Price When Reviewed
From $1,999 | Model reviewed $2,499
Best Prices Today: Apple 14-inch MacBook Pro (M2 Pro, 2023)
Price comparison from over 24,000 stores worldwide
Apple’s 14- and 16-inch MacBook Pro sit at the high end of the company’s laptop lineup. These laptops feature the highest-level mobile processors, displays, and features for the most demanding users. Apple introduced the Pro and Max versions of the M1 processor in October 2021 and followed that up with the M2 Pro and M2 Max in January 2023.
If you have an old model, you might be thinking of upgrading. Or maybe you’re trying to decide between a deal on an older model versus a full-priced newer one. This article looks at the differences between the M2 Pro/Max and M1 Pro/Max versions of the laptop to help you understand what you’re getting when you make the investment. For a more in-depth look at the newest MacBook Pro, you can read our full review.
2021 vs 2023 MacBook Pro: The features that are the same
The 2023 MacBook Pro is an incremental upgrade to the 2021 version, so most of the features are the same. Here’s a list of what did not change between the two laptops:
- Design: Aluminum case available in Space Gray or Silver
- Screen: LiquidRetinaXDR display with ProMotion
- Keyboard and Trackpad: Backlit Magic Keyboard without a Touch Bar
- Ports: Three Thunderbolt 4/USB-C ports, 3.5 mm headphone jack, MagSafe 3, SDXC Card slot, HDMI (see below)
- Camera: 1080p FaceTime HD
- Speakers: High-fidelity six-speaker sound system with force-canceling woofers
Best Pricing Today: Apple 16-inch MacBook Pro (M2 Pro, 2023)
Price comparison from over 24,000 stores worldwide
2021 vs 2023 MacBook Pro: Processor
The major difference between the 2021 and 2021 MacBook Pro models is the chips inside them. The M2 Pro and M2 Max processor in the 2023 models offer more power than the previous generation, with more cores and bandwidth.
|M1 Pro||M1 Max||M2 Pro||M2 Max|
|CPU cores||8 or 10 (6/8 performance, 2 efficiency)||10 (6/8 performance, 2 efficiency)||10 or 12 (6/8 performance, 4 efficiency)||12 (8 performance, 4 efficiency)|
|GPU cores||14 or 16||24 or 32||16 or 19||30 or 38|
|Unified memory||16GB, 32GB||32GB, 64GB||16GB, 32GB||32GB, 64GB/96GB with 38-core GPU|
Apple claims a 20 percent increase in CPU performance for the M2 Pro/Max over the M1 Pro/Max, which matches the benchmarks we ran in our review. What does that mean from a user perspective? If you’re a professional who’s constantly doing CPU-intensive tasks, a 20 percent increase is probably worth a lot of time and money. If you dabble in pro apps but mostly use consumer-level software, you may not notice the difference as much because your tasks aren’t as demanding.
On the graphics side, Apple says that the M2 Pro/Max provides a 30 percent GPU improvement over the M1 Pro/Max, and in our testing, we saw increases between 20 and 30 percent. Just as with the CPU, if you’re currently using an M1 Pro/Max as a professional and you’re using high-end graphics software to do some serious rendering, the improvement will be noticeable. For everyone else, the M1 Pro or M1 Max will be good enough.
2021 vs 2023 MacBook Pro: Memory
The memory configurations, as noted in the table in the CPU section, are similar between the M1 Pro/Max and M2 Pro/Max. The Pro models can have 16GB or 32GB, while the Max models have 32GB or 64GB.
Apple also offers a 96GB memory configuration for the first time, but only if you buy the highest-end M1 Max model with a 38-core GPU. That will cost at least $4,099 for the 14-inch model or $4,299 for the 16-inch model.
The memory used by the M2 Pro and M2 Max chips is installed in 4GB RAM modules, which is different from the 8GB modules used by the M1 machines. Apple made this change likely because of supply chain issues, and it doesn’t have a noticeable effect on performance.
