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Apple Rumored to Introduce M2 Powered Mac Minis

Apple
(Image credit: Apple)

Apple is reportedly working on two new system-on-chips for inexpensive and mainstream Macs. The new M2 and M2 Pro SoCs are said to be based on the A15 Bionic architecture and will therefore feature "Avalanche" and "Blizzard" cores as well as enhanced integrated GPU, according to a report.  As ever, rumors and leaks should be taken with a pinch of salt.

Apple's new M2 SoC is said to be codenamed Staten and will feature four high-performance Avalanche cores, four energy-efficient Blizzard cores, and a 10-cluster integrated GPU, reports 9to5Mac citing its own sources. Meanwhile, the rumored M2 Pro chip is said to feature eight Avalanche cores, four Blizzard cores, and an up to 16-cluster GPU. Given the fact that Apple's A15 Bionic is made using TSMC's N5P fabrication process, it is likely that M2-series SoCs will be made using the same node.  

It is noteworthy that at this point Apple reportedly has no plans for M2 Max and M2 Ultra processors for higher-end PCs. This does not look improbable as Avalanche and Blizzard hardly bring significant general-purpose performance improvements compared to Firestorm and Icestorm cores used in M1 processors. 

Comparison of Apple's SoCs based on official and unofficial information

M1M1 ProM2M2 Pro
Performance Cores4x Firestorm8x Firestorm4x Avalanche8x Avalanche
Efficient Cores4x Icestorm2x Icestorm4x Blizzard4x Blizzard
GPU Clusters7 or 814 or 16up to 10up to 16
Corresponding Mobile SoCA14 BionicA14 BionicA15 BionicA15 Bionic
NodeN5N5N5PN5P

The new M2 SoC is believed to power Apple's new generation Mac Mini desktop PC (J473), whereas the M2 Pro will be the brain of a more powerful Mac Mini desktop (J474) that will sit between the entry-level Mac Mini and the entry-level Mac Studio desktop, so it will be priced accordingly. 

Keeping in mind that current M1 SoCs also power Apple's MacBook Air and MacBook Pro 13, it is logical to expect M2 and M2 Pro SoCs to eventually find a home inside laptops, yet the report does not state this directly. 

Apple will host its annual WWDC 2022 conference in May or June, where Bloomberg expects it to introduce new Macs based on Apple Silicon. That said, it is reasonable to expect Apple to introduce its M2 and M2 Pro SoCs as well as computers based on these chips at the event. 

In previous M2 rumors about M2 indicated that the SoCs will leverage architectures used by Apple's next-generation A16 Bionic application processor for smartphones and tablets, which means that the SoCs will be made using TSMC's N4 node. Other rumors seem to confirm that Apple's 2nd Generation M-series SoCs could arrive in 2022 and would be made using an enhanced version of TSMC's N5 node, which means N5P, N4, N4P.  

It is noteworthy that Apple is also said to be working on its M3 family of system-on-chips based on its all-new architectures and made using TSMC's next-generation N3 node. The line-up will include processors codenamed Ibiza, Lobos, and Palma, which probably means M3, M3 Pro, and M3 Max SoCs for entry-level, performance, and high-performance systems.

Anton Shilov is a Freelance News Writer at Tom’s Hardware US. Over the past couple of decades, he has covered everything from CPUs and GPUs to supercomputers and from modern process technologies and latest fab tools to high-tech industry trends.

  • watzupken
    There’s a lot of rumors on M2 release, but none getting it right, or Apple pulling the plug last minute. In any case, I am skeptical that M2 will bring the same level of positive surprise as when Apple introduced M1. By estimate, the improvement in CPU performance from A14 to 15 is marginal. It’s more of a higher GPU core count that pushes the overall performance up.
    Reply
  • hannibal
    M2 is improved M1... Nothing more nothing less. I hope that most gains are in power usage! We need mobile devices that use less power than M1. The speed is there and it seems that M2 concentrates more to gpu power...
    Reply