Which model of MacBook should you buy?

How much do you want to spend with the MacBook? The case of the M2 Pro, M2 Max, the M1 and the Mac Pro

Apple’s MacBooks entered a new era in 2020. The company announced it was moving away from the Intel chips it had been using since 2006, and rolled out the first Macs with the Apple-designed M1. The new MacBook Pro is powered by two of the seven chips, the M2 Pro and the M2 Max.

I know there are many things that people want to do with MacBooks that aren’t covered here. In general, the best way to approach this decision is to figure out: A. how much of your workload leverages heavy graphics and B. whether you need to get that work done with every ounce of speed you can get.

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A Comparative Comparison Between the M2 Pro and M2 Max for Performance and Performance on the MacBook Air & PugetBench Macbookas

The price increase on the MacBook Air was due to the many upgrades on the inside and out, which makes it better than its predecessor. The signature wedge form factor is no longer used by the company. It comes in two new colors—midnight and starlight—in addition to the traditional space gray and silver options. The display is bigger and comes with an updatedWebcam. The screen has thinner borders, a brighter 500 nits, and a notch that holds a high definition camera, compared to the previous model.

Sixteen-inch M2 Pro models start at $2,499, while M2 Max models start at $3,099. The base M2 Pro model has 16gigabyte of memory, while the base M2 Max has 32gigabytes of memory. The M2 Pro model has a higher price than the M2 Max due to its larger amount of memory. That’s a consistent differential regardless of how you tweak the specs.

I averaged closer to 17 nonstop hours on the M2 Pro model. In practice, this means I can use it on battery for two to three days at a time, plugging it in like every so often. While the M2 chips don’t have as massive of a battery life delta that their M1 predecessors did, the M2 Pro — for my personal workload — had around 20 percent more juice to a charge than the M2 Max.

We can see that the increase in graphics power is over fifty percent in Geekbench Compute, which shows a corresponding increase in core count. On Shadow of the Tomb Raider, a GPU-heavy game benchmark, the M2 Max did close to 80 percent better than the M2 Pro. There is a noticeable difference between the 120Hz screens these MacBooks have.

There’s one other major difference between these chips that only some of you will care about, which is that the M2 Max has two video encode engines and two ProRes engines, while the M2 Pro only has one of each. This means that video editors specifically can expect faster encoding and playback speeds from the M2 Max. (Exactly how much faster can be inconsistent — more on that in a minute.)

The M2 Max can do a lot of video work. It beat the M2 Pro in PugetBench. My experience using it to edit was incredibly speedy. It went through both home and abroad. If I were a video editor (assuming my employer was footing the bill), I’d absolutely want one of these things.

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