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The Apple M2 Max is the MacBook Pro's secret weapon. Here's why
How many GPU cores?
➡️ The Shortcut Skinny: Apple’s newest silicon
🎺 Apple has announced two new SOCs
🤓 Both the M2 Pro and M2 Max will have up to 12 CPU cores
🤯 M2 Max has 38 GPU cores
✨ M2 Max and M2 Pro only available in the new MacBook Pro 14- and 16-inch
Apple just announced its new 14- and 16-inch MacBook Pro with very little fanfare. However, these new laptops are equipped with the all-new M2 Pro and M2 Max, all-new chips that are likely to show up in other Macs this year.
The M2 Pro and M2 Max are more amped-up versions of the chip found in last year’s MacBook Air. The M2 Pro bumps up CPU cores to 10 or 12 cores, with either six or eight performance cores and four efficient cores. Likewise, the M2 Max has the same CPU core configuration as the 12-core M2 Pro but adds a much more powerful GPU.
The GPU in the M2 Max is a 38-core behemoth. Apple doesn’t share the exact specifications in its GPUs, so we’ll have to wait a little bit to see how it does it, but the GPU offers up to 400GB/s of memory bandwidth. That might not seem like a lot if you’re used to the RTX 4080, but it’s more than enough for a laptop aimed at creative professionals.
These chips will be available in the MacBook Pro 14- and 16-inch starting January 17, 2023.
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Who are these for?
M2 Pro is great for photo editing, coding and word processing
M2 Max is better for video editing, 3D modeling and more
While the MacBook Pro has a huge audience, not all of which actually need a professional workstation, these laptops are still primarily aimed at creative professionals. Even the 14-inch MacBook Pro with an M2 Pro is likely going to be overkill for a lot of people that only need it for light word processing and web browsing.
However, the MacBook Air has always been the laptop of choice for creative types, and this new iteration is likely to continue that trend.
The M2 Pro is probably going to be the more common chip, with its 12-core CPU. That will be more than enough for photo editors, even if you need to load up a million layers in Photoshop. Apple also uses the example of compiling code in X-Code, another area this chip will likely shine.
The M2 Max is expected to perform very similarly to the M2 Pro in those workloads, but where it’ll stand apart is in video editing, animation and CAD applications.
In those workloads, GPU horsepower is the name of the game. Its 38-core GPU will be more than able to power through even 4K video streams without much of an issue. However, we’ll have to wait until benchmarks come in to see whether or not it can stand toe-to-toe with Nvidia’s best GPUs for laptops it announced at CES 2023.
The Apple M2 was built on the same 5nm manufacturing process as the Apple M1, and that means the M2 Pro was as well. Apple’s new Avalanche microarchitecture did make some critical improvements, but it’s not a huge next-gen sequel.
I wouldn’t really recommend anyone that already has an M1 Pro/Max-equipped MacBook Pro to go out and get the new one just because it’s new. This is a great improvement on the 2021 MacBook Pro, but last year’s model is still very good.