MacBook Pro 13 M1 vs M2: Comparison of Specifications and Package ContentsThe MacBook Pro M2 came out more than a year and a half after its M1-based predecessor. The new MacBook has exactly the same design, but there are a few important hardware differences between the two computers.
The 13-inch MacBook Pro is often the choice of those who need active cooling, improved battery life, or simply the Touch Bar is important. This MacBook is marginally better than the MacBook Air and is significantly less expensive than the high-end MacBook Pro 14. Apple describes at least six key differences between the now discontinued M1 MacBook Pro and the new M2 MacBook Pro:
MacBook Pro M1
- M1 chip with 8-core GPU
- 8 GB and 16 GB unified memory configurations
- Memory bandwidth 68.25 GB/s
- 3.5mm headphone jack
- 61W USB-C power adapter
MacBook Pro M2
- M2 chip with 10-core GPU and dedicated media engine
- 8 GB, 16 GB, and 24 GB unified memory configurations
- memory bandwidth 100 GB/s
- 3.5mm headphone jack with high impedance headphone support
- 67W USB-C power adapter
- Made from more recycled materials
M1 vs M2: Comparison
Table of Contents
The main difference between the current and previous generation 13-inch MacBook Pros is their Apple Silicon chips. The M1 chip, introduced in November 2020, is based on the Apple A14 Bionic chip. On the other hand, the M2 seems to be based on the A15 Bionic chip. While both chips feature an octa-core processor with four performance cores and four efficiency cores, the M2 cores offer a modest increase in performance and efficiency. The M2 also adds two additional GPU cores.
According to Apple, the 13-inch MacBook Pro is up to 40 percent faster than the previous generation when working with RAW images in apps like Affinity Photo or when playing graphics games like Baldur’s Gate 3.
Like the M1 Pro, the M2 features a media engine for hardware accelerated H.264, HEVC, ProRes and ProRes RAW video encoding and decoding. The M1 chip does not contain a dedicated media engine.
Apple says this greatly speeds up video workflows on the latest MacBook Pro, allowing users to play up to 11 streams of 4K and up to two streams of 8K ProRes video. Users can convert their video projects to ProRes up to three times faster than before.
The M1 and M2 come with 8GB or 16GB of unified memory, but the M2 offers an additional 24GB memory option. As a result, multitasking and workflows that require more memory, such as working with a large number of sources, are performed better on the M2 chip. In addition, the M2 has a memory bandwidth of 100 GB/s compared to 68.25 GB/s with the M1, which means the latest MacBook Pro can access more memory faster.
High impedance headphone support
The 13-inch MacBook Pro still offers better speakers and microphones than the MacBook Air, with high dynamic range and “studio quality”. The M2 MacBook Pro further enhances the device’s audio quality with support for high-impedance headphones, similar to the high-performance 14- and 16-inch MacBook Pros. This can be a significant plus for audio professionals.
The M2 comes with a 67W power adapter for slightly faster charging than the previous model’s 61W power adapter.
The previous 13-inch MacBook Pro met Apple’s energy efficiency standards, and the laptop’s packaging was made from recycled paper or wood from responsibly managed forests. With the M2, the company further reduces its environmental footprint by using 100% recycled rare earth elements in the case magnets and 100% recycled tin in the motherboard.
The MacBook Pro M2 offers modest upgrades over the previous generation model, while keeping most aspects of the device the same. When it comes to audio and video, you’ll get more out of the updated 13″ MacBook Pro with 24GB of combined memory and increased bandwidth, but regular users won’t notice any difference.
Given that it’s only been 18 months since Apple released the M1 MacBook Pro, and the M1 chip continues to be used in the iPad Air, iPad Pro, Mac mini, and iMac, there’s no reason to upgrade to the M2. Especially if you are currently using a previous MacBook Pro model, then it is too early to upgrade to the new M2, it makes sense to wait for more significant changes.
The MacBook Pro M2 will suit those who are currently choosing between the M1 and M2. If you’re currently looking for a new laptop from Apple, you should definitely look at the updated model with the M2 chip, you will get a slightly more modern and productive MacBook than the same one on the M1.