2021 vs 2023 MacBook Pro: SSD
Apple didn’t change the SSD configurations with the M2 update. The entry-level M1 Pro models have a 512GB SSD while the M1 Max models start at 1TB. Upgrades are available for 2GB, 4GB, or 8GB options.
However, like with the memory, Apple changed the configuration of the chips it uses for its entry-level SSDs. In the 512GB model, Apple uses two 256GB modules instead of four 128GB models. These larger modules mean that fewer data channels can be used in parallel, which results in slower performance. Several outlets have reported that the entry-level 14-inch MacBook Pro’s SSD is slower than the comparable M1 Pro model.
The good news is that most people won’t notice the performance hit during everyday use. And if you buy a 1TB model you won’t see a performance hit. Since most MacBook Pro users who would notice the slower speeds are likely getting at least a terabyte of storage anyway, it probably won’t be an issue. But it’s definitely a downgrade over the prior model.
2021 vs 2023 MacBook Pro: External display support
While the 14-inch and 16-inch MacBook Pros have excellent displays (which are unchanged from the 2021 model), you can also connect one or more external displays using Thunderbolt and HDMI. Things have changed a bit from the older model:
- M1 Pro: Up to two external displays with up to 6K resolution at 60Hz
- M2 Pro: Up to two external displays with up to 6K resolution at 60Hz
- M1 Max: Up to three external displays with 6K resolution at 60Hz
- M2 Max: Up to three external displays with 6K resolution at 60Hz
- M1 Pro: One display with up to 4K resolution at 60Hz
- M2 Pro: One display with up to 8K resolution at 60Hz or 4K resolution at 240Hz
- M1 Max: One display with up to 4K resolution at 60Hz
- M2 Max: One display with up to 8K resolution at 60Hz or 4K resolution at 240Hz
Thunderbolt and HDMI
- M1 Pro: N/A
- M2 Pro: One display with up to 6K resolution at 60Hz over Thunderbolt and one display with up to 4K resolution at 144Hz over HDMI
- M1 Max: N/A
- M2 Max: Up to four external displays:Three external displays with 6K resolution at 60Hz over Thunderbolt and one external display with up to 4K resolution at 144Hz over HDMI; or Up to three external displays:two displays with 6K resolution at 60Hz over Thunderbolt and one display with up to 8K resolution at 60Hz or one external display with 4K resolution at 240Hz over HDMI
The limited HDMI 2.0 in the M1 Pro/Mac MacBook Pro was a big knock against the laptop, especially in a professional workstation setup. With the 2023 MacBook Pro, Apple upgraded the HDMI implementation to version 2.1, which allows for additional displays at higher resolution and refresh rates. If you need display flexibility, the upgrade is a welcome change.
2021 vs 2023 MacBook Pro: Wireless connectivity
Apple replaced the Wi-Fi 6 in the 2021 MacBook Pro with Wi-Fi 6E in the 2023 models. Just based on the name of the new Wi-Fi, it may not seem like much of an upgrade–and in practical use right now, there isn’t a huge advantage to having it. But Wi-Fi 6E can access the new spectrum in the 6GHz range, which means better speed. However, Wi-Fi routers and hotspots have to be 6E compatible, too, for the extra speed to kick in.
Apple also replaced Bluetooth 5.0 in the M1 MacBook Pro models with Bluetooth 5.3 in the M2 version. Version 5.3 offers better performance, stability, and security than version 5.0. A Bluetooth device must have version 5.3 to take full advantage of it, but Bluetooth 5.0 devices will work fine.
Wi-Fi 6E and Bluetooth 5.3 are features that help future-proof the M2 Pro and M2 Max MacBook Pro. Devices that use these technologies are not widespread now, but they will be for more common in the coming months. And when that happens, the 2023 models will be ready to take advantage.
2021 vs 2023 MacBook Pro: Battery
Thanks to efficiency improvements in the M2 chip, the 2023 MacBook Pro has a battery life that’s one hour longer than the battery in the M1 models. The battery life was already long enough to last a day, so an extra hour may not be enough to sway a buying decision one way or another, but longer is always better.
