Macbook Pro with M1 Chip Review ! | Custom Mac BD
Apple Macbook Pro 13.3 inch with M1 Chip MYD82LL/A / MYD92LL/A 8-core CPU with 4 performance cores and 4 efficiency cores 8-core GPU 8GB | 16GB 256GB | 512GB | 1TB
Macbook Pro With M1 Chip
- New lower-end 13-inch M1 MacBook Pro models were introduced on November 10, 2020, bringing a new Apple M1 chip in place of Intel processor and graphics options. Higher-end models have not been updated since May 2020 and continue to be equipped with Intel's 10th-generation processors and up to 32GB of RAMup to the 16-inch MacBook Pro.
Apple M1 Models
- 13-inch size
- Apple M1 chip with 8-core CPU and 8-core GPU
- 8 or 16 GB of unified RAM
- True Tone display and Touch Bar
- Up to 2 TB SSD storage
- Scissor-switch Magic Keyboard
- $1,299 starting price
Should You Buy the 13-Inch MacBook Pro?
The MacBook Pro is one of Apple's flagship laptops, featuring greater performance, active cooling, and the Touch Bar. As a vital product in the Mac lineup, Apple typically updates the 13-inch MacBook Pro on an annual basis.
There are two different 13-inch MacBook Pro models currently available. They look almost identical, but one is positioned as a lower-end model with an Apple-designed M1 chip, two Thunderbolt 3 ports, and a price starting at $1,299, while the other is positioned as a higher-end model with an Intel processor, four Thunderbolt 3 ports, and a price starting at $1,799.
Announced in November of 2020, the M1 MacBook Pro is among the newest Macs in Apple's lineup and it is still believed to be fairly early in its product cycle.
On the other hand, the high-end Intel models that remain in Apple's lineup launched in May of 2020. These models are believed to be approaching the end of their product cycle.
Users who are looking for a high-end MacBook Pro should wait for updated models with larger displays, more ports, and Apple silicon chips to launch later this year.
Although the high-end MacBook Pro is expected to be replaced with a redesigned model later this year, it is likely that the current M1 MacBook Pro will remain in the lineup as the lower-end option.
The M1 MacBook Air starts at a price point $300 cheaper than the M1 MacBook Pro, and offers the same chip with many of the same features, such as the Magic Keyboard, Touch ID, and two Thunderbolt ports. The only advantages to buying the M1 MacBook Pro over the MacBook Air are the Touch Bar, active cooling, a longer battery life, a brighter display, speakers with high dynamic range, and an extra GPU core if you're getting the entry-level MacBook Air. Unless these features are worth the additional $300 in your personal use case, you should buy the MacBook Air instead.
The M1 MacBook Pro
Apple refreshed the entry-level 13-inch MacBook Pro models in November 2020, adding an Apple-designed "M1" Arm-based chipto replace the prior Intel chips. M1 chips bring significant speed and efficiency improvements.
Apple is selling the new 13-inch M1 MacBook Pro models alongside the higher-end and more expensive 13-inch MacBook Pro models with Intel chips that were introduced in May 2020. The 16-inch MacBook Pro models with Intel chips are also still available and have not yet been updated with M1 chips.
The M1 chip is Apple's first System on a Chip for Mac that integrates the CPU, GPU, RAM, and more all together. The M1 has an 8-core CPUwith four high-efficiency cores and four high-performance coresalong with an integrated GPU that has 8 cores. Compared to the prior-generation MacBook Pro models, the new M1 MacBook Pro's CPU is up to 2.8x faster and the GPU is up to 5x faster.
Machine learning tasks that use the Neural Engine are up to 11x faster, making the MacBook Pro quicker at ML-based features like face recognition and object detection. With a new storage controller, SSD is up to 2x faster, with the M1 MacBook Pro able to be configured with up to 2TB storage.
Apple introduced a new active cooling system in the M1 MacBook Pro to eke out more processor performance while also ensuring quiet operation.
As with the prior entry-level 13-inch MacBook Pro models, RAM maxes out at 16GB, but the higher-end models that continue to have Intel chips are configurable with up to 32GB RAM. Battery life in the M1 MacBook Pro models is much improved, offering up to 17 hours of web browsing and up to 20 hours of video playback in the Apple TV app.
There are no external design changes to the MacBook Pro and it continues to feature the same aluminum body with large Force Touch trackpad, speakers at the side of the keyboard, and 13.3-inch display with slim black bezels. The MacBook Air comes in Silver and Space Gray color options.
