M1 Macbook vs M1 Macbook air: Announcement of the new Apple silicon Max, it has come to our attention that the MacBook Air and the MacBook Pro are both equipped with nearly identical M1 chips.
And that has led to a lot of speculation.
Is the MacBook Pro even relevant anymore?
If it has the same internals as the air, then
why would you spend an extra $300?
To get the benefits of the pro?
In today’s article, we’re going to go into extreme
detail to figure out what the differences are not
just in terms of features and specifications,
but in terms of performance betweenM1 Macbook Pro vs M1 Macbook air with the same chip.
So this is the new M1 powered MacBook Pro.
Yeah, we know, it’s not much to look at, it’s identical
to the previous MacBook Pro, apart from the Fn key.
But what’s got everyone’s attention is that what’s
on the inside of the MacBook Air appears to be
the same as what’s on the inside of the MacBook Pro.
Only the air costs $300 less. At least that’s what it
looks like on paper. If you compare spec sheets,
there are more similarities than differences between
in the M1 Macbook Pro vs M1 Macbook air in the starting configurations both come equipped with the M1 through the base air has a seven core GPU, eight gigabytes of RAM, 256 gigabytes of storage, a 13.3-inch display, and a magic keyboard.
Certainly, the pro doesn’t look like $300 more just for
that extra GPU core but dig a little deeper and
you’ll notice that the Pro has a brighter display,
noticeably better battery life, a touch bar for
what that’s worth, and most importantly, a fan.
Okay, well the fan itself isn’t that important. It’s what the fan entails.
If you’ll recall this famously vague graph from
Apple’s event shows the impressive performance
of the M1 at 10 watts. However, you can see the performance increasing as it goes past 10 watts. So with more power
on tap and better thermal headroom, the MacBook Pro
could offer more performance from the same chip, so does it?
Let’s do some test M1 Macbook Pro vs M1 Macbook air
In Geekbench five test on M1 Macbook vs M1 Macbook air, the air scores 7439 compared to 7660 on the MacBook Pro.
In the GPU compute test with the metal preset, the air gets 18,649 to the pros 21,837.
In cinebench R23 a much more demanding benchmark
the MacBook Pro outscores the air 7779 to 6385,
demonstrating its long-term capabilities from that active cooling.
Final Cut Pro
In the Final Cut Pro test M1 Macbook vs M1 Macbook air we rendered the same 10 minutes 10 bit 4k clip that we tested in the MacBook Pro took eight minutes and 57 seconds that is 32 seconds faster than the MacBook Air.
Blender BMW and Classroom Render
Blender also saw significant improvements rendering
the BMW benchmark in six minutes flat compared
to six minutes 53 on the air and the classroom render
in 17 minutes in two seconds, compared to 21 minutes
and 21 seconds on the MacBook Air.
You may have noticed that in the longer test,
the MacBook Pros margin of victory increases.
This is one of the side effects of active cooling.
The longer you go, the more noticeable it will be.
And also remember that Blender hasn’t been
updated for Apple silicon. So that’s running
through Rosetta emulation, still very impressive scores.
So across the board to varying degrees, the MacBook Pro
is faster in every single test. And also it’s worth noting
that even though it does have a fan in over an hour
and a half of straight testing, often with the CPU
completely pinned, I did not even hear the fan at all.
To be honest, that’s almost more impressive than
the performance the fact that you can go through
back to back cinebench runs and then switch over
to blender and do 30 minutes worth of rendering,
and then switch over to Final Cut Pro and do some
rendering and exporting. And then the computer’s
barely warm to the touch. Especially given Apple’s
less than stellar history with cooling.
But let’s say at this point, you’re kind of numb
to performance numbers. They don’t mean
a whole lot to you. Why don’t we put some of this in context?
Intel score and M1 score
Well, here’s a big old chart with a boatload of
cinebench are 23 scores. There’s a lot to unpack here,
but take a look at where the M1 is falling.
What do you notice? Well, laptops are being seen
The M1 MacBook Pro outperforms the base model
six cores 16 inch MacBook Pro as well as a desktop
Core i 5 90600 k, which has a TDP of 95 watts.
We’re then nipping at the heels of the i9 MacBook Pro
as well as yet more desktop processors in 2020.
This is truly an incredible chart, especially when
you realize the low wattage of this MacBook Pros chip.
So clearly the M1 is no failure. And we are now comparing
it to high-end 45-watt laptop processors and
even 95-watt desktop processors. But comparing
the pro to the air, you can see that even with
the same chip, you are going to get noticeably
better performance on the MacBook Pro.
It’s not just in terms of raw horsepower.
The SSD on the MacBook Pro is also faster
it scores about 2200 megabytes per second
read-write compared to around 1500 on the
MacBook Air, at least with the base storage.
But I do want to take just a moment to revel in
the comparison of the current MacBook Pro
to its immediate predecessor, the new MacBook Pro
is nearly doubling the performance in almost
every metric and it does all of this without breaking a sweat.
For the longest time, the argument with Apple
products was that you weren’t just buying a box
full of specs, they might not be the most powerful,
but they had great hardware, great software, and excellent optimization. Well, now Apple has powerful and extremely well-optimized hardware. It feels like a whole new Apple.
If you’re shopping between the MacBook Air and
the MacBook Pro, you’re wondering what is observably
better for the 300 extra dollars you’re spending to get the MacBook Pro?
Well, there is a good amount, you are getting noticeably better performance crucially more sustained performance, as well as the brighter display noticeably longer battery life, and the touch bar in my book that’s worth the extra money. But the air is still a really good package at $1,000.
Especially given the amount of power that you’re getting without a fan, you might also want to consider going for a MacBook Air with either the upgraded 16 gigabytes of RAM or 512-gigabyte hard drive for around the same price as the MacBook Pro. If storage is more important to you than performance, the air is probably the better way to go. But more importantly, you can’t go wrong with either of these devices for the first time in a long time.
We don’t have any big warnings. Sure, you could claim that repairability is sort of a big question mark with these things. And in the long-term, that could end up being a problem. We don’t have a whole lot of information on that right now. So we are going to delay judgment.
But to be cautious. There’s also the concern of app compatibility. But we don’t think it’s that big a deal. Sure, there might be a few apps that you use that don’t quite work. But the ones that do even if you’re running it emulation, chances are it’s still going to run better emulated on Apple silicon than it would have on Intel. So we definitely wouldn’t go out and buy an Intel Mac just because your current apps are running in translation mode right now. And I also think it’s worth noting that, these are still the entry-level models. None of that is worse than it was on the previous Mac books on the Intel MacBook Air and the Intel Mac Book Pro.
There are still obviously much more powerful computers to come that will undoubtedly add more RAM more displays more Thunderbolt ports, in addition to significantly more power than what is already very powerful.
We think a lot of people forgot when they saw
these performance numbers that this is $1,000
MacBook Air and a base model 1300 dollar MacBook Pro,
they’re not exactly meant to compete with the 16 inches
but they are because Apple silicon is so amazing.
So needless to say there’s a lot more testing to do.