What is presented by those of Cupertino is a strange disappointment, because on the one hand there is clear progress, but on the other it is more the same and they have clearly lost the surprise factor, perhaps driven by need and TSMC delays. Either way, the new and improved features are so brief that one slide touches on them all at once, but still, let’s take a closer look at this bullet point.
Apple M2, news and features
We will start with the basics, its main features. And it must be taken into account that it is not a 3nm chip as such, but is still maintained at 5 nm most LPPs manufactured by TSMC in what the design of this node reaches what Apple called “second generation”. I mean it’s a N5+ thus offering 25% more density, reaching 20 billion transistors in a slightly larger area than the original M1.
This increase of 4 billion transistors allows to include 2 additional 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 didn’t reveal actual frequencies, but it did give 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, while the 4 E-Cores get 128 KB of L1I, 64 KB of L1D and 4 MB shared memory.
More RAM memory capacity, now LPDDR5
More power also implies certain changes in key components. Keep in mind that Apple is talking about a +18% and CPUa graphics card 35% faster and one 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 bandwidth and memory capacity by almost 50%, going from 16 GB LPDDR4X to 24 GB LPDDR5 and faced with 68 GB/s against more than 100 GB/s.
The changes in the architecture seeing this data are evident. Apple improved what’s present and jumped forward but since it didn’t specify the frequencies we don’t know what the IPC is in terms of performance and how much the GHz something typical of the manufacturer and the designer.
On top of that and comparing itself to PC processors in an attempt to show that it is once again ahead in efficiency and not performance, Apple has left out a number of key technologies that it considers as important to users of its Mac products:
- Neural Engine can process up to 15.8 trillion operations per secondmore than 40% than the M1.
- The media engine includes a higher bandwidth video decoder, compatible with 8K H.264 and HEVC.
- Apple’s powerful ProRes video engine enables playback of multiple streams in 4K and 8K.
- The last Safe Enclave Apple offers best-in-class security.
- A new image signal processor (ISP) provides better image noise reduction.
Many expected a bigger increase in performance, more cores, better architecture and of course better efficiency. What Apple has presented with this M2 is undoubtedly a step forward that improves on what is present and which now seems more focused on gaming than on other tasks, since increasing the power of the GPU by two units, doubling almost the jump seen in the CPU is a clear symptom that Apple does not want to leave the world of gaming aside.
The problem is that it comes 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 piece of 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 mezclar DLSS and DirectStorage in one system. The company presents it as follows:
The power of Apple’s silicon allows every new Mac to easily run AAA games, including upcoming titles like EA’s GRID Legends and Capcom’s Resident Evil Village. And because Apple’s silicon also works with the 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 games on all Apple platforms, introduces new features that take Mac gaming to new heights and unlock the full potential of Apple silicon for years to come. MetalFX Scaling allows developers to quickly render complex scenes by using less compute-intensive images and then applying resolution scaling and temporal anti-aliasing. The result is accelerated performance that gives gamers a more responsive feel and stunning graphics.
Game developers also benefit from a new Fast Asset Loading API that minimizes latency by providing a more direct path from storage to GPU, so games can easily access high-end textures and geometry. quality needed to create expansive worlds for realistic and immersive gameplay. .
It looks like Apple is taking the ideas of the three big companies united with Microsoft and presenting its gaming options as its own. The idea and the path chosen make us think that, logically, we will see ray tracing units, VRR or Mesh Shaders in new chips.
The problem is the timing and the performance itself. Apple had the opportunity to jump on the train just before RDNA 2 and Xe arrived on the portable market, now it will be much harder, especially to convince its users that its chips can also be used to play games. games of the same level as those. of the competition, what to see. In the meantime, this Apple M2 is the first step for this sector, the push will depend on the evolution of its sales.