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The next Mac chip is coming: how fast will it be?




When Apple released the M1 chip late last year, two things were clear. The Mac was much faster and the future was incredibly bright. Almost a year later, Apple is ready to announce its next step at the “Unleashed” event on October 18th. Apple has already updated its entire line of consumer-level Macs with the MacBook Air, the M1 chip of the 13-inch MacBook Pro. , Mac mini, and 24-inch iMac, and there are many rumors about the next round of Apple silicon-based Macs. This is what we expect.

M1: Entry level speed

Apple’s current M1 processor is based on the 5n MA14 chip, which first appeared on the iPad Air and later on the iPhone 12. It has four high-performance cores with a 192KB L1 instruction cache and a 128KB L1 data cache, sharing 12 MB of L2. Four energy-efficient cores with a cache, 128 KB instruction cache, 64 KB L1 data cache, and shared 4 MB L2 cache. This splits a total of eight cores evenly between power and efficiency, significantly increasing speed over previous models. System-on-chip has an 8-core GPU on most models (the entry-level MacBook Air and 24-inch iMac have a 7-core GPU), with 128 execution units and up to 24576 simultaneous threads.


The memory has also changed. In M1, the LP-DDR4 memory is not only soldered to the motherboard, it is actually part of the chip itself. That is, it’s faster and more efficient than it used to be, but it also has some limitations. Only 8GB or 16GB is available on the M1Mac and there is no way to upgrade after purchase. (This isn’t a surprise to MacBook buyers, but unfortunately the same is true for desktop models.) And finally, the chip has a 16-core neural engine and support for Secure Enclave and USB4 / Thunderbolt. ..

M1X-October 2021

We started hearing about the development of the M1X chip earlier this year, and it seems that it will appear in the redesigned 14-inch and 16-inch MacBook Pros and will definitely appear in “unleashed” events. Like the 2018 iPad Pro A12X, it builds on the same architecture as existing M1 processors, but delivers faster all-round performance.

The redesigned 16-inch MacBook Pro has the potential to showcase the M1X processor.


According to CPU Monkey, which claims to have received a benchmark for future chips, the M1X has a 12-core CPU with 10 high-performance cores and 2 high-efficiency cores, 256 execution units and a shared 32GB L2 cache and up to 64GB. LPDDR4X. From a slightly different perspective, Mark Gurman reported a slightly different M1X CPU specification with eight high-performance cores and two high-efficiency cores.

It makes sense based on what we know about previous “X” releases. For example, the iPhone Xs A12 was a 6-core CPU with 2 high-performance cores and 4 high-efficiency cores, while the A12X was an 8-core chip with 4 high-performance cores and 4 high-efficiency cores.

With these specifications, Apple’s high-end M1X Macs perform significantly better than today’s M1 machines. There are also rumors that support for four Thunderbolt / USB 4 ports will be provided.

M2 ~ 2022

Apple’s M2 chip is likely to appear in the next MacBook Air and will be completely redesigned in new colors for the 24-inch iMac. According to Bloomberg, Apple’s next-generation processor “has the same number of compute cores as the M1, but runs faster.” This is similar to how Apple approaches A-series upgrades. The A-series upgrade uses six cores since the A11 processor, despite significant performance improvements. As far as GPUs are concerned, Bloomberg reports that cores increase from 7 or 8 to 9 or 10.

The colorful redesign of the MacBook AIr could be the first M2 machine.


We still don’t know how the speeds will be compared, but based on previous chips, we can expect the M2 processor to actually be a bit slower than the M1X chip. Since Apple has established a non-X chip as a consumer product for less demanding users, the same restrictions on USB4 / Thunderbolt and RAM may remain.

M2X-Late 22 years

Apple is reportingly planning higher-end chips for the MacPro and perhaps a larger iMac. According to a Bloomberg report, the chip has several performance layers: “20 or 40, consisting of 16 high-performance cores or 32 high-performance cores and 4 or 8 high-efficiency cores. May be offered in a computing core variation of. .. Rumor has it that the workstation caliber chip has a 64-core or 128-core option for graphics, replacing the current model AMD GPU. These specifications are comparable to those offered by Intel and AMD on the finest chips, challenging the fastest PCs, at least on paper.

Apple is reportedly developing a new Mac Pro with an incredibly powerful custom chip.


Apple could call the chip the M2X, but the Mac Pro processor is a huge leap from the rumored chip, and could be separated from the pack with a brand new naming system. (Apple previously used the “Z” identifier on the chip to indicate improved graphics performance.) Mark Gurman says that the next iMac will use the M1X or M2X chip on the next iMac. He reported likely, but he refers to this chip or a low-power M2 variant.

It’s also possible for Apple to combine two M1X chips within the MacPro to improve performance. This was the last tactic used on the Power Mac G4 in 2001. But Apple plans to do that, and hopes the new Mac Pro will bring incredible speed. Blow away today’s models and meet the demand for ultra-high computing. This chip and machine is not just for humans.

Michael Simon has covered Apple since the iPod was iWalk. His obsession with technology dates back to IBM Thinkpad, the first PC with a lift-up keyboard to replace the drive. He is still waiting for it to come back in style tbh.




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