The new Apple M2 requires an active cooling solution and is even slightly throttled in the MacBook Pro 13
Apple's new CPU generation was highly anticipated and we can confirm improved performance figures for the Apple M2 (especially on the GPU side) after our review of the updated 2022 MacBook Pro 13. The CPU part is also faster, but this is mainly a result of higher clocks. Apple still uses a very similar 5 nm process though, which means the higher clocks are a result of higher power consumption, both for the processor as well as the graphics card.
While the active cooling solution of the 2020 MacBook Pro 13 did not have any problems with the old M1 SoC, the situation is now a bit different. There are no problems as long as you only stress one component and the performance is stable, because the processor consumes up to ~20W and the GPU ~13.5W. If you stress both components at the same time though, the package power of the M2 climbs to around 35W. This is too much for the cooling solution of the MacBook Pro 13, even though the fan quickly reaches its maximum speed of ~7300 rpm. The package power still has to be throttled to 28-30W, but the chip temperature still hovers around 98 °C, so the cooling has definitely reached its limitations.
This is obviously an extreme scenario but this worries us a bit in regard to the most important model from Apple, the completely redesigned MacBook Air M2 with the passive cooling solution. Sure, most users will not have any problems in everyday situations, but you should not expect the best performance, especially when you stress the Air for longer periods. The MacBook Air M1 already had to throttle its CPU performance a bit after a short while, and the drop should be even bigger this time due to the increased power consumption (and temperatures due to the higher clocks) of the new M2. We are not sure that there will be a noticeable performance difference (in terms of CPU) compared to the old MacBook Air M1 based on our findings so far, but we will have to wait for a review unit to be sure.
There is no exact date for the launch of the new MacBook Air M2 yet, the Apple store online lists availability for July. If you want to use the maximum amount of performance from the M2, you should definitely get the MacBook Pro 13 M2, even though the laptop itself is still the same old MBP 13 we know for many years. However, the age does not change the fact that the overall package still works extremely well and that it is a very good companion with a high-quality chassis, great display, good speakers and very long battery runtimes. Most of the Windows competitors still have to catch up in some regards. Please see our full review for more details about the MacBook Pro 13 M2, and we will publish a review of the new MacBook Air M2 as soon as possible.