M1 Pro Vs. M1 Max: Improved Performance and Power Efficiency

M1 Pro and M1 Max

M1 Pro Vs. M1 Max: Improved Performance and Power Efficiency

You can now enjoy best-in-class power efficiency, Apple ProRes acceleration, and unmatched performance for your MacBook Pro with the new M1 Max and M1 Pro Apple Silicon chips.

The two chips feature progressive technologies that accelerate workflows, including:

  • Fast unified memory
  • Up to 10 CPU cores 
  • A 16-core Neural Engine 
  • An image signal processor
  • Video decoding engine
  • Integrated Thunderbolt 4 controllers
  • Best-in-class security protocols

Learn how these features will improve the functionality of your MacBook Pro. Plus more on how the M1 Max and M1 Pro are similar and explore some of their differences.

M1 Pro vs. M1 Max: Side-by-Side Comparison

M1 ProM1 Max
What is itA professional-focused system-on-chip (SoC) that delivers impressive performance and efficiency in powerA more powerful version of the M1 Pro that includes more GPU cores and a higher memory bandwidth
Announcement dateOctober 18, 2021Oct 18, 2021
Debut devices14-inch MacBook Pro models16-inch MacBook Pro models14-inch MacBook Pro models16-inch MacBook Pro models. Also available as an option in the Mac Studio
Transistors 33.7 billion transistors57 billion transistors
CPU cores8- or 10-core CPU (6 or 8 performance cores and 2 efficiency cores)10-core CPU (8 performance cores and 2 efficiency cores)
GPU cores14-16 GPU24-32 GPU
Memory bandwidth 200GB/s400GB/s
Unified memory (RAM)16-32 GB RAM16-64 GB RAM
Neural engine 16-core 16-core 
Media enginesOne ProRes encode engine, a decode engine, and a video encode engineTwo ProRes encode engines, two decode engines, and two video encode engines
Infographic M1 Pro vs M1 Max
Our Pick
Apple 2021 MacBook Pro
  • Apple M1 Pro chip
  • 10-core CPU and 32-core GPU
  • 16-core Neural Engine for up to 5x faster machine learning performance
  • Longer battery life (up to 21 hours)
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11/29/2023 06:06 am GMT

M1 Pro vs. M1 Max: What’s the Difference?

The M1 Max and M1 Pro take the performance of pro notebooks to a top-notch level. Both chips feature huge benefits in GPU and CPU performance, new media engines that have ProRes accelerators, and more memory bandwidth.

The two chips enable you to handle computationally intensive work like video processing and graphic design with ease. They’re similar in most ways, but the M1 Max promises to deliver peak performance thanks to more ProRes accelerators, twice the memory, and double the GPU bandwidth.

Let’s dive into the specifications and main features of the M1 Max and M1 Pro chips while exploring how they are similar or different in each case. 

The M1 Pro Specifications

The entry-level M1 Pro chip packs up adequate power for day-to-day tasks thanks to its:

  • 33.7 billion transistors
  • A maximum of 16-core GPU that is up to 2x faster than the M1
  • 10-core Central Processing Unit (CPU) with 8 performance cores plus 2 efficiency cores

Note: The MacBook Pro 2021 (14-inch) comes with a downgraded M1 Pro chip that has an 8-core CPU, which works just fine, but you can upgrade to the full 10-core CPU by paying about $200.

The M1 Max Specifications 

The hybrid M1 Max system-on-chip (SoC) delivers impressive performance (theoretically capped at twice that of the M1 Pro chip) thanks to the:

  • 10-core CPU that features 8 high-performance and 2 high-efficiency cores
  • 57 billion transistors more than thrice the number in the flagship M1 chip
  • 32-core GPU, which delivers 4 times the graphic performance of the M1

CPU Performance 

The M1 Max and M1 Pro have up to 10 core CPUs split into 6–8 performance cores and 2 efficiency cores. This help to achieve a PC laptop’s peak performance with at least 70% less power when compared to the M1.

The M1 Max and M1 Pro are hybrid chips because they integrate the GPU and CPU to utilize a shared unified memory, which translates to better performance and improved power utilization.

With the M1 Pro, you can perform demanding graphic tasks at least twice as fast as you would on an M1 chip, and that doubles to four times faster when you’re using the M1 Max chip.

The four times faster graphic performance on the M1 Max can be attributed to a huge 32-core GPU, which also ensures your PC consumes less than 100 watts power. This further boosts performance by ensuring fans run silently and don’t generate as much heat.

Media Engine

The M1 Max and M1 Pro feature an Apple-designed media engine that allows pro video editing and increases video processing.  

The two also have enhanced media engines, which include dedicated ProRes accelerators to speed up rendering and other pro video processing and editing tasks.  

