If you want to buy the MacBook Pro 14 from Apple, you have to choose one of five processor variants. In addition to the M1 Pro (with 8 or 10 CPU cores or 14 or 16 GPU cores), the M1 Max chips are also available, which promise significantly more graphics performance with 24 or 32 GPU cores. After we were able to test the base model of the MBP 14 at the end of last year, it was now the turn of a more expensive configuration with the M1 Max processor and 24 GPU cores. Since you also have to select at least 32 GB of RAM when selecting the M1 Max, this increases the price by around 1,000 euros compared to the basic model.
During the test, everything looked good at first. CPU performance was very good and on par with other MacBook Pro models we’ve tested with the 10-core processor. Above all, the efficiency is convincing, because with just under 30 watts, Apple can also hold its own against the latest AMD and Intel CPUs, which, however, require significantly more power. With a power consumption of around 35 watts, the 24-core GPU is, as expected, somewhat more economical and on average 20% slower than the 32-core model, but the performance is still significantly higher than other dedicated GPUs with a TGP of 35 watts ( Nvidia GeForce RTX 3050 or 3050 Ti) and is very close to a fast version of the RTX 3060 in the native benchmarks.
There is only a big difference between the two models when the CPU and GPU load are combined, because while the large MBP 16 also fully utilizes the performance in this case, the M1 Max in the smaller MBP 14 is clearly limited. At the beginning of the test, we still saw a package power of 54 watts, after a few seconds it was only around 42 watts, which is on the level of the base model. The fans actually still have enough room to play, but the 96-watt power supply seems to be a limiting factor. If we look at the comparison data of the MBP 16, we assume a maximum consumption of around 120 watts, which the adapter simply cannot deliver. The performance could be improved with the 140-watt power adapter of the larger MBP 16, but the availability of power adapters is currently very poor and we were unfortunately unable to test it with our device.
Apple offers its two current MacBook Pro models with both the M1 Pro and the M1 Max SoCs and thus suggests that the smaller MacBook Pro 14 also offers full performance, but that’s not true. With a combined CPU/GPU load, the 14-inch model is significantly slower, which is also related to the power adapter’s limitation. You pay the full surcharge for the M1 Max with the MBP 14, but you only get the full performance in the larger 16-inch MacBook Pro.
We therefore recommend taking the MacBook Pro 14 with the M1 Pro and paying the surcharge for the 10-core processor, which also plays a more important role when working with programs such as Adobe Photoshop or Premiere Pro, for example. If you need the additional graphics performance of the M1 Max or 64 GB of RAM, you should rather go straight for the larger MacBook Pro 16. All further information including benchmarks and measurements are available in our detailed test reports of the current MacBook Pro models:
I grew up with modern consumer electronics. With my first computer, a Commodore C64, I started building my own systems. During my dual studies at Siemens, I started out as a test editor for Notebookcheck. I am now primarily responsible for the areas of business laptops and mobile workstations. It is always a great experience to test and compare the latest devices and technologies.
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