Apple M1 Pro and M1 Max: Specs, Performance, and Compare

Articles • Nov.30, 2021

Apple M1 Pro M1

MacBook is called the ultimate notebook, and now, the new MacBook – the Apple M1 pro – has got its title as well. The new, improved Apple M1 Pro results from rigorous research and development carried out by the engineers at Mac, renowned for their creative ingenuity.

The M1 Pro is the perfect combination of natural feel, precise response, and complete compatibility with your MIDI controller collection. The M1 Pro can enhance any production tool to provide tactile control over effects, instruments, and more. Razor-thin at half an inch, the Apple M1 Pro is perfect for traveling or creating your workspace. Apple tripled the number of chip options for its MacBook computing lineup, introducing the M1 Pro and M1 Max.

The Apple M1 Max is the perfect choice if you’re looking for outstanding performance and dependability in a laptop. With the Apple M1 Max, no longer do you have to choose between quality and convenience. The full-size keyboard is optimized for gaming with fast, precise laser key-punching, 100% anti-ghosting technology, large palm rests, complemented by that excellent sound system.

Apple M1 Max is a powerful computer that delivers a refined experience for work and plays with a stunning Retina display and up to 16 hours of battery life. The Apple Macbook M1 Max incorporated the latest advances in processor design, memory technology, display system interfaces, battery technology, and internal architecture. As a result of these advances, it delivers exceptional levels of performance.

Also Read: Apple Silicon (ARM): Processors and Performance

M1 Pro and M1 Max – Features

Here are all the features that the new M1 Pro and M1 Max brings to the table:

Upgraded CPU Performance: The CPU in Apple M1 Pro and M1 Max is up to 70 percent faster than M1, which means tasks like compiling projects in Xcode are faster. Hence, the M1 Pro offers industry-leading power efficiency, while the M1 Max takes these capabilities to another level.

Pro-oriented SoCs: The M1 Pro and M1 Max are Apple’s first pro-oriented computer systems to use a system-on-a-chip ( SoC ) architecture.  The new chips have fast, unified memory in sync with the CPU, allowing for improved performance, excellent power efficiency, and exceptional bandwidth. The M1 Pro uses a memory interface of 200GB/s, while the M1 Max uses one of 400GB/s.

Enhanced Media Processing: The M1 Pro and M1 Max also offer enhanced media processing capabilities with dedicated media accelerator cards, providing users with additional power to process pro video. While the new Apple Macbook M1 Pro and the Apple Macbook M1 Max are powerful chips by themselves, they also bring together two high-powered components to create a machine that’s even more powerful than those Apple has built before.

Improved Video Processing: The M1 Pro and M1 Max come with an Apple-designed media engine that accelerates video processing while minimizing power consumption. The M1 Pro model emphasizes resiliency for professional video-format projects, capable of handling multiple streams of 4K and 8K video while using little power. Apple’s MacBook M1 Max goes even further, delivering up to two times faster video encoding than the M1 Pro. The laptop features 2 ProRes accelerators.

Excellent Security: The combination of macOS with the M1 Pro or M1 Max protects your data from unauthorized access and malware because of fast, in-line encryption for files.

New Image Signal Processor: The Apple M1 Max’s and M1 Pro’s custom-designed image signal processor, along with the Neural Engine, boosts video quality using computational photography for more explicit footage and more natural-looking skin tones on the built-in camera.

Improved Thunderbolt Controllers: Additional Thunderbolt 4 controllers on the M1 Pro and M1 Max provide more bandwidth even when 40 Gb/s of bandwidth is used.

Suggested Read: Apple M1: Top Universal Apps for Silicon Macs

M1 Pro vs. M1 Max – The Ultimate Comparison

M1 Max is an additional $900 more expensive than the base model M1 Pro. Also, you get the 96-watt charger instead of the 67-watt charger and get an extra two CPU high-performance cores giving a total of 8 high-performance cores and 2 high-efficiency cores in M1 Max.

The M1 Max has 10 additional GPU cores, 14 on the standard M1 Pro and 24 on the base model M1 max. And yet, Apple claims it promises extra hours of video playback, which is hard to believe.

In M1 Max, you also get double the video encode and decode engines and 32 gigabytes of RAM as standard on the Max chip versus just 16 on the M1 Pro. There are no physical differences, but the differences are actually under the hood with the actual chips, and it has 512 gigabytes SSD on both models.

As is typical of TSMC’s 5nm process technology, all three chips are built on the company’s 5nm node. With more than 57 billion transistors on the M1 Max and 33.7 billion on the M1 Pro, Apple has more than doubled the transistor density of its previous high-end processor.

Apple claims the M1 Max to be 70% faster than the older M1 chip. M1 Pro and M1 Max both have the same CPU architecture, so the 70% jump applies to both devices. M1 Pro has a single computer engine for media encoding/decoding, while M1 Max includes two hardware accelerators dealing with video encoding/decoding and two ProRes encoding/decoding engines.

If you’ll be working on high-resolution videos professionally, the M1 Max is the one to go for.  You can now connect up to four different external monitors to the M1 Max, and the 32-core GPU works smoothly to handle content on all screens simultaneously.

# M1 Pro vs. M1 Max – Construction

Apple’s system-on-chips (SoC) is manufactured by long-time foundry partner TSMC, with whom it also collaborates on making its A-series chips. Macbook M1 Max and Pro are all produced on a 5-nanometer process, which gives them several advantages.

