We did not expect any design changes since there was a major overhaul last year and Apple usually uses designs for multiple years. Apple introduced the regular M2 processor in the new MacBook Air last year and the chip was still manufactured in a 5 nm process (N5P). This lead many to believe that the new M2 Pro and M2 Max chips will already be based on a new and more efficient 3 nm process. However, this is not what we got and Apple still uses the familiar, even though optimized, 5 nm process. Our experiences with the regular M2 SoC in the new MacBook Air already give us some hints for the performance of the new MacBook Pro models. Our analysis clearly showed that the M2 offered more CPU performance compared to the old M1, but it also required more power, so the efficiency went down.
Apple continues this strategy with the new M2 Pro and M2 Max SoCs by doubling the number of efficiency cores from two to four. The base model of the M2 Pro (only available in the MBP 14) gets 6 performance cores, all other models are equipped with 8 performance cores, so every chip variant gets two more efficiency cores. Apple has increased the core clocks similar to the regular M2, so we once again expect a performance increase in combination with higher power consumption and therefore decreased efficiency.
All in all, the new chips are pretty much improved versions of the M2 chip with more cores (both for the CPU as well as GPU), the improved neural engine (compared to the M1 Pro & M1 Max) as well as a wider memory interface. However, the memory bandwidth is still similar to the old chip at 200 GB/s and 400 GB/s for the M2 Max, which once again suggests 256-bit LPDDR5 RAM and 512-bit LPDDR5-RAM, respectively. Apple also increased the maximum amount of RAM to 96 GB for the M2 Max with 38 GPU cores, but the memory bandwidth is still 400 GB/s.