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Apple’s M2 Pro and M2 Max chips finally arrive for MacBook Pro and Mac mini

As rumored, Apple has unveiled its new M2 Pro and M2 Max chips that will arrive very soon in new 14- and 16-inch MacBook Pro and Mac mini computers. The new models will be up to 40 percent faster and offer superior battery life — and if you’re keen to get one, they’re now available to order with shipping set to start next week.

Video transcript

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SAM RUTHERFORD: After introducing its M2 chip on the MacBook Air and MacBook Pro 13 last year, today Apple announced an even more powerful line of second gen silicon, featuring up to 12 core CPUs, GPUs with up to 38 cores, and even better power efficiency, which the company claims can deliver the best battery life on any MacBook to date. The new entry level processor is the M2 Pro, which offers 10 or 12 core CPU configurations and promises to boost performance by up to 20% over the 10 core M1 Pro. Meanwhile, the GPU on them two Pro goes from 16 to 19 cores, promising even faster processing for apps like Photoshop or Xcode.

Then we move up to the M2 Max, which Apple is calling the world's most powerful and efficient chip for a Pro laptop. It has 67 billion transistors in 10 cores, like the M2 Pro, but it boosts the number of GPU cores to 38, up from 34 on the old M1 Max.

More impressively, it supports up to 96 gigabytes of fast unified memory. All told, Apple says graphics performance is up to 30% faster than the M1 Max for chores like visual effects, machine learning, and more. Alongside the extra cores, the new chips also feature Apple's next generation 16 core neural engine. That's 40% faster than before. There's also a new media engine that supports hardware accelerated H.264, HEVC, and ProRes video encoding and decoding, along with efficient playback of multiple 4K or even AK ProRes video streams.

As for the laptops themselves, the new MacBook Pro 14 and 16 have pretty much the same designs, but offer considerably more performance. Apple claims a MacBook Pro with an M2 Pro chip delivers up to 20% better CPU and 30% better graphics performance. While systems with an M2 Max offer a similar boost compared to 2021 MacBook Pros with the old M1 Max GPU.

One of the other big benefits of Apple's new silicon is hugely improved longevity. The company says its new MacBook Pro models can now last up to 22 hours on a single charge, the longest ever on a Mac. And as rumored, the chips also support Wi-Fi 6E, which offer up to two times faster wireless connectivity compared to the previous generation.

Another new feature is an HDMI port that sports a single AK display up to 60 Hertz for the first time or 4K displays at up to 240 Hertz. As before, you still get three Thunderbolt 4 ports, an SDXC card slot, and MagSafe 3 charging. The new MacBook Pros also use the same liquid retina XDR displays as the 2021 models, not the rumored touch screens, which aren't expected to arrive until sometime in 2025.

The new MacBook Pro models are available now for pre-order starting at $1,999 for the MacBook Pro with M2 Pro chip or $2,499 for the 16 inch MacBook Pro with an M2 Pro. Shipping will start on January 24.

Next, when it comes to desktops, Apple's latest silicon will also be available on the refreshed Mac Mini, which can be configured with either an M2 or an M2 Pro chip. The M2 version comes with up to 24 gigs of unified memory and up to 100 gigabits per second of bandwidth, boosting image editing speeds in Photoshop by up to 50%. Apple says it can also simultaneously playback up to two streams of AK ProRes 422 video at 30 fps or up to 12 streams of 4K ProRes 422 video at 30 fps.

Meanwhile, the faster M2 Pro Mac Mini offers up to 32 gigs of unified memory. This should deliver up to 2.5x faster graphics performance in Affinity Photo, 4.2 times faster ProRes transcodes in Final Cut Pro, and 2.8 times better performance in "Resident Evil Village." As before, the Mac Mini sports two Thunderbolt 4 ports, with support for up to two displays or a single AK display. It also comes with two USB-A ports, HDMI, up to 10 gigabit ethernet, and an upgraded headphone jack that supports high impedance headphones. As with the MacBook Pro, they also offer Wi-Fi 6E connectivity, along with Bluetooth 5.3. The new Mac Mini starts at $599 with the older M2 chip or $1,299 with the newer M2 Pro and is now available for pre-order with shipping set to start on January 24.

So while the look of the MacBook Pro and Mac Mini aren't changing a ton, it's still nice to see Apple update its systems with a fresh batch of chips that are even more powerful, especially for content creators who might need big performance in something you can still carry around. But that's it for now. If you're thinking about buying a system with one of these new M2 Pro or M2 Max chips, stay tuned to Engadget for more. Because we're hoping to put these chips through their paces in a full review real soon.