Home Macbook M1 Macbook Pro Buyer’s Guide for PC Users

M1 Macbook Pro Buyer’s Guide for PC Users

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Today we will be discussing which Macbook Pro model is best suited for your needs if you are a PC user who has decided to switch to macOS this year. We highly recommend reading this before making any purchases.

If you’re used to the Windows laptop universe, transitioning to Apple Silicon can be confusing. Instead of terms like RAM and GPU clocks, you’ll hear about unified memory and GPU cores.

Now, let’s discuss the component that may be the most confusing: the GPU. Below, I’ve listed the equivalent GPU from a PC laptop. Keep in mind that this is not an exact equivalent, but rather a similar measure of teraflops that will give you an idea of what to expect.

Specs

Let’s start with the entry level M1, which has 8 GPU cores. The AMD equivalent would be the RX 560, while the Nvidia equivalent would be a GTX 1650.

Moving on to the M1 Pro with 14 GPU cores, the AMD equivalent would be an RX 5500M, and the Nvidia equivalent would be a GTX 1650.

The M1 Pro with 16 GPU cores would be equivalent to an AMD RX 5500, while Nvidia would be a GTX 1660 Ti.

When it comes to the M1 MAX with 24 GPU cores, the AMD equivalent would be an RX 5700M, while the Nvidia equivalent would be an RTX 2070.

Lastly, the maxed out M1 Max with 32 GPU cores would be equivalent to an AMD RX Vega 56, while the Nvidia equivalent would be an RTX 2080.

Now, to be clear, this is not an exact comparison between Apple Silicon and AMD/Nvidia GPUs. The architectures are too different to make an accurate comparison. However, for the average PC laptop user who may not be familiar with these differences, these equivalences can provide a rough idea of where things stand when configuring their Macbooks.

Gaming

When it comes to gaming, it’s best to use a Windows laptop with a dedicated GPU and features like Gsync for two reasons:

  1. Bootcamp no longer works on Apple Silicon.
  2. The only way to play AAA games on the new Macs is by using Crossover, a compatibility layer, or Parallels, a virtualization software. In both cases, it’s not a native gaming experience, and in most cases, there will be compatibility or performance issues.

If you’re okay with this, or if you’re satisfied with Apple Arcade, then the MacBook will work well for you. However, if you’re a serious gamer, it’s better to get a Windows gaming laptop or build your own gaming desktop and get the MacBook for content creation and pro tools.

Content Creation

When it comes to content creation, Windows users will be pleased to know that Adobe Creative Cloud and DaVinci Resolve are optimized for the M1 Pro and M1 Max. This means faster app opening and render times, as well as support for more intense workloads without drops in performance.

If you want to try Final Cut Pro X, you’ll see even better improvements compared to Windows. Trust me, your mind will be blown away.

For other professional apps like AutoCAD and Unity, most of them are now native to the M1 and more apps are coming in the coming months.

Developers will be happy to know that most development software is now native to M1 and shows great improvements in build time. Check out my friend Alex’s channel for more in-depth benchmarks, which I’ll link in the description.

For most creative workloads, the M1 Pro with a 10-core CPU and 16-core GPU is more than enough.

If your work involves 3D graphics and VFX, then the M1 Max with 32 GPU cores is a good investment, though it will be pricey. For my 3D design workflow, I’m getting the M1 Max with 24 GPU cores.

As for unified memory, I think 32GB is the sweet spot for most creators. However, 16GB would be my first recommendation for most people who mostly use the browser and edit videos from time to time. In my opinion, 64GB is overkill for most workflows unless you’re a 3D designer or audio engineer.

If you’re coming from a Windows laptop, keep in mind that the RAM cannot be replaced once you get your MacBook. It’s soldered within the SOC. So I highly advise paying extra attention to how much RAM you might need in the future if your workflow becomes more intense.

Regarding storage, it depends on how big your files are, especially for editing multiple 8k videos. I would keep my files on the internal SSD because it’s faster, around 7.4GB/s. If that doesn’t concern you, you can just add external storage whenever you need it, something that you can’t do with unified memory.

Here’s a list of my recommended configurations depending on your use case:

My Recommendations

Student taking notes

13″ Macbook Air M1 [ 8GB Ram / 256GB SSD ] $999

Student Extra Workload

13″ Macbook Air M1 [ 16GB Ram / 512GB SSD ] $1,399

Video Editor 4K

14″ Macbook Pro M1 Pro with 10-core CPU, 14-core GPU [ 16GB Ram / 1TB SSD ] $2,399

16″ Macbook Pro M1 Pro with 10-core CPU, 16-core GPU [ 16GB Ram / 1TB SSD ] $2,699

Video Editor 8K

14″ Macbook Pro M1 Max with 10-core CPU, 24-core GPU [ 32GB Ram / 1TB SSD ] $3,099

16″ Macbook Pro M1 Max with 10-core CPU, 24-core GPU [ 32GB Ram / 1TB SSD ] $3,299

Graphic Designer

14″ Macbook Pro M1 Pro with 8-core CPU, 14-core GPU + 96W [ 16GB Ram / 1TB SSD ] $2,219

16″ Macbook Pro M1 Pro with 10-core CPU, 16-core GPU [ 16GB Ram / 1TB SSD ] $2,699

Photographer

14″ Macbook Pro M1 Pro with 8-core CPU, 14-core GPU + 96W [ 16GB Ram / 1TB SSD ] $2,219

16″ Macbook Pro M1 Pro with 10-core CPU, 16-core GPU [ 16GB Ram / 1TB SSD ] $2,699

Audio Work

14″ Macbook Pro M1 Pro with 8-core CPU, 14-core GPU + 96W [ 32GB Ram / 512GB SSD ] $2,419

3D Designer

14″ Macbook Pro M1 Max with 10-core CPU, 24-core GPU [ 64GB Ram / 1TB SSD ] $3,499

16″ Macbook Pro M1 Max with 10-core CPU, 24-core GPU [ 64GB Ram / 1TB SSD ] $3,699

Software Developer

14″ Macbook Pro M1 Pro with 10-core CPU, 14-core GPU [ 32GB Ram / 512GB SSD ] $2,599

Game Developer

14″ Macbook Pro M1 Max with 10-core CPU, 32-core GPU [ 64GB Ram / 1TB SSD ] $3,699

16″ Macbook Pro M1 Max with 10-core CPU, 32-core GPU [ 64GB Ram / 1TB SSD ] $3,899

Verdict

Those are my recommendations if you are a Windows user trying to configure a MacBook for your needs.

Get the Macbook Pro 14″ M1 Pro here : https://amzn.to/3EfWTeH

Get the Macbook Pro 16″ M1 Max here : https://amzn.to/30ZtgAb

Get the Macbook Air M1 here : https://amzn.to/3Cdk352

In conclusion, switching from a PC to an Apple Silicon MacBook Pro can be a daunting task, but with the right configuration, it can be a game-changer for your workflow. Keep in mind that the GPU and gaming capabilities may not be as robust as a dedicated gaming laptop, but for content creation and professional tools, the M1 Pro and M1 Max are optimized for most creative workloads.

When configuring your MacBook Pro, consider your specific use case and prioritize RAM, storage, and GPU cores based on your needs. With the right configuration, you can enjoy a seamless transition to macOS and take advantage of the optimized software for creators.

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