Apple’s silicon that determines the speed of the next Mac, the M1X˙M2˙M2X release schedule

When Apple launched the M1 chip at the end of last year, two things were clear. Macs are much faster, and the future of Apple silicon is very bright. Now the focus is on how the chips in the Pro family will be updated in the future, as the regular standard models are as fast as some Pros. At that time, Apple announced that it was developing a series of chips that would be released gradually over the next two to three years, and the release of Macs equipped with M1 seems to have been completed. Many users are already looking forward to the next step.

The current timeline is clearer. Now, Apple has replaced all the general-purpose Macs with M1 chips. In other words, the MacBook Air, the 13-inch MacBook Pro, the Mac mini, and the 24-inch iMac. So, rumors continue to circulate about Macs with successor Apple chips. Recent speculation suggests that Apple will follow a similar pace with its A-series chips in its iPhones and iPads, but the performance gap between generations will be much larger.

Apple’s latest M1 processor is based on the 5-nm A14 chip, first featured in the iPad and later in the iPhone 12. The chip features 4 high-performance cores, 192KB L1 instruction cache, 128KB L1 data cache, shared 12MB L2 cache, and 4 energy-efficient cores, 128KB instruction cache, 64KB L1 data cache, and shared 4MB L2 cache. A total of eight cores are split equally between performance and efficiency, resulting in a huge speed boost over the previous model. The M1 chip also has an 8-core GPU in most models (the entry-level MacBook Air and 24-inch iMac are 7-core GPUs), and can generate 128 compute units and up to 24,576 concurrent threads.


Memory has also changed. In the case of the M1 chip, the LPDDR4 memory is not simply attached to the motherboard, but is actually a part of the chip. So it’s faster and more efficient than before, but it’s also somewhat limited. The M1 Mac only comes with a choice of 8GB or 16GB of memory, and is non-upgradeable after purchase (no surprise to MacBook buyers, but unfortunately, the desktop models are the same). And finally, it has a 16-core Neural Engine and supports Secure Enclave and USB/Thunderbolt.

M1X – late 2021

From the beginning of this year, news of the development of the M1X chip began to be heard. The M1X chip is expected to appear in 14-inch and 16-inch MacBook Pros later this year. Like the 2018 iPad Pro’s A12X, it will be built on the same architecture as the existing M1 processor, but will be faster overall.

CPU Monkey speculated on the M1X specs, claiming to have obtained benchmark data for the upcoming chip. It is a 12-core CPU, of which 10 are high-performance cores and 2 are high-efficiency cores. It also has a 16-core GPU, 256 compute units, a shared 32GB L2 cache and up to 64GB of LPDDR4X. The M1X CPU specifications revealed by Mark Gurman are slightly different with 8 high-performance cores and 2 high-efficiency cores.

Based on information about previous X chips, this is a valid argument. For example, the A12 in the iPhone X was a six-core CPU, divided into two high-performance cores and four 4-efficiency cores, respectively. On the other hand, the A12X was an 8-core chip and consisted of 4 high-performance cores and 4 high-efficiency cores.

The specification of the M1X chip will bring significant performance improvements to the high-end M1X Mac over the current M1 family of devices. It is also said to support 4 Thunderbolt/USB4 ports.

M2 – Early 2022

Apple’s M2 chip is likely to be featured in the successor MacBook Air, which will likely undergo a thorough redesign to rival the 24-inch iMac, and will also have new colors. According to Bloomberg, Apple’s successor processor will “have the same number of compute cores as the M1, but will run faster”. It is similar to the A series upgrade. Since the A11 processor, the number of cores was six, but the performance improved significantly. For GPUs, the number of cores will increase from 7 to 8 to 9 to 10, Bloomberg said.
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There is no information on speed yet, but looking at the previous chips, we can expect the M2 processor to be slightly slower than the M1X chip. Limitations on USB/Thunderbolt and RAM will still be there. That’s because Apple will establish its non-X-series chips as consumer products that aren’t too demanding.

M2X – late 2020

Apple is planning high-end chips for the Mac Pro and possibly the larger iMac. According to Bloomberg, the chip can be divided into several performance tiers. In other words, it is a variant chip with 20 or 40 compute cores, which can consist of 16 or 32 high-performance cores and 4 or 8 high-efficiency cores. Workstation-grade chips are also rumored to have 64-core or 128-core options for graphics purposes. This product will replace the AMD GPU in current models. The specs will match Intel’s and AMD’s top-notch chips, and at least nominally the fastest PC’s.

Most likely this chip will be M2X. However, a new name could be given if it outperforms other chips yet to be mentioned (Apple used the ‘Z’ identifier in the past to denote improved graphics performance). Mark Gurman said the successor iMac will likely use an M1X or M2X chip, but it’s unclear whether he’s referring to this chip or the low-power M2 variant.

There is also the possibility of putting two M1X chips in the Mac Pro to improve performance. This was the last strategy used in the 2001 Power Mac G4. But before any specific strategy, you can expect the new Mac Pro to have incredible speeds that will outperform the current model and meet the highest computational demands. The chip will perform exceptionally well, and Apple is already concentrating on new work. [email protected]

Source: ITWorld Korea by

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