Video comparison: M2 MacBook Pro vs. M1 MacBook Pro

Apple released an updated version of the 13-inch MacBook Pro last week, and it’s the first Mac to feature an updated M2 chip. Since it uses a brand new chip, we thought we’d pick up the “M2” MacBook Pro and compare it to the previous generation M1 MacBook Pro to see what’s new.

For the video comparison, we use the entry-level 13-inch MacBook Pro “M2” with 8 GB of unified storage and a 256 GB SSD and compare it to the entry-level 13-inch MacBook Pro “M1” with 8 GB of unified storage and a 256GB SSD, so a head-to-head comparison between the new machine and its predecessor.

In terms of design, there are no differences as Apple has kept the body and internal components the same, with the update being limited to the internal chips. The bezels are the same, the MacBook Pro still has a Touch Bar and still uses USB-C without the MagSafe port.

The “M2” chip in the MacBook Pro has an 8-core CPU, a 10-core GPU and support for up to 24GB of unified memory, while the “M1” has an 8-core CPU, a 8-core -GPU and up to 16GB Unified included memory. As an aside, although the base machine ships with 8GB, it’s almost always a good idea to go to at least 16GB for improved performance.

When it comes to CPU performance, the “M2” beats the “M1”. While there’s still an 8-core CPU, single-core Geekbench speeds are up to 12 percent faster than the “M1,” while multi-core scores can be up to 20 percent higher. In our own testing, we saw mixed results with an 8 percent improvement in single-core performance and a 12 percent improvement in multi-core performance.

In terms of GPU performance, the “M2” is much faster than the “M1” because it has two additional cores. Geekbench Metal scores were 35 percent better with the “M2,” and the 3DMARK framerate benchmarks saw the “M2” score 40 fps, while the “M1” scored 29 fps.

In practice, video export times for a simple timeline were about the same, with improvements on the “M2” as more effects and plugins were added.

There has been some controversy over the 256GB SSD in the MacBook Pro, which reported slower speeds on Blackmagic hard drive speed tests. Apple used a single 256GB NAND flash memory chip for the “M2” MacBook Pro, while the “M1” model had two NAND chips, probably 128GB each. Multiple NAND chips enable faster speeds in parallel, meaning the 256GB SSD in the “M1” MacBook Pro significantly outperforms the 256GB SSD in the “M2” MacBook Pro. Note that this issue is limited to the 256GB models as the 512GB models do not have the same issue.

On machines with as little as 8GB of memory, the SSD is used for virtual memory when needed, and a slow SSD can result in slow overall performance speeds, which is something to be aware of. We ran some real world tests transferring large files and found faster speeds on the “M2”, but other performance tests from YouTube channels like Max Tech had different results and performance hits on the “M2” compared to the “M1” .

To avoid potentially disappointing performance, it’s probably best to upgrade the SSD to 512GB when you get the “M2” MacBook Pro, and it’s also a good idea to include more storage as it can’t be upgraded later . With the base model being controversial, those considering the machine might as well just wait for the “M2” MacBook Air, which is slated to launch in July.

For our full comparison of the “M1” MacBook Pro and the “M2” MacBook Pro, be sure to watch our video above. Do you have an ‌M2‌ MacBook Pro? Let us know what you think in the comments.

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