2021 vs 2023 MacBook Pro: Verdict
The 2023 MacBook Pro isn’t a huge upgrade over the 2021 model, but it does bring some nice additions. Basically, you should ask yourself three questions before you make a decision:
- Do I want as much speed and memory as possible?
- Do I plan on buying a Wi-Fi 6E router within the next 12 months?
- Do I want to run an 8K or high-refresh display, or four external monitors?
If you answered yes to any of these, then you should consider an M2 model (and spring for more storage than 512GB). Otherwise, you’ll be happy keeping your M1 MacBook Pro for another year or saving a few hundred bucks when you buy one.
You can find the best prices for the 2021 14-inch MacBook Pro and the 2021 16-inch MacBook Pro below. We also recommend you take a look at our MacBook Pro deals round up for deals on every model, new and old.
14-inch MacBook Pro, 2021
Price comparison from over 24,000 stores worldwide
16-inch MacBook Pro, 2021
Price comparison from over 24,000 stores worldwide
For more help picking the best MacBook for you read our Best MacBook guide, we also compare the three MAcBook Pro models, see: 13-inch, 14-inch and 16-inch MacBook Pro compared.
Compared to the prior-generation M1 chip, the M2 offers advancements in performance and efficiency with an 18 percent faster CPU, a 35 percent faster GPU, and a 40 percent faster Neural Engine. The MacBook Pro supports up to 2TB SSD storage and 24GB memory.Is the new MacBook Pro better than the old one? ›
As you can see below, the 2021 16-inch MacBook Pro runs circles around the 2019 Intel model with 10 hours longer video playback and 3 hours longer wireless web use. Another benefit of the 2021 MacBook Pro models is fast charging which gives 50% battery in just 30 minutes.Is the new MacBook Air faster than the old MacBook Pro? ›
All told, the 13-inch MacBook Pro does offer a bit more speed than the MacBook Air thanks to the active cooling, but there's not a whole world of difference between these two models. If your tasks would benefit from active processor cooling, the higher-end 13-inch MacBook Pro configurations are a better choice.What is the difference between the 13 and 13.3 MacBook Pro? ›
The 13-Inch Retina Display MacBook Pro versions are trusted for their “pixel doubled” at 1280×800 display which is four times more detailed than the traditional monitors around. The 13.3” widescreen 2560×1600 or 227 ppi is an accurate visual for users who are meticulous with graphics.How much faster is the M2 chip than the M1? ›
In our testing, the M2 has an 18 percent faster CPU than the M1. The new chip doesn't just mean that the new Macs can accomplish more though, they use less power doing so: Apple promises an increased CPU performance of 18 percent with the same energy consumption thanks to various optimizations.Which MacBook to buy in 2023? ›
The MacBook Air M2 is the best laptop for most people, thanks to its blazing speed, slim design and reasonable price, while the 14-inch and 16-inch MacBook Pros provide lots of ports, more advanced displays and even more power for creative professionals.Which MacBook Pro is fast? ›
If you're looking for the most powerful MacBooks with Apple's silicon, look no further than the 14-inch (8/10, WIRED Recommends) and 16-inch MacBook Pro (if you can stomach the $2,000 starting price). You can choose to outfit either with Apple's M1 Pro or M1 Max processors.Will there be a new MacBook Pro in 2023? ›
New 14- and 16-inch MacBook Pro: Release date
It feels like we've had a long wait for the MacBook Pro with M2 Pro and M2 Max to arrive, but the wait is now over. The 2023 14- and 16-inch MacBook Pro started shipping on January 24, 2023. Read our review of the 16in MacBook Pro with M2 Pro.
Products are considered obsolete when Apple stopped distributing them for sale more than 7 years ago.Which is faster M2 or M1 Pro? ›
With its powerful CPU, M2 Pro can compile code up to 25 percent faster than M1 Pro, and up to 2.5x faster than MacBook Pro with an Intel Core i9 processor.
