Apple M2 Pro with more CPU cores and production in 3 nm ?

Posted by Stefan on 2022-06-28, Last updated:
After Apple surprisingly presented the normal Apple M2 processor as the first successor to the Apple M1 already in June 2022, the Apple M2 Pro and the Apple M2 Max may follow in autumn. The difference in performance compared to the basic version could be even greater this time.

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Although some market observers assume that Apple may release the Pro variants in 2023, we consider this unlikely, since the performance difference between the Apple M2, which is now around 18 percent faster, and the Apple M1 Pro is just too small for that. In the strong last quarter of the year, Apple would certainly like to create a stronger buying incentive for professional users.

Apple M2 Pro and Apple M2 Max still in 2022


The usually well-informed page 9to5 Mac also assumes this in a recent report and reports the start of production of the Pro processors in 2022. This is also confirmed by Macrumors:


Is the Apple M2 Pro / Max already using the new 3 nm production ?


9to5 Mac also says that the new Apple M2 Pro processors are already being manufactured in 3 nm production at TSMC. According to reports, Apple has already booked 3 nm production capacities with TSMC for new Mac processors along with capacities for the Apple A16 smartphone chip.

The fact that Apple is already manufacturing the Pro/Max variants in 3 nm could indicate that these are already based on the CPU core architecutre of the Apple A16 processor, while the normal Apple M2 is still based on the A15 technology puts on. However, this is not confirmed and is just a guess. Either way, the performance difference between the regular Apple M2 and the Pro/Max versions will probably be even bigger this time.

Apple M2 Pro/Max could get 12 CPU cores


Apple is said to be testing a Pro processor with 12 CPU cores. The CPU cores should consist of 8 performance cores and 4 efficiency cores. The Apple M1 Pro is currently available in two core variants, one with 8 CPU cores (6+2) and one with 10 cores (8+2). So Apple is increasing the number of efficiency cores. Similar to the Apple M2, the overall power consumption will increase, but the performance per watt should be significantly higher than that of the previous generation.

Since the normal Apple M2 has more Level 2 cache for the performance cores (20 MB vs 16 MB in the Apple M1), the Apple M2 Pro / Max should also be equipped with more Level 2 cache. The raw performance per clock could be +18 percent (5 nm production) or even up to +35 percent with production in 3 nm higher than in the previous generation.

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© Apple, 2022

If Apple now increases the number of cores in the Apple M2 Pro from the current maximum of 10 CPU cores to 12 CPU cores, the performance increase compared to the previous generation could be 25 to 40 percent. The Apple M2 Max should then also be released with 12 CPU cores (now 10).

The graphics performance will increase significantly


You can also expect a significant increase in performance in terms of graphics performance, because the Apple M2 has made the biggest leap in performance here. In our CPU comparison of the Apple M2 vs Apple M1 the iGPU of the Apple M2 is 26 percent faster than the Apple M1. The Apple M2 now uses 10 instead of 8 GPU cores. In addition, Apple has slightly increased the maximum clock frequency of the graphics unit from 1.3 to 1.4 GHz. The Apple M2 Max should then achieve up to twice the GPU performance of the Apple M2 Pro.

The price will probably go up too


The price is also likely to be higher: regardless of whether improved 5 nm production or even 3 nm: production capacities have become expensive and the 3 nm process in particular should really make the cash register ring at TSMC. In the end you will probably have to reckon with price increases (also due to inflation). For the Apple iPhone 14 Pro, a price increase of around 10 percent is currently expected compared to the Apple iPhone 13 Pro.


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