Is the New M1 13" MacBook Pro Good for Tough Video Editing?

Apple decided to develop and use its own processors on Macs and released the first 13” MacBook Pro with the new ARM-based Apple M1 chip. But, does it really perform as well as the Intel-powered MacBook Pro?

The market is dominated by powerful Intel and AMD processors, and Apple has been working with Intel for a long time. However, the disruptions and delays on Intel’s side forced Apple to make and use its own processors on the Mac line. Apple has been making chips for a long time and using them in iPhones and iPads already. The company introduced the new 5-nanometer M1 chip, with more CPU and GPU cores, which is more efficient and powerful on paper. The first 13” MacBook Pro with M1 chip is already available, but does it really perform better than its Intel predecessor?

In this video, Max Yuryev tests the performance of the new M1 chip on a 2020 13” MacBook Pro with 8GB unified memory installed. He performs some basic benchmark tests based on 4K video processing and decoding and also runs demanding tests to see how well it performs in terms of thermals and power use. The test also shows how it performs with the most commonly used video editing software that are optimized for Intel processors.

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Tim van der Leeuw's picture

I didn't watch this video yet, but in my opinion, no matter what the author of this video will conclude -- it doesn't need to be, yet.

It's the first of it's generation. The application ecosystem around the new architecture still needs to be built up. I think that Apple intentionally started their transition with Macs on the lower end, so that professionals who need the highest-end machines and the highest specs are not going to buy this one and end up sorely disappointed that the current generation cannot yet fully deliver.

I'm sure that when more applications are ported, including the plugins needed for serious photo / video editing, that these machines will be very capable and performant. But it will take some time to work out all the kinks and releasing lower end systems first gives Apple the chance to do just that.

D R's picture

You should watch this, and other M1 reviews. These systems are "cheap" and kicking butt when compared to anything equivalent from intel (or AMD) when performance, price, heat and power consumption are concerned, and even in emulation mode, the performance is beating comparably priced intels that are running software natively.

Apple has done ARM right! Unlike the butcher job over in the Windows/PC world.

Tim van der Leeuw's picture

Oh I know that it's fast! I've read various reviews on ArsTechnica.

But can it already replace one of high-end Intel machines?

Not yet right out of the gates, because the software isn't there yet: either not yet released in optimised form for the new M1 architecture, or not fully working yet on that architecture via the emulation, or because of emulation too slow on the new architecture when compared to high-end Intel machines.

And that's why I said, I think it's smart of Apple to release a low-end device first, because being low-end, it is not yet expected to replace one of high-end Intel based devices for the daily work of demanding professionals.

And yet it already blows those high-end devices right out of the water in some cases, showing the potential of the Apple M1 ARM architecture, when the entire ecosystem is there and ready.

Mutley Dastardly's picture

Pro systems are expandable. The new series are everything soldered on the mainboard - so in my harsh opnion worthless for anyone wanting to do some real work.

D R's picture

Bullocks. There is no such thing as a "pro system" other than in name. Pros use all sorts of systems, and for many things these cheap little laptops are beating high end maxed out "pro" systems that cost 10-15x as much.
I've done "real work" on all sorts of systems. Being able to upgrade means little when you can just buy a whole new system for the price of parts in a "pro" system.

The whole "worthless" comment is complete BS.

Wei He's picture

The so called "pro" system is an overpriced apple computer without proper configuration.

it only supports 5 GPUs from AMD, but non from nvidia, which has far superior video encoding capability with nvenc.

Also the video obmitted running the pro system encoding test with internal GPU. Instead, using a eGPU setup, which crippled rendering performance.(I hope this was not done purposely to make the M1 look better)

I do think apple made a leap with the M1 in terms of performance and energy consumption. But many of the videos seem to prop it purposefully.

An 8th gen i5 + GTX 1650 with 16GB should probably do better with davinci resolve without such "pro" price tag.