Discussion Apple Silicon SoC thread

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Eug

Lifer
Mar 11, 2000
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M2 Pro - MacBook Pros and Mac mini
12 CPU cores
19 GPU cores
N5 - 40 billion transistors
32 GB RAM - 200 GB/s

M2 Max - MacBook Pros
12 CPU cores
38 GPU cores
N5 - 67 billion transistors
96 GB RAM - 400 GB/s

- M1 Mac mini and Intel Mac mini have been discontinued.
- M2 Mac mini offers 24 GB option. Same port config as M1.
- M2 Pro Mac mini does not offer 24 GB but offers 32 GB. And it's silver not space grey. M2 Pro gets 2 extra Thunderbolt 4 ports.
- iMac, Mac Studio, Mac Pro have NOT been updated.
 
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Eug

Lifer
Mar 11, 2000
23,423
831
126
The M2 Mac mini has dropped $100 in price vs M1.

$699 - M1 Mac mini 8 / 256 GB
$599 - M2 Mac mini 8 / 256 GB

I was not expecting this. I was expecting them to keep pricing fixed. I guess it makes it easier to fit in the M2 Pro Mac mini this way.
 

Eug

Lifer
Mar 11, 2000
23,423
831
126
Here is the new Mac mini and MacBook Pro intro video:


Interestingly, they specifically mentioned Mac mini build farms and data centres.
 

guidryp

Platinum Member
Apr 3, 2006
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I was not expecting this. I was expecting them to keep pricing fixed. I guess it makes it easier to fit in the M2 Pro Mac mini this way.
Mini M2 Pro closes that hole in the lineup. Could have had a M1 Pro and rid themselves of the Intel Mini much sooner. Maybe they had a bunch of Intel parts to clear out.
 
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Timmah!

Golden Member
Jul 24, 2010
1,172
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M2 Pro - MacBook Pros and Mac mini
12 CPU cores
19 GPU cores
N5 - 40 billion transistors
32 GB RAM - 200 GB/s

M2 Max - MacBook Pros
12 CPU cores
38 GPU cores
N5 - 67 billion transistors
96 GB RAM - 400 GB/s

- M1 Mac mini and Intel Mac mini have been discontinued.
- M2 Mac mini offers 24 GB option. Same port config as M1.
- M2 Pro Mac mini does not offer 24 GB but offers 32 GB. And it's silver not space grey. M2 Pro gets 2 extra Thunderbolt 4 ports.
- iMac, Mac Studio, Mac Pro have NOT been updated.
Is that 200/400GB for RAM number the same as AIDA numbers for Zen4 people posted in the MaxxMem2 thread, which were about 60+GB? In other words is Apple architecture this superior to x86?

Other thing, werent there like Ultra version of M1, that had 2x as many cores and whatnot? Will there be the same thing for M2?
 

Eug

Lifer
Mar 11, 2000
23,423
831
126
Mini M2 Pro closes that hole in the lineup. Could have had a M1 Pro and rid themselves of the Intel Mini much sooner. Maybe they had a bunch of Intel parts to clear out.
No, it was about keeping legacy Intel users happy. Basically, they kept Intel around for an extra 3 years in a machine that wasn't a Mac Pro. Some workflows just didn't mesh with Apple Silicon.


Other thing, werent there like Ultra version of M1, that had 2x as many cores and whatnot? Will there be the same thing for M2?
M2 Ultra will come with Mac Studio and Mac Pro. M1 Ultra does not exist in laptops (or the Mac mini).

M1 Ultra is basically two M1 Max chips glued together.
 
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guidryp

Platinum Member
Apr 3, 2006
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No, it was about keeping legacy Intel users happy. Basically, they kept Intel around for an extra 3 years in a machine that wasn't a Mac Pro. Some workflows just didn't mesh with Apple Silicon.
That's just another guess. No one really knows what motivated the decision.
 
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Eug

Lifer
Mar 11, 2000
23,423
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That's just another guess. No one really knows what motivated the decision.
Well, it's most definitely not because "they had a bunch of Intel parts to clear out". Remember, these machines haven't been updated since 2018 and were still running Coffee Lake. Is not as if Apple with Tim Cook, the king of Just-In-Time inventory management, would have been stockpiling loads of 2017 era Intel chips.

