Is Apple's new M2 chip really better than the M1?

July 12, 2022

M2-mac-stats.jpgIt was only last October that Apple announced the launch of its new M1 chip that replaced the intel chips they have previously been using for many years. The new M1 chips were announced inline with the launch of the new Macbook Pro 13 and 16 models boasting huge boosts in performance while lowering battery usage dramatically. It almost seems too good to be true but the M1 chip has been performing flawlessly and set performance benchmarks that far exceeded competitor chipsets. 

Now, just over 6 months later, Apple have launched their M2 chip to be utilised in its Macbook Air and the Macbook Pro 13. That's a very shortened release of a new chip based on Apple's usual ‘annual’ new tech releases. So what's the difference in the chips and is it worth upgrading?

*image credit: Apple

M1 vs M2 Chip

Both chips are built on a 5 nanometer process, however Apple obviously claims that it’s second generation process delivers improved performance. In terms of transistors, the M2 weighs in at 20 billion - and here is where it gets a little blurry. The original M1 had 25% less transistors, however the M1 Pro has 33.7 billion, and the M1 Max 57 billion. CPU performance claims from Apple outline an 18% increase in relative performance from M1 to M2 at the same power consumption level - but it’s not clear which M1 chip is used in the comparison.

Both chips boast an 8-core CPU, and both feature an 8-core GPU. However, the M2 does have an optional upgrade to a 10-core GPU - if your wallet can take it. According to Apple this gives a performance boost or 35% - that higher power consumption. With this said, we believe this comparison is against the regular M1 chip, and performance figures would still lead us to believe that the M1 Pro and M1 Max would actually still far outperform the M2 in many areas.

So should you bother upgrading?

Although this next generation M2 chip does offer improvements in power and efficiency, if you already have a M1 chip in your Macbook, no is really the answer. The performance improvements in the M2 are so negligible that there is no point in making this upgrade. However, if you have a Macbook with an older Intel chipset, then yes, yes an upgrade to either the M1 or M2 chips would offer performance boosts that you would most certainly notice.

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