Released back in 2020, the 13-inch MacBook Pro became the “first sign” for a family of computers created on Apple’s own processors. In fact, the M1 chip in this laptop was not much different in performance from similar solutions in the MacBook Air and Mac Mini. But the main thing was to try out the new platform, evaluate its performance and real use, compatibility possibilities.
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In the fall of 2021, Apple decided that users were ready to welcome the new MacBook Pro lineup on a redesigned and truly professional platform. Laptops are faster, more functional, and bigger and better screens. Let’s compare the two smallest MacBook Pro models – the 14-inch M1 Pro (M1 Max) from 2021 and the 13-inch based on the 2020 M1 chip.
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Appearance of MacBook Pro 13 on M1 (2020) and MacBook Pro 14 on M1 Pro / M1 Max (2021)
The MacBook Pro line has a distinctive design, these laptops clearly stand out from their counterparts, including those made by Apple. Both models received a strict aluminum case with a corporate logo on the lid. But there is a visible difference between the two notebooks in question. The 2020 MacBook Pro has a slimmer case closer to the sides, while this year’s model has a more austere “rectangular” case.
13-inch MacBook Pro (2020)
It looks a lot more like classic MacBooks from yesteryear, like the 2015 model or even the titanium PowerBook G4 from 2001. But the point here is not a commitment to style, but the need to accommodate powerful components, which requires additional space.
14-inch MacBook Pro (2021)
Both laptops come in the classic colors of the line: silver and space gray.
In terms of size, the 14-inch model is, as expected, larger.
- MacBook Pro 13.3-inch: 30.41 x 21.24 x 1.56 cm, weight 1.4 kg.
- MacBook Pro 14.2-inch: 31.26 x 22.12 x 1.55 cm, weight 1.61 kg.
Both models can be considered compact, but the 14-inch MacBook Pro is still slightly larger and heavier, but this is due to the increase in screen size and new hardware.
Visual comparison of sizes and design of 13-inch MacBook Pro (2020) and 14-inch MacBook Pro (2021)
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Display MacBook Pro 13 on M1 (2020) and MacBook Pro 14 on M1 Pro / M1 Max (2021)
The MacBook Pro’s screen is one of the most significant changes. But in this line, the display has always been considered pride, but in the 2021 model it has become even better.
The 2020 MacBook Pro features a 13.3-inch LED-backlit IPS display. It is a Retina display with a resolution of 2560 × 1600 pixels. Its brightness is 500 cd / m22…
13-inch MacBook Pro (2021) screen
But in the 2021 MacBook Pro, the display is not only slightly larger – its diagonal is 14.2 inches, but it also received an even better mini-LED backlighting. This is a Liquid Retina XDR display with a resolution of 3024 x 1964 pixels with constant brightness up to 1000 cd / m22… In peak mode, the brightness is even higher, reaching 1600 cd / m22…
Both laptops display True Tone technology and P3 wide color gamut. But the 2021 MacBook Pro also includes ProMotion technology, which can raise the display refresh rate to 120Hz or lower it if necessary. This is an important feature that will make rendering smoother.
The 14-inch model has one more feature – a small rectangular cut-out for the camera at the top of the screen. In its appearance, the “bangs” resembles a similar solution in current iPhones.
Last year’s model does not have this cut-out, but the bezels around the screen are noticeably thicker.
Screen of the 14-inch MacBook Pro (2021)
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Processor and Graphics in MacBook Pro 13 on M1 (2020) and MacBook Pro 14 on M1 Pro / M1 Max (2021)
The transition to chips of its own design in the MacBook line began in 2020. The advantage of Apple Silicon is that it is a system on a chip where a processor, a graphics chip, and various controllers are assembled together. This allows you to reduce the time for data exchange between them and significantly reduce energy consumption.
The 13-inch MacBook Pro has a 5nm M1 chip with 16 billion transistors. The 8-core CPU has 4 efficient cores and 4 efficient ones. The GPU has 8 cores, and the 16-core Neural Engine is responsible for the work of artificial intelligence. This is a productive solution, but the 2021 model received a more powerful SoC, albeit based on the same M1. It is no coincidence that the new chip retained its naming, adding Pro and Max particles to it (detail).
So, the M1 Pro chip has already received a 10-core processor in its maximum configuration, 8 of which are productive, and 2 more are efficient. The graphics processor already has 16 cores. The Neural Engine system has also been updated, although it retained its 16 cores. The memory bandwidth reaches 200 GB / s. This chip also has a dedicated media processor for improved video processing. Hardware acceleration supports H.264, HEVC, ProRes, and ProRes RAW media formats. The 2020 model with the M1 chip does not have such a media processor. The M1 Pro chip received 33.7 billion transistors. It supports up to 32GB of pooled memory.
