Apples M2 vs M1 Chip: Two Chips Compared

Apple MacBook Pro 2020 with M1 silicon Chip on a table

Apples M2 vs M1 Chip: Two Chips Compared

Key Points

  • For far too long the standard practice has been to get parts of a laptop and computer manufactured elsewhere and get it all assembled afterwards.
  • Apple is trying to breaking the chain and bring all production efforts under its own umbrella.
  • M2 is Apple’s first attempt and it is already turning heads and making front page on all tech news websites.

A few years ago, Apple started a revolution by designing everything inside their computers. As a result, they no longer source components from outside vendors. They’re continuing this trend with the release of the new M2 SOC (System on a Chip). With this newest generation, Apple claims to have 18% better performance on the CPU and 35% better GPU. The unified memory has also been upgraded to support up to 24GB. It is not abundantly clear how much better the M2 is than the M1, but that is what we hope to clarify as we explore Apple M2 vs. M1 chip in detail.

M2 vs. M1: Side By Side Comparison

graphic illustration of m2 processor chip on dark motherboard background
Developed for use in Macs and iPads, M2 is the next generation of Apple silicone chips.

©MVelishchuk /Shutterstock.com

Fabrication Process
2nd Gen 5nm technology

1st Gen 5nm technology
8 cores
8 cores
Up to 10-core
Up to 8-core
Clockspeed3.49GHz  3.2GHz 
Memory bandwidth100GB/s 68.25GB
RAM (Unified Memory)
Up to 24GB

Up to 16GB
Release DateJuly 15, 2022Nov. 17, 2020

M2 vs. M1: 5 Must-Know Facts

iPad Pro 2021
M1 chip that’s used in iPad Pro has a unified memory architecture that allows processor components to access the same data pool.

©NYC Russ/Shutterstock.com

  • The M2 chip offers 24GB of Unified Memory instead of the M1, topping out at 16GB.
  • Even though the M1 and M2 share the same amount of CPU cores, the newer architecture of the M2 offers about a 20% increase in performance.
  • The GPU in the M2 has 10 cores, two more than the M1’s 8 cores and offers 35% more performance.
  • The M1 and M2 use a 5nm fabrication process, but the M2 uses a second-generation process.
  • Both chips have a Neural engine, but M2’s is 40 percent faster.
Best Travel Choice
Apple 2022 MacBook Pro Laptop with M2
  • Up to 24 GB of RAM
  • 13-inch retina display
  • Active cooling
  • Can drive displays up to 8K resolution
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08/29/2023 04:21 pm GMT

M2 vs. M1: What’s The Difference

Because the M1 and M2 have multiple components built onto one chip instead of numerous components, this comparison will go over each component and how they stack up against each other.


Both CPUs for the M1 and M2 have 4 performance and 4 efficiency cores. However, Apple claims the M2 has the advantage as it incorporates the newer “Avalanche” and “Blizzard” cores The M2 main chip is the Bionic A15, the same chip found in iPhone 13. Of course, it is at a higher spec when it is in laptops in desktops, though.

From some GeekBench benchmarks, it looks like the M2 chip 3.49GHz compared to the M1 running at 3.2GHz. The way GeekBench works is once the tests are done, the software will give it a score for single-thread and multi-thread benchmarks. The M2 scored 1,919, and the M1 scored 1,707 for single-thread, which is roughly 12% better for the M2. For Multi-thread, there is about a 20% difference, with the M2 scoring 8,928 and the M1 scoring 7,419.


As far as the GPU goes, M2 has 10 cores, two more than the M1. Apple says there is about a 25% difference at the same power level, but at the M2’s max power level, you should see a 35% gain in performance.

The GeekBench scores we have so far seem to corroborate Apple’s claim. The M2 GPU scored a whopping 30,627, and the M1 scored 21,001. Remember that the numbers will vary from model to model, but these results come from the 13-inch MacBook Pro M1 and M2.

Unified Memory

The unified memory differs from the typical memory or RAM you are used to seeing. So even though the M1 laptops offered 32GB memory models, that was not all unified memory. M2 has upped the amount of unified memory available now to 24GB.

Unified memory is a huge leap in RAM technology and can make huge differences in the efficiency and performance of memory. It allows your computer to utilize memory from your GPU and use it towards system memory when tasks or apps call for it. So, in theory, your machine will not need more dedicated RAM if your computer can share some memory from the GPU.

Media Engine

Now, this might not matter to many people, but for all the video professionals and enthusiasts, the M2 is introducing a newer media engine. The M2 offers support for Apple ProRes video and keeps support for H.264 that came with the M1. In addition, the chipset also features higher bandwidth for video decoder enabling the new media engine to support 8K H.264 and HEVC video playbacks.

So with iPhones now being able to shoot in ProRes codecs, at least at the flagship level, you can edit that footage without special software like Adobe Premiere or Davinci Resolve.

Apple M2 vs. M1 Chip: Which One Is Better?

Obviously, the newer M2 outperforms the slightly older M1, but is the price gap between the two worth it? Well, because Apple really wants you to buy the new version. However, you can find an M2 MacBook Pro for less but with the same spec as an M1 model.

If you already own an M1 model and want to upgrade to the M2, I don’t think it would be worth it – unless your computer is on its way out. Of course, the M2 does give you improved performance, but M1 computers are still excellent.

Next Up…

Apples M2 vs M1 Chip: Two Chips Compared FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions) 

Is M2 better than M1?

The M2 chip does outperform the M1 chip in most benchmark tests. The M2’s GPU outperforms the M1’s by 35% and the CPU by 20%.

What is difference between M1 and M2?

The M2 has two additional GPU cores, totaling 10, and the M2’s CPU has a newer architecture with faster performance than the M1. Another significant change is the upgrade in max unified memory up to 24GB from the M1’s 16GB.

Is MacBook Air M2 worth it?

If you want top-of-the-line performance, the M2 Macs are definitely worth it, but if you don’t need the best of the best, you can stick with the M1 and still get excellent results.

Is it worth waiting for M2?

Luckily now that the M2 computers are out, they are becoming more readily available than some M1 models.

Does M2 MacBook Pro have touch bar?

If you are upgrading from a MacBook Pro from 2019 or earlier, you might be used to the touch bar at this point, but the newest M2 MacBook Pro does not have one.

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