The physical space dedicated to each chip on a wafer is reduced, which lowers the cost per chip and the cost of the processor itself. The benefits of a smaller chip size are expressed in two ways: in some cases, it can facilitate the production of more complex chips with a smaller footprint.

m1 chip

(Image Credit: Apple)

With more than 57 billion transistors on the M1 Max and 33.7 billion on the M1 Pro, Apple has more than doubled the transistor density of its previous high-end processor.  Apple claims the M1 Max is 70% faster than last year’s M1 chip.

The number of transistors a chip contains is a poor indicator of its overall performance, as a transistor can be used in a wide range of ways. A quick comparison of these two laptops roughly indicates that the CPU elements of M1 Pro and M1 Max are similar, but they differ significantly in GPU core counts, among other alterations. The newest Apple chips also have updated Fabric to increase the bandwidth, which will speed up how quickly SoC components can access memory. The M1 Pro uses a memory interface of 200GB/s, while the M1 Max uses one of 400GB/s.

# M1 Pro vs. M1 Max – Specifications


# M1 Pro vs. M1 Max – CPU Performance

Apple seems to be trying to get the most performance possible out of its CPU cores from its architecture design. Apple claims the M1 Max is 70% faster than last year’s M1 chip. And since the M1 Pro and M1 Max have the same CPU architecture, the 70% jump applies to both devices.

CPU Performance

(Image Credit: Apple)

This year, the M1 Max and the M1 Pro feature 10 CPU cores (the most offered by any Mac), consisting of eight high-performance and two high-efficiency cores. The high-performance version of the new M1 Pro includes two “Icestorm” cores and six “Firestorm” cores. The 10-core version maintains the 2 high-performance cores but adds 2 to the existing 6, making the total core count 2 “Icestorm” and 8 “Firestorm” cores.

# M1 Pro vs. M1 Max – GPU Performance

Apple’s new MacBook Pro models do not use stand-alone GPUs but instead use high-core-count GPUs integrated with the SoC. When Apple introduced the M1 chip last year, tech enthusiasts praised its fantastic performance, but many still wished for Apple’s powerful GPU (graphics processing unit).

GPU Performance

(Image Credit: Apple)

The Apple M1 Pro comes with 16 GPU cores, and the M1 Max packs a 32-core GPU that outperforms anything else on the market. Benchmarks have shown that the extra cores in the M1 Pro and M1 Max and the improvements in Fabric have greatly enhanced its graphical performance. Since the M1 Pro and M1 Max have more memory, a higher memory bandwidth, and more GPU cores, naturally, they will perform better.

# M1 Pro vs. M1 Max – Media Engine Performance

The M1 Pro and M1 Max bring a new engine to the SoC to better serve its video-centric customers. The Media Engine, a specialized section that preserves battery life, is devoted to video processing. It’s a technical array of hardware-accelerated encoding and decoding engines that handle video more efficiently than the rest of the chip can.

The Media Engine, which handles video decode and encodes, can process H.264, HEVC, ProRes, and RAW content. The M1 Pro and M1 Max also feature a dedicated ProRes encode and decode engine for handling footage used in professional video productions. The M1 Max has a Media Engine that includes two videos encode engines, whereas the M1 Pro has just one. It also features twice the number of ProRes encode and decode engines.

Also Read: Our Favorite FREE Video Enhancer Software

# M1 Pro vs. M1 Max – Thunderbolt and Video Out

Apple added more integrated Thunderbolt 4 controllers to the M1 Pro and M1 Max to rectify the limitations to increase I/O bandwidth. Apple’s extra I/O bandwidth allows users to connect even more devices to their Macs, as there is more available bandwidth.

The new I/O bandwidth of the chips makes them capable of dealing with video output much better than before. The Apple M1 Pro will support up to two 6K displays, while the M1 Max supports up to three 6K screens along with a fourth 4K monitor.

# M1 Pro vs. M1 Max – Power Consumption

Power consumption is where I am surprised at Apple’s figures, even though the difference in load times is only subtle. This year, the M1 Pro and M1 Max have eight high-performance cores and two high-efficiency cores instead of offering a 4 + 4 architecture.

And yet, Apple is promising extra hours of video playback, which is hard to believe. The CPU and GPU do not have separate pools of memory. Instead, a unified memory is available to both the modules on the board itself, reducing latency and power consumption.

Final words

These laptops are marvelously designed and executed. A lot of time, effort, and expertise make these machines – from the finely tuned hardware to the incomparable software. Also, so many people out there admire MACs because you can see how much consideration has gone into their design and functionality.

When we compare the M1 Pro and M1 Max in-depth, it is clear that Apple has taken several features from the M1 Pro (thinner, lighter) while also introducing new features to the M1 Max. Since 2006, Apple has been carbon neutral for global corporate operations. By 2030, it plans to have net-zero climate impact across the entire business, including manufacturing supply chains and product life cycles. Hence, this means that every chip Apple creates, from design to manufacturing, will be carbon neutral.

First impressions can be deceiving. The M1 Max chip might give the impression of being a more giant, faster, more powerful chip than the less expensive M1 Pro, but it is better to look closer.  The M1 Max and M1 Pro chips are near relatives, but if you need a boost of power for your MacBook Pro, the more expensive variant might not be worth the extra expense.

The M1 Pro is an impressively fast computer for most people, but if you know you will be working with massive data sets and multi-threaded software that taxes your computer’s CPU, it’s worth getting the 10-core model. Poring over details will not simplify the differences between the Macbook M1 Max and the Macbook M1 Pro. However, you can still state quite confidently that the M1 Max is better than the M1 Pro.