The display features a 2560x1600 resolution, 500 nits brightness, P3 wide color support for vivid, true-to-life colors, and True Tonethat matches the color temperature of the display to the ambient lighting for a more natural viewing experience that's easier on the eyes.
Apple's M1 MacBook Pro includes a 720p FaceTime HD camera, which is the same as the camera in the prior model, but Apple says the M1 improves picture quality with better noise reduction, better dynamic range, and other features.
Like the Intel MacBook Pro models, the M1 MacBook Pro features a Magic Keyboard with a refined scissor mechanism that's more reliable than the previous butterfly mechanism, offering up to 1mm key travel for a stable key feel. There's a Touch Bar at the top with touch-based controls and a Touch ID fingerprint sensorthat can be used to unlock the Mac, make purchases, and more, with Touch ID protected by the Secure Enclave.
As an entry-level model, the M1 MacBook Pro has two Thunderbolt 3/USB 4 ports that support up to a 6K external display, while the Intel MacBook Pro models offer four Thunderbolt 3 ports. The M1 MacBook Pro works with WiFi 6 or 802.11ax and Bluetooth 5.0. There are stereo speakers with wide stereo sound support, studio quality mics, and a 3.5mm headphone jack.
The M1 MacBook Pro is priced starting at $1,299, and it is sold alongside Intel options with quad-core Core i5 Intel chips and Intel Iris Plus Graphics, with those models priced starting at $1,799.
The new M1 MacBook Pro models can be ordered from the online Apple Store at prices starting at $1,299 or purchased in Apple retail stores. The Intel-based 13-inch MacBook Pro models are also available from the online Apple Store, and as of February 2021, Apple is selling refurbished M1 13-inch MacBook Pro models at a discount.
M1 MacBook Pro Reviews
Reviews of the M1 MacBook Pro were overwhelmingly positive, which is no surprise given how much of an improvement it is over the prior generation in terms of CPU and GPU performance.
TechCrunch said that the M1 MacBook Pro is fast enough that it launches apps "before your cursor leaves your dock," and "every click feels more responsive," much like an iOS device.
The Verge said that the MacBook Pro's fan doesn't often come on, resulting in mostly silent operation. It also didn't seem to significantly outperform the MacBook Air for that reason, but things that normally trigger the fan on an Intel Mac, such as Google Meet in Chrome, "barely register on the M1 MacBook Pro."
As for battery life, The Verge saw at least 10 hours of battery life even under a heavy load, and had to push things to drain the battery within eight hours. The Verge said that it considered giving the M1 MacBook Pro a 10/10 score, but the one negative was the poor 720p camera.
The M1 MacBook Pro continues to feature the same design that Apple has been using for years now with a uniform rectangular shape, aluminum body, and slim bezels around the display. The MacBook Pro models come in silver and space gray.
There's a large trackpad, thin hinge, Touch Bar, Apple logo at the back, two to four ports on the side depending on model, and side speaker grilles. The MacBook Pro measures in at 11.97 inches long, 8.36 inches wide, and 14.9mm thick. It weighs three pounds and is 0.2 pounds heavier than the Macbook Air.
Apple sells the 13-inch MacBook Pro alongside the larger 16-inch model, which measures in at 14.09 inches long, 9.68 inches wide, and 16.2mm thick. It weighs in at 4.3 pounds.
Inside, there's a new active cooling process that's meant to keep the MacBook Pro cooler while the M1 chip is in operation for faster performance.
The 13-inch MacBook Pro models feature a Retina display with 500 nits of brightness, P3 Wide color support, and True Tone functionality. The display has a resolution of 2560 by 1600 resolution at 227 pixels per inch.
The True Tone feature uses a multi-channel ambient light sensor that's included in the new MacBook Pro models, which is able to determine both the brightness of the room and the color temperature. After detecting the white balance, the MacBook Pro is able to adjust both the color and intensity of the display to match the room's lighting for a more natural, paper-like viewing experience that also cuts down on eyestrain.
P3 Wide color support features a greater color range than standard sRBG displays for more vivid and realistic colors.
The MacBook Pro uses the same redesigned Magic Keyboard that was first introduced in the 16-inch MacBook Pro. The Magic Keyboard does away with the butterfly mechanism that Apple has been using since 2015 as it was riddled with issues that led to key failure due to dust and other small particulates.
The scissor mechanism in the MacBook Pro's keyboard offers 1mm of key travel and a stable key feel, plus it uses an Apple-designed rubber dome that stores more potential energy for a more responsive key press.
The keyboard also features backlit keys controlled by an ambient light sensor to light up the keys in dark rooms.
