And, there's some very disturbing short-comings of some hardware you didn't mention. To quote from an article I just read;
"Speaking to The Verge's Dan Seifert, Apple has confirmed that rather than use the UHS-III standard for the SD card reader, which has read/write speeds to to 624 MB/s, the MacBook Pro comes with an older UHS-II standard that runs at half that speed. The -III standard was introduced some four years ago, in 2017."
MagSafe charger fast charge, well, you pay a boat load extra for that, when at the current prices you really shouldn't need to, as hard as it was lauded in the Apple presentation.
Not to mention the less-than-state-of-the-art HDMI port.
"Also on the list of specs that are decidedly mid-range for a flagship is the HDMI port. While there is a newer standard of HDMI 2.1, the new macOS laptops run HDMI 2.0 ports; that limits you to a 4K output at 60 Hz."
Most PC's I'm shopping for comparison have 2.1 ports.
But glad to see some of it is worth the hype...
I'm considering selling off my old 2013 rMBP (which still plows through my paying work quite well) and iMac Pro (maxed out, plows through my current paying work quite well) and replacing with a 14" M1max and external monitor.
I want to see benchmarks for pure H.264 workflows first, as it is rare for me or any of my colleagues to work with ProRes footage in paying jobs. I'm surprised you didn't do this yourself.
Peter, thanks for all the testing and the informative review.
My main concern is the lack of improvement in 10-bit HEVC export. That is super-slow on existing x86 Macs, but this is apparently a software issue since Resolve Studio 17.4 is very fast doing the same export on the same Mac hardware. I just re-tested a 3 min 4k/23.98 ProRes 422 timeline on an iMac Pro and a top-spec 2019 MBP 16, both running FCP 10.6 and Big Sur 11.6 and nothing has changed since the last time I tested that.
I'll be getting a top-spec M1 Max MBP 16 in a few weeks and I'll re-test on that.
My team mostly does acquisition and post in ProRes so it's good to see that's fast on the M1 Max. OTOH 10-bit HEVC is increasingly important since lots of cameras record that and it enables compact uploads with less risk of banding due to log profiles.
There is apparently something wrong with how FCP handles 10-bit HEVC encoding. I checked the metadata and encoding parameters for both Resolve and FCP versions, and they are mostly the same bitrate, bit depth, resolution, frame rate & file size. The only difference I see is Resolve's profile is Main10@5.1 whereas FCP uses Main10@4. Export perf. Visually there is no apparent quality difference. Export performance tests:
3 min 4k/23.98 PR422 timeline, iMac Pro FCP 10.6 / Resolve Studio 17.4 -- 10-core Vega64 iMac Pro, Big Sur 11.6
FCP: 21 min, 38.4 sec to 1080p 10-bit HEVC
Resolve: 36.4 sec to 1080p 10-bit HEVC
Same test on top-spec 2019 MacBook Pro 16:
FCP: 35 min 29 sec to 1080p 10-bit HEVC
Resolve: 40.93 sec to 1080p 10-bit HEVC
The fact that Resolve is so much faster doing that export on the same Mac hardware implies that FCP can be improved on current x86 Macs and possibly further improved on Apple Silicon.
The SD port speed is a non-issue for me, surprised its back frankly. The latest flavor of HDMI would have been nice though.
Waiting to see what the Mini looks like. Put the Max in there and that's a no-brainer.
The ProRes encoding/decoding is definitely exciting. I think for most people's workflows, if you're using FCP it's going to be heavily ProRes dominant even if camera acquisition formats are various flavors of raw. As for SD card slot and HDMI slot, those limitations barely rate. Sure it's nice-to-have, but you're most likely using thunderbolt to a monitor, and the SD card slot to me is more serving photographers or lower-end cams or drones really. Not really huge files IMO.
On several previous large documentary projects, I'd love to have done that but the material was too sluggish to edit smoothly even on the highest available Mac. That varies a lot based on the exact flavor of Long GOP material, but 4k Sony XAVC-S was horrible, even the 8-bit 4:2:0 variant.
In our case we couldn't optimize it over lunch. We had two multicam teams shooting 4k non-stop, two drones in the air, 10 action cams, motion control cameras, etc. We could easily produce 1 terabyte per day of 4k H264 material. Just getting it offloaded, verified, logged and duplicated was a big job -- despite having dedicated offload technicians. We did later transcode to proxy but that was off site after production wrapped.
Since then we use only ProRes acquisition and the Inspire 2 drones record ProRes. That makes dailies a lot smoother but the data burden is about 6x higher.
The old view was Long GOP is for amateurs, professionals use ProRes. However since then lots of new higher-end cameras like the Panasonic EVA-1, S1H, Sony FX3, etc record 4k 10-bit 4:2:2 Long GOP. Because of Intel's half-hearted support for Quick Sync and the balkanized state of other accelerators and associated software frameworks, there hasn't been a good answer.
The hope is that newer Apple Silicon Macs will be able to smoothly edit a wide variety of Long GOP codecs (inc'l 4k 10-bit 4:2:2) without transcoding. It would be a tremendous benefit for certain types of productions.
That said, our Sony FX6s don't even record Long GOP, only All Intra and that is easier to edit even on x86 Macs.
I was all set to replace my 2013 MBP with a new 16” MBP. Then I saw the lead times jump from a few days to a month or more. Then I started seeing the large number of problems being posted by users that upgraded to FCP 10.6. Now am planning to wait until March to upgrade. Hopefully the 16” will be more available by then and 10.6.x will have fixed all the problems. Besides a 16” will make a nice birthday present for myself.
How many Macs out there have 8TB system drive? Hardly any. And no, our professional projects won't. We use a 32TB RAID for our professional work.
This thread isn't about all macs. It's about the new 16" M1 Max MacBook Pro, which can be optioned to an 8TB SSD. Mine arrives in five days. My 2019 16" also has an 8TB SSD.
I think you're right in the bigger picture, that hardly any Macs have that kind of capacity, but in the editing world I can't imagine it's that uncommon. The vast majority of my projects are stored on a NAS, but having an 8TB onboard SSD has been a game changer for me.
I don't need an SD port. I don't need an HDMI port. I have plenty of USBC to HDMI cables. So I have two honking big ports that do a single thing each, neither of which I need, and one less TB port. And I have the useful ports, including the headphone jack and the one trick power port all bunched on the same side. I'd rather have had five TB ports. I have a bunch of chicklet keys that are not fully system programable and are not adaptive to applications, and have no sliders and no gestural controls, just useless chicklets in place of the Touch Bar. This "update" is complete bullshit.
Contrary to Tom, I use the SD and HDMI ports on my laptops daily and love not having to lug around dozens of dongles to do what pretty much every laptop in the world does much more easily. I use a MBP with the Touch Bar for one of my gigs, and I HATE it! I personally get much more use out of traditional function keys. The Touch Bar never gives me the tools I need, and do not find it easy to get to ergonomically. Just my personal experience.
Also, in all my years of professional work, I have know very few editors with internal drives over 1TB. We mostly use fast external SSDs, as the work eventually goes to a desktop computer for finishing.