The New MacBook Pro’s Revised Thermal Architecture: What You Need to Know

Apple Inc. has made changes to the thermal architecture of its latest MacBook Pro models, the M2 Pro and M2 Max, due to supply chain issues, according to teardowns by iFixit and Max Tech. The new models feature a smaller heatsink due to the reduced overall footprint of the M2 Pro and M2 Max system-on-chips (SoCs) inside the device.

Supply Chain Issues Lead to Smaller Heatsink in Latest MacBook Pro Models

The previous models, the M1 Pro and M1 Max, had two large memory modules, while the M2 Pro and M2 Max have four slimmer memory modules. Despite being physically larger, the M2 Pro and M2 Max dies take up less space as a whole, hence the need for a smaller heatsink.

Dylan Patel, Chief Analyst at SemiAnalysis, told iFixit that the reason for using four smaller memory modules is due to supply chain issues. By using four smaller modules, Apple can use a smaller substrate, saving on materials and reducing complexity. Patel said that ABF substrates were in very short supply when Apple made the design choice, and using four smaller modules instead of two larger ones allowed them to stretch the limited substrate supply further.

Left- ‌M1 Pro‌ SoC. Right- ‌M2‌ Pro SoC
Left- ‌M1 Pro‌ SoC. Right- ‌M2‌ Pro SoC

The M2 Pro and M2 Max deliver up to 20 percent better CPU performance and 30 percent better GPU performance than their predecessors, but some users have noted that Apple may have made thermal trade-offs to deliver improved performance. The chips continue to be based on TSMC’s 5nm process.

In conclusion, the revised thermal architecture of the latest MacBook Pro models is a result of supply chain issues and the reduced overall footprint of the SoCs. Despite the smaller heatsink, the M2 Pro and M2 Max still deliver improved performance.

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