Apple M2 is Apple’s 2nd attempt at making their own chips for their laptops and Mac desktop PCs: ultimately getting rid of Intel processors which previously were powering the Apple laptops and desktop PCs.
Apple M-series chips are a complete package as they not only house the CPU but also the GPU side of things. So, it’s more like an APU from Apple which replaces the Intel chipsets to better optimize and tune their laptops for the consumers.
Apple has put a lot of effort into optimizing its own silicon for better performance in productivity, as well as in rendering an overall great user experience.
Nevertheless, we will explore in this article what kind of discrete graphics you need to match the performance of the Apple Silicon, which they claim to be one of the best out there.
So without further ado, let’s dive straight into the details and find out the best possible alternatives to match the Apple M2’s GPU performance.
GPU equivalent to the Apple M2 Graphics
The Apple M2 SoC puts up a great fight with discrete graphics cards like the RX 5700, RTX 2060, and the good old GTX 1080. Most notably in the productivity department, since gaming has never been the primary objective for Apple anyway. Let’s see what they’ve got to offer, and why they are here.
Nvidia GeForce GTX 1080 8 GB
The GTX 1080 is one of the most powerful graphics cards ever made. The Pascal architecture helped Nvidia to create something so unique and powerful that even after almost 7 years of its release, the card is still doing great in 1080p gaming.
Since the M2 chipset isn’t designed for gaming, it loses to the GTX 1080 easily. However, when it comes to productivity, the story is quite different as it’s the place where the M2 shines and the chosen GTX 1080 can pretty much match the performance of the Apple Silicon. Moreover, the GTX 1080 packs a powerful 8 GB of GDDR5X video memory with a 256-bit bus width. However, it also eats more power than Apple Silicon.
|Nvidia GeForce GTX 1080 8 GB
|267 mm x 112 mm x 40 mm
Nvidia GeForce RTX 2060 6 GB
The RTX 2060 is a one-of-a-kind graphics card that is a budget GPU on one side, while on the other, it matches and even beats the old monster GTX 1080 from 2016. The RTX 2060 also has an edge as it supports Nvidia’s DLSS upscaling technology as well as incorporates Ray Tracing cores, to allow you to utilize RT features in productivity and gaming. Unfortunately, though, the Apple M2 doesn’t support either of those.
The Turing architecture really turned out to be a game changer, as it introduced some features that were never seen before. As for the basic specs, the card boasts a 6 GB GDDR6 memory with 30 RT cores and 192-bit bus width. Not to mention, the card also eats 20W less power than the GTX 1080 while providing similar and sometimes better raster performance.
|Nvidia GeForce RTX 2060 6 GB
|229 mm x 113 mm x 35 mm
AMD Radeon RX 5700
The RX 5700 is the 2nd most powerful GPU of AMD’s 5000 series graphics cards. However, that doesn’t mean it also stands out 2nd or near to it in competition with the Nvidia RTX graphics cards. Based on the RDNA 1.0 architecture and having 8 GB GDDR6 memory with 256-bit bus width, the card aims to deliver better performance than the likes of GTX 1080 and RTX 2060.
It actually does, and that also means it’s in the same league and can easily replicate the graphical power of the Apple M2 chip. The only downside of 5000 series graphics cards is that they don’t have support for RT features, as they lack RT cores. However, that isn’t a big issue because the same is the case with the Apple M2 chipset.
|AMD Radeon RX 5700
|268 mm x 111 mm x 36 mm
Discussing Apple products is always fun, as each time there’s something new to deal with. This time around, it was the same story, the newer Apple M2 SoC is an impressive chipset for work-oriented folks out there. However, it is quite expensive as well. This is why in this article we went through some alternative graphics cards that you can buy for a fraction of the Apple M2’s price.
And can still produce similar results in productivity and even better in gaming. All three graphics cards are great for providing a seamless gaming and work experience at a much lower price. However, that’s not the only thing that matters, in some cases, Apple still takes the lead as their OS is more optimized for productivity software and vice versa.
We hope the article has helped you in answering all of your queries related to the Apple SoC and its equivalent GPUs.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is the Apple M2 powerful enough to play AAA titles?
The answer isn’t straightforward here as Apple isn’t known for offering native support for gaming even if their hardware is capable of doing so. However, now they are focusing on gaming and allowing more and more games to work on their M-series chipsets.
What GPU is equivalent to Apple M2?
There are many graphics cards that can match the power of the Apple SoC, like the RX 5700, RTX 2060, and GTX 1080 to name a few. All of these graphics cards offer significantly better gaming performance as they have official support for it, unlike the Apple M2.
Is Ray Tracing possible with the Apple M2 SoC?
No, unfortunately, the Apple M2 SoC doesn’t offer support for ray tracing features both in-game and productivity software. This is one of the drawbacks of the Apple SoC. However, its equivalent GPU RTX 2060 does offer RT features due to its dedicated RT cores.