Apple's long-awaited M1 Max and M1 Pro chips have finally
arrived. Unfortunately, most PC folks will never give a damn about
them. Sure, you're saying this is just partisan posturing, but
decades of watching the bickering between the two sides has taught
me that it never matters.
But first, if you haven't heard, Apple has made some very bold
performance claims about its new M1 Pro and M1 Max chips. The first
one compares CPU performance of the M1 Pro and M1 Max against a
pair of PC laptops—one with an Intel 11th-gen Core i7-1185G7, and
the other with an 11th-gen Core i7-11800H. Oddly, there's no
comparison with AMD's Ryzen chips, which would probably change
the results for the older M1 chip. But more importantly, Apple is
claiming its 10-core M1 Pro and M1 Max easily outperform the 8-core
11th-gen Tiger Lake H while using a lot less power too.
Apple claims its new
10-core M1 Pro/M1 Max trouces Intel's 11th-gen mobile chips.
Comparisons oddly ignore AMD's Ryzen parts in thin-and-light
laptops, but that's benchmarketing
Apple typically obscures what tests it runs to make its claims,
but we appreciate that Apple isn't just choosing limp hardware from
its competitors at least. The laptops it compares against the M1
Pro/Max—the MSI Prestige 14 Evo and an MSI GP66 Leopard—aren't
slouches. With the original M1 launch, performance was impressive,
but our own testing has found the Prestige 14 Evo to be as fast or
faster than the M1, depending on what you do. Likewise, AMD's Ryzen
series of CPUs also had no problems outrunning the original M1
MacBook Pro, depending on the task. With that said, proper respect
needs to be given to the M1—it's not like one of those Qualcomm
chips running Windows 10.
What's more interesting are the comparisons against discrete
graphics on PC laptops though. For those comparisons Apple puts its
chips against Nvidia's best: GeForce RTX 3080 Laptop GPUs in a
Razer Blade 15 Advanced Edition and an MSI GE76 Raider. Both
feature Tiger Lake H CPUs and GPUs that are limited largely by the
amount of cooling and power that can be supplied by the laptop.
Apple claims its M1 Max slightly outpaces the GeForce RTX 3080
Laptop in the thinner Razer Blade 15 Advanced Edition and
(surprisingly) admits its chip is slower than the MSI GE76 Raider's
GeForce RTX 3080 GPU. Apple does point out that its chip is using
100 watts less power than the GE76 Raider and has less fan noise.
How it measures performance is unknown.
Apple actually admits
its M1 Max is slower than the GeForce RTX 3080 Laptop—but it
certainly is quieter and uses less power.
But there are other factors to consider with the new MacBook Pro
16 and MacBook Pro 14, such as the size and weight of the laptops.
We'd say that despite the M1 Max losing to the MSI GE76 Raider,
it's still awfully impressive considering how much more compact and
lighter it is. Frankly, there's a lot to whistle at in the new
MacBook Pro 14 and MacBook Pro 16—but most PC folks can ignore
That's because the things that make you choose PC over Mac
haven't changed at all despite the new chips.
With a PC, you can choose between AMD, Intel, or Nvidia for
components. And you can buy a laptop from Asus, MSI, Lenovo, Dell,
Gigabyte, HP, and dozens of others.
You can have an RGB keyboard, or an IPS or OLED panel. And yes,
you can add or remove RAM in some PC laptops, and add or remove an
SSD, too. And yeah, PCIe Gen 4 SSD level of performance? Already
there on the PC. And yes, it runs Windows, your OS of choice after
all these years.
This desire for flexibility is baked into the DNA of many people
who swing toward PC. And whether the new M1 Pro or M1 Max is faster
or slower doesn't ever matter. You won't even consider it because
Apple demands a premium and you're unwilling to compromise your
values just to join the club.
Should you feel bad about this? Well probably not. You'd be
acting no differently than the Apple loyalists. Even Apple fans can
admit there have been good years and bad years for Mac supporters,
with most of them being bad until the M1 MacBooks. And while PC
users were rolling hardware ray tracing, multi-display laptops,
convertible laptops, touch and pen, and the benefits of real
hardware competition, Mac users didn't switch.
Sure, anecdotally, you might know someone who went to PC or
someone who went to Mac, but in the grand scheme of hundreds of
millions of laptops sold every year, the needle barely ever
So as the reviews drop in the coming weeks and you get the urge
to engage in a Twitter battle, remember just how pointless it is.
Nothing will convince a Chevy fan to buy Ford or a Giants fan to
support the Dodgers at this point.
And that is the unfortunate part in all this. There are indeed
some things in the new MacBook Pro's to be lauded, but few PC
consumers will consider them. And it's every bit as tragic as Mac
fans ignoring all of the incredible features and innovation that
has occurred on the PC all these years.