Apple has announced new 14″ and 16″ Macbook Pro models alongside the M2 Pro and M2 Max SoCs that now power these systems. Thanks to these upgraded chips, there are a handful of improvements, but the overall package remains similar with no changes to the design or build. It’s the same device from the outside but improved for 2023.
Updated 14″ and 16″ Macbook Pro Models Now Come With Apple’s Next-gen Silicon
Apple has finally brought its new flagship Mac chips to market and although I was expecting these last year, the company didn’t waste its time holding on to them in 2023. Like the regular M2, the M2 Pro and M2 Max are based on the same architecture as the A16 Bionic. That means primarily minimal improvements over the last generation, but Apple did mention some significant enhancements for the higher-end chips.
Firstly, the M2 Pro has double and the M2 Max has triple the transistor count of the regular M2, and compared to the M1 Max, the M2 Max has 10 billion extra transistors. It’s still using the 5nm Process Technology, but Apple claims that these updated devices have much longer battery lives for the same capacity batteries. While video viewing time rating is irrelevant for real-life workloads, maybe expect a couple more hours out of them.
The CPU now maxes out at 12 cores and the GPU core count is also up at up to 19 cores for the M2 Pro and 38 cores for the M2 Max. The M2 Max also has double the memory bandwidth (400GB/s) of the M2 Pro (200GB/s). So, based on how much power you need, you can choose between the two, but do remember that the price will skyrocket quickly as you spec up your configuration.
Both chips come with an updated 16-core Neural Engine which can do 15.8 trillion operations per second, and according to the company, it is up to 40 percent faster than the last-gen chips. The M2 Pro is capable of hardware-accelerated H.264, HEVC, and ProRes video encoding and decoding, which allow 4K and 8K ProRes video playback (with multiple streams). On top of this, the M2 Max has two video encoding engines alongside two ProRes engines, which should theoretically be capable of two times faster video encoding than the M2 Pro.
Improvements To The New Macbook Pro Models
The second generation of the flagship Macbook Pro models don’t bring any changes to the chassis and they’re even using the exact same displays from the last generation. So, there is no way to differentiate from the outside. However, there are several much-needed upgrades for the new models.
Firstly, Apple finally added HDMI 2.1 support which now allows display output of 8K up to 60Hz and 4K up to 120Hz. There is now also support for Wi-Fi 6E which is a massive improvement over Wi-Fi 6, thanks to the utilization of the 6GHz band and other improvements to the wireless standard. These should have been there in the M1 series, but at least they’re finally available.
The performance improvements compared to the 2021 models are listed below,
- Rendering titles and animations in Motion in the M2 Pro variants is 20 percent faster than the M1 Pro variants and effects rendering in Cinema 4D in the M2 Max variants is up to 30 percent faster compared to the M1 Max variants.
- Compiling in Xcode in the M2 Pro variants is 25 percent faster compared to M1 Pro.
- Color grading in DaVinci Resolve is up to 30 percent faster in the M2 Max variants compared to M1 Max.
- Image processing in Adobe Photoshop in the M2 Pro variants is up to 40 percent faster compared to M1 pro variants.
These are still according to what Apple has initially claimed, but we’ll have more information when more real-world data is available. Regardless of that, the upgrades this year are more incremental than substantial, so if you have the M1 Pro and M1 Max models, there’s no need to upgrade, but Intel Macbook Pro users will see a massive improvement over their current system.