Despite using the same M2 chip for the new MacBook Pro, redesigned MacBook Air, and latest iPad Pro models, Apple could be running its custom silicon at a lower performance level in its flagship tablets. We found out about these differences in the company’s marketing material, which we will share with our readers.
There Is a 3 Percent Performance Gap Between the M2 Running in the Latest iPad Pro Models and the MacBook Pro, MacBook Air
Apple provides the following description in its press release of the M2 when running in the company’s family of portable Macs.
“The new CPU features faster performance cores paired with a larger cache, while the efficiency cores have been significantly enhanced for even greater performance gains. Together, they deliver 18 percent greater multithreaded performance than M1, so M2 can rip through CPU-intensive tasks using very little power, like creating music with layers of effects or applying complex filters to photos.”
Coming to the iPad Pro’s press release, Apple mentions the same M2 chip but with varying performance differences when compared to the M1. Keep in mind that on both occasions, the M2 was compared against the M1.
“M2 features an 8-core CPU — up to 15 percent faster than M1 — with advancements in both performance and efficiency cores, and a 10-core GPU, delivering up to 35 percent faster graphics performance for the most demanding users.”
When you do the math, the M2 running in the latest iPad Pro is running 3 percent slower, but only in the CPU category. According to both press releases, the 10-core GPU delivers the same graphics performance when compared to the M1, which is up to 35 percent, but we can understand why Apple could be running the CPU at a lower frequency. Even when running in the latest MacBook Air, it was found that the machine was throttling severely, losing around 25 percent performance in multi-core tests when compared to the MacBook Pro.
This was due to the lack of an active cooling solution, and with a fan actually present in the MacBook Pro, it can effectively reduce the M2’s temperatures. The MacBook Air overheating problems were solved using some inexpensive modding, but even with the notebook sporting more room for cooling than the iPad Pro models, the M2 was still thermal throttling. Since the latest tablets are significantly thinner, Apple would have even less room to play around to cool the chip, which is probably why there are different performance figures for the same silicon.
With the iPad Pro’s M2 chip running up to 15 percent faster than the M1, we will have to see how far those performance numbers drop in sustained load tests when the first benchmarks appear. Hopefully, the SoC does not throttle too much. Aside from this, the M2 boasts the same memory bandwidth and Neural Engine operations across all products, so thankfully, Apple did not include any changes in its press release there.