After revealing the chip M2 during the key note from WWDC 2022, the successor to Apple’s hugely successful M1 chip for Macs—and more than one iPad—, Manzana surprised us with the announcement that the MacBook Pro 13″ will also incorporate it.
I say that we were surprised because, minutes before, the company announced the redesign of the MacBook Air, taking advantage of the change to the M2. This is not the case with this 13″ MacBook Pro, which changes inside, but on the outside it is exactly the same as its predecessor. Same screen, same case, same keyboard, with TouchBar, same number of ports, same weight. Everything it is exactly the same.
In fact, absolutely everything I’ve written about the MacBook Pro 13″ with M1 processor—regarding exterior, weight, battery life, screen, loading times, and keyboard feel—holds up with this computer I’m testing. a single difference.
Apple has managed to put a faster processor into the 13-inch MacBook Pro while maintaining the laptop’s 20-hour battery life. An achievement that demonstrates the overall mission of the company’s hardware team that puts performance-per-watt above all else.
The novelty of the MacBook Pro 13″ is inside, in the M2 and all the new advantages that the new generation of the chip designed by Apple brings. Greater performance, more graphics cores and support for more RAM. And that is where I will focus this analysis.
Some of the performance results that I will show in this review can be used as a preview of what we can expect from the MacBook Air M2, with an important but. The MacBook Pro has an active thermal management system. A fan, come on. The MacBook Air doesn’t, so for certain tasks the Pro will be better than the Air.
M2: the evolution of the revolution
What Apple got with it M1 It was difficult to measure when it was announced, but two years later it is starting to become crystal clear. The figures – which seemed impossible – are not and the performance per watt achieved with the chip and its variants (Pro, Max, Ultra) continues to demonstrate the great engineering achievement they represent.
The approximation of Manzana with the M series of its chips is mobile-first. Inspired by everything they’ve achieved in terms of performance per watt with iPhone, the idea is for them to be extremely efficient, using as little power as possible for each task, yet blazingly fast when it counts.
That’s why both the M1 and M2 chips have both efficient and high-performance CPU cores, switching between one and the other depending on usage. As well as single or multi-core processes, of course.
Focusing on the M2, it’s four energy efficient cores known as Blizzard and four powerful cores known as avalanche. It also incorporates up to 10 GPU cores, two more than before. It also contains 20 billion transistors, 25% more than before.
The M2 supports up to 24GB of RAM, 8GB more than before, with an increase in memory bandwidth of up to 100GB/s. All this mounted on a SiP design (system-on-a-package) that we first saw on the Apple Watch.
While a SoC (System on a Chip) encapsulates one or more CPUs, GPUs, microcontrollers and other components, SiPs incorporate absolutely everything necessary for the device to work in a single element. CPU, GPU, RAM, neural engine, media engine, etc. In addition, the memory is shared, allowing the graphics cores to access the entire RAM, if necessary.
|Chip||Apple M1||Apple M2|
|Max CPU cores||8||10|
|Max GPU Cores||8||10|
|motor neuron nuclei||16||16|
|Maximum RAM memory||16 GB||24GB|
|transistors||16 billion||20 billion|
|construction technology||5nm||5nm (2nd generation)|
The M2 is capable of offering 18% better multitasking performance and 35% better graphics speed when compared to an M1 chip.. In addition, tasks using the neural engine can process 15.8 billion operations per second, 40% more than the M1.
All this means that in everyday use, applications like Safari, Mail, Apple Music, Calendar, Notes, office automation like Word, Excel or PowerPoint and messaging software like Messages, WhatsApp or Slack behave as fast as on the MacBook Pro 13 “. with M1 chip. They open immediately, as if they were previously loaded into memory. No surprises, we imagined this would be easy peasy for an M2.
But it’s when you’re using professional apps like Final Cut Pro X, Premiere Pro, After Effects, Photoshop, or Logic Pro that you notice the M2’s raw and downright savage power. and it does without disheveled. There is no fan noise, it doesn’t seem like the notebook is going to take off with a turbine hidden in the back of the device. Working using the battery does not discharge it in 10 minutes and the performance does not disappear to try to save autonomy.
