Several Months Into The MacBook Pro

Thinking different again.

Several Months Into The MacBook Pro

This thing is weird. Yes, weird.

For years Apple championed their marketing slogan Think Different. I can now say that if you buy a 2021 MacBook Pro with the new M1 Pro or M1 Max processors, you’re going to need to think differently about how you use it.

  • The battery doesn’t charge
  • There’s a notch taking up my screen real estate
  • The Activity Monitor is useless for certain workflows

Months ago I became the proud owner of a 14” MacBook Pro with M1 Pro processor and 32 GB of RAM. The machine is a beast. I’ve been daily driving this machine for months now and there are very, very few instances where I’ve thrown a task at it that it doesn’t like. The screen is gorgeous, the sound (speakers) is amazing, and it’s nice to have real ports back on the machine.

What takes some getting used to is the way the processors work. You see, on a general computer you have a CPU and a GPU and between the two types of processors it does all the work you need done. In the case of these M1 chips you still have the CPU and GPU processor cores, but Apple also engineered specific cores for video encoding, and a 10 core neural engine. This is where it gets weird.

There are some workflows that will generally bypass the GPU/CPU cores and simply use the neural engine. One of them is the upscaling video work that I like to do using Topaz Video Enhance that uses AI. It almost exclusively uses the 10 core neural engine. So when I look at the Activity Monitor I get no information about how much is being utilized. The results though, are amazing and you can see some of the results at a YouTube channel I started to share what I’ve been upscaling.

Some people don’t mind fan noise, but after a year rocking the finless MacBook Air I don’t like fan noise. This machine has fans, but they’re generally not an issue.

The battery doesn’t charge. Well, to be fair, the battery does charge. But what actually happened that I found weird was that the battery doesn’t want to charge to 100% all the time. It manages its charging to make sure it protects the battery life while still providing enough juice for whatever tasks you throw at it.

Worth the dough? Yes.

If you’re in the market for a high end MacBook for professional level photo/video editing then this is the one you’ve been waiting for.