Apple's high-end MacBook Pro models have finally received the Apple silicon treatment and now come with two new chips: the M1 Pro and the M1 Max. These processors are scaled-up versions of the hugely successful M1 chip, as you can see by their names can guess.
If you are looking for a new MacBook Pro, you may have trouble deciding between these two chips. Not everyone needs the top processor, and what you need depends on your use case. Here we are going to cover all of the differences between the M1 Pro and the M1 Max so you can make an informed decision.
1. M1 Pro vs. M1 Max: CPU cores
Image source: Apple
Let's start with the most important point, the number of CPU cores. Both the M1 Pro and the M1 Max are a further development of the original M1 chip with its 8 CPU cores. Apple states that the top-of-the-line M1 Max contains 10 CPU cores, while the M1 Pro packs up to 10 CPU cores, suggesting that there is a minor variant of the M1 Pro chip.
Here's what you need to know:
To avoid wasting chips, Apple uses a process called silicon binning, or chip binning, to categorize the M1 Pro by level. If a chip does not meet the standards that Apple has set for its M1 Pro, it is pushed as an 8-core variant. You can find these 8-core M1 Pro chips in the lower MacBook Pro models.
Apple's 14-inch MacBook for $ 1,999 has an 8-core M1 Pro chip instead of the 10-core variant. To get the 10-core M1 Pro, you'll need to customize it at the Apple Store for an additional $ 200, or purchase the 1TB storage variant. Apple has advertised a CPU performance of 70% over the M1 for the 10-core M1 Pro chip. You'll be sacrificing around 20% performance if you choose the 8-core M1 Pro.
2. M1 Pro vs. M1 Max: GPU cores
Apple's main focus with the new M1 Pro and M1 Max chips is on their GPU performance. According to the company, the M1 Pro doubles the GPU performance of the M1 chip, while the M1 Max delivers up to four times the graphics performance. These are massive improvements, all of which are due to the increased number of GPU cores.
The M1 Pro packs up to 16 GPU cores, depending on whether or not you get the bonded chip. The lower tier 8-core M1 Pro chip contains 14 GPU cores instead. So keep that in mind when you have your eye on the basic 14-inch MacBook Pro.
On the flip side, the M1 Max is also available in two configurations with a price difference of $ 200 between them. You can get the M1 Max with either 24 or 32 GPU cores, but if you want the four times better graphics performance Apple is promoting, you'll have to spend the extra cash and get the 32-core variant.
3. M1 Pro vs. M1 Max: Unified Memory Support
Image source: Apple
One of the main disadvantages of the standard M1 chip is that it only supports a maximum of 16 GB of unified memory. Well that's no longer a problem as the M1 Pro and M1 Max chips give you a lot more memory flexibility. The M1 Pro supports up to 32 GB of unified memory, while the flagship M1 Max supports a maximum of 64 GB.
Note that if you select the M1 Max chip from the Apple Store, the site will preselect the 32GB unified storage option for your MacBook. In terms of price, there is a $ 400 gap between 16GB and 32GB storage configurations. On top of that, to get 64GB of unified storage, you'll have to spend an additional $ 800, which is just insane if you're not sure you need it.
4. M1 Pro vs. M1 Max: memory bandwidth
For the M1 Pro, Apple redesigned the chip structure so that the system can be scaled up on a chip (SoC) while doubling the width of the memory interface. Together with the faster DRAM, this allows the M1 Pro a memory bandwidth of up to 200 GB / s, which is almost three times as much as the standard M1 chip.
In comparison, the more expensive M1 Max can deliver a memory bandwidth of up to 400 GB / s, about six times that of the M1 chip. Apple achieved this by again doubling the storage interface and providing a much higher bandwidth of on-chip fabric. Sure, double the memory bandwidth over the M1 Pro sounds really good, but that's an improvement that you will find difficult to notice in most practical applications.
5. M1 Pro vs. M1 Max: Support for external displays
Image source: Apple
The M1 chip restricted users to an external display via one of the Thunderbolt ports. Unfortunately, ideally, a professional would want to connect more than one monitor. Because of this, both the new M1 Pro and M1 Max chips support multiple external displays. The M1 Pro lets you connect two external displays, while the M1 Max chip lets you connect four external monitors to a MacBook.
At this point, you may be wondering about the resolution of the external displays that you can connect. Well, according to Apple, you can connect two 6K ProDisplay XDRs to an M1 Pro MacBook. And when you have the M1 Max, you can connect three ProDisplay XDRs and a 4K TV at the same time. This is a giant leap from the standard M1, and we expect Apple to make further improvements in this area to support more displays.
The M1 Pro is the practical choice for most users
As tempting as the M1 Max looks on paper, we can't help but notice how practical the M1 Pro sounds. In the GPU department, the M1 Max really shines, and the other improvements – like increased memory bandwidth, unified memory, and so on – won't be noticeable to almost any user in the real world.
Unless you're a professional who needs a workhorse of a machine, you don't need the more expensive chip at all. The MacBook Pro models with the M1 Pro chip should handle every task you give them without breaking a sweat for years.
Choosing the M1 Pro models will save you around $ 800 that can be used for something more useful, such as: B. an additional external display to connect.
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About the author
(115 published articles)
Hamlin is a full-time freelancer who has been in the field for over four years. Since 2017 his work has appeared on OSXDaily, Beebom, FoneHow and others. In his spare time, he either trains in the gym or takes big strides in the crypto room.
By Hamlin Rozario
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