Saturday, March 19, 2022

12" OLED MacBook Would Be Possible With M2 Chip Made With the 4nm Process From TSMC

It's been a while since I've visited the 12" MacBook. Based on what I have been reading and doing some light research, I think the M1 on a 12" MacBook would not have been feasible but a 4nm M2 chip would be just what Apple is looking for in order to release a 12" MacBook. 

I'm currently working on this post using my very old 2016 MacBook. It's old. It works fine for the most part but the keyboard is not going to last much longer, maybe another year, and the battery life is not what it used to be. I had thought about getting the MacBook Air with the M1 but given all the rumors about a redesign, I decided to wait. And meanwhile, it'll give me a chance to fulfill my promise to myself to use  my MacBook to become a proficient coder, content creator (being dabbling with Youtube video, animations, and blogging. 

One of the reasons I went with a 12" MacBook early on instead of a MacBook Air or a Pro was that I thought I was going to write on it for a vast majority of the time. And that was true. I think I use my MacBook for writing with some Web surfing, and very little coding. 

If I had been a coder back in 2016, there was a good chance I would have went with a more powerful machine and a bigger screen. That's in the past, I am still very much interested in an updated 12" MacBook.

I had hoped that Apple would come out with a M1 version but now I think about it, perhaps a M2 might be worth the wait should Apple release the chip later this year. Here is a couple of reasons why I think it is worth the wait.

I'm not a chip expert by any stretch of imagination. By double or even triple stretch. What I know is that the M1 chip is made with the 5nm (nanometer) process. It's small. The Intel chips used by the MacBooks were 10nm. I had read somewhere that these nm designations are not as clear cut and could be for marketing purposes but I think the difference between a 5nm and 10nm, no matter how it is cut, is a big difference. Apple has demonstrated by benchmark and power usage. Just compare to how much better the battery life are on the M1, M1 Pro, and M1 Max chips are compared to the Intel chips and power utilization. 

When Apple moves from M1 to M2, TSMC will be using the 4nm production process, a 20% difference. I do not know if it means M2 chips are 20% smaller and more efficient than the 5nm M1 but I do know that it'll be faster and even more efficient. 

Had a 12" MacBook use the M1, I imagine the battery life might not see the jump that MacBooks with M1 chips have in terms of battery life. It might mean that if Apple wanted to give the 12" MacBook more battery life, it would have to throttle and slow it down to achieve any meaningful battery life increase. That would totally degrade the user experience. As I start to utilize my MacBook for coding, encoding videos, and more processor intensive uses, I am probably not going to like the a slower M1 machine.

With the M2, a smaller and more powerful chip, Apple can turn the 12" MacBook into an even more mobile power machine. And with M2, the 12" MacBook can achieve a battery life that is impossible on any Intel chip that Apple could fit inside the body of a 12" MacBook.

Here are the battery life for the current M1 machines:

  • Macbook Air - 18 hours
  • Macbook Pro 13" - 20 hours
  • Macbook Pro 14"- 17 hours
  • Macbook Pro 16" -  21 hours
Those are impressive battery life. Let's look at the previous versions with Intel chips:

  • Macbook 12" - 10 hours (barely)
  • Macbook Air - 12 hours
  • Macbook 13" Pro - 10 hours
  • Macbook 16" (2019) - 11 hours
The M1 Mac achieved an improvement of 50% on the MacBook Air to 100% on the Macbook Pro. I am expecting the 12" MacBook with the M2 chip to have an improved battery life of at last 50% if not more.

As for processing power, I hope when Apple would compare the M2 chip to the M1 chip and forget about how bad and power hungry the Intel chips are. There would be no need to dig up the past in this regard.

And whatever screen sizes the M2 MacBooks will ultimately come with, these Apple computers will be ultimate mobile computing machines to be reckon with.



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