Try to install the M2 chip on a MacBook Pro M1


A videographer wanted to find out if it was possible to take the M2 chip from Apple’s new 13-inch MacBook Pro and swap it with the M1 chip of the same model released in late 2020.

Apple MacBook Pro M1 - Frandroid1
Apple MacBook Pro M1 // Source: Arnaud Gelineau for Frandroid

Hitting the shelves on Friday, June 24, the 13-inch MacBook Pro M2 doesn’t change much from its predecessor, except of course its new M2 chip which has just been made official by Apple. This is what gave youtuber Luke Miani the somewhat absurd idea of ​​trying to place an M2 chip in the chassis of a MacBook Pro M1.

A wave of curiosity

This youtubeur had already carried out other experiments of this type in the past. For example, he had already been able to turn an iMac into a Studio Display or had built the first iMac with an Apple ARM chip from scratch using the components of a Mac Mini M1.

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In a new video, he shows us how he created his monster Mac-enstein M2. We can see that inside the two machines also seem practically identical, which would suggest an incompatibility of the components between the two devices.

MacBook Pro M2
The layout of the components inside the two 13-inch MacBook Pro models // Source: Luke Miani

Inside the 13-inch MacBook Pro M2 are most of the components of its M1 version. The connectors also seem to match.

But obviously, there are enough differences between these two computers to make this experiment impossible. In fact, after exchanging the logic boards (part of the motherboard where the M1 or M2 chip is located) of the two PCs, the videographer is faced with a device that no longer boots. This is also true when we replace the Touch ID fingerprint sensor elsewhere.

The youtubeur then followed other paths to be able to revive his creation, but nothing worked. Also turn on the car recovery the mode with Apple Configurator did not work. However, he was able to finally reinstate the various components in their respective machines.

An educational experience

It goes without saying that no one would dare attempt such an experiment without solid experience on the subject, but the process remains very interesting to observe. However, it can be noted that despite the apparent similarity of the two machines, there are still software barriers that prevent anyone from replacing their chip with a newer one.

This seems logical from Apple’s point of view, which could not afford, for example, to see someone buy an older machine to include a faster SoC at a lower cost.

We can imagine that the M2 chip will arrive on the Mac Mini, which represents the most accessible link in Apple’s range in the near future. If there was compatibility, upgrading to a next-generation SoC could therefore be done much easier (and cheaper) and Apple wouldn’t gain anything.

With this design choice, Apple can be expected to follow a financial logic by preventing intercompatibility between its product generations. We can also bet on reasons related to the security of the user’s data or simply on a technical justification at the manufacturing level of the components in a period with strong production constraints. With advances in Right to Repair, as exemplified by the PC Framework, it is hoped that Apple can improve this in the future.

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