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How powerful will the Apple M2 be? We may have a hint

The many conflicting reports about the upcoming MacBook Pro running the new M2 silicon leave it hard to predict what type of laptop will be unveiled at Apple’s launch event in early spring. However, a recent benchmark suggests that M2 MacBook Pro might not be that much of a power and performance upgrade in comparison to older models.

Macworld’s Jason Cross showed prediction benchmarks of the M2 with a theory that users can expect only a slight leap in performance between the M1 and M2 chips.

The back lid of the MacBook Pro.
Image used with permission by copyright holder

Using Apple’s A14 is to A15 mobile processors as stand-ins, Cross notes that the M1 chip is based on the basic architecture of the A14, which powers smartphones such as the iPhone 12.

This architecture created the four high-performance CPU cores and eight GPU cores seen in the M1 chip, compared to the two high-performance CPU cores and the four GPU cores seen on the A14. Cross claims that if Apple hadn’t introduced an M1 chip, this silicon could have been an “A14X” chip for a different high-performance device, such as the iPad Pro.

Jason Cross of Macworld did a prospective benchmark on the M2 chip Image used with permission by copyright holder

An M2 chip would be akin to a scaled version of the A15 chip. Cross then did prospective Geekbench benchmarks on his configurations of M2 and M2 Max chips versus the current M1 and M1 Max chips. He determined that the M2 might definitely outperform the M1, but that the M1 Max may not outperform the M2 Max by much.

In the Geekbench single-core tests, we see the M2 chip slightly outperforms the M1 Max chip, with all the processors receiving similar scores. However, in the Geekbench multicore tests, the M1 Max chip outperforms the M2 chip significantly.

Jason Cross of Macworld did a prospective benchmark on the M2 chip Image used with permission by copyright holder

Reports suggest that Apple has plans to release the M2 MacBook Pro as an entry-level laptop in the spring, before releasing a more powerful model in the fall. From Cross’ report, one could speculate that if Apple were to release an M2 MacBook Pro in the fall, it might feature a more powerful M2 Max chip after seeing how the entry-level M2 MacBook Pro does on the market.

Many sources also say Apple might release several computers between the two M2 devices, running the last of its M1 Pro or M1 Max chips. These might include a new MacBook Air, Mac Mini, and iMac.

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Fionna Agomuoh
Fionna Agomuoh is a technology journalist with over a decade of experience writing about various consumer electronics topics…
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