Touch Bar and Touch ID
All MacBook Pro models have a Touch Bar, which is a small OLED retina multi-touch display built into the keyboard where the function keys traditionally go. The Touch Bar is contextual and can perform a range of different functions on the Mac depending on which app is in use.
The Touch Bar is a matte-style display that blends right in with the rest of the keys on the keyboard, and in all modern MacBook Pro machines, it supports True Tone, allowing the white balance to be adjusted to match the ambient lighting conditions.
Interacting with the Touch Bar is done through taps, swipes, and other multi-touch gestures, with support for up to 10 fingers at a time available.
The 13-inch MacBook Pro models also have a Touch ID fingerprint sensor that's located next to the Touch Bar above the keyboard. Touch ID is protected by a Secure Enclave that keeps your fingerprint data and personal information safe.
Touch ID on the MacBook Pro can be used instead of a password, unlocking the Mac when a finger is placed on the sensor. It also replaces a password for password-protected apps, and it can be used to make Apple Pay purchases in Safari.
The MacBook Pro has a large Force Touch trackpad that has no traditional buttons and is instead powered by a set of Force Sensors, allowing users to press anywhere on the trackpad to get the same response.
A Taptic Engine powered by magnets provides users with tactile feedback when using the trackpad, replacing the feel of a physical button press. The Force Touch trackpad supports a light press, which is used as a regular click, along with a deeper press or "force click" as a separate gesture that does things like offer up definitions for a highlighted word.
The entry-level 13-inch MacBook Pro models, which are the ones with M1 chips, feature two USB-C ports with support for USB 4 and Thunderbolt 3 for Thunderbolt transfer speeds of up to 40Gb/s and USB transfer speeds of up to 10Gb/s. With Thunderbolt 3, the MacBook Pro models can support a single 6K display at 60Hz.
Apple says that the M1 MacBook Pro is limited to one display up to 6K resolution, but using DisplayPort adapters, M1 MacBook Air and MacBook Pro models can run up to five external displays. This is only possible when using a mix of 4K and 1080p displays as the Thunderbolt ports do not have the bandwidth to run five 4K displays.
The higher-end Intel MacBook Pro models have four Thunderbolt 3 ports. Each port on the MacBook Pro models is identical and can be used for the same functions, so every one can be used to power the machine. All ports support the following connections: power, Thunderbolt, USB, DisplayPort, HDMI, and VGA.
M1 Apple Silicon Chip
The M1 MacBook Pro is one of the first Macs to be updated with an Apple-designed Arm-based chip rather than an Intel chip like prior MacBook Pro models. These chips are called "Apple Silicon," and the chip used in the 2020 lower-end 13-inch MacBook Pro is the M1.
The M1 is Apple's first System on a Chip designed for the Mac, which means it has the processor, GPU, I/O, security features, and RAM all one chip that's inside the Mac. Apple says that this allows for better performance and power efficiency for longer battery life.
Like Apple's latest A14 chips, the M1 is built on a 5-nanometer process, which makes it smaller and more efficient than Apple's prior chips. It has 16 billion transistors, which Apple says is the most that it has put into a single chip.
Unified Memory Architecture
One of the features of the M1 is a unified memory architecture, or UMA, It unifies high-bandwidth, low-latency memory into a single pool. This means that the technologies in the M1 chip can access the same data without copying it between multiple memory pools for dramatic performance improvement across the entire system.
The M1 features an 8-core CPU and an integrated 8-core GPU (there's also a 7-core GPU option as explained below). The CPU has four high-efficiency cores and four high-performance cores. When doing simple tasks like browsing the web or reading email the MacBook Pro engages the high-efficiency cores to preserve battery life, but for more system intensive tasks like photo and video editing, the high-performance cores are used.
Compared to the high-performance cores, the high-efficiency cores use a tenth of the power while still delivering the performance that Mac users need for everyday tasks.
According to Apple, the M1 chip's CPU is up to 2.8x faster than the Intel chip in the prior MacBook Pro, and GPU speeds are up to 5x faster. All M1 MacBook Pro models come with the 8-core GPU, unlike some MacBook Air models that have a 7-core GPU.
The M1 is designed to offer higher performance at every power level compared to competing laptop chips. It offers 2x faster CPU performance than the latest PC laptop chip while using 25 percent of the power.
Building projects with Xcode is up to 2.8x faster, ProRes transcode in Final Cut Pro is up to 2.8x faster, multicore vector performance is 2x faster in Affinity Photo, and Logic Pro supports 1.8x more Amp Designer plug-ins.
