NYT: Apple’s M1 Max is ‘the chip that could transform computing’

Apple’s new M1 Pro and M1 Max MacBook Pro models each feature a stunning Liquid Retina XDR display, a wide range of ports for advanced connectivity, a 1080p FaceTime HD camera, and the best audio system in a notebook.

M1 Max is the largest chip Apple has ever built: 57 billion transistors and up to 64GB of fast unified memory.
M1 Max is the largest chip Apple has ever built: 57 billion transistors and up to 64GB of fast unified memory.

Combined with macOS Monterey, which is engineered down to its core to take full advantage of M1 Pro and M1 Max, the user experience is simply unrivaled. Shattering the limits of what a notebook can do, MacBook Pro is designed for developers, photographers, filmmakers, 3D artists, scientists, music producers, and anyone who wants the world’s best notebook.

Farhad Manjoo for The New York Times:

I’ve been bowled over. I’ve been using a new MacBook Pro with Apple’s fastest new chip, the M1 Max, for about two weeks, and I can’t remember the last time a laptop has wowed me like this…

The M1 chips make laptops as powerful as some of the fastest desktops on the market yet so efficient that their battery life beats that of just about any other laptop… The technical ways Apple has achieved this combination will sound like geeky gobbledygook to anyone unschooled in semiconductor theory. Broadly, though, Apple’s systems use a lot of specialized processing units and are optimized to run more operations “out of order,” a technical term that basically means they can execute more code simultaneously.

The result is something like the difference between a muscle car and a Tesla. The muscle car achieves high speeds with a huge engine that burns a lot of gasoline. The Tesla can hit even higher speeds while consuming less power because its electric motor is inherently more efficient than a gas engine. For years, Intel was making muscle cars; Apple’s big innovation was to build the Tesla of computer chips…

Andrei Frumusanu, who covered Apple’s new processors for the tech-news site Anandtech, told me that he expects Apple will be able to keep pushing similar gains at least through the next decade.

And other tech companies will spend heavily to catch up. After seeing what Apple has done, Frumusanu said, “everyone’s just freaking out.”

MacDailyNews Take: If it’s not an Apple device, it’s likely much slower, runs hotter, and is much more inefficient, burning through battery life faster than it can process.

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  1. I couldn’t wait to replace my aging MBP 2019 (that had been top-end configured and state of the art when I got it). My new MBP with M1 Max has been impressive. I’m a pro photographer and filmmaker and it is saving me so much time with super-fast performance, lightning-fast renders and tremendous battery life. I haven’t heard the fans kick on even once, despite throwing everything I can at it. I can’t wait to see what the future holds for Apple chips.

  2. It seems as though Intel’s 12th generation Alder Lake chips are getting all the praise. Apple’s M1 Pro/Max isn’t getting very much coverage possibly because of its limited market share and only being used for MacOS. I think the various M1 iterations are very exciting and I had read the entire Anandtech review. They think it’s terrific. It’s a shame the chip won’t be able to drive Apple’s share price like the Ryzen and Alder Lake chips do for AMD and Intel. It’s a shame Apple simply won’t be able to do anything with it to improve MacOS market share, no matter how good those chips are. Windows OS and x86 processors are still the go-to computing platform and will stay that way for many more years.

    I think the computing world loves those big, watt-sucking CPUs and GPUs. They’re like big, blown V8 engines and people believe that raw horsepower is the only way to go.

    1. You’re comparing three different markets; chips, computers and OS’s. They are related but different. With the new M1 Pro and Max chips, Apple is setting huge new benchmarks for portable computers and the anecdotal evidence is that they are going to be hot sellers and recapture some of the PC laptop markets that they conceded in the professional market.

      What I’m more interested in is if some of the big, complex software houses such as Autodesk will see the value of porting some of their PC only titles over to the Mac because of this newfound horsepower that can go on the road. They don’t need to be #1. They just need to be big enough that people who prefer a Mac will have the option.

    2. Apple’s lack of a gaming and server presence and a lack of effort to make a workhorse desktop computer in a proper case (not a iMac) between 1500-2500 dollars is holding them back.

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