M1 Max ProRes benchmark testing on ProRes video exports shows that the high-end 2021 MacBook Pro is three times faster than the 2019 Mac Pro

Even if you fit the $2,000 Afterburner card to the Mac Pro, the M1 Max MacBook Pro is still twice as fast, notes Macworld.

To reach the highest echelon of ProRes performance on the 2019 Mac Pro, you need the 28-core Intel Xeon W CPU paired with the Afterburner card to accelerate playback and decoding of ProRes. Two beefy GPUs can only help, too–with advanced color grading. All of this comes at a very high cost, of course.

The M1 Max in the MacBook Pro includes two each of ProRes encoders and decoders, far outperforming the single decoder found in the MacPro’s Afterburner card.

The benchmarks demonstrate how serious Apple is about its ProRes performance. It surpassed the top-spec 2019 Mac Pro single-handedly due to the decoders and encoders found in M1 Max. Not only that, but it will also greatly improve the playback performance of multi-stream 8K content. Color grading generally benefits, too, with noise reduction and stabilization in Final Cut Pro being fast. This was traditionally the realm of ultra-powered workstations or the Mac Pro with expensive GPUs, but the ProRes implementation levels the playing field and dramatically lowers the cost of entry.

The site’s benchmark test shows the time required to export a five-minute ProRes Raw video clip to ProRes 422 HQ:

  • 2019 Mac Pro: 233 seconds
  • 2019 Mac Pro with Afterburner card: 153 seconds
  • 2021 MacBook Pro with M1 Max chip: 76 seconds

The site’s Thiago Trevisan argues that the ability to shoot ProRes on an iPhone 13 Pro/Pro Max is currently a gimmick, but it will become more important over time.

For now, it’s more of a novelty function, though it could serve as a situational tool that a pro may use. As storage capabilities improve in future phones, look for this to become utilized more frequently by even casual users. But don’t sell your Red or Arri cameras yet!

It follows similarly impressive Lightroom benchmarking of the M1 Max MacBook Pro against the previous high-end Intel model.

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Ben Lovejoy

Ben Lovejoy is a British technology writer and EU Editor for 9to5Mac. He’s known for his op-eds and diary pieces, exploring his experience of Apple products over time, for a more rounded review. He also writes fiction, with two technothriller novels, a couple of SF shorts and a rom-com!

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