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  #1  
Old 12-07-2023, 09:58 PM
Mt.Everest Mt.Everest is offline
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Default MacBook Pro M2 Max 12-Core 30 GPU or MBP M3 Pro?

Hi All,

Been some time since I've posted on the DUC so my forum etiquette might be a little rusty. Apologies if this is the wrong forum for this question! I've searched quite a bit for this specific topic but could not find any previous posts.

So, I'm planning on setting up a new mobile Pro Tools rig sometime soon. My last personal experience with Pro Tools and a MacBook Pro was with my 2013 15" Intel MBP. Lasted ~10 years, not a bad investment!

Upon researching current MacBook Pro (MBP) models I've come down to 2 choices/configs (both for Pro Tools use and personal use as well). I am aware that the M2 Max is currently supported in the compatibility docs and the M3 line of Apple silicon are not yet there.
That's ok!

For now, I'd like to present a hypothetical, in which both the M2 & M3 chips are all approved and good to go. I know this may not be/never be the case, but I need speculative advice on this anyhow, as it will help me weigh the risks and rewards of which MBP to start with, from a hypothetical all-around performance edge. I'll worry about compatibility once I have a solid idea of which MacBook would POTENTIALLY be the better overall pick, long-term speaking.

I'd be a terrible judge of this since ANY new Mac will be super impressive to me whether I'm just emailing, browsing or running large PT sessions. I wouldn't know the difference since I'm so far behind. So I'm looking for those with everyday experience with Apple Silicon to chime in (with or without PT) cuz I simply couldn't discern the nuance myself at this point, but I want to make the best long term investment.

So, in short, Would You Rather Have:

MacBook Pro 14" M2 Max 12-Core (8P Cores, 4E Cores), 30 GPU Cores, 32 GB RAM, 1TB SSD, 400 GB/s Memory Bandwidth

OR

MacBook Pro 14" M3 Pro 12-Core (6P Cores, 6E Cores), 18 GPU Cores, 36 GB RAM, 1TB SSD, 150 GB/s Memory Bandwidth

Assume both configs cost the same at about $2,200.
I don't do any heavy video rendering or 3D or gaming. The plan is to run Pro Tools Ultimate (Natively or with my older HD5 system if at all possible but not necessary) as well as various other audio applications, VIs, MIDI, the whole deal.

Again, I know this is risky and unsupported at the moment. And any feedback I know would be speculative. Trying to just get an idea of direction in the sense of buying an "older" machine vs a newer one forward looking, even they're both the same cost for me.

Thanks in advance. And don't laugh at my signature! I'll update it when I'm up and running. I'm leaving it as is for legacy vibes.
Cheers
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  #2  
Old 12-08-2023, 03:11 AM
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Default Re: MacBook Pro M2 Max 12-Core 30 GPU or MBP M3 Pro?

Hi, please read this article. It may help you in your decision.


https://www.production-expert.com/pr...or-your-studio
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  #3  
Old 12-08-2023, 05:11 AM
huzzam huzzam is offline
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Default Re: MacBook Pro M2 Max 12-Core 30 GPU or MBP M3 Pro?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mt.Everest View Post
MacBook Pro 14" M2 Max 12-Core (8P Cores, 4E Cores), 30 GPU Cores, 32 GB RAM, 1TB SSD, 400 GB/s Memory Bandwidth

OR

MacBook Pro 14" M3 Pro 12-Core (6P Cores, 6E Cores), 18 GPU Cores, 36 GB RAM, 1TB SSD, 150 GB/s Memory Bandwidth

the M2 Max will be better. Pro Tools uses only Performance cores, so two more of those is a win. And the memory bandwidth will also help.
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  #4  
Old 12-08-2023, 05:43 AM
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Default Re: MacBook Pro M2 Max 12-Core 30 GPU or MBP M3 Pro?

^ what he said.

Also benchmarks show that M3 Pro is not any better than M2 Pro, which means M2 Max beats both of them.
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  #5  
Old 12-09-2023, 03:40 PM
Mt.Everest Mt.Everest is offline
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Default Re: MacBook Pro M2 Max 12-Core 30 GPU or MBP M3 Pro?

Quote:
Originally Posted by JFreak View Post
^ what he said.

