Apple’s new M2 Pro and M2 Max MacBook Pros are performance monsters
With up to 20 percent faster CPU and up to 30 percent faster GPU power, Apple’s 2023 MacBook Pros just destroy workloads.
Apple surprise dropped new 2023 14- and 16-inch MacBook Pros powered by the new M2 Pro and M2 Max chip, and a Mac mini configurable with an M2 or M2 Pro chip. The new laptops offer faster CPU and GPU performance and more RAM than their predecessors, longer battery life, and also faster Wi-Fi 6E and HDMI support for 8K displays.
It’s a whole lot of computer in a laptop form factor. The best part: the new MacBook Pros start at the same $1,999 for the 14-inch and $2,499 for the 16-inch.
What’s new in the M2 Pro and M2 Max chips?
Design-wise, the 2023 14- and 16-inch MacBook Pros look identical to the 2021 models — they’ve got the same unibody aluminum chassis (available in silver or space gray) and the same Liquid Retina XDR display, keyboard, trackpad, and port selection.
The M2 Pro and M2 Max chips are all-new, though. Apple is throwing around a lot performance improvements. At the base, the M2 Pro chip comes with a 10-core CPU and 16-core GPU. Step up, and you can configure the M2 Pro with a 12-core CPU and 19-core GPU. Both of these M2 Pro configurations come with either 16GB or 32GB ($400) of unified memory (RAM). Apple says the M2 Pro CPU offers “up to 20 percent greater performance” compared to the M1 Pro and the unified memory has double the bandwidth of the M2 chip (200GB/s). The M2 Max chip with 19-core GPU has “up to 30 percent more graphics performance.”
On the upper spectrum, there’s the M2 Max chip, which starts with a 12-core CPU and 30-core GPU; it starts with 32GB of unified memory and can be upgraded to 64GB ($400). Drop more money and you can spec the M2 Max with a 12-core CPU and 38-core GPU; unified memory can be configured with 64GB ($400) or 96GB (+$800). Just like the M2 Pro, the M2 Max CPU is up to 20 percent faster than the CPU in the M1 Max. The M2 Max chip is really all about the GPU and unified memory — “up to 30 percent greater graphics performance” versus the M1 Max and 400GB/s unified memory bandwidth.
As for the Neural Engine, it’s still a 16-core chip, but Apple says it’s “40 percent faster” at machine learning tasks.
If all of these numbers make you dizzy, know one thing: these MacBook Pros are ridiculously fast. macOS Ventura is gonna fly on these machines. If you’re working with video or development software, Apple is boasting up to 80 percent faster performance. “Users looking to upgrade from Intel-based Mac models will experience even more dramatic improvements in performance, battery life, connectivity, and overall productivity,” Apple says in its newsroom announcement.
Faster Wi-Fi 6E
People complained about the 2021 MacBook Pro’s not supporting Wi-Fi 6E, the faster wireless internet protocol that can operate on the 6GHz spectrum, along with 2.4GHz and 5GHz. So Apple threw it into the new 2023 MacBook Pros. Now, there’s no complaining.
Up to 8K external monitor support
Rounding out the 2023 MacBook Pros is support for 8K displays up to 60Hz and 4K monitors up to 240Hz. Does this mean we’ll see a new Pro Display XDR or Studio Display (with 6K and 5K resolutions respectively) capable of faster refresh rates? Apple needs to get with the times; 240Hz displays are becoming more commonplace.
Color-matched MagSafe cable
That’s right: the new 2023 MacBook Pros come with a color-matched USB-C to MagSafe braided cable.
2023 MacBook Pro pricing breakdown
Needless to say, the 2023 MacBook Pros are machines with pro-worth price tags. Once these are out, look for huge discounts on the M1 Pro and M1 Max machines. Don’t sleep on those; they’re still beastly.
14-inch M2 Pro MacBook Pro
- 10-core CPU, 16-core GPU, 16GB RAM, 512GB SSD — starting at $1,999
- 12-core CPU, 19-core GPU, 16GB RAM, 1TB SSD — starting at $2,499
14-inch M2 Max MacBook Pro
- 12-core CPU, 30-core GPU, 32GB RAM, 1TB SSD — starting at $3,099
- 12-core CPU, 38-core GPU, 32GB RAM, 1TB SSD — starting at $3,299
16-inch M2 Pro MacBook Pro
- 12-core CPU, 19-core GPU, 16GB RAM, 512GB SSD — starting at $2,499
- 12-core CPU, 19-core GPU, 16GB RAM, 1TB SSD — starting at $2,699
16-inch M2 Max MacBook Pro
- 12-core CPU, 38-core GPU, 32GB RAM, 1TB SSD — starting at $3,499
- 12-core CPU, 38-core GPU, 64GB RAM, 1TB SSD — starting at $3,899
Prices increase when you spec up each model with more RAM and SSD.
2023 MacBook Pro release date
All versions of the M2 Pro and M2 Max 2023 MacBook Pros can be ordered from Apple’s website today with shipping starting on January 24.