M1 Pro vs. M1 Max: Which Is The Better Mac Chip

In 2020, Apple’s M1 chip debuted and blew us all away with how much it improved performance and efficiency in the MacBook Air M1, Mac Mini M1, and MacBook Pro M1.

Mac users were still on the M1 performance hangover when Apple launched M1 Pro and M1 Max with better performance promise. Both chips are now available in the new MacBook Pro 14-inch 2021 and MacBook Pro 16-inch 2021.

Apple has promised both chips to come with better CPU performance and dual graphics performance than M1. But if you are wondering which one of the chips is more robust and good for you?

Then, understand a straight line difference between M1 Pro and M1 Max.

What Are Similarities Between M1 Pro and M1 Max

Before we understand what sets M1 Pro and M1 Max apart, let’s first evaluate the similarities between both Mac chips:

  • 16-core Neural Engine
  • 10-core CPU with eight performance cores and two efficiency cores
  • Media engine to support HEVC, ProRes, ProRes RAW, and hardware-accelerated H.264
  • Video decoding engine

Besides these similarities, there is nothing the same in both M1 predecessors. Let’s see how?

M1 Pro vs. M1 Max: Price

One of the basic differences that users will find in both chips is the price. The base-level MacBook Pro will cost around $1,999 with M1 Pro, 8-core CPU, and 14-core GPU.

On the flip side, the base-level 16-inch MacBook Pro M1 Max costs $2,499. With M1 Pro ‌, users will get a 10-core CPU and 16-core GPU. Further, it is possible to upgrade both chips with some additional cost.

M1 Pro vs. M1 Max: CPU

Moving to the CPU, both chips have the same underlying architecture. They both have SoCs (system-on-chips), which makes them perfect for higher efficiency. Both also have 5-nanometer process technology along with a 16-core Neural Engine.

As the M1 Pro has a 10-cores CPU with eight performance cores and two efficiency cores. Thus, it can support up to 32 GB memory of 200 GB/second.

Remember, the cheapest 14-inch MacBook Pro 2021 has a less powerful M1 chip. So, we recommend you upgrade a full 10-core CPU M1 Pro chip for better performance.

On the other hand, M1 Max has a 10-core CPU supporting 57 billion transistors and up to 64 GB of memory that goes up to 400 GB/s of bandwidth.

So, M1 Max comes as a pure winner in terms of CPU performance.

M1 Pro vs. M1 Max: GPU

The graphical processing power is highly crucial for Mac users who edit videos, develop games and play visual-heavy games on the MacBook.

The M1 Pro has up to a 16-core GPU that’s two times faster than the M1. So, the M1 Pro has a pretty remarkable GPU to play games and edit videos.

But the M1 Max overpowers the M1 Pro with a 32-core GPU. In fact, Apple claims that M1 Max delivers up to 4x faster GPU performance.

Overall, both chips offer magnificent graphical performance, but M1 Max steals the show again.

M1 Pro vs. M1 Max: Media encoding and decoding

Both chips have special tools for media encoding and decoding space for media processing. In addition, both chips have almost identical features for video editing and processing.

The dedicated encode and decode media engine is specifically developed by Apple to fasten up the video rendering work. But once again, M1 Max has an advantage in the form of one decode engine and two encode engines.

M1 Max also has two ProRes accelerators for even better video performance.

Talking about output performance, Apple says the M1 Pro can deliver up to 20 streams of 4K ProRes video playback. On the contrary, the M1 Max has up to 7 streams of 8K ProRes video playback.

So, if you want to produce and edit high-definition videos, go for M1 Max. But if you want to work with multiple monitors, M1 Pro will only support two external displays, and M1 Max will support four.

M1 Pro vs. M1 Max: Which One Is Better?

If you have already used M1, you will find a huge improvement in both M1 Pro and M1 Max chips. But based on the above-mentioned information, M1 Max is a clear winner.

However, it completely depends upon your workflow whether to get M1 Max or M1 Pro. M1 Pro is a great and affordable solution for basic gameplay and video rendering. But if you want to explore extreme power, M1 Max is the best solution for you. 

That’s it from our side! We have reviewed both M1 Max and M1 Pro for you. Now, you have to make a wise decision.

Do let us know which M1 chip you prefer and why?

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