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M2 Max and M3 Max leak reveals how Apple may scale performance with future chips

A new report reveals some important details on the future of Apple’s Mac chips, including both of the next two generations of Mac chips, presumably to be called the M2 Max and M3 Max.

The report comes from The Information, which states that the second generation of Apple silicon will be a minor improvement compared to the third, which will allegedly feature 3nm chips with up to 40 cores.

An overview of the Apple M1 Pro.
Image used with permission by copyright holder

Apple’s current M1 Max and M1 Pro chips are produced by TSMC, the Taiwan-based semiconductor foundry, and based on the latest report, their successors reveal how Apple will scale performance in future generations.

The M1, M1 Max, and M1 Pro chips are all 5nm chips, and according to the rumors, the upcoming generation, likely called M2, will also utilize the TSMC’s 5nm process. However, there will be improvements: The chip will contain two dies, allowing for the use of more cores. This will still be an upgrade over the current (already incredibly solid) generation, but it won’t be as big a leap as what we’ve seen between the M1 and the M1 Max and M1 Pro chips.

This new variant of the M1 Max chip is reportedly going to be used in the successor to the current Mac Pro and will feature two dies, whoch should provide a notable jump in performance. It’s likely that the second generation of M1 Max and M1 Pro chips will be found in the next MacBook Pro models.

While the immediate successor to the M1 Max and M1 Pro sounds interesting, it’s the third generation of Apple silicon that truly captures attention. According to The Information, Apple is looking to start producing 3nm chips with the rumored M3 chip. The swap from 5nm to 3nm would make room for up to four dies, opening up the possibilities for much greater performance than what we’re seeing now.

Using the 3nm chip with four dies clears room for up to 40 compute cores. Compared to the 5nm chip, this is a massive upgrade. The highest number of cores presently found inside Apple products is the high-end Mac Pro tower with up to 28 cores, but that’s on an Intel Xeon W processor. Apple’s own silicon offers eight cores (M1) and 10 cores (M1 Max and M1 Pro) at the most.

new macbook pro 2021.
Image used with permission by copyright holder

The third generation of Apple chips is currently code-named Ibiza, Lobos, and Palma. The report reveals that TSMC may be able to produce 3nm chips in partnership with Apple as soon as 2023. They would likely first be found in Apple’s premium models, such as the next generation of MacBook Pro, but also in future models of the iPhone. Apple is also releasing planning to release a less impressive version of the 3nm chip specifically for the MacBook Air.

Apple struck gold with its recent M1 Max and M1 Pro chips. Found inside the new 14-inch and 16-inch MacBook Pros, these powerful chipsets are performing excellently in benchmarks. It seems that Apple’s road map is quite clear: 2022 may bring the second generation of Apple silicon with smaller upgrades, and 2023 will be the year of a massive leap that has the chance to blow the competition out of the water.

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Monica J. White
Monica is a UK-based freelance writer and self-proclaimed geek. A firm believer in the "PC building is just like expensive…
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