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High-end M2 chips could bring an even bigger speed boost

High-end M2 chips could bring an even bigger speed boost

Apple is rumoured to be moving to a 3nm process, which could be good news for the MacBook Pro and Mac mini.

Credit: Dreamstime

Apple's 14-inch and 16-inch MacBook Pro models are powerful laptops with great battery life. But the next generation could get even better processing speed and battery life, thanks to M2 Pro chips that could be the first in Apple's lineup built with the 3nm process.

According to the Commercial Times in Taiwan, the company that manufactures Apple's chips, TSMC, will start making 3nm chips for Apple by the end of this year. Previously, the Commercial Times reported that production would start by the end of September.

The first 3nm Apple chip may be the M2 Pro (and presumably the M2 Max as well), followed by the A17 later in 2023. Eventually, the M3 and subsequent Apple chips will used the 3nm process.

In July, Bloomberg's Mark Gurman reported that Apple will update the 14- and 16-inch MacBook Pro laptops with an M2 Pro and M2 Max, both with a 12-core CPU. The GPU cores could jump to 18 and 20 cores in the M2 Pro, and 30 and 38 cores in the M2 Max. 

Gurman also reported that these laptops could become available this fall, but the Commercial Times report makes it more likely that they will ship in the first part of 2023.

Analyst Ming-Chi Kuo has reported that Apple is working on a 15-inch laptop that would use an M2, with an option for an M2 Pro. This laptop, which Mark Gurman has reported as a MacBook Air, may not become available until the second half of 2023.

Gurman has also reported that Apple is working on an M2 Pro Mac mini to replace the Intel-based $1,099 Mac mini that the company still sells. The current M1 Mac mini could get an upgrade to the M2 chip, which was introduced with the MacBook Air and the 13-inch MacBook Pro.

The 3nm process shrinks the die from the current 5nm that is used in the M2, M1, and other chips. Die shrink results in faster performance, so we could see a better than usual increase in speed from the M1 Pro to the M2 Pro. Die shrink also promotes better power efficiency, which means improved battery life in laptops.

If TMSC's production schedule holds up, the M2 Pro could be the first 3nm processor to be used in a computer while Intel's 3nm chips aren't expected until the second half of 2023, with chips from AMD and others to follow.


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