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Apple announces M2 Pro/M2 Max for new MacBook Pro machines

The upcoming 14-inch and 16-inch MacBook Pro models will be powered by two new chips designed by Apple. We're talking about the M2 Pro and the M2 Max, two Apple Silicon-based chips built on the same architecture as the recently released M2 SoC.

Starting with the M2 Pro, this 40 billion transistor chip (20% more than M1 Pro and double the number in M2) is built using a 2nd generation 5nm manufacturing technology. It has double the unified memory bandwidth of M2 (200 GB/s) and up to 32 GB of unified memory. Available with 10- or 12-core CPUs, with up to eight performance cores and four efficiency cores, it is claimed that this chip delivers 20% higher multithreaded CPU performance than the 10-core CPU in M1 Pro. Taking Xcode as an example, Apple states the M2 Pro compiles up to 2.5x faster than the fastest Intel-based MacBook Pro.

The GPU in the M2 Pro may be customized with up to 19 cores, three more than the GPU in the M1 Pro. Together with the bigger L2 cache, graphics rates are up to 30% quicker than on the M1 Pro, resulting in significant boosts in image processing workloads and gaming performance.

As for the M2 Max, it expands the performance and capabilities of Apple silicon even further, with 67 billion transistors (10 billion more than M1 Max and more than three times that of M2). Its unified memory bandwidth of 400 GB/s is twice that of the M2 Pro and four times that of the M2. In addition, it supports up to 96 GB of unified memory, allowing you to tackle professional workloads like powering visual effects, training machine learning models, and putting together gigapixel images.

The M2 Max has the same next-generation 12-core CPU as the M2 Pro (no 10-core option). However, with up to 38 GPU cores and a bigger L2 cache, the GPU is significantly more powerful. Graphics performance is set to be up to 30% quicker than M1 Max, and according to Apple, “M2 Max is the world's most powerful and efficient pro laptop chip”.

Both chips come with updated custom technologies, including a 16-core neural engine that's 40% faster than its predecessor and a new image signal processor to reduce noise and, in conjunction with the Neural Engine, employs computational video to improve camera image quality. Additionally, M2 Pro's media engine supports hardware-accelerated H.264, HEVC, and ProRes video encoding and decoding, capable of playing multiple streams of 4K and 8K ProRes video while consuming very little power. M2 Max has two video encoding and two ProRes engines, pushing the video encoding speed by up to two times compared to the M2 Pro.

KitGuru says: We're quite curious about what the new M2 chips will be capable of. General CPU performance will probably improve by two digits at least, but we're more curious about that 38-core GPU of the M2 Max. Unfortunately, we'll probably only learn more about it on January 24th, the release date for the new MacBook Pro laptops powered by the M2 Pro and M2 Max chips.

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