Apple’s M2 SOC has been tested against a vast variety of AMD & Intel CPUs by HardwareUnboxed, showcasing its gaming and application performance potential.
Apple M2 SOC Faster Than AMD’s RDNA 2 iGPU In Gaming Benchmarks But Loses In CPU Tests
Announced last month, the Apple M2 SOC features an upgraded design based on the TSMC 5nm process node. The Apple M2 SOC consists of 20 Billion transistors. This is a 25 percent increase over the M1 SOC. The die size has also seen a small increase and while we have the same 8-core count as the last-generation M1, the cores themselves have been upgraded. That’s also a 25 percent increase over its predecessors.
The new Apple M2 SOC makes use of brand new Performance and Efficiency cores with a larger cache, offering up to 18% faster multi-threaded performance versus M1. The SOC also gets 24 GB of LPDDR5 memory which acts as unified memory. This is a feature on the same package as the M2 SOC and consists of two 12 GB (128-bit wide) LPDDR5 DRAM chips for up to 50% higher bandwidth (100 GB/s).
An upgraded Neural Engine offers 40% higher performance with its 16-core design and up to 15.8 trillion operations per second. The GPU on the Apple M2 SOC has also been upgraded by 10 cores, a 25 percent increase over the M1, and features a larger L2 cache which when combined with the higher bandwidth, offers up to 35% better performance. The GPU offers 111 GTexels/s & 55 GPixels per second throughput.
In terms of CPU performance, the Apple M2 SOC was compared to a wide range of AMD & Intel Mobility CPUs, mainly the 12th Gen, 11th Gen, Ryzen 6000, and Ryzen 5000 lineups. Considering that the M2 SOC falls in the 25-28W TDP range, it is mostly a direct competitor to Intel’s Alder Lake-U28 and Ryzen 6000U parts which are available in a similar TDP configuration. In benchmarks, the M2 SOC is slower than the Intel Core i7-1260P and the Ryzen 7 6800U in Cinebench R23. In CB R23 Single-threaded tests, the M2 leads against the Ryzen 7 6800U but still loses to the Intel Alder Lake chip.
As for power figures, well Apple M2 SOC has a big lead with the chip maxing out at 24W while the AMD Ryzen 7 6800U maxes out at 37W and the Intel Core i7-1260P maxes out at 54W. So you can see that Apple was somewhat right in its claim that M2 will offer double the efficiency of Alder Lake CPUs.
Apple M2 SOC CPU Benchmarks (Image Credits: HardwareUnboxed):
Handbrake is a similar story with Intel and AMD retaining the lead over Apple M2 SOC. In Blender, the M2 takes a slight lead over the Intel Alder Lake chip but loses against the Ryzen 7 6800U. The same is the case within Matlab where the M2 SOC gets crushed by Intel’s Alder Lake chip whereas, in Microsoft Excel, the CPU gains a modest improvement over the Alder Lake CPU and the AMD Rembrandt APU. The Apple M2 SOC delivers a big jump in performance in Adobe Premiere Pro and even mages to beat some high-end 45W chips which may be due to the Apple-specific optimization within the app. This is seen through GPU rendering apps such as Topaz Labs AI where the iGPU on the M2 SOC delivers some impressive results.
Apple M2 SOC GPU Benchmarks (Image Credits: HardwareUnboxed):
Now coming to gaming, Apple CPUs and Macbooks may not be a go-to solution for gamers as there are many AAA titles that work on the platform but HardwareUnboxed gave Shadow of The Tomb Raider a run and the results are quite fascinating. The Apple M2 SOC was able to outperform the RDNA 2 iGPU featured on the AMD Ryzen 7 6800U CPU by up to 10% at 1200p and SMAA enabled. Battery life is another strong suite of Apple’s M2 SOC where it can deliver up to 48% higher battery life than AMD’s Ryzen 7 6800U and 2.2x higher than Intel’s Core i7-1260P in standard 4K YouTube video playback.
Apple M2 SOC Battery Benchmarks (Image Credits: HardwareUnboxed):
Overall, these results are impressive given the fact that the chip is producing such performance at a much lower power budget.