Apple disappoints with its M2 chip: 5nm, better graphics and more memory

Last night Apple presented its newest and most brilliant chip, the M2, therefore renewing the current M1 and being the most basic version of what is to come. The problem is that the expectation was very high and as usually happens when slats of that caliber are set, the blow is greater. The new Apple M2 is a direct evolution of the firstborn that focuses more on the GPU and bandwidth than on more interesting improvements.

What is presented by those from Cupertino is a strange disappointment, because, on the one hand, there are clear advances, but on the other it feels more of the same and they have clearly lost the surprise factor, perhaps driven by the need and the delays of TSMC. In any case, the news and improvements are so brief that a slide discusses them all at once, but still, let’s take a closer look at this chip.

Apple disappoints with its M2 chip

Apple M2, news and features

We will start with the basics, its key features. And it must be taken into account that it is not a 3nm chip as such, but it is still maintained at 5nm in LPP manufactured by TSMC in what the design of this node reaches what Apple has called “second generation “. In other words, it is an N5+ that offers 25% more density, achieving 20 billion transistors in an area slightly larger than that of the original M1.


This increase of 4 billion transistors makes it possible to include 2 more units for the GPU, reaching 10 Cores, while the CPU remains with the already known 4 P-Cores and 4 E-Cores for a total of 8. The funny thing is that Apple has not revealed real frequencies, but it has given specific data on cache hierarchy and performance.


The 4 P-Cores include 192 KB of L1I, 128 KB of L1D, and 16 MB of cache shared by all of them, while the 4 E-Cores get 128 KB of L1I, 64 KB of L1D, and 4 MB of shared memory.

More RAM memory capacity, now LPDDR5

More power also implies certain changes in key components. Keep in mind that Apple talks about +18% CPU , a 35% faster graphics card and a 40% faster Neural Engine . If we put all this together and see the hierarchy of caches, it is very easy to understand that Apple has chosen to increase memory bandwidth and capacity by almost 50%, going from 16 GB LPDDR4X to 24 GB of LPDDR5 and facing 68 GB/ s vs. over 100 GB/s .


The changes in the architecture seeing this data are evident. Apple has improved what is present and has taken a leap forward, but since it has not specified frequencies, we do not know how much the IPC corresponds to in terms of performance and how much to the GHz, something typical of the manufacturer and designer.

In addition to this and comparing itself to PC processors in an attempt to show that it is once again ahead in efficiency, not performance, Apple has left out a number of key technologies that it considers important to users of its Mac products:

  • Neural Engine can process up to 15.8 trillion operations per second , more than 40% more than the M1.
  • The media engine includes a higher bandwidth video decoder, supporting 8K H.264 and HEVC .
  • Apple’s powerful ProRes video engine enables playback of multiple streams in 4K and 8K.
  • Apple’s latest Secure Enclave provides best-in-class security.
  • A new Image Signal Processor (ISP) offers better image noise reduction.

Many expected a bigger jump in performance, more cores, better architecture and of course better efficiency. What Apple presented with this M2 is undoubtedly a step forward that improves what is present and that seems more focused now on gaming than on other tasks, since increasing the power of the GPU by two units, almost doubling the jump seen in the CPU is a clear symptom that Apple does not want to leave aside the world of gaming.


The problem is that it arrives late, very late… But the company does not give up trying and for this reason it has created a new technology called MetalFX.

Apple for the gaming sector with its M2 and MetalFX

In an attempt to emulate NVIDIA, AMD, and Intel with DLSS, FSR 2.0, and XeSS , Apple has created a technology that appears to be an AI time-scaling system called MetalFX. We have the basic idea in the three named options, while Apple with this new technology also integrates a fast resource loading API to speed up game loading times.


For us to understand each other, it seems that they wanted to mix DLSS and DirectStorage in a single system. The company puts it this way:

The power of Apple’s silicon allows every new Mac to run AAA games with ease, including upcoming titles like EA’s GRID Legends and Capcom’s Resident Evil Village. And since Apple’s silicon also works with iPad, game developers can bring their AAA games to more users, like Hello Games’ No Man’s Sky, coming to Mac and iPad later this year.

Metal 3, the latest version of the software that powers gaming across all Apple platforms, introduces new features that take Mac gaming to new heights and unleash the full potential of Apple silicon for years to come. MetalFX Upscaling allows developers to quickly render complex scenes by using less computationally intensive frames and then apply resolution scaling and temporal smoothing. The result is accelerated performance that gives gamers a more responsive feel and graphics that look stunning.

Game developers also benefit from a new fast resource loading API that minimizes wait time by providing a more direct path from storage to the GPU, so games can easily access high-quality textures and geometry. quality necessary to create expansive worlds for realistic and immersive gameplay.

It seems that Apple is taking the fruits of the ideas of the three big companies united with Microsoft and presenting its options for gaming as its own. The idea and the path chosen make us think that, logically, we will see units for ray tracing, VRR or Mesh Shaders in new chips.

The problem is timing and performance itself. Apple had the opportunity to jump on the bandwagon just before RDNA 2 and Xe hit the portable market, now it’s going to be much harder, especially to convince its users that its chips can also be used to play games at the same level. than those of the competition, which remains to be seen . Meanwhile, this Apple M2 is the first step for this sector, the push in it will depend on how its sales evolve.