Now, the company is adding three MacBooks to the obsolete list - the 11-inch MacBook Air (launched early in 2014), the 13-inch MacBook Air (also launched early 2014), and the 13-inch MacBook Pro (launched mid-2014). All these devices will be declared obsolete on April 30.Why is brand new Mac so slow? ›
If your Mac is new, it might be slow because you're running too many background programs and apps or even have a malware infection. All Macs — even heavy duty MacBook Pros and iMacs — sometimes fail to notify you if a specific process is consuming excessive CPU or memory.Is the new MacBook Pro more powerful than an iMac? ›
Both the MacBook Pro 13 and the iMac have identical processors. Because the MacBook Pro 13 and the iMac share the same M1 processor, their performance is virtually identical. Compared to most laptops running on midrange AMD and Intel processors, Macs have better performance and better battery life than the competition.Is 256 GB of storage enough? ›
The reality is that 256GB of internal storage is probably going to be plenty enough for most people who don't already have (or anticipate having) a ton of locally stored photos, video, video games, or music that can't either be easily offloaded into the cloud, or to a backup drive.Is it worth buying 13 Pro instead of 13? ›
Processor & Performance
The A15 Bionic processor packs a 6 core CPU that is 50% faster than the leading Android competition but the iPhone 13 Pro gets a 5-core GPU instead of a 4-core GPU making it perform much better in high graphic-intensive tasks.
The 13-inch MacBook Pro offers three extra hours of battery life over the 14-inch MacBook Pro, but one hour less than the 16-inch MacBook Pro. According to Apple, the 13-inch MacBook Pro can deliver up to 20 hours of battery life during video playback.Should I buy 13 Pro or 13 Promax? ›
If you want a bigger display and longer battery life, our money is on the Pro Max despite the higher price. However, the regular iPhone 13 Pro delivers the same great cameras, ProMotion display and overall performance, so you're not sacrificing anything if you prefer a more compact design and smaller screen.Should I get M1 chip or M2 chip? ›
Apple says that the M2 has up to 25 percent higher graphics performance than M1 at the same power level, and up to 35 percent better performance at its max power. In early Geekbench Metal benchmarks, the M2 chip scored 30,627, a notable improvement over the 21,001 score earned by the M1.Is the M1 vs M2 chip worth it? ›
Compared to an M1, an Apple M2 MacBook Pro delivers the goods with 18 percent greater multithreaded performance. And if you compare the M2 with a 10-core PC laptop chip, the M2 provides almost double the performance at the same power level, and it does all this while using a quarter of the energy of a PC-chip laptop.Should I buy M1 or M2? ›
If you can afford to spend $200 more, the MacBook Air M2 is the better pick. It has a separate charging port, a brighter screen, a better webcam and keyboard, significantly more battery life, and slightly more performance power. The MacBook Air M1 is the better choice for those looking to save a bit of money.
If you're buying a MacBook today, we'd recommend that you get at least 512GB of storage. If you have lots of large videos or similar, 1TB is better. It's not cheap, but you owe it to yourself to make your main computer as usable as possible.What is the best time of year to buy a new MacBook? ›
Black Friday and Cyber Monday, and the attendant deals stretching before and beyond them, remain the best time to buy most Apple devices at discounted prices. Historically, we've tracked the highest concentration of Apple deals that meet our standards in the month of November.Is Apple coming out with a new MacBook in 2023? ›
We picked up two models of Apple's 2023 MacBook Pro. We have the 14-inch MacBook Pro with the base M2 Pro processor in the studio, and the spec'd out 16-inch MacBook Pro sporting Apple's M2 Max processor and 38-core GPU.How much faster is M1 Pro than M1? ›
The M1 Pro generally offered CPU performance more about 60 percent higher than the M1. Apple says the M2's CPU is 18 percent faster than the M1 (and recently leaked benchmarks back up those numbers), so there's still a pretty substantial gap there.Why is M1 Pro so fast? ›
Apple's M1 Chip Explained
Before Apple silicon, Macs used multiple chips for CPU, I/O, and security, but Apple's effort to integrate these chips is the reason why the M1 is so much faster and more efficient than prior Intel chips.