The base 2021 14-inch MacBook Pro models come with the M1 Pro chip, however, when purchased on Apple’s website, the laptop can also be equipped with the M1 Max chip. In its maximum configuration, it has a 10-core processor and already a 32-core GPU. There is a 16-core Neural Engine system, a media processor, and the memory bandwidth already reaches 400 GB / s. In total, it can be up to 64 GB. This chip already has 57 billion transistors.
The M1 chip can control one external 6K monitor with a frequency of 60 Hz, but the M1 Pro received support for two such monitors at once, in the M1 Max – three in general, and additionally one with a 4K resolution.
At the presentation, Apple compared the computational and graphics performance of the new chips versus abstract solutions from other manufacturers. But we are interested in how much faster the M1 Pro / M1 Max are compared to the M1 in last year’s MacBook Pro. Below are screenshots of the GeekBench test results for a 2021 14-inch MacBook Pro with an M1 Max chip, which give an idea of the performance of the new chips.
In the single-core test, the M1 Max score in Geekbench 5 is about 1,750 points, while the multi-core test shows more than 12,400 points. This is about 20% more than the Intel Core i9-10910. The MacBook Pro M1 scored about 7,400 points in the same test.
Geekbench 5 single core benchmark
Geekbench 5 multi-core test
The graphics on the M1 Pro chip of Apple’s new chip are also pretty good. The GPU frequency reaches 1296 MHz. Of course, it is hard to compete here with top-end desktop accelerators, in which the chip can operate at frequencies up to 2.5 GHz. In OpenCL, M1 Pro scores 36.5 thousand points, and in Metal – 41 thousand. This is roughly on par with Nvidia’s discrete GeForce GTX 1650 / RTX 3050 Ti graphics cards.
But the M1 Max has twice as many graphics cores, which allows it to compete with already much more productive solutions. At the Apple presentation, top-end performance was promised, but at the same time with less power consumption.
M1 Max shows results on the level of AMD Radeon RX 6800M and Nvidia GeForce RTX 3080 Mobile solutions, surpassing the indicators of the regular M1 in the MacBook Pro 13 (2020) by more than twice. True, in games the picture is more modest – the M1 Max is at the level of the GeForce RTX 3060, limited in consumption by 70 watts. In any case, it is not worth talking about the leadership in the market of mobile video adapters, but a clear increase in performance is worth noting. And MacBook Pro in any case is not the best option for gamers, usually other tasks are set for this technique.
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Interfaces in MacBook Pro 13 on M1 (2020) and MacBook Pro 14 on M1 Pro / Max (2021)
Representatives of the MacBook Pro line have always delighted their users with an expanded set of ports, although in the 2020 model based on the M1 chip, everything was rather modest. And again, we can recall that this was the first representative of the new platform, on which the technologies were tested. This model only had a couple of Thunderbolt 4 / USB-C ports. Through them, the device was also charged. This frankly caused inconvenience – one of the ports could be occupied for a long time by the power adapter.
14-inch MacBook Pro interfaces (2021)
But the 2021 MacBook Pro 14 has a much richer set of ports. There are already three Thunderbolt 4 (USB-C) ports, a full-sized HDMI 2.0 port, as well as a popular UHS-II SDXC card slot.
14-inch MacBook Pro interfaces (2021)
Moreover, there is a separate MagSafe charging connector with a magnetic connector.
Both models under review have a 3.5mm audio jack. There are no differences in the support of wireless interfaces. MacBook Pro works with the latest Wi-Fi 6 802.11ax standard and supports Bluetooth 5.0.
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Storage and memory in MacBook Pro 13 on M1 (2020) and MacBook Pro 14 on M1 Pro / Max (2021)
The 2021 model offers the best options in both RAM and storage. Last year’s MacBook Pro is available in 8GB or 16GB pooled memory. The MacBook Pro 14 (2021) comes with a minimum pooled memory of 16GB, a 32GB option, and a 64GB M1 Max. The growth of this indicator indicates not only the expansion of RAM, but also the expansion of video memory, which will affect the work with graphics.
The MacBook Pro 13 on the M1 received storage options for 256, 512 GB, as well as 1 or 2 TB. The base variant for the new MacBook Pro 14 has a minimum SSD capacity of 512GB. Storage options are optionally available in 1, 2, 4 or 8 TB.
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Battery and autonomy in MacBook Pro 13 on M1 (2020) and MacBook Pro 14 on M1 Pro / Max (2021)
The transition to the SoC of its own production was supposed to contribute to the increase in the autonomy of the device. As a matter of fact, this is what happened. However, in this aspect, the advantage is on the side of last year’s MacBook Pro 13. The thing is that this laptop has less productive hardware, which determines the difference in power consumption. MacBook Pro 13 can work without recharging up to 17 hours on the Internet, up to 20 hours playing movies. And this is in the presence of a built-in 58.2 Wh lithium-polymer battery. Charging via the USB-C port with a 61W adapter.
