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WWDC 2022: Apple unveils the M2 chip for the Mac

Apple unveils the next generation of its custom silicon chip, coming to the MacBook Air and updated 13-inch MacBook Pro
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Written by Stephanie Condon, Senior Staff Writer on
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Apple on Monday unveiled the M2, the next generation of Apple silicon purpose-built for Mac computers. 

Showcased at WWDC 2022, the M2 features an 18% faster CPU, 35% faster GPU, a 40% faster neural engine, and 50% more memory bandwidth than the prior generation

The new M2 will be available on the MacBook Air and the 13-inch MacBook Pro.

First look: Apple's WWDC 2022 in pictures

Apple has been designing its own ARM-based silicon since 2020 when it moved away from Intel chips. As David Gewirtz wrote for ZDNet earlier this year, "By removing its reliance on Intel's innovation teams, Apple can engineer to its specific priorities. The result is apparent." For almost all activities, Apple's Silicon-based Macs far surpass their equivalent Intel-based Macs in terms of performance, battery life and heat.

The system-on-a-chip (SoC) design of M2 is built using second-generation 5-nanometer technology. It consists of 20 billion transistors, a 25% increase over the M1.

Compared to the M1, the M2 delivers 18% greater multi-core CPU performance. M2's CPU yields nearly 2x faster performance compared to the latest PC laptop chip at the same power level, according to Apple. Underscoring the power-efficient performance of its own silicon, Apple said the M2 delivers nearly 90% of the peak performance of the latest 12-core PC laptop chip while using just a quarter of the power.

The M2 also features Apple's next-generation GPU, which now has up to 10 cores. Combined with a larger cache and higher memory bandwidth, the M2 GPU delivers a big boost in graphics performance. It delivers up to 25% higher graphics performance at the same power level as M1 and up to 35% higher performance at its max. 

Compared to the integrated graphics in the latest PC laptop chip, the M2's GPU delivers 2.3x faster performance at the same power level. Additionally, M2 delivers the peak performance of the PC chip using just one-fifth of the power. 

M2 also features Apple's latest custom SoC technologies, including its next-generation Secure Enclave and neural engine. 

It also features Apple's next-generation media engine, including a higher bandwidth video decoder that supports 8K H.264 and HEVC video.

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