In our testing, the M1 Max unsurprisingly outperformed the lower-end M1 Pro chip, but what was a bit of a surprise was how well even the base M1 Pro chip did in our tests. 14" M1 Pro vs 16" M1 Max MacBook Pro Performance Benchmarks!Will a MacBook Pro last 5 years? ›
On average, your MacBook Pro is expected to last 7.2 years and a MacBook Air for 5-7 years. However, the lifespan of your MacBook depends on what tasks you use your MacBook for, how frequently it is used, and how well you care for your battery and its components.Is the M2 chip worth it? ›
Like the new MacBook Pro M2, this new notebook features the Apple M2 chip — making it one of the most performant and overall best laptops you can buy. Despite its steep $1,199 starting price, it's arguably worth every penny due to the value it provides.Is MacBook Pro M2 worth it? ›
Unless you are an absolute Touch Bar fanatic, there's no reason to buy the M2 MacBook Pro. Not only is it more expensive than the two MacBook Air models, but it's also inferior in a number of different ways. I hope that Apple closes the gap between the $1299 MacBook Pro and the $1999 MacBook Pro.Can a MacBook Pro last more than 10 years? ›
The OS released in 2029 would receive support from Apple until 2032, and most third-party tools that worked on the final version of the OS would be supported until at least 2035. This means that in general, you can expect at least 10 solid years of life from a Mac, barring any unforeseen hardware issues.
When do Macs become obsolete? Based on operating system support, the limit is between eight and ten years – after which time Apple will not support the software and it's probably a good time to replace your Mac.How many years should you use a Mac? ›
iMacs typically last between 3 to 8 years depending on how they are configured. Most iMacs will come with larger hard drives as a standard configuration. A Mac Mini is usually more of an entry level Mac, but can be configured with faster processors, expanded memory and larger hard drives that will extend the life span.Is the M1 MacBook Pro faster? ›
The M1 chip brings up to 3.5x faster CPU performance, up to 6x faster GPU performance, and up to 15x faster machine learning capabilities compared to the Intel chips used in prior-generation machines.How much faster is the M1 Pro? ›
M1 Pro has an up-to-16-core GPU that is up to 2x faster than M1 and up to 7x faster than the integrated graphics on the latest 8-core PC laptop chip. Compared to a powerful discrete GPU for PC notebooks, M1 Pro delivers more performance while using up to 70 percent less power.What's better M2 or M1 Pro? ›
M2 Pro has a higher GPU count
The M1 Pro comes with an impressive 16-core GPU, which is 1.7x faster at rendering 8K videos than AMD's Radeon Pro 5600M GPU, according to Apple. These statistics don't seem as impressive when compared to the latest M2 Pro, which can be configured with up to 19 cores.
The MacBook Pro 16 features a 16.2-inch edge-to-edge display with a 120Hz refresh rate.Why is my new MacBook Pro M1 so slow? ›
Your Mac might be slow because of an outdated operating system or a full hard disk — especially if you have an older model Mac. If your Mac is new, it might be slow because you're running too many background programs and apps or even have a malware infection.Is there a big difference between M1 and M1 Pro? ›
The M1 Pro 8-core has an average score of 9,933 multi-core, up from the regular M1's 7,669 score. This is a jump of 30% despite the fact both chips have the same amount of cores (eight), which means Apple's claimed performance improvements do check out even on the lower-end version of the chip.Is M1 Pro faster than i7? ›
For content creation tasks, Intel showed the Core i7 to be about 1.12x faster than the M1 in performing a 4K AVC-to-HEVC/H. 265 file conversion.Which is faster M1 Pro or i9? ›
The M1 Pro-powered MacBook Pro ended up scoring 1,755 and 9,954 in the same single-core and multi-core tests. The higher multi-core score of the Core i9 is mainly due to having more cores at its disposal. The M1 Max chip, on the other hand, was able to match the general performance of the Core i9 in this test.
This means the Core i9 processor is around 4% faster than the M1 Max chip in this particular comparison. One of the biggest caveats is power efficiency.