Apple M1 : Specifications

Apple is hardly the most transparent company in the world, but here is what we know so far about the M1 chip’s specifications :

Specifications Apple M1 (APL1102)
Fab Process 5 nm TSMC
Transistor Count 16 Billion
Die Size 120 mm²
CPU Cores P Cluster : 4 x Firestorm cores
E Cluster : 4 x Icestorm cores
L1 Caches Firestorm : 128 KB per core
Icestorm : 64 KB per core
L2 Caches P Cluster : 12 MB shared
E Cluster : 4 MB shared
Clock Speed P Cluster : 0.6~3.204 GHz
E Cluster : 0.6~2.064 GHz
CPU Power
Consumption
P Cluster : 13.8 W
E Cluster : 1.3 W
GPU Cores 8 Cores, 128 Execution Units
GPU FP32 Performance 2.6 TFLOPS
GPU Texture Fillrate 82 GT/s
GPU Pixel Fillrate 41 GP/s
Memory Size 8 GB / 16 GB
Memory Type LPDDR4x-4266
Memory Interface 128-bit
Memory Bandwidth 68.27 GB/s
Neural Engine 16 Cores
Neural Engine
Performance
11 Trillion Ops / Second
TDP 10 watts (MacBook Air)

 

Apple M1 : How Fast Are Its CPU + GPU?

Unfortunately, we do not have access to the Apple M1, but Ars Technica tested it in the 2020 Mac mini. Take a look at some of the results they posted :

Note : While Ars Technica listed the M1 as a 10 watt part, this is only what Apple claims for the MacBook Air. It is likely to be clocked higher, with a higher TDP in the Mac mini and MacBook Pro.

Geekbench 5 : Single-Threaded CPU Test

Will you look at that? The Apple M1’s Firestorm cluster has really good single-core performance!

It was 7% faster than the Core i7-1185G7, in both 28W and 15W TDP modes; and 53% faster than the Ryzen 7 4700U!

Geekbench 5 : Multi-Threaded CPU Test

This is even more astounding! The Apple M1 is even faster in the multi-threaded test!

In the multi-threaded test, the Apple M1 was 22% faster and 54% faster than the Core i7-1185G7 in 28W and 15W modes, respectively. It was also 52% faster than the Ryzen 7 4700U!

Geekbench 5 : GPU Test

Even its 8-core GPU did very well, beating the Core i7-1185G7‘s integrated Iris Xe by 26%, and Ryzen 7 4700U‘s integrated Vega 7 by 65%.

Cinebench R23 : Single-Threaded Test

The Apple M1 was as fast as the 28-watt Core i7-1185G7 in the single-threaded test, and was 28% faster than the Ryzen 7 4700U. And it was only 6.5% slower than the Ryzen 9 5950X.

Cinebench R23 : Multi-Threaded Test

In the multi-threaded test, the Ars Technica team set a limit of 8 threads for a level-playing field.

The Apple M1 did well, beating the Ryzen 7 4700U by 14%, and the Core i7-1185G7 by 25%. And it was just 34% slower than the Ryzen 9 5950X.

 

Apple M1 Mac Computers : Where To Buy?

The Apple M1 is currently available in these Mac computer models :

  • 2020 MacBook Air (4th Gen) : US | UK | AU | MY | SG
  • 2020 MacBook Pro (6th Gen) : US | UK | AU | MY | SG
  • 2020 Mac mini (5th Gen) : US | UK | AU | MY | SG

 

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Apple M1 Gaming : Watch It Run The Witcher 3! 😲

Windows gaming on the ARM-based Apple M1 is possible!

Watch how well the Apple M1 runs The Witcher 3 using CrossOver 20!

 

Apple M1 Gaming : Watch It Run The Witcher 3 On CrossOver 20!

MrMacRight successfully ran The Witcher 3 on CrossOver 20, using the 2020 Apple MacBook Pro with the new ARM-based Apple M1 SoC.

Here was his recorded gameplay of The Witcher 3 at the 1080p resolution, with the Medium graphics and post-processing presets, and VSync enabled.

He could not get the FPS counter to work, but it looks smooth and very playable, albeit with some visual artefacts.

Basically – Apple M1 gaming is not only possible, it is possible to play Windows games!

Video Credit : MrMacRight

 

Windows Gaming On Apple M1 : Rosetta 2 + Windows API Translation!

That quick gameplay showcase of The Witcher 3 shows that Windows gaming is possible on the Apple M1.

The ability to run The Witcher 3 on CrossOver 20, and at such playable frame rates, is important for two reasons.

Windows App Compatibility

The Witcher 3 is a 64-bit Windows-only game, so you wouldn’t expect it to run well on the ARM-based Apple M1, right?

Running it on the Apple M1 involves translating Windows API calls using CrossOver, and then translating x86 instructions to ARM instructions using Rossetta 2.

Yet it not only worked, it ran pretty well on the Apple M1!

Performance

While AppleGamers was not able to obtain a frame rate, The Witcher 3 appears to run pretty well at the 1080p resolution.

That shows that the Apple M1’s integrated 8-core GPU is fast, and will have no problem handling native ARM games at 1080p, and likely 1440p as well.

 

Apple M1 : A Quick Primer

The Apple M1 is the first ARM-based SoC (System on a Chip) designed by Apple for use in Mac computers.

Packing 16 billion transistors, it is the first chip to be manufactured on the new 5 nm TSMC process technology.

It comes with 4 high-performance Firestorm CPU cores, 4 power-efficient Icestorm cores, an 8-core GPU, and a 16-core Neural Engine.

As the M1 is based on the ARM architecture, you can natively run iPhone and iPad apps on it. However, existing macOS apps will have to be ported over, or translated on-the-fly using Rosetta 2.

It is currently available in these Apple Mac computers :

  • 2020 MacBook Air : US | UK | AU | MY | SG
  • 2020 MacBook Pro 13-inch : US | UK | AU | MY | SG
  • 2020 Mac mini : US | UK | AU | MY | SG

 

Please Support My Work!

Support my work through a bank transfer /  PayPal / credit card!

Name : Adrian Wong
Bank Transfer : CIMB 7064555917 (Swift Code : CIBBMYKL)
Credit Card / Paypal : https://paypal.me/techarp

Dr. Adrian Wong has been writing about tech and science since 1997, even publishing a book with Prentice Hall called Breaking Through The BIOS Barrier (ISBN 978-0131455368) while in medical school.

He continues to devote countless hours every day writing about tech, medicine and science, in his pursuit of facts in a post-truth world.

 

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Support Tech ARP!

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