Basically, they released a new "high end" M2 Pro Mac mini, and that replaced the old "high end" Intel Mac mini.
 

StinkyPinky

Diamond Member
Jul 6, 2002
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It should be noted that the new MB Pro has an HDMI 2.1 port, not 2.0 like the older model.

I have two 4k/144 monitors so the 2.0 port on my current MB Pro is useless to me.
 

gdansk

Golden Member
Feb 8, 2011
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Maybe it's time to replace my 2018 i5-8500B Mac Mini. But it's $800 with 16GB of memory. Maybe I can wait until that's standard in 2028.
 
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Eug

Lifer
Mar 11, 2000
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They fixed one major issue with the M1 Mac mini. To get two monitor support on the M1 Mac mini, one has to be USB-C and the other has to be HDMI.

The M2 Mac mini supports dual USB-C monitors. This is a big deal IMO.
 
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moinmoin

Diamond Member
Jun 1, 2017
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I was not expecting this. I was expecting them to keep pricing fixed. I guess it makes it easier to fit in the M2 Pro Mac mini this way.
After seeing how much empty space there is in M1 Mac mini I was expecting a Mac mini redesign this round. Kinda disappointed that didn't happen.
 

Ajay

Lifer
Jan 8, 2001
12,033
5,699
136
Cool. Finally with a Pro model. Decent options on RAM and SSD sizes. Too bad TSMC N3E is too late for better perf uplifts, still - Pro model makes this a decent desktop machine, instead of a weeny ;).
 

poke01

Senior member
Mar 8, 2022
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After seeing how much empty space there is in M1 Mac mini I was expecting a Mac mini redesign this round. Kinda disappointed that didn't happen.
I rather they keep the same design and decrease the price instead of change design and increase price.
 

moinmoin

Diamond Member
Jun 1, 2017
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I rather they keep the same design and decrease the price instead of change design and increase price.
Personally I just find Mac "mini" too big to my taste so I hoped for something between the current size and Apple TV's one. I think Mac mini still has the dimensions from back when it included a DVD drive, just with reduced height.
 

guidryp

Platinum Member
Apr 3, 2006
2,930
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Personally I just find Mac "mini" too big to my taste so I hoped for something between the current size and Apple TV's one. I think Mac mini still has the dimensions from back when it included a DVD drive, just with reduced height.
I think it's fine. I'd rather they keep the size and keep an internal PSU, than shrink it and give it a big brick.
 
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moinmoin

Diamond Member
Jun 1, 2017
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I think it's fine. I'd rather they keep the size and keep an internal PSU, than shrink it and give it a big brick.
We are closing the circle of this useless discussion (and I'll stop replying after this one, no sense in discussing tastes), but I expected a redesign to eventually happen because the M1 Mac mini contained enormous unused space:

 

guidryp

Platinum Member
Apr 3, 2006
2,930
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but I expected a redesign to eventually happen because the M1 Mac mini contained enormous unused space:
There is some unused space, but I wouldn't call it enormous. On one side there is that PSU which takes up large part of the volume, in the center, the Heat sink and Fan take up most of the space. So there is some space on the side opposite the PSU that is unused, but so what?

With an internal PSU, I don't see that much space that it warrants a redesign to recover it.

If they did redesign they would probably keep the X, Y dimensions and make it thinner, so it would still stack nicely with the Studio and the accessories that match up with the current Mini X, Y dimensions.

Hubs like this:
 

Eug

Lifer
Mar 11, 2000
23,423
831
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Regarding the empty space, I wonder how the M2 Pro changes the equation. I look forward to seeing the inevitable teardown next week.
 

repoman27

Senior member
Dec 17, 2018
308
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It should be noted that the new MB Pro has an HDMI 2.1 port, not 2.0 like the older model.

I have two 4k/144 monitors so the 2.0 port on my current MB Pro is useless to me.
The potential upside to this is that macOS is finally aware of and supports HDMI 2.1 features including FRL. That means DisplayPort Alt Mode on USB Type-C to HDMI 2.1 dongles should work once HDMI 2.1 support makes its way into mainstream macOS updates. So your MBP may be able to drive your displays via HDMI, albeit not from the built-in HDMI port, in the near future.