Synthetic tests corroborate my impressions. In Geekbench single core result is 1880 and multicore is 8685. Above iMac, Mac mini, MacBook Pro and MacBook Air with M1 chip. But even more powerful (in single core) than a 2019 Mac Pro, which is priced at least $6,000 or €6,500. In multicore it is close, at a price almost 5 times lower. An iMac Pro – which was also priced at about $5,000/euro – far exceeds it.
We’re talking about Apple’s cheapest professional laptop already being faster than what we’ve considered for years to be some of the most powerful and important professional machines on the market. All this thanks to the M2 chip.
I also did tests with PugetBench, which tries to reflect the real performance of real uses in video editing applications such as Premiere Pro. It is close to my heart, since it is the program of choice to edit my videos. The result with the MacBook Pro 13″ with M2 chip is 616. According to Puget’s explorer, the results of equipment with the M1 Pro hover between scores of 609 and 815, so we can expect similar performance, perhaps slightly lower, to said chip. Pretty amazing.
I mentioned earlier that Premiere Pro It touches me closely since it is the app with which I edit my videos, so I can understand from a first-person point of view, how it behaves in different systems. I edit on a MacBook Pro 14″ with M1 Max. I know the limitations of both systems in terms of real editing speed. My conclusion is that working with an M2 is similar to an M1 Pro. In fact, the MacBook Pro 14″ that I reviewed whom hypertextual I had that chip. The PugetBench result confirms that feeling.
The intersection of the new and the old
I am curious about Apple’s decision not to renew the exterior of the MacBook Pro 13 “. It puts the team in a strange situation. The rest of the company’s laptop line has left the Touch Bar behind, they have reincorporated the MagSafe but not here.
In fact, in terms of ports, the new MacBook Air M2 is superior to the MacBook Pro 13”, which, having a MagSafe connector, frees up the two USB-C ports for other things. This is not the case with this machine and I do not fully understand it.
Same with the Touch Bar, why keep it, if removing it will surely save costs in the long run? I guess they didn’t want to make significant changes to a production line that is having more and more problems due to the general shortage of components that hundreds of industries are suffering from. Efficiency dictates that you keep almost everything unchanged except your interior. And perhaps Apple finds it more complex to remove that component and leave it later for a more significant redesign.
I also assume that it reflects a generalized consumer decision. That is to say, the future buyer who was thinking of a MacBook Pro 13”, is still going to buy it, the price (almost) has not changed and he gets a more powerful equipment.
From a logical point of view I fully understand the decision. From an emotional point of view and desire for innovation, I do not finish sharing it.
So, if you want a new design and some big but not defining improvements, like the MagSafe port, the removal of the TouchBar, and a screen with fewer bezels, maybe you’re better off waiting for the MacBook Air M2. Being clear that this laptop does not have a fan and therefore in some cases, it will be a little slower.
The MacBook Pro 13” with M2 chip is the beginning of everything that is to come
Even with my reservations about the lack of innovation on the outside of the MacBook Pro 13” M2, let’s be clear: it’s a great machine. Everything good about the model with M1 is there, with the addition that it is now more powerful, without sacrificing a minute of those 20 hours of battery that the laptop has, which amazed us and continues to surprise us. My recommendation is: anyone who had planned to buy it, go ahead with the purchase.
This team is the beginning of many of the things that we will see in the next two years in relation to the Mac. We will see more products with the new chip, but we will also see more powerful variables, such as the possible M2 Pro, M2 Max or M2 Ultra.
Exactly the same way that happened in 2020, when Apple launched the MacBook Pro 13 “with M1 processor, without changing practically any external detail in relation to the same equipment with Intel processor. On the outside everything was the same, but on the inside everything changed, and it was the starting point for many of the new things we saw during these last two years.