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Apple M1 Vs. M2 Chips for Apple Laptops: Comparison Guide

What is Apple M1 chip?

The first Arm-based M1-based Macs were released by Apple in November 2020, along with models of the 13-inch MacBook Pro, MacBook Air, and Mac mini. Apple released the M1 iMac and the M1 iPad Pro in early 2021.

Since the original M1 processor, the M1 range has evolved, and Apple now offers the M1 Pro, M1 Max, and M1 Ultra chipsets. The M1 processor, the outcome following decades of Apple’s semiconductor development created for the iPad and iPhone, has prevailed in recognition for its fantastic performance and reliability. 

8 CPU cores total on the M1 chip, including 4 P-cores for maximum performance and four E-cores for energy saving. The latter ensures that gadgets can maintain their portability while maintaining strength with a long-lasting battery. There are two versions of the M1 chip, one with 7 and the other with 8 GPU cores. Even though it achieved great GPU benchmark results, it still delivers entry-level performance, particularly compared to the other M1 series chips. 

The M1 contains 16 billion transistors, the most transistors Apple has ever included in a chip, making it the fastest CPU core made of low-power silicon with the best CPU performance per watt. Apple’s chip architecture has enabled the company to produce faster Macs and uses less power than was previously possible with Intel-designed chips. Additional improvements are now possible thanks to a new, tighter integration between an Apple-designed chip and Apple-designed software. 

It isn’t easy to directly contrast the M1 chip’s specifications to those of laptop and desktop processors created by AMD and Intel because it is based on the more modern Arm architecture rather than, the more conventional Intel x86 architecture. Both M1 MacBooks are praised for making significant improvements over their forerunners.

Apple mentions that the M1-based MacBook Pro is 2.8x faster than the model it replaces and that the M1 MacBook Air is 3.5x faster than the latest Intel MacBook Air. That level of performance has the potential to overtake the 16-inch MacBook Pro with the Intel Core i9 processor. 

Apple M1 Vs. M2 Chips for Apple Laptops: Comparison Guide

What is Apple M2 chip? 

The M2, Apple’s follow-up to the M1 processor and its next-generation silicon chip, was introduced in June 2022. Apple is maintaining the previous M1 model in its portfolio to give those many MacBook Air consumers who don’t want to spend a lot more money on alternatives. 

The Mac’s various features are all powered by the M2, which combines several different elements, such as the CPU, GPU, unified memory architecture (RAM), Neural Engine, SSD controller, Secure Enclave, encode/decode engines, image signal processor, Thunderbolt controller with USB 4 support, and much more. 

The M2 has an 8-core CPU, similar to the M1, but it enables nine or 10 GPU cores, an increase from the M1’s seven or eight. There are four cores with excellent performance and four cores with great efficiency. The eight high-performance cores can cooperate to produce excellent multi-threaded performance. The high-performance cores are engineered to provide exceptional efficiency for power-intensive single-threaded tasks. 

The unified memory architecture in the M2 chip allows the CPU, GPU, and other processing elements to utilize the same data pool without duplicating data among them. Due to the lack of user-accessible RAM in most Macs, this memory architecture means the user cannot upgrade the RAM. Even the minimum 8GB of RAM on M2 Macs is sufficient for daily operations. 

Apple’s efforts to unify these chips are why the M2 is far faster and more effective than Intel processors. Before Apple silicon, Macs utilized numerous CPU, I/O, and security chips. The M2’s unified memory architecture, which Apple has incorporated, is also significant since it allows all technologies to retrieve the same information without switching between different memory pools. 

Apple M1 vs. M2: Is there an upgrade? 

Does the Apple M2 chip deliver more performance than the previously released M1?  

According to Apple, the M2 processor improves the M1’s performance per watt by adding a 40% faster Neural Engine, a 35% more potent GPU, and an 18% quicker CPU. Additional notable improvements include compatibility for up to 24GB of unified memory and increased memory bandwidth. 

CPU 

The CPU of the Apple M2 is based on the A15 Bionic processor, whereas the cores of the Apple M1 were built using the company’s A14 Bionic chip. A single-core rating of 1,919 for the M2 13-inch MacBook Pro in early Geek bench tests, which operates at 3.49GHz as opposed to 3.2GHz for the M1, is almost 12% quicker than the 1,707 single-core results for the M1 13-inch MacBook Pro.

The multi-core rating for the M2 was 8,928, up nearly 20% from the M1 model’s score of 7,419 points. This is consistent with Apple’s statement that the M2 chip is up to 18% faster than the M1 chip. 

GPU 

The M1 chip has a maximum of 8 GPU cores; however, the M2 chipset could be upgraded to 10 GPU cores. According to Apple, the M2 chipset’s graphic performance has significantly increased since the M1 generation, offering up to 25% more performance than that of the M1’s GPU at the same watts and up to 35% more performance at maximum power. 

Apple M1 Vs. M2 Chips for Apple Laptops: Comparison Guide

Media Engine 

The M1 and the M2 include hardware-accelerated H.264 and HEVC video encodes and decode engines specifically designed for them. Still, the M2’s video engines can additionally hardware-accelerate ProRes and ProRes RAW to support multiple 4K and 8K video channels. The media engine of the M2 also features a higher-bandwidth video decoder that supports 8K H.264 and HEVC video. 

Unified Memory (RAM) 

Moving on to the Apple M2’s Unified Memory section, some significant improvements have been made here. The unified memory (RAM) of the Apple M2 is based on the most recent LPDDR5 platform and is available in 8GB, 16GB, and a brand-new 24GB configuration.

In contrast, the Apple M1’s RAM depends on LPDDR4X and has a maximum capacity of 16GB. Additionally, the new processor provides more bandwidth. A significant improvement over the M1’s 68.25GB/s memory bandwidth is provided by the new M2 chipset, which can give up to 100GB/s of unified memory bandwidth. 

Neural Engine 

Apple M1’s AI and ML powers startled us all, and it’s all due to its blazing-fast neural engine, which can process up to 11 trillion operations per second. The new Apple M2 chip, which can perform up to 15.8 trillion operations per second and is a 40% improvement over the M1 chip, surpasses this. 

Final Thoughts 

The M1 MacBook Air remains on sale at the exact $999 price it launched in November 2020, while the M2 MacBook Air reaches the Mac portfolio at a $1,199 price level. The M2 MacBook Air might be the ideal option for people upgrading from an older model or first-time MacBook Air purchasers.

Owners of M1 MacBook Airs who require more memory than 16GB frequently engage in video chats or those inclined to unintentionally pull on their charging cord should consider upgrading. 

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