Cool. Finally with a Pro model. Decent options on RAM and SSD sizes. Too bad TSMC N3E is too late for better perf uplifts, still - Pro model makes this a decent desktop machine, instead of a weeny ;).
The M2 was built on N5P and the A16 on N4. It certainly sounds like the M2 Pro and M2 Max were manufactured on N5P, which is surprising, because I was fully expecting them to be on N4. There's evidence to suggest that the M2 Pro/Max launch was delayed, but it doesn't seem like it was delayed enough to have missed the N4 window.

N3E probably won't be seen in shipping products until June-July 2024 at the earliest. I highly doubt Apple will ever use N3E—it's not for them. On the other hand, N3 (a.k.a. N3B) is, but it just hit volume manufacturing at the tail end of 2022. With longer cycle times and the slower ramp / lower yields associated with a new process family, this is right on time for the A17, which Apple will need to start ramping sometime this quarter in order to be ready for a September release. I'm pretty sure the plan is to pull in N3E as much as possible and subsequently have N3S ready in time for the A18, so Apple can skip from N3 right to N3S. Also, it isn't practical to lead off on a completely new node with your largest and most complex SoC designs, so it's not like N3 was ever in the cards for the M2 Pro/Max.

And although the M2 Pro does make the mini pretty decent, the 32 GB RAM limit is still kinda weak.
 

Doug S

Golden Member
Feb 8, 2020
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Personally I just find Mac "mini" too big to my taste so I hoped for something between the current size and Apple TV's one. I think Mac mini still has the dimensions from back when it included a DVD drive, just with reduced height.
The Mini form factor was designed to handle an Intel CPU with 65W TDP. Which is enough for a 'Max' chip. So maybe next year you'll be able to get it with M3, M3 Pro or M3 Max.
 

Doug S

Golden Member
Feb 8, 2020
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N3E probably won't be seen in shipping products until June-July 2024 at the earliest. I highly doubt Apple will ever use N3E—it's not for them. On the other hand, N3 (a.k.a. N3B) is, but it just hit volume manufacturing at the tail end of 2022. With longer cycle times and the slower ramp / lower yields associated with a new process family, this is right on time for the A17, which Apple will need to start ramping sometime this quarter in order to be ready for a September release. I'm pretty sure the plan is to pull in N3E as much as possible and subsequently have N3S ready in time for the A18, so Apple can skip from N3 right to N3S. Also, it isn't practical to lead off on a completely new node with your largest and most complex SoC designs, so it's not like N3 was ever in the cards for the M2 Pro/Max.

Apple has previously taken standard TSMC processes because they help design them and use them when they are brand new - there is no time for further customization. I think it is highly likely they use some custom N3 variant that includes some/most of the changes N3E is getting rather than bog standard N3B. Why should they use a cookie cutter process when they are TSMC's biggest customer, and work with them from the early stages of process definition? Especially when they have plenty of time before they need to start shipping A17 SoCs to Foxconn assembly plants.

N3B is going to see almost no use, the rumors that Apple would use it for M2 Pro/Max proved untrue so I don't think Apple will ever use it. It was probably going to be used by companies making bitcoin ASICs but that business has dried up so even hitting the 1000 wpm they thought they would ship is probably not going to happen.
 

FlameTail

Senior member
Dec 15, 2021
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I don't understand why some people were expecting M2 Pro and M2 Max to be on N4 or even N3.

Base M1 was on N5, and so was the rest of the M1 family.

Base M2 was on N5P, so I full expected the M2 Pro and M2 Max to be on N5P.
 

senttoschool

Golden Member
Jan 30, 2010
1,615
307
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Evidence that Apple originally planned to launch the M2 Pro/Max in Fall 2022:

That would have made the M2 Pro/Max release one year after the M1 Pro/Max.

Is there any more doubt that Apple plans to update their chips once a year? And much faster than the 18 or 24 month update cadence that most people here speculated.
 

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