Apple Macbook Pro M1: este acesta un computer de vis pentru DJ sau producător?

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Noul cip Apple M1 a promis multe, cu unele recenzii de performanță timpurii care ridică sprâncenele. Dar cum merge pentru DJ / producător? Editorul de tehnologie digitală de la  DJ Mag, Declan McGlynn, ne povesteste pe indelete in exclusivitate pentru iubitorii tehnologiei avansate. 

Last year, Apple announced they were phasing out Intel chips in their computers, in favour of their own M1 processing chips, which the tech giant are manufacturing themselves. Apple promise it delivers the world’s fastest CPU core, the fastest integrated graphics on the market, and a hugely increased battery life. Not only that, but the prices actually remained flat, and in some cases decreased based on their now-slower Intel equivalent. Sounds like a no brainer?

For creative users of their uber popular MacBook Pro, Mac Mini, iMac and Mac Pro computers, switching chips isn’t just a hot swap that goes unnoticed — apps and drivers are coded and developed to run on specific processors. This means every single app needs to be re-coded to run natively on — and therefore maximise the power of — M1 chips.

Most casual users won’t see this upheaval in their daily usage — apps like Mac Mail, Safari, Keynote, iCal etc are all Apple products, so will work out of the box. Anyone doing more than browsing and basic word processing, like producers and DJs, face both a transition period for their software of choice, and a drastic increase in power once the M1 is more widely adopted. We got our hands on the latest MacBook Pro with an M1 chip to put its through its paces for DJs and producers. How painful will the transition period be? Is it worth waiting for more apps to go native, or is it safe to jump into the M1 universe right away? Let’s find out.

„Pentru încântarea fiecărui utilizator MacBook, temutele taste fluture au fost înlocuite”

What’s the catch? 

Our review model was the M1 chip with eight-core CPU and eight-core GPU, 16GB of RAM and 1TB SSD storage. Right now, it costs £1,899 on the UK Apple store — so it’s not cheap. But as we’ll find out, the equivalent spec pre-M1 would have cost you a lot more. In fact, according to computer-testing website Geekbench, the M1 MacBook Air (the model below our test model) beat the previous MacBook Pro 16-inch Intel i9 (a flagship model) in comparison tests. While the 16-inch MacBook Pro costs £2,399, the new M1 Air starts at £999. Entry-level M1s outperforming flagship Intel-chip computers, at over £1,000 less? It was enough to get us excited, but specs only tell part of the story, especially for creative uses. We wanted to put the M1 MBP through its paces in the studio, with varying USB devices, plugins, DAWs and drivers all fighting for the attention of the shiny new chip. First though, it’s worth discussing the physical aspect of the M1 MBP.

Look and feel

To the delight of every MacBook user, the dreaded butterfly keys have been replaced with a new Magic Keyboard, featuring much more sturdy keys that are slightly raised again, rather than flat — more akin to the 2011 MacBook Pro. It takes a bit of getting used to if you’re coming from the clunky butterfly key QWERTY keyboard, but it’s undoubtedly superior. It also features a new TouchID key for signing into the laptop, websites and making payments online. The Touch Bar is still present, questionable as it is — we still don’t see the benefit of using it for the vast majority of tasks over the dedicated physical buttons. You can default it to replicate the Function buttons of the previous models, so it’s probably worth doing that for consistency.

The screen is glorious, with a native resolution of 2560-by-1600 — one very big downside is that M1s only supports one extra display i.e. your laptop screen and one other. You can’t natively chain displays, though there’s already a third-party solution. While the MacBook Air M1 equivalent doesn’t have a fan at all, the Pro version does, which Apple says allows it to sustain performance over a longer period of time. Truth is, we couldn’t get the fan to kick in at all, not in an audible sense, even on tasks that would send our own laptop (2016 dual-i5 MBP) into a fan frenzy, like rekordbox analysis, which we’ll come back to. A very good thing.

Other important physical and spec aspects include a new eight-core GPU that Apple say offers five-times the performance of the previous model, which should help for any plugins that love to use complex GUIs, or rendering waveforms on four-deck DJ software for example. Another key point is the battery life — early reviews of the new M1 range have all praised the life of a single charge and we have to agree. Apple says it’s “up to 17 hours of wireless web browsing and up to 20 hours of video playback,” which is “up to 10 more hours than before” While most producer tasks are done wired into the studio, the lack of need for any intense fan usage means the battery goes on and on and on.

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