Saturday, December 10

They say Apple’s MacBook Pro M2 can’t handle the heat | Digital Trends Spanish

The chip M2 found in the 13-inch MacBook Pro could struggle under pressure, Max Tech’s Vadim Yuryev found at Youtube. The YouTuber tested the new MacBook Pro to see how it handles extremely resource-heavy tasks.

This resulted in a severe limitation when reaching high temperatures, highlighting that Apple’s design choices for the laptop might not be ideal in terms of cooling. But is this really a big deal for the new MacBook Pro’s intended user base?

We discovered SEVERE thermal throttling with Apple’s new M2 MacBook Pro, proving that it needs a BETTER cooling system with two fans instead of one.
We exported 8K Canon RAW and saw temps hit 108°C, more than we've ever seen on a Mac, even an Intel Mac.
But it gets worse…

— Vadim Yuryev (@VadimYuryev) June 29, 2022

It looks like Max Tech managed to find where the limits are for Apple’s new M2-based 13-inch MacBook Pro. During a stress test, the laptop consistently reached temperatures as high as 108 degrees Celsius, resulting in severe throttling of the processor and a drastic drop in performance as a result. According to Yuryev, that’s a higher temperature than the YouTube channel had ever seen on a Mac, including Intel Macs.

Thermal throttling can be a problem on both laptops and PCs when (among other reasons) the cooling isn’t adequate for the task at hand. That’s precisely why the MacBook Pro M2 might be in a bit of trouble: It only has one fan instead of the two found on the MacBook Pro M1, as shown in a different video from Max Tech. In this test, the single fan proves to be inadequate for the workload the MacBook Pro M2 was put through, and that’s despite running at the maximum speed of 7200 RPM all the time.

Daniel Matus/Digital Trends in Spanish

Yuryev reported that in a fraction of a second, the clock speeds on the M2 would drop from 3200MHz to 1894MHz on the performance cores and from 2228MHz to 1444MHz on the efficiency cores. The GPU cores also saw a staggering drop, dropping from 1393MHz to 289MHz. This reduced the pack’s power from 29.46 watts to just 7.31 watts. As Yuryev points out, this happened in waves: performance would drop along with temperature, and when the MacBook Pro was able to stabilize at 84 degrees Celsius, it started increasing clock speeds again.

It’s certainly worrying to see the MacBook Pro M2 struggle to keep things cool, and such significant drops in clock speeds shouldn’t be ignored. However, Max Tech’s preferred workload can’t be overlooked either: the YouTuber used the 13-inch MacBook Pro to export 8K RAW footage. Yuryev himself admits that this is the most resource-heavy test Max Tech uses to test the true limits of a computer. The question is, how often are users going to try to do the same thing on a $1,299 laptop? Probably not very often.

Daniel Matus/Digital Trends in Spanish

Even though most users won’t require that kind of power from their new 13-inch MacBook Pro, it’s still annoying that it can heat up to 108 degrees Celsius and result in severe throttling. Whether you should buy it largely depends on the type of workloads you plan to engage in. It can probably handle all kinds of computing, but as the test shows, the extremes seem to be reserved for high-end macs.

Apple’s recently released 13-inch MacBook Pro is the only device currently out that sports the M2 chip. The company also has a MacBook Air in the works, but pre-orders have yet to open. I know rumors that that device has no fan at all, so the throttling issues could carry over to the upcoming MacBook Air M2.

As for the MacBook Pro M2, it seems to be off to a bit of a rocky start. Some reports pointed towards poor performance in various multitasking applications that are on the resource-heavy side, such as Photoshop, Final Cut Pro, and Lightroom. Other sources, including Max Tech, have reported that SSD read and write speeds in the 256GB version of the MacBook Pro M2 are much worse than its M1 predecessor. However, this issue only seems to apply to the entry-level version, and users who choose the option with more storage don’t experience this issue. This is most likely related to the fact that when all 8GB of Apple’s unified memory has been used up, the MacBook Pro M2 dips into the 256GB reserve on the SSD and uses it as virtual memory.

Given the relatively warm reception to the 14-inch and 16-inch MacBook Pros, it’s a shame to see the cheaper version fare less well. However, as Apple introduces more versions of the M2 chip (and that will probably happen soon enough), we might be more impressed by the devices that follow rather than the MacBook Pro that debuted with the M2.

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