Also benchmarks show that M3 Pro is not any better than M2 Pro, which means M2 Max beats both of them.
Thanks for the feedback all. Appreciate it!

One thing I did notice in the compatibility docs is that for the MBP 14" 12-Core M2 Max, all the models listed are with the 36 Core GPU versions. No mention of the 30 Core GPU.

However, for the Mac Studio, it does list the M2 Max w the 30 Core GPU as approved.

Would it be foolish of me to consider that if the chip is supported in the Mac Studio that it should be fine in the MacBook Pro as well? I'm thinking that because it's a custom config, Avid testing just didn't happen to have a 30 Core GPU version of the MBP but they did for the Mac Studio.

Thoughts on that? Thanks!
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  #6  
Old 12-09-2023, 03:58 PM
Mt.Everest Mt.Everest is offline
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Default Re: MacBook Pro M2 Max 12-Core 30 GPU or MBP M3 Pro?

Quote:
Originally Posted by earlsize View Post
Hi, please read this article. It may help you in your decision.


https://www.production-expert.com/pr...or-your-studio
Wow that article was extremely helpful! I had previously seen the YouTube vid it references but this breakdown was great.
Ofc, now I'm concerned about only having 32 GB Memory but compared to the M3 Pro, the M2 Max seems the way to go for PT due to the 2 extra P cores (and 2 fewer E cores).

Great link. Thanks
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  #7  
Old 12-09-2023, 04:42 PM
thebeatless thebeatless is online now
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Default Re: MacBook Pro M2 Max 12-Core 30 GPU or MBP M3 Pro?

This article seems so far off from my experience with all of these CPU's. Single Core CPU power is what matters with pro tools. Multicore helps a little, but not nearly as much as it does in other apps. The M3 hands down has more single core processing power, so it is the better CPU for pro tools. I tested an M3 Max MacBook and it effortlessly played back mix sessions that my M2 Max MacBook can't play. But... it was only a few plugin difference, so I returned it in hopes for a desktop version soon after pro tools is Sonoma ready. It wasn't enough of a performance increase to justify purchasing a 2nd MacBook upgrade in less than a year. Prior to the M2 Max MacBook I was using an M1 Ultra and the M2 Max played sessions that choked the M1 so I kept it and sold the M1 Ultra.

https://browser.geekbench.com/mac-benchmarks

Last edited by thebeatless; 12-09-2023 at 04:57 PM.
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  #8  
Old 12-10-2023, 08:31 AM
Mt.Everest Mt.Everest is offline
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Default Re: MacBook Pro M2 Max 12-Core 30 GPU or MBP M3 Pro?

Quote:
Originally Posted by thebeatless View Post
This article seems so far off from my experience with all of these CPU's. Single Core CPU power is what matters with pro tools. Multicore helps a little, but not nearly as much as it does in other apps. The M3 hands down has more single core processing power, so it is the better CPU for pro tools. I tested an M3 Max MacBook and it effortlessly played back mix sessions that my M2 Max MacBook can't play. But... it was only a few plugin difference, so I returned it in hopes for a desktop version soon after pro tools is Sonoma ready. It wasn't enough of a performance increase to justify purchasing a 2nd MacBook upgrade in less than a year. Prior to the M2 Max MacBook I was using an M1 Ultra and the M2 Max played sessions that choked the M1 so I kept it and sold the M1 Ultra.

https://browser.geekbench.com/mac-benchmarks
I'm a bit confused by your reply. When talking single core vs multi core are you referring to the performance measure of a single P Core from each of the Mx chips? If so, I'd agree that one P Core M3 > M2 > M1, based on the architecture improvements. But since Pro Tools (and others) will be using all P Cores available, it comes down to (for me at least) whether 6 M3 P Cores are better/equal/less than 8 M2 P Cores.

And sure, if an M3 Max was on the table as an option, I would prob go for that vs an M2 Max.

But given the two choices (again, this is specific to my post where these are my 2 choices) of an M2 Max 12 Core (8P/4E) vs M3 Pro 12 Core (6P/6E) are you saying the M3 6Ps would outperform the M2 8Ps?

