This is what we know now: The M2 chip is really fast.
According to our assumptions, this is the first M2 chip and hence equivalent to the first M1 chip that debuted in the MacBook Air 2020, which was released in September 2018. Even while it’s more powerful and efficient than the M1, it can’t give the same performance as the updated M1 Pro and M1 Max chips Apple debuted in the 2021 MacBook Pro. This is effectively the beginning of a new generation of chips.
Still, it’s a great spot to begin your journey. We believe that an updated Apple M2 Pro chip will begin production this year, and our performance testing results have us excited about what an improved M2 could accomplish.
Apple M2 chip: Specs
|Apple M2 chip||Apple M1 chip|
|Starting price||$1,199 (MacBook Air 2022)||$999 (MacBook Air 2020)|
|Transistors||20 billion||16 billion|
|Memory bandwidth||100 GB/s||68 GB/s|
Apple M2 chip: Performance test results compared
A 13-inch MacBook Pro 2022 review device provided by Apple included a 1TB SSD, 16GB of RAM, and an 8-core CPU and 10-core GPU in an M2 processor. As we examine the test findings, keep in mind that this is the most powerful M2 currently available.
|Geekbench 5.4||Handbreak video transcoding||PugetBench Photoshop||Sid Meier’s Civ VI: Gathering Storm||Rise of the Tomb Raider|
|MacBook Pro 13-inch M2||8,911||6:51||817||51 fps||24.94 fps|
|MacBook Pro 14-inch M1 Pro||12,477||4:51||806||46.1 fps||73.87 fps|
|MacBook Pro 16-inch M1 Max||12,683||4:48||877||46.1 fps||39.33 fps|
|MacBook Air M1||5,962||9:15||653||37 fps||DNR|
|MacBook Pro 13-inch M1||5,925||7:44||649||38 fps||25.78 fps|
The 2022 Pro’s Geekbench 5.4 multi-core CPU performance test resulted in a score of 8,911 for the M2, which is extremely impressive. In fact, it outperforms the 7,521 benchmarked by the M1-equipped MacBook Pro 2020 from two years ago, as well as the Lenovo Yoga 9i Gen 7 with a 12th generation Intel Core i7-1260P CPU that we just evaluated (7,150).
However, the M2 still can’t equal the scores put up by last year’s M1 Pro and M1 Max chips. In Geekbench 5.4 the 14-inch MacBook Pro 2021 with an M1 Pro got a remarkable 12,477, while the M1 Max-based 16-inch MacBook Pro did even better, achieving 12,683. So while the M2 is a big improvement over the M1, we’ve established it still can’t touch the improved chips in the 2021 Pros.
Our video encoding test, which requires the laptop to convert a 4K video to 1080p using Handbrake, gives us an idea of how well the M2 performs. The M2-equipped Pro completed the test in 6 minutes and 51 seconds, a solid speed that outpaces the M1-equipped 2020 Pro, which took nearly 8 minutes (7:46) to accomplish the same exercise. The Dell XPS 13 OLED, one of our favorite Windows laptops, took almost 18 minutes (18:12) to complete the same test using an 11th Gen Intel Core i7-1185G7 CPU. This laptop is far faster. When it comes to video editing power, the 16-inch MacBook Pro paired with M1 Max encodes the same film in less than five minutes (4:48).
PugetBench performance tests were also run on the M2, including a test that measures how well a system handles Photoshop workloads.. With an average time of 4 minutes and 54 seconds, the 13-inch M2-equipped Pro beat the M1-equipped Pro’s time of 7 minutes and 3 seconds. A 2021 Pro with M1 Max, meanwhile, was able to pass the same test in just 4:44.
Here are the findings of our gaming tests. We use Sid Meier’s Civilization VI: Gathering Storm to test how well non-gaming laptops handle games because it plays on a wide array of systems (including MacBooks), allowing us to make valid comparisons. The M2-equipped 13-inch Pro 2022 was able to obtain framerates of 51 frames per second (fps) when running the Civ VI: Gathering Storm graphical benchmark in its native 1440p. While the M1 was only able to get 38.2 frames per second, this is a significant improvement over what we saw in the 2020 Pro. The XPS 13 OLED with an 11th Gen Intel i7 only achieved 22.1 frames per second at 1080p, and the Lenovo Yoga 9i we just reviewed with a 12th Gen i7 averaged 24 frames per second at 1080p.) It’s also a far cry better than many Windows ultraportables.
However, in Civilization VI: Gathering Storm, the M2 actually surpasses the M1 Max, which helped the 16-inch Pro attain 47 fps. Since the new 13-inch Pro with M2 is lighter and more portable than a large, hefty 16-inch Pro, it should deliver greater performance in Civ.
Divinity: Original Sin II is running on a 16-inch MacBook Pro 2021.
Even while the MacBook Pro with M2 performed better in Civ 6 than the 16-inch Pro with M1 Max, the 2021 Pro is still the superior option if you enjoy gaming on your MacBook. This image is courtesy of the Future.
If you’re a fan of playing games on your Mac, the M2 doesn’t appear to be a slam dunk. After running Shadow of the Tomb Raider’s graphical test at 1920 x 1200 resolution with “Very High” graphics enabled, the M2-equipped Pro was able to average 24.94 fps. However, the 16-inch Pro with the M1 Max was able to reach 73.87 fps in the same test at the same settings.
The results are in, and this is one fast chip
Here we see Apple pulling out all the stops. There is no awe-inspiring performance leap over its predecessor, but the M2 chip nevertheless manages to wow with a significant and demonstrable improvement over its predecessor.
You’ll need to read our entire MacBook Pro 2022 review (up on the site now!) to get a sense of how the M2 chip affects your daily productivity, but our testing shows that it is a clear improvement over the M1. Also, in a number of Windows ultraportables we’ve examined recently, the 11th Gen and 12th Gen Intel CPUs have been outperformed by Apple’s processors.
Nevertheless, the new M2 cannot match the raw power and performance of the updated M1 Pro and M1 Max CPUs Apple included in its 2021 Pros last year. You can either wait for Apple to introduce M2 Pro/Max equivalents in the next year, or go with last year’s Pro models if you really must have the most powerful MacBook.