Apple M1 Pro vs. M1 Pro Max. What is the difference?

The M1 Pro and the M1 Pro Max are the new chips for Apple’s new Macbook Pro computers. There were many changes, 2 noticable differences being the overall desgin and the significant speed increase.

With Apple’s long awaited change from the previous Intel chips to the new Apple silicon chips, Apple introduced flexible options for Storage, RAM, CPU, and GPU.

Both the 14-inch and 16-inch MacBook Pros are available with either of Apple’s new chips.  The M1 Pro or M1 Max both combine CPU and GPU cores, versus the model in older pro-level Macs and current Windows PCs that paired a CPU from Intel or AMD with a separate GPU from AMD or Nvidia. There are a few versions of the M1 Pro, with either eight or 10 CPU cores and either 14 or 16 GPU cores.  The M1 Max also has 10 CPU cores, but your choice of 24 or 32 GPU cores. 

To target the GPU differences between the M1 Pro and M1 Max, Joseph Ibrahim ran a few cross-platform GPU tests. In the GeekBench 5 compute test using Metal, Apple’s graphics API, there’s a clear difference, with the M1 Max getting a much higher score. The same thing happened in Wildlife Extreme, the one benchmark within the larger 3D Mark tool that runs on M1 Macs, as well as Windows, iOS and other platforms. There, the M1 Max tied with a new Razer Blade 14 with the Nvidia RTX 3080 GPU. Falling between the Max and Pro was an older gaming laptop with an Nvidia RTX 2080 Max-Q. Note that the Windows version of that test doesn’t use Apple’s Metal API, obviously. 

Where does that leave us? His takeaway based on preliminary testing is that the M1 Pro and M1 Max will show you a difference in performance, but only in select cases. The in-app responsiveness may actually be more important to you than how long it takes to complete a task. But if you’re a creative pro looking to make a sizable investment, your specific workload may or may not get a real bump from going with the M1 Max over the M1 Pro; it depends on how much your key applications rely on the CPU and GPU and which version of each chip you’re comparing. 

His other advice is that for people like him who just dabble in higher-end creative apps for basic video editing, the M1-powered MacBook Air, 13-inch MacBook Pro or 24-inch iMac are perfectly fine for even some 4K video editing. As he said in his 16-inch MacBook Pro review, if you just want a new MacBook Pro for the updated design, webcam or ports, know that you’re making what is essentially a vanity purchase. 

A great time to buy this may be the new Apple shopping event that is giving gift cards to select purchases. Apple sent a email out on November 22nd and advertized their big sale. The sale starts on November 26th on Friday and lasts till November 29th.


Categories: Tech&Innovation