Macbook Pro – From Intel to Apple M1

About This Mac

My Situation and Experience

My 2015 Macbook Pro has been very faithful for these past six or seven years, but the battery life is getting pretty lame (maybe 30-40 minutes– maybe), and the age is preventing me from running some of the newer video editing programs. However, editing, browsing, and using the terminal for SSH sessions, it is still a fantastic little beast. Apple even says it’s worth $420 on a trade-in.

But alas, the 256GB hard drive and aging battery have had an impact. No offense to the faithful little beast– it’s been great– but, like Tom Brady, it’s time to retire.

At first, I was concerned– I have to choose an older model Macbook Pro in order to get the Intel chip. And I’ll miss out on a feature I love on my 2015 model, the MagSafe power, as well as get used to a TouchBar (I’m not a detractor nor a fan). The new Macbook Pros don’t have an Intel chip; they have the Apple M1 chip. And typical Apple, they claim the M1 is faster, prettier, smarter and it even smells better than the Intel chip. But Apple still loves both (at least while they have Intel-based systems to sell). But M1 is better. So they say.

Purchasing for the future was another concern. Apple had just introduced macOS Monterey version 12, which again, has a bifurcated kernel that will support two different processor command sets. Now, instead of supporting a transition from Motorola to Intel, the OS will now be supporting a shift from Intel to Apple’s own M1. And this version, Monterey, will have features only available for M1-based systems.

The Past Revisited – Motorola » Intel » Apple M1

Given the fact that the latest version of macOS is migrating away from Intel, and as the previous Motorala-to-Intel CPU transition indicated, the out-of-favor CPU will ultimately be no longer supported. However, Apple is providing emulation for those older applications using their Rosetta emulation technology built into the operating system. For me, the choice is clear if one wants to continue using macOS. But is it fast?

Apple M1: Plenty Fast

I haven’t done benchmarks, but I did look at a few reviews (here, and here). Two key issues– must support two external monitors, and must be fast enough for video editing without waiting too long while rendering. The M1 Pro does exactly that.

However, if you read the Macworld article referenced above, it claims the M1 only supports one external monitor. I this is patently false. Shame on the author for not verifying or correcting this if it were true at some point in the past. I contacted Apple, and they advised that yes, it could support two external monitors. I trusted Apple, and I can personally confirm that both the Macbook Air M1 and Macbook Pro M1 Pro work fine in driving two external monitors.

I purchased the Macbook Pro 14″ with 10 cores (8 performance and 2 efficiency). If they had a 15″, I would have purchased that, but 16″ was just too big for me. However, I’m very happy with my 14″.

Virtualized Windows 11 Runs Smooth and Fast

I occasionally want to run some legacy Windows programs. I own an old version of Parallels, so after purchasing the MBP14, I upgraded Parallels and, wow– it installed Windows 11 for me. VMware has some serious catching up to do for their Fusion customers. As of right now, VMware does not have a hypervisor for M1 based macs.

Very Happy with Apple M1

I’ve been using my new Macbook Pro 14″ M1 Pro based system for about a month– zero complaints. I’ve upgraded my virtualization software as mentioned by migrating from VMware Fusion to Parallels, upgraded my Camtasia to Camtasia 2021 which has native M1 support. And I’ve reinstalled my Microsoft Office (permanent license), and it runs very smooth as well. I’m not sure if Microsoft upgraded it with their updater tool, but I believe it is using Apple’s Rosetta emulation.