Apple M2 Pro and M2 Max chips: Everything you need to know

M2 Pro, M2 Max
(Image credit: Apple)

After months of anticipations, rumors, and predictions, Apple has finally given the world the M2 Pro and M2 Max chips. Built on the relatively new M2 architecture, and benefiting from the efficiency and power gains therein, they designed more for the 'Pro' customer. In other words: the chips for those whose needs weren't entirely fulfilled by the M2.

You'll find these chips in the new 2023 MacBook Pro models and the latest Mac Mini, with more power on tap than the 2022 M2 chip. They'll bring more opportunities and possibilities to the Mac lineup.

What is the M2 Pro chip?

M2 Pro specs

(Image credit: Apple)

The M2 Pro is built with the second-generation 5-nanometer process technology. It's for nearly 20% more transistors than the M1 Pro at 40 billion. That's double the M2. There's 200GB/s of unified memory bandwidth which supports up to 32GB of low-latency memory. It comes in 10 or 12-core CPU forms, providing up to eight high-performance cores and four high-efficiency cores. What does this mean? 20% faster performance than you'd find with the 10-core CPU in M1 Pro. Apple promise that apps like Adobe Photoshop will "run heavy workloads faster", with compiling in Xcode up to 2.5x faster than on the fastest intel MacBook Pro.

The GPU on board is configurable with up to 19 cores, and comes a larger L2 cache. This gives improved graphics speeds of up to 30% over M1 Pro, providing massive increases in image processing performance, and enabling console - quality gaming. 

What is the M2 Max chip?

M2 Max specs

(Image credit: Apple)

If Apple is to be believed, the M2 Max is now the "world's most powerful and efficient pro-grade laptop chip". There are 67 million transistors (10 million more than M1 Max), and it offers three times what you'll find on M2. There's 400GB/s of memory bandwidth or twice that of the M2 and four times that of M2. It supports a simply mind-boggling 96GB of unified memory, the most of any MacBook ever.

The CPU is the same 12-core beast you'll find in the M2 Pro, but the GPU has been beefed up. There are 38 cores paired with an even larger L2 cache - the result is graphics performance is 30% higher than on the M1 Max.

How do the M2 Pro and M2 Max chips differ from the M2 chip?

Here's a summary of how the M2 Pro and M2 Max chips differ from the M2:

Swipe to scroll horizontally
M2 vs. M2 Pro vs. M2 Max
ComponentM2M2 Pro M2 Max
Transistors20 billion40 billion67 billion
CPU cores8-coreup to 12-core12-core
GPU coresup to 10-coreup to 19-coreup to 38-core
Unified memory supportup to 24GBup to 32GBup to 96GB
Memory bandwidth100GB/s200GB/s400GB/s

Which devices run Apple's M2 Pro and M2 Max chips?

Here are the only Apple devices that offer the M2 Pro and M2 Max, respectively:

  • Apple M2 Pro: 14-inch MacBook Pro (2023), 16-inch MacBook Pro (2023), and Mac mini (2023)
  • Apple M2 Max: 14-inch MacBook Pro (2023) and 16-inch MacBook Pro (2023)

A powerful update

The Macs that feature the M2 Pro and M2 Max should be around for many years and offer incredible power and reliability. So, it will be a long time before either of these chips feel old and need to be replaced — no need to worry! 

The introduction of the M2 Pro and M2 Max came about seven months after the arrival of the M2 chip found in the 13-inch MacBook Pro (2022) and MacBook Air (2022). These are powerful devices — but not nearly as powerful as the incoming 2023 14- and 16-inch MacBook Pro models. 

Bryan M Wolfe
Staff Writer

Bryan M. Wolfe has written about technology for over a decade on various websites, including TechRadar, AppAdvice, and many more. Before this, he worked in the technology field across different industries, including healthcare and education. He’s currently iMore’s lead on all things Mac and macOS, although he also loves covering iPhone, iPad, and Apple Watch. Bryan enjoys watching his favorite sports teams, traveling, and driving around his teenage daughter to her latest stage show, audition, or school event in his spare time. He also keeps busy walking his black and white cocker spaniel, Izzy, and trying new coffees and liquid grapes.