M1 vs. M1 Pro vs. M1 Max: What Mac processor to choose?

Oct 21, 2021 | Apple, Hardware

Earlier this week, Apple announced major updates for its MacBook Pros going from a complete redesign over full-sized function keys to the reintroduction of the SD card slot. And best of all, the new notebooks are available in two scale-up variants of the M1 chip: the M1 Pro and the M1 Mac. But when choosing your next MacBook Pro, which configuration should you go for? Let us guide you through!

The Intel chips that Apple was using to power its MacBooks were increasingly showing limitations in terms of high-power consumption and increasing temperatures. High time to intervene Apple thought when introducing the first Silicon Chip, M1, early last year. No more loud fan noises, a battery life of no less than 20 hours, support for iOS apps, … – A real revolution for the Mac!

While the M1 chip is great for day-to-day tasks and even intensive video editing at 8K, for more serious creative tasks, something more powerful was needed. With the arrival of M1 Pro and P1 Max, Apple is taking its MacBooks to the next level. But what is the difference between the various chips and how do you know which MacBook best suits your needs? An overview.


M1 vs. M1 Pro

When diving into the processors, the M1 chip combines four powerful and four energy-efficient cores, the M1 Pro has no less than eight powerful and two energy-efficient cores. In addition, the M1 Pro has a video chip that is twice as powerful as the one placed in the MacBook Pro M1, allowing you to connect to multiple external screens. Moreover, the M1 Pro will switch between these cores depending on what you’re doing. If you’re performing intensive tasks, the high-performance cores are used to increase speed. For less intensive tasks, such as browsing the web, the high-efficiency cores will be used to preserve battery life.

Not only is the MacBook M1 Pro more efficient, the working memory, which the M1 was somewhat criticized for, has been extended severely. By upgrading the standard from 8GB up to 16GB, expendable to 32GB, the memory bandwidth increased to 200 GB/s, which is almost three times the bandwidth of the M1 chip.

Combining these new features, the M1 Pro has a lot more power. Overall, this chip is highly capable and the best option for professional workflows.


M1 Pro vs. M1 Max

Do you want even more power, then the M1 Max might be what you’re looking for. The chip has basically the same base as the M1 Pro, eight performance and two high-efficiency cores, but performs even better on two fronts: graphic power and memory.

The M1 Max has a video chip of 32 cores, twice as many as the M1 Pro, 4 times as many as the M1. In terms of memory the M1 Max has a standard 32GB, expendable up to 64GB – twice as much as the M1 Pro. This means that M1 Max isn’t only supporting more memory, but is drastically faster as well.


What device to choose?

The M1 Max isn’t designed for specific tasks, it’s simply a more powerful variant of the M1 Pro, which most users will not need. If you’ve got applications that are demanding both a lot of CPU and GPU, such as rendering large movie files or complex 3D models, quickly performing advanced calculations or intensive video or picture editing, the M1 Max might be a better fit than the M1 Pro.

For day-to-day use, both the M1 Pro and M1 Max are overkill. If you want to buy a MacBook for browsing the web or just doing a spot of video or photo editing, the M1 chip is your best option, so it might be worth considering the MacBook Air or MacBook Pro 13-inch instead.


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