Also note that this MacBook Pro won't be dedicated to just Pro Tools. There'll be multiple audio apps for various purposes as well as typical day to day stuff like 100+ browser tabs, some Python environment dev, and the occasional FCP video editing/rendering.

At the end of the day, I personally wouldn't know the difference if I had either machine since I'm coming from a 2013 Intel MBP, hence the post to get some feedback on the nuance between the two options I gave as far as the better long term investment.
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  #9  
Old 12-10-2023, 11:35 AM
huzzam huzzam is offline
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Default Re: MacBook Pro M2 Max 12-Core 30 GPU or MBP M3 Pro?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mt.Everest View Post
One thing I did notice in the compatibility docs is that for the MBP 14" 12-Core M2 Max, all the models listed are with the 36 Core GPU versions. No mention of the 30 Core GPU.

GPU performance is almost completely irrelevant to Pro Tools performance. Pro Tools makes very elementary demands on the graphics subsystem. What you're interested in is CPU performance, and specifically P-core performance.


Both single-core and multi-core performance are important. Single-core determines how much you can do with a single thread (for example, one audio track has its plugins processed in series, so that is one series), while multi-core determines how many tracks you can process. Personally, I find the single-core performance of even the M1s to be quite capable, and I'd point you towards getting more multi-core performance.


Keep in mind that each generation has essentially identical single-core performance across the range, so that an M1 Macbook Air is (essentially) equivalent to an M1 Ultra Mac Studio as far as single-core performance. So if you are using only a few tracks, but each is *very* demanding, you might want to err towards faster single-core at the expense of multi-core. But that would be a pretty specialized case IMO.
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  #10  
Old 12-11-2023, 06:30 AM
Mt.Everest Mt.Everest is offline
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Default Re: MacBook Pro M2 Max 12-Core 30 GPU or MBP M3 Pro?

Quote:
Originally Posted by huzzam View Post
GPU performance is almost completely irrelevant to Pro Tools performance. Pro Tools makes very elementary demands on the graphics subsystem. What you're interested in is CPU performance, and specifically P-core performance.
Absolutely. My concern wasn't about any gfx performance bump in the 30 GPU vs 36 GPU versions. It was about whether any difference in the architecture as a whole for the 2 versions of M2 Max could be a reason why the 30 GPU M2 Max isn't listed as a compatible config- at least for the MBPs.
My hope is that it's irrelevant (i.e. 12-core + 36 GPU vs 12 Core + 30 GPU), but I don't know enough about how everything talks to each other on a SoC that might have been reason for AVID to omit the 30 GPU config from PT testing.

Quote:
Both single-core and multi-core performance are important. Single-core determines how much you can do with a single thread (for example, one audio track has its plugins processed in series, so that is one series), while multi-core determines how many tracks you can process. Personally, I find the single-core performance of even the M1s to be quite capable, and I'd point you towards getting more multi-core performance.
Could you elaborate on this possibly? I may be missing the distinction btwn single and multi. Eg. If I have 1 track w 5 plugins, I expect I'll see 1 of the 8P cores in use. If I have a 2nd track, 5 different plugs, will this populate the next P Core or just add to P Core 1 till it's full? Then there's the AUX subs with plugs, Master fader, sends etc. Tbh, I don't know how single core vs multi works in PTs. The last time I thought of this was when maximizing my HD5 DSP slots available! Lol.

Quote:
Keep in mind that each generation has essentially identical single-core performance across the range, so that an M1 Macbook Air is (essentially) equivalent to an M1 Ultra Mac Studio as far as single-core performance. So if you are using only a few tracks, but each is *very* demanding, you might want to err towards faster single-core at the expense of multi-core. But that would be a pretty specialized case IMO.
I mean, I expect to use many tracks, some with very demanding plug chains, others with none, but many batches of these that feed my pretty complex Aux subgroups, each with extensive plugs, sends, etc which all feed my Pre-master f 2-Mix Aux which then has its own Master Fader 1-2 output.

I'm kinda lost on how single/multi core plays into all this now, if looking at it from a fully native setup. My main rig is all external HD Core and HD process cards which took care of this for me.
TL;DR
Are you saying an M2 Max 12 core (w 8P cores) is the way to go vs an M3 Pro 12 Core (w 6P cores) ?
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