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New MacBook Pro has 70% faster CPU! Time to throw out your M1 MacBook Air/Pro?

The new MacBook Pro may be faster, but you need to properly evaluate whether you really need to throw out your M1 MacBook Air/Pro.
The new MacBook Pro may be faster, but you need to properly evaluate whether you really need to throw out your M1 MacBook Air/Pro.

The new MacBook Pro offers massive performance gains with its M1 Pro and M1 Max chips but are M1 MacBook Air and Pro laggards deserving to be trashed?

The new MacBook Pro is out and there’re a lot of new upgrades this year. The 2021 model has a mini-LED display with the 120Hz ProMotion features, a lot of ports, better audio capabilities, and more powerful Apple Silicon chips. Both the 14-inch and 16-inch MacBook Pro models can be configured with the M1 Pro and M1 Max chips, both of which overshadow the M1 chip on the baseline models.

Hence, if you have a M1 MacBook Air/MacBook Pro, or are planning to buy one, do the new MacBook Pro with M1 Pro and M1 Max chips come across as better options? Should you ditch your M1 MacBook models and spend more on the new MacBook Pro models, or stick to the base models?

M1 Pro MacBook Pro vs M1 MacBook Air/Pro

MacBook Air 
MacBook Air  (Apple)

Raw performance

In terms of raw performance, the M1 Pro is superior to the M1 chip from last year, with up to 10-core CPU and up to 16-core GPU. Hence, if you use your MacBook for editing videos on a professional scale, or use it for advanced coding, the M1 Pro-based MacBook Pro makes more sense.

That said, the M1 MacBook Pro and MacBook Air are still among the fastest notebooks around, and for those with casual to moderate use cases (lighter video editing and coding), these are great value. In fact, most YouTube video creators rely on the M1 MacBook Air and Pro models for their video editing regularly, even with just 8GB RAM.

Display

The 2021 MacBook Pro display has a mini-LED display with support HDR colours and 120Hz refresh rate. With up to 1000 nits of brightness and 1600 nits of peak brightness, this is a display meant for professional video editors and movie makers.

However, the Retina display on the regular M1 MacBook Pro and Air models are still good enough and as long as you don’t need a colour accurate display for correction, these M1 MacBook models are more than enough.

Ports

The MacBook Pro uses a mini-LED display technology with a small notch for holding the 1080p camera.
The MacBook Pro uses a mini-LED display technology with a small notch for holding the 1080p camera.

Apple gives the MacBook Pro 2021 models back a lot of connectivity ports. Apart from the three Thunderbolt 4 USB-C ports, Apple brings back the HDMI port, an SDXC slot, a 3.5mm headphone jack, and the MagSafe charging port. Professionals will find the new models easier to live with.

The M1 MacBook Air/Pro only come with two Thunderbolt 4 USB-C ports, which means you need to have dongles to connect peripherals and rely on wireless devices to get work done.

Our take

As long as you are not carrying professional video editing tasks or complex coding on your laptops, the regular M1 MacBook Air and MacBook Pro should be more than fine. The M1 chip is still plenty capable for generic computing tasks and even for moderate editing tasks. You should go for the M1 Pro/M1 Max MacBook Pro only if the M1 MacBook Pro runs out of steam for your editing needs.

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