Thursday, December 2, 2021
MacNews

M1X? No, Apple introduces the M1 Pro and the M1 Max

We were expecting the announcement of an Apple M1X chips today, but Apple instead announced the M1 Pro and M1 Max.

According to Apple, scaling up M1’s transformational architecture, M1 Pro offers amazing performance with industry-leading power efficiency, while M1 Max takes these capabilities to new heights. The CPU in M1 Pro and M1 Max purportedly delivers up to 70% faster CPU performance than M1, so tasks like compiling projects in Xcode are faster than ever. Apple says the GPU in M1 Pro is up to 2x faster than M1, while M1 Max is up to 4x faster than M1, allowing pro users to fly through the most demanding graphics workflows.

M1 Pro and M1 Max introduce a system-on-a-chip (SoC) architecture to pro systems for the first time. The chips purportedly feature fast unified memory, industry-leading performance per watt, and incredible power efficiency, along with increased memory bandwidth and capacity. 

The M1 Pro offers up to 200GB/s of memory bandwidth with support for up to 32GB of unified memory. The M1 Max delivers up to 400GB/s of memory bandwidth — 2x that of M1 Pro and nearly 6x that of M1 — and support for up to 64GB of unified memory. The M1 Pro and M1 Max also feature enhanced media engines with dedicated ProRes accelerators specifically for pro video processing. 

“M1 has transformed our most popular systems with incredible performance, custom technologies, and industry-leading power efficiency. No one has ever applied a system-on-a-chip design to a pro system until today with M1 Pro and M1 Max,” said Johny Srouji, Apple’s senior vice president of Hardware Technologies, in a press release. “With massive gains in CPU and GPU performance, up to six times the memory bandwidth, a new media engine with ProRes accelerators, and other advanced technologies, M1 Pro and M1 Max take Apple silicon even further, and are unlike anything else in a pro notebook.”

M1 Pro

Here’s how Apple describes the M1 Pro: Utilizing the industry-leading 5-nanometer process technology, M1 Pro packs in 33.7 billion transistors, more than 2x the amount in M1. A new 10-core CPU, including eight high-performance cores and two high-efficiency cores, is up to 70 percent faster than M1, resulting in unbelievable pro CPU performance. Compared with the latest 8-core PC laptop chip, M1 Pro delivers up to 1.7x more CPU performance at the same power level and achieves the PC chip’s peak performance using up to 70 percent less power.1 Even the most demanding tasks, like high-resolution photo editing, are handled with ease by M1 Pro.

M1 Pro has an up-to-16-core GPU that is up to 2x faster than M1 and up to 7x faster than the integrated graphics on the latest 8-core PC laptop chip.1 Compared to a powerful discrete GPU for PC notebooks, M1 Pro delivers more performance while using up to 70 percent less power.2 And M1 Pro can be configured with up to 32GB of fast unified memory, with up to 200GB/s of memory bandwidth, enabling creatives like 3D artists and game developers to do more on the go than ever before.

Here’s how Apple describes the M1 Max:
M1 Max features the same powerful 10-core CPU as M1 Pro and adds a massive 32-core GPU for up to 4x faster graphics performance than M1. With 57 billion transistors — 70 percent more than M1 Pro and 3.5x more than M1 — M1 Max is the largest chip Apple has ever built. In addition, the GPU delivers performance comparable to a high-end GPU in a compact pro PC laptop while consuming up to 40 percent less power, and performance similar to that of the highest-end GPU in the largest PC laptops while using up to 100 watts less power.2 This means less heat is generated, fans run quietly and less often, and battery life is amazing in the new MacBook Pro. M1 Max transforms graphics-intensive workflows, including up to 13x faster complex timeline rendering in Final Cut Pro compared to the previous-generation 13-inch MacBook Pro.

M1 Max also offers a higher-bandwidth on-chip fabric, and doubles the memory interface compared with M1 Pro for up to 400GB/s, or nearly 6x the memory bandwidth of M1. This allows M1 Max to be configured with up to 64GB of fast unified memory. With its unparalleled performance, M1 Max is the most powerful chip ever built for a pro notebook.

ProRes

And here’s how Apple describes the ProRes feature

M1 Pro and M1 Max include an Apple-designed media engine that accelerates video processing while maximizing battery life. M1 Pro also includes dedicated acceleration for the ProRes professional video codec, allowing playback of multiple streams of high-quality 4K and 8K ProRes video while using very little power. M1 Max goes even further, delivering up to 2x faster video encoding than M1 Pro, and features two ProRes accelerators. With M1 Max, the new MacBook Pro can transcode ProRes video in Compressor up to a remarkable 10x faster compared with the previous-generation 16-inch MacBook Pro.

Advanced Technologies for a Complete Pro System

Apple says that both the M1 Pro and M1 Max are loaded with advanced custom technologies that help push pro workflows to the next level:

  • A 16-core Neural Engine for on-device machine learning acceleration and improved camera performance.
  • A new display engine drives multiple external displays.
  • Additional integrated Thunderbolt 4 controllers provide even more I/O bandwidth.
  • Apple’s custom image signal processor, along with the Neural Engine, uses computational video to enhance image quality for sharper video and more natural-looking skin tones on the built-in camera.
  • Best-in-class security, including Apple’s latest Secure Enclave, hardware-verified secure boot, and runtime anti-exploitation technologies.
Dennis Sellers
the authorDennis Sellers
Dennis Sellers is the editor/publisher of Apple World Today. He’s been an “Apple journalist” since 1995 (starting with the first big Apple news site, MacCentral). He loves to read, run, play sports, and watch movies.