Can Apple's Next-Generation Mac Chip 'M2' Become a Game Changer?

Apple's first proprietary SoC ' M1 ' announced in November 2020 received a storm of acclaim from overseas media reviewed, such as 'computing revolution' and 'incredible feat' , and Linus, the creator of Linux.・ It was so successful that Mr. Torvalds also said, 'I definitely want a Mac with an M1 chip .' Tom's Hardware, an overseas technology media, is considering the GPU performance of ' M2 ', which is the next generation chip of such M1 chip.

Don't Believe the Hype: Apple's M2 GPU is No Game Changer | Tom's Hardware

At WWDC22 held on June 7, 2022, Apple announced the 'M2', the next-generation chip of the M series, which is a proprietary SoC for Mac. Apple announced the first proprietary SoC, the 'M1' chip, in November 2020, the higher versions of the M1 ' M1 Pro ' and ' M1 Max ' in October 2021, and the M1 series. It was in March 2022 that the top model of the ' M1 Ultra ' was announced.

Apple announces 'M2', the next generation version of M1 chip, the number of transistors reaches 20 billion with 2nd generation 5nm technology --GIGAZINE

Apple introduced its own SoC M1 chip to the market in 2020, which was also the first 5nm process chip in the PC market. However, even now, two years after that, TSMC has not been able to prepare a manufacturing facility for '3nm', which is the next-generation process rule , so Apple's next-generation SoC M2 chip is 'second-generation 5nm.' We have come to adopt the 'process'.

Still, Apple has succeeded in increasing the number of transistors in the M2 to 20 billion, which is a 25% increase compared to the M1. However, Tom's Hardware said that if the M2 chip had been successfully manufactured in the 3nm process, it would have been possible to increase the number of transistors.

Apple claims that the performance of the M2 chip has improved CPU performance by up to 18% and GPU performance by up to 35% compared to the M1. However, this comparison does not include chips such as M1 Pro, M1 Max, and M1 Ultra. That's why Tom's Hardware says, 'I'm interested in the GPU performance of M2 chips,' and is independently investigating how M2 performs compared to other iGPUs and dGPUs .

For example, NVIDIA's RTX 3050 , a dGPU, has a single-precision floating-point arithmetic (FP32) processing power of '9 TFLOPS ' and AMD's RX6600 has '8.9 TFLOPS'. On the specs, the two GPUs appear to be equivalent, and the memory bandwidth is also '224.0GB / s'. However, when actually tested , Tom's Hardware says that the RX6600 has 30% higher performance in 1080p resolution games.

Apple has adopted the ARM architecture in the M series, but Tom's Hardware points out that due to the nature of this architecture, the performance based on single precision floating point arithmetic processing power will be similar to AMD's GPU. The GPU of M1 has a single precision floating point arithmetic processing capacity of '2.6TFLOPS' and a memory bandwidth of '68GB / s'. This means that the M1 has half the single-precision floating-point processing power and one-third of the memory bandwidth of AMD's RX 5500 XT . Also, in actual benchmark tests, Tom's Hardware said that the M1 ran about half as fast as the RX 5500 XT.

On the other hand, the single precision floating point arithmetic processing capacity of the GPU of M2 is '3.6TFLOPS', which is about half the value of RTX 3050 and RX 6600. He also pointed out that the M2 GPU has not undergone a major architectural update, so past comparisons can be used. Tom's Hardware pointed out that the single precision floating point arithmetic processing power of the M2 GPU is '3.6 TFLOPS', 'This number is not impossible for playing PC games, but the M2 GPU is the largest. I don't think it will perform well at settings or 1080p / 60fps, 'he said, asserting that the M2 GPU isn't as performant as the dGPU for gaming.

However, considering it as an iGPU, the number '3.6TFLOPS' is 'quite decent' and Tom's Hardware. For AMD's Ryzen 7 6800U, which has a similar number, the iGPU's single-precision floating-point arithmetic processing power is '3.4 TFLOPS'. Tom's Hardware said, 'Basically, the GPU performance of M2 is much faster than Intel's existing iGPU, which is overwhelming compared to the iGPU of the 8th generation Core chip of Intel chip that was last installed in MacBook. But it's not at the level of showing great game performance. '

'It's interesting that Apple doesn't mention AV1 encoding / decoding support for the M2 chip,' Tom's Hardware said. AV1 is a video compression codec supported by major companies such as Amazon, Google, Intel, Microsoft and Netflix, and at the time of writing, Intel is the only PC graphics company that supports AV1 encoding. However, AMD and NVIDIA have announced support for AV1 decoding in the latest architectures.

However, it should be remembered that these are the GPU performance of the M2 announced this time. Like the M1, there is a possibility that chips such as M2 Pro, M2 Max, and M2 Ultra, which are higher versions of M2, will appear, and in that case, a chip with GPU performance equivalent to RX 6600 and RTX 3050 will be available. It is quite possible that it will be born.

In addition, Tom's Hardware states that 'it is necessary to check the operation of the chip before making a final conclusion', but even Apple only mentions that the GPU performance of M2 is '35% higher than M1'. Therefore, it should be noted that the GPU performance of the M2 is lower than that of the M1 Pro, and the M1 Max and M1 Ultra are 'incomparable'.

in Hardware, Posted by logu_ii