But for the MacBook Pro 14, slightly worse capabilities are announced. Nevertheless, compared to most other models, the autonomy is just excellent! This laptop can run for up to 11 hours while connected to a wireless network and play video for up to 17 hours. And the battery in the MacBook Pro 14 is set to the appropriate 70 Wh. Depending on the chip variant, the bundle may include a 67W or 96W USB-C power adapter.
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Other features and capabilities
The MacBook 13 (2020) has a TouchBar (a touch bar instead of the function (F) physical keys), a highly controversial solution.
Keyboard with TouchBar in the 13-inch MacBook Pro (2020)
Finally, Apple heard its users and this panel is not in the 2021 model. But the Touch ID sensor has been preserved, allowing for secure authentication. The Magic Keyboard in both models has a reliable and proven scissor mechanism for generations, there is a backlight. But in the MacBook Pro 14, thanks to the abandonment of the TouchBar, the number of keys has increased due to 12 functional keys. The arrow keys are shaped like an inverted T. Another difference between the keypad is the black backing in the 2021 model. It looks clearly more stylish, but the debris on it will be more visible.
Also, both laptops received an ambient light sensor. The Force Touch trackpad is also unchanged, and supports force clicks and multi-touch gestures.
The new MacBook Pro 14 has improved audio performance. While last year’s M1-based model had stereo speakers with wide dynamic range and support for Dolby Atmos playback, the 2021 model based on the M1 Pro / Max has six speakers, including low-frequency ones with resonance suppression. The speakers support Dolby Atmos spatial audio and video. What’s more, it has implemented a spatial audio function with dynamic head tracking using Apple branded headsets. And the 3.5mm output in the MacBook Pro 14 has expanded support for high impedance headphones.
Changes have also been made to the camera. While the MacBook Pro 13 (2020) featured a time-tested, but outdated, 720p FaceTime HD 720p module, the MacBook Pro 14 (2021) notch houses a new module. The camera is now 1080p. Both models have an image processor that enhances the picture through intelligent algorithms.
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Price of MacBook Pro 13 on M1 (2020) and MacBook Pro 14 on M1 Pro / Max (2021) in Russia
Apple offers the following base models for sale on its website:
- MacBook Pro 13: (M1 chip, 8-core processor, 8-core GPU, 8 GB of shared memory, 256 GB SSD) – 129,990 rubles;
- MacBook Pro 13: (M1 chip, 8-core processor, 8-core GPU, 8 GB of shared memory, 512 GB SSD) – 149,990 rubles;
- MacBook Pro 14: (M1 Pro chip, 8-core processor, 14-core GPU, 16 GB of shared memory, 512 GB SSD) – 189,990 rubles;
- MacBook Pro 14: (M1 Pro chip, 10-core processor, 16-core GPU, 16 GB of combined memory, SSD 1 TB) – 234,990 rubles;
In addition, there are many configuration options available with varying number of cores, memory, storage capacity and power adapter. The following option is available in the maximum configuration:
- MacBook Pro 14: (M1 Max chip, 10-core processor, 32-core GPU, 64GB pooled memory, 8TB SSD) – 574,990 rubles.
Be sure to check the suggested MacBook Pro pricing from our Authorized Resellers before purchasing. Prices are usually significantly lower than Apple’s official website.
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Comparison of the technical specifications of the MacBook Pro 13 to M1 (2020) and MacBook Pro 14 to M1 Pro / Max (2021)
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The MacBook Pro line has traditionally been the workhorse for professionals looking for a powerful solution in a compact mobile design. The MacBook Pro 13, introduced in 2020, fits perfectly into the familiar canons. It was not clear how the new platform would show itself in real conditions. This laptop is somewhere in between the previous model based on the Intel processor and the new MacBook Air. And the experiment showed itself well!
And now the new generation of MacBook Pro, presented in the fall of 2021, has shown why the line is so loved by professionals. MacBook Pro 14 received an improved screen, sound, camera, got rid of the controversial Touch Bar, has an expanded set of ports, including the classic MagSafe. And this despite the fact that the new M1 Pro / M1 Max chip built on the basis of the M1 chip turned out to be very productive, rivaling in computing power with the top desktop solutions. Although the MacBook Pro 14 is less autonomous relative to the MacBook Pro 13, this can be explained by the increased “appetites” of the new “hardware”.
The MacBook Pro 14 is sure to be appreciated by professionals, especially those working with video. This laptop, thanks to the applications adapted for the Apple Silicon platform, is an excellent working tool. The MacBook Pro 13 is a good performance solution in itself, with a fresh new platform, impressive battery life and a lower price than the 2021 model.