With the M1 Pro, you get a ProRes professional video codec that facilitates the playback of 4K and 8K videos while maximizing battery life.

The M1 Max gets video editing work done at twice the speed of the M1 Pro thanks to its double ProRes accelerators, two dedicated decode engines, two dedicated decode engines, and 32 GPU cores. 

Therefore, the M1 Max is a better choice for professional video editors because it supports a maximum of four displays and the M1 Pro can only support two external displays.


Being among the most dynamic chips produced by Apple, the two boast a significant boost in performance thanks to their large memory bandwidth that spans between 200 GB per second and 400 GB per second. 

They also have a unified memory configuration of between 32 GB and 64 GB, which is significant for demanding tasks like video game development, video editing, and 3D animation creation. 

The huge amount of memory unlocks a new host of capabilities for graphic-intensive workflows that would previously be impossible to handle on a notebook pro.

M1 Pro vs. M1 Max: 5 Must-Know Facts

  • The M1 Pro has 33.7 billion transistors, more than twice the number in the M1, and delivers 1.7x more CPU performance than the newest version 8-core PC laptop chip when working at the same level of power.
  • The M1 Pro boasts a 16-core GPU that’s up to two times faster than the M1, while the M1 Max has a massive 32-core GPU, which delivers up to 4x faster graphics performance than the M1.
  • Both M1 Max and M1 Pro have authentic Apple media engines, which speed up video processing and maximize battery life.
  • The new MacBook Pro with an M1 Max chip can translate ProRes video Compressor 10x faster than the MacBook Pro.
  • Both the M1 Max and M1 Pro include industry-leading advanced security technologies, which include Apple’s Secure Enclave, anti-exploitation, and secure boot technologies.
Our Pick
Apple 2021 MacBook Pro
  • 16" Liquid Retina XDR Display
  • Apple M1 Max chip
  • 10-core CPU
  • 32-core GPU
  • 16-core Neural Engine for up to 5x faster machine learning performance
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M1 Pro vs. M1 Max: Which One Is Better? Which One Should You Use?

Both the M1 Pro and the M1 Max are powerful chips that make great choices for heavy-duty professional workflows, like software development, video editing, and graphic design. 

The M1 Pro delivers sufficient power to handle all the above tasks, but at a more affordable price compared to the M1 Max. Although the M1 Max is significantly more powerful than the M1 Pro, you won’t be missing out on much because the former is not designed for any specific tasks.

However, the M1 Max is great for extremely demanding GPU workflows, like 3D animation modeling, video editing, and graphic design. You should also consider the M1 Max if you intend to have your MacBook Pro for several years because it’s more future-proof than the M1 Pro.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is a system-on-chip?

It’s an integrated circuit that combines different elements of a computer system into a single chip. In late 2020, Apple began transitioning away from Intel processor chips by introducing its own system-on-chips. The entire range of Apple’s system-on-chips and system-in-a-package processors is known as the Apple Silicon.

What came before the M1 Pro and the M1 Max?

The M1 was the first system-on-a-chip made by Apple for the Mac. It was first seen in the Mac mini, MacBook Air, and MacPro in November 2020, and then in the 24-inch iMac in 2021..
The M1 is a fairly powerful chip that consists of :

  • 8-core CPU (4 performance cores and 4 efficiency cores)
  • 8GB or 16GB of RAM
  • 16-core Neural Engine
  • 7- or 8-core GPU
  • 68.25 GBps memory bandwidth

What are some drawbacks of the M1?

The M1 Pro and M1 Max are improvements to the already powerful M1, which must have been necessitated by some drawbacks of this flagship chip. Some of the drawbacks include:

  • 16 GB of unified memory was not enough to perform some heavy-duty workflows, like pro video editing.
  • It had limited I/O with only two ports available on the M1 MacBook Air and MacBook Pro.
  • Battery life doesn’t meet Apple’s quoted figures especially when using third party apps.
  • It can only be connected to one external monitor.

Why are the Apple M1 Pro and M1 Max chips so fast?

The M1 Pro can perform demanding tasks at least twice as fast as an M1 Chip, thanks to the 8–10 CPU cores, 8 high-performance cores, 2 energy-efficient cores, and 8 graphic cores with 32GB of RAM.

The M1 Max is four times faster thanks to its massive 32-core GPU, which also ensures your pro PC laptop consumes up to 100 watts less power.

What is the M1 Ultra?

The M1 Ultra is the latest version of Apple’s M1 system-on-chip for personal computers. It’s a combination of two M1 max chips to add unprecedented levels of performance and capabilities to the new Mac Studio.
The M1 Ultra features:

  • A 20-core CPU (16 high-performance cores and 4 high-efficiency cores)
  • 64-core GPU
  • 32-core Neutral Engine
  • 12 trillion transistors
  • 128GB of high-bandwidth, low-latency unified memory
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