MacBook Air M2 – 8 vs 10 core GPU – Thermals and battery life?

Hi all, I have ordered two MacBook Air M2s and will be researching, reading reviews (when they come out) and deciding which one to cancel/return.

– 8-core GPU / 24GB RAM / 1TB SSD
– 10-core GPU / 24 GB RAM / 1 TB SSD

I want to know what the tradeoffs are in going for the 8 or 10 core GPU.
From what I’ve researched so far, here are the potential trade-offs:

8-core GPU

  • Unable to occasionally play (War Thunder and Resident Evil Village at max settings) when away from main PC.
  • Potentially slower operating system and web page UI experience in 8 years as web pages become more demanding
  • A potentially slower operating system UI experience when connected to a 6k display in 8 years when the UI becomes more demanding?

10-core GPU

  • About 30-40 minutes less battery life for light web browsing load. That would be around 5-7% less battery than the 8-core GPU version.
    • And the hypothetical non-linear decrease in battery life compared to the 8-core GPU version, because the webpage and OS UI become more demanding in more than 5 years. For example, each core uses more power to render the web page than it does now, so the additional 2 cores will cost more power unit than it does now, and the difference in battery life between the 8 and 10 core GPUs could be 10% and more in the future.
  • Potentially higher temperature at idle and low load?
    • And the hypothetical non-linear temperature increase at idle and low load in 5-8 years as the web page and OS UI become more demanding.
  • Potentially significantly higher temperature under heavy loads?

Sources coming to these conclusions are:

  • My experience with my old 2015 15″ 2.5GHz MacBook Pro was quiet and cool in 2016 when I was watching videos and browsing reddit. Now just watching YouTube spins the fans and the laptop gets really hot. battery life is 3 hours with light usage.The 2.2GHz still has a lower temperature and longer battery life due to the lower clock speed.
  • The 7-core and 8-core MacBook Air M1 laptop review showed a difference of 15-30 minutes in battery life under light loads (and heavier loads). While the M1 Pro 16″ compared to the M1 Max had up to 2 hours of battery life difference on a light charge.

If the battery life difference is small enough and will stay the same in the future, I’ll go with the 10-core GPU for the margin (I’m fine with the $150 price difference). But if the reviews and data indicate that the difference is high (45 mins to 1 hour + battery life difference) and will be higher in the future, I might opt ​​for an 8-core GPU instead.

The data that would be useful will come from notebookcheck and maybe idle and low load power data.

What were your choices in your pre-orders? Feel free to share your reasoning and if you have any data/links that will help illuminate the “trade-off” hypothesis above, please share! I need it!


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Steven L. Nielsen