M1 Pro & M1 Max: Apple’s New Mac Processors Explained

The 2021 MacBook Pro uses two new chips: the M1 Pro and M1 Max. But what makes them so special? We list all the improvements for you.

From Intel to Apple Silicon

The arrival of the M1 chip last year was a real revolution for the Mac. The Intel chips Apple used began to show their limitations due to high energy consumption and increasing temperatures.

The MacBooks, in particular, had to suffer from this: the fan could often be heard all too well and the battery life had been hanging around ten hours for years. This changed with the M1, the first Apple Silicon chip: top performance, little to no fan noises and a battery life of up to twenty hours. In addition, Apple Silicon offers additional benefits, such as support for iOS apps and no waiting time when waking the Mac.

M1 Pro vs. M1

The M1 Pro in the new MacBook Pro goes one step further. Where the M1 combined four powerful and four energy-efficient cores, the M1 Pro has no fewer than eight (or six) of those powerful cores and only two energy-efficient computing cores. In addition, the M1 Pro has one to twice as powerful video chip with up to 16 graphics cores. The M1 has ‘only’ seven or eight. Partly because of this, you can now also connect multiple external screens.

The working memory, which was criticized in the M1 because of the lower limit of 8GB and the limit of 16GB, is now 16GB as standard and can be expanded to 32GB from the factory. This memory has also become a lot faster.

With all these improvements together, the M1 Pro has much more power for professional tasks. So you can easily work with large 8K movie files, smoothly render complex 3D models, quickly perform advanced calculations and more.

M1 to the max

Do you want even more power? Then there’s the M1 Max: the ultimate version of the M1 chip. In principle, this chip has the same basis as the Pro: 10 cores, of which eight are performance cores and two are efficiency cores. But the M1 Max is even better on two fronts: graphics power and memory.

The M1 Max has a video chip with up to 32 cores: twice as many as the M1 Pro, and four times as many as the M1. Apple even compares this variant with the mobile variant of the Nvidia RTX 3080 video card, which delivers insane performance, but with a much higher energy consumption. In terms of memory, the M1 Max has 32GB as standard, which can be expanded up to 64GB. This memory is also even faster than that of the Pro variant.

Battery life M1 Pro & M1 Max

It is striking that the battery life does not have to suffer from the better performance of the M1 Pro and the M1 Max. The MacBook Pro 2021, like its M1 brother, lasts more than twenty hours on a charge. And even if you really speed up the processor, you still have a battery life of about 10 hours. By comparison, to achieve that battery life, the old Intel chip had to run in a power-saving mode. So the difference is day and night.