In Geekbench benchmarks, the M1 chip, which has a 3.2GHz frequency, earns single-core scores that exceed 1700, and multi-core scores around 7500, which makes it faster than the high-end 16-inch MacBook Pro models released in 2019. Those 16-inch MacBook Pro models are equipped with Intel's latest 10th-generation chips.
Further, the M1 chip offers the single-core performance that is better than any other available Mac. It outperforms the Intel-based MacBook Pro models that it is sold alongside, but may not exceed them in GPU performance.
There's a new, more advanced Neural Engine in the MacBook Pro that is up to 11x faster for machine learning tasks. The Neural Engine has a 16-core design that can execute 11 trillion operations per second, and along with machine learning accelerators, it makes ML-based tasks much faster.
Apps like Final Cut Pro, Pixelmator, and others that use machine learning for video, photo, and audio editing purposes benefit from the Neural Engine.
The M1 chip is built on an Arm architecture instead of an x96 architecture like Intel chips, but it still run apps designed for Intel machines thanks to Rosetta 2, a translation process that runs in the background and is invisible to the user.
Apple is also encouraging developers to create Universal apps that use a single binary and run on both Apple Silicon Macs and Intel Macs. Further, Apple Silicon Macs are able to run apps that are designed for iPhone and iPad.
We have details on apps that have been updated with native or universal support, gaming on the M1 Macs, running homebrew apps, and more. Check out our M1 tidbits guide for details.
M1 Battery Life
With the efficiency improvements introduced with the M1, the MacBook Pro has impressive battery life that far exceeds the battery life of the prior-generation model.
There's a 58.2WHr battery in the M1 MacBook Pro models that lasts for up to 17 hours when browsing the web and up to 20 hours when watching movies in the Apple TV app.
The Intel-based MacBook Pro models last for up to 10 hours when browsing the web and up to 10 hours when watching movies in the Apple TV app.
In a test compiling open source code for WebKit, Apple's M1 chip excelled. The M1 MacBook Pro and M1 MacBook Air compiled the code more quickly than equivalent Intel based models, but more notably, still had 91 percent battery life remaining at the end of the test, while a high-end 16-inch MacBook Pro had 24 percent battery life remaining and an Intel 13-inch MacBook Pro had just 24 percent battery life left.
Base M1 models come with 8GB RAM, which can be customized up to 16GB. Higher-end Intel models support up to 32GB RAM. Tests suggest that there isn't a whole lot of difference between M1 models with 8GB RAM and 16GB RAM except when doing heavily system intensive tasks.
With the new SSD controller integrated into the M1 chip, the SSD in the M1 MacBook Pro is 2x faster with sequential read speeds of up to 3.3GB/s. M1 MacBook Pro models can be equipped with up to 2TB SSDs, with storage starting at 256GB, while Intel models can be equipped with up to 4TB of SSD storage.
The M1 MacBook Pro supports 802.11ax WiFi, which is known as Wi-Fi 6, the newest WiFi protocol that's faster and more efficient than the prior-generation 802.11ac WiFi with up to 1.2Gb/s throughput. It also supports Bluetooth 5.0.
The Intel MacBook Pro is limited to 802.11ac WiFi, aka WiFi 5.
FaceTime Camera and Mics
There's a 720p HD camera built into the front of the MacBook Pro for FaceTime calls. Apple has used a 720p front-facing camera for multiple years now and has not upgraded the quality, but this year says that the M1 chip allows for clearer, sharper images.
The M1 chip offers better noise reduction to pull more detail out of shadows and highlights, and the Neural Engine uses face detection to adjust white balance and exposure for more natural-looking skin tones. The MacBook Pro also features studio-quality mics for better sound on FaceTime calls.
There are four standard configuration 13-inch MacBook Pro models available from Apple:
- $1,299 - Apple M1 chip, 8GB RAM, 256GB SSD.
- $1,499 - Apple M1 chip, 8GB RAM, 512GB SSD.
- $1,799 - 2.0GHz quad-core Core i5 processor, Intel Iris Plus Graphics, 4 TB3 ports, 16GB RAM, 512GB SSD.
- $1,999 - 2.0GHz quad-core Core i5 processor, Intel Iris Plus Graphics, 4 TB3 ports, 16GB RAM, 1TB
If you're a professional who relies on specific software and plugins, you may also run into issues with the M1's emulation. And if you desperately need a new MacBook Pro soon for work, then don't count out the existing Intel offerings. They may have far weaker graphics than the M1, but at least there's no compatibility headaches involved.