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Apple’s new MacBook Pro with M2 Pro chip is a compelling package


Image: Apple

Apple has released updates to its 14-inch and 16-inch M1 Pro/Max-powered MacBook Pros, which are now available with new M2 Pro and M2 Max processors at the helm.

This announcement was widely expected in late 2022, and many of the rumoured features have duly appeared, including Wi-Fi 6E and support for up to 96GB of unified memory in the M2 Max model – up from a 64GB ceiling in the M1 Max. 

Better battery life was also trailed for the new MacBook Pros, and the 16-inch model duly offers up to 22 hours of Apple TV movie playback from its 100Wh battery – a record for a Mac, Apple claims. The 14-inch model ‘only’ offers up to 18 hours from its smaller 70Wh battery, but that still beats most of the Intel-based competition.  

As well as the power efficiency for which Apple Silicon is noted, potential buyers will primarily be looking for a performance boost from the new M2 Pro/Max MacBook Pros. Until now, the only M2-based MacBook Pro has been the 13-inch model, based on the 8-core CPU/10-core GPU M2 chip. The M2 Pro offers 10 or 12 CPU cores, 200GB/s of memory bandwidth (double that of the M2) and up to 19 GPU cores, while the M2 Max has a 12-core CPU, 400GB/s of memory bandwidth and up to 38 GPU cores, along with that maximum 96GB RAM. 

This should translate into significant speed boosts for the new MacBook Pros: Apple talks about 20% faster title and animation rendering, 2.5x faster compiling and 40% faster image processing than the previous M2 generation for the M2 Pro model, along with 30% faster effects rendering and 30% faster color grading for the M2 Max model. 

All this remains to be confirmed by benchmarking, especially of GPU performance. For now, all we have is a single Geekbench 5 CPU result for an M2 Max model, which shows a 16% boost over the 10-core M1 Max model on single-core performance and a 22% improvement on multi-core performance. 

Given that starting prices — $1,999 for the 14-inch M2 Pro MacBook Pro and $2,499 for the M2 Max model — have not changed compared to the previous generation, this suggests that, if performance is your priority, the new M2 MacBooks are well worth considering. If value for money is more your thing, keep an eye on the inevitable deals and discounts for the M1 Pro/Max laptops. 


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