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New Macbook Pros


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Well, things are getting interesting!

 

I enjoyed reading Jason Snell's post "Exile from Dongletown". MagSafe is back, more ports, improved keyboard after all their problems...

 

And an insane processor with more dramatic peformance increases than most people realize. The memory bandwidth of the Max version is incredible.

 

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AFAIK, realtime audio is primarily single-threaded and the m1 is currently the fastest single thread chip on the market.

 

Couple that with increased graphics performance and hardware encode/decode engines for h264/265 & prores and these machines appear to be very well positioned for a/v professionals like many people on this board.

 

Not even to mention the SD card reader, 1000-nit screen w/ mini-LEDs, battery life, surround mixing suite for logic, etc.

 

I'm super curious what "support for high impedance headphones" will pan out to exactly. And how loud these machines get under sustained use. If my computer can stay quiet while recording, and drive high-impedance headphones on the go, those are two huge things for audio people!

 

I believe there's a version of pro tools which runs video fine under rosetta, a couple minor versions ago. But it's pretty insane avid can't even make the latest updates work under rosetta, much less native. One of the reasons I use reaper when I can...

 

What exactly is memory bandwidth used for?

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12 minutes ago, Ian Berman said:

I believe there's a version of pro tools which runs video fine under rosetta, a couple minor versions ago. But it's pretty insane avid can't even make the latest updates work under rosetta, much less native. One of the reasons I use reaper when I can...

Yeah Avid is a mess when it comes to things like this.  My brother is a picture editor on a major motion picture and he was telling me that they have to use machines / Mac OS / Avid versions from 2017-2018 because if they upgrade, it will literally break their entire workflow.  So if one of their machines goes down, they have to source an older machine capable of running an older version of the OS etc.

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Just pulled the trigger on the 14" with the entry level Max processor and 32GB of RAM; should be a nice step up from the Macbook Air M1 I'm using now. Looking forward to seeing how Davinci Resolve runs on it, Reaper should be great as well.

 

This may mark the retirement of my hackintosh i9…

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8 hours ago, codyman said:

I'm sure Avid will support Pro Tools on it by 2025

That’s probably a bit optimistic.

 

They will need time to figure out how to make it run slow and inefficient on these machines. Otherwise nobody will buy their hardware.

 

41 minutes ago, Izen Ears said:

Base model Macbook Pro 15” starting at $5000?

Not at all. Btw, there’s no 15” anymore. 14” or 16”.

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17 hours ago, Ian Berman said:

I'm super curious what "support for high impedance headphones" will pan out to exactly. And how loud these machines get under sustained use. If my computer can stay quiet while recording, and drive high-impedance headphones on the go, those are two huge things for audio people!

I will try with my Sennheiser HD600 when it arrives (November)

 

17 hours ago, Ian Berman said:

 

I believe there's a version of pro tools which runs video fine under rosetta, a couple minor versions ago. But it's pretty insane avid can't even make the latest updates work under rosetta, much less native. One of the reasons I use reaper when I can...

 

What exactly is memory bandwidth used for?

 

People tend to focus on processor GHz but the two elephants in the room regarding computer performance are disk bandwidth (a non issue unless you do databases or heavy UHD video editing) and memory bandwidth. 

Memory bandwidth determines the speed at which the processor can move data between memory and its internal registers. It is critical because memory is much much much slower than the internal registers, and that problem is mitigated using caches (faster intermediate memory). 

Sadly Murphy's Law applies of course and there are workloads that can represent worst cases for cache management algorithms. So sometimes ultra fast processors don't provide the performance you would expect.

The big advantage of the current approach adopted by Apple (memory inside the SoC) is, you can make it much much much faster. The downside is, no memory expansion possibilities (you would need to replace the whole SoC). There is no free beer.

Furthermore, GPUs are increasingly used to speed up parallel operations like video encoding and some signal processing tasks. Again, no matter how fast your CPU and GPU are if you must spend a lot of time (and energy!) moving data from slow memory to graphics memory.

By sharing it and being inside the SoC the system can use zero copy strategies to exchange data between CPU and GPU. That can give a massive improvement. 

So, the minimum 32 GB in the Max processors makes sense. Part of it will be used by the GPU in heavy tasks.

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A big yay for bringing back an HDMI port and the SD card slot.  I wish for an old-school USB A port too but that probably is just too retro for Apple anymore (and doesn't sell any dongles).   Also yay for NOT removing the headphone jack (you know they wanted to right?) and ditching the weird bar thing in favor of usable function keys.  The intro spins this as bringing something new to Mac laptops, but sorry, I have the old machines to prove that Apple is putting this feature BACK.  Whatever.  Too spendy for me right now but my clients will get these and things will be easier for us both vs the previous gen Mac laptops.  The SD card is really helpful for THEIR computers to have on small jobs sans DIT.

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On 10/21/2021 at 8:17 PM, RunAndGun said:

Base 16" 'PRO' is $2499 and 'MAX' $3499, respectively.  Keep the drive to 1TB and even a max 'MAX' is only $3899.

So with a 2TB drive, I’m pretty close then!

 

Thanks for the corrections.

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  • 3 weeks later...

It arrived on Friday. I had ordered a 16 inch model with 512 GB of storage and the 24 GPU core M1 Max, 32 GB of memory.

 

The thing is insanely fast. I was installing software, including XCode, and it was still at body temperature given that I had it on my lap while I sat on the couch. I didn't even bother to plug it to do that.

 

Funny enough, my odl 2009 Macbook Pro was sitting idle on the table and I looked at them with a small thermal camera. While the 16 inch was busy working, the 2009 MBPro showed hot areas (top left corner of the keyboard and power connector) while, as I said, the new 16 inch didn't sweat at all.

 

Bringing back MagSafe is a very welcome change. Unlike previous models, the power supply does not have an unremovable cable. It is actually a high power USB-C to MagSafe cable so in case of need you can plug it to a different USB-C supply. Although only with a high power one you will achieve the promised 50 % charge in 30 minutes.

 

The keyboard has an excellent feel reminding me of the old Powerbook G4 I got back in 2003 which was really impressive. 

 

This can be a game changer even for real time audio processing as using shared memory between the CPU and the GPU eliminates most of the latency. We'll see though. 

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The arts org I work for just bought a 14" as a new touring machine (audio and video playback mostly).  It's a lot heavier than the old Air it replaces but it means that they can tour with good size video playback projects at high resolutions and not just be hoping each local venue can deal with their files.  The built in HDMI port sealed the deal for the check-writers. 

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