eXtensions - Saturday 23 October 2021
Saturday Review: A Measured Look at the M-chip and the New MacBook Pro Computers
By Graham K. Rogers
Home Pod mini and the new colors - Image courtesy of Apple
M1 Pro chip - Image courtesy of Apple
M1 Max chip - Image courtesy of Apple
16-inch MacBook Pro and its keyboard - Image courtesy of Apple
Current M-series chips - Image courtesy of Apple
I focused on some of the comparisons between the Pro and Max versions of the chips announced this week. The Pro DRAM has 200GB/s bandwidth, while the Max has 400GB/s; and the RAM that the respective versions can support is 32GB and 64GB while it was 16GB for the vanilla M1 chip. It does not take a genius to do the maths. The M1 chip had 16 billion transistors. The M1 Pro has 33.7 billion and the Max, 57 billion. It seems like only yesterday we were wowed by millions.
I was pleased to see Craig Federighi on camera for the MacOS section, although he seemed less dynamic than in his live performances at WWDC. I hope Apple does not go back to live delivery, except for its most important events as this delivery works for me, despite the tired-looking Federighi. The next version of macOS, Monterrey will be released on 25 October, so make sure those backups are up to date.
Back with John Ternus the new Macs were outlined. As well as the features above, it was revealed that there are 2 fans and a redesigned air-flow system to deal with any heat, although it was also explained that temperatures were lower than the earlier Macs. There is more information on the airflow system which is outlined by Sami Fathi (MacRumors) I do not think I have ever heard the fan on my Mac with the M1 chip and it certainly never feels warm; nor does the M1 iPad Pro for that matter. I could not exactly fry eggs on the previous Intel machines I had, but the fans did scream sometimes.
Screenshot of Air-flow in the latest Macs
As a side note, running attack ads is not a way to endear yourself to a company you hope to re-enter a commercial relationship with. Others, like Bryan M. Wolfe (iMore) thought the new Macs were the stars of the show. The Pro and Max versions of the M1 chip also demonstrate that the scalability of these chips confirms, as has been expected since the A7, that Apple can build into its chips what it wants and not be left waiting for chip makers like Intel to reveal their designs, then produce the Macs around those limitations.
Other comments from Wolfe work for me as well, especially concerning the delivery of the slick video presentations, which are really marketing tools. Not only is this safer in the current situation, but it saves thousands of people traveling to California to report on the events. It will also save Apple much in terms of air fares and hotel charges for many, if not all of those journalists. I disagree with Wolfe about the end of the TouchBar. I liked it, but I will get over it when it comes to buying my next MacBook Pro: humans learn to adapt. Or not.
As part of this, it is revealing to see just how well the M1 Max performs in relation to Intel's best. Juli Clover writing on MacRumors, reveals some benchmarking figures for single (1749) and multi-core performance (11542), which "outperforms all Mac chips with the exception of the Mac Pro and iMac models equipped with Intel's high-end 16 to 24-core Xeon chips." And we know that as Apple is developing Apple silicon that there is more to come. As one comment on the article notes, if the Intel chip performed like this, it "would melt through legs like butter" [sic].
16-inch MacBook Pro running XCode - Image courtesy of Apple
I waded through the whole article (getting more angry as I read) and it was not until I began to read the comments that the penny dropped. Many of those referred to Verheyde as an Intel troll. So the article needs to be examined in the context of that bias. Or simply dismissed. I was reminded of another Seeking Alpha contributor who was always negative on Apple and never gave positive advice on investment. Fortunately, those making comments were wise to him - like Verheyde - and were suitably derisive.
It is widely reported that the SD card slot allows speeds up to 312MB/s although another report from Joe Rossignol (MacRumors) that has several useful performance details of the new Macs, claims that SD cards are limited to 250MB/s. This slot would not help me as I use a CFX card with the Nikon D850. The camera does have a slot for the SD card as well, but most of the time I connect the camera to the MacBook Pro or iPads (including the iPad mini) directly with a USB-micro to USB-C cable.
MacBook Pro 14 and 16-inch models - Image courtesy of Apple
I paid 56,900 baht for my M1 MacBookPro (I added RAM bringing it up to 16GB). The basic (I write that with tongue firmly in cheek) 14" M1 Pro device with 16GB RAM, 8-core CPU and 14-core GPU is shown as 73,900 baht (no delivery dates as yet). The 14" M1 Pro device with 10-core CPU and 16-core GPU is shown as 89,900 baht. The processors in these can be upgraded, with the M1 Max shown as an additional 23,000 baht. The three 16" MacBook Pro computers are priced at 89,900 (10-core CPU and 16-core GPU, 512GB SSD), 96900 (10-core CPU and 16-core GPU, 1TB SSD), and 124,900 baht with M1 Max (10-core CPU and 32-core GPU, 32GB RAM 1TB SSD). That can have up to 8TB storage (+77,000 baht) and an additional 32GB RAM (+14,000).
Graham K. Rogers teaches at the Faculty of Engineering, Mahidol University in Thailand. He wrote in the Bangkok Post, Database supplement on IT subjects. For the last seven years of Database he wrote a column on Apple and Macs. After 3 years writing a column in the Life supplement, he is now no longer associated with the Bangkok Post. He can be followed on Twitter (@extensions_th)
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