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The new 16-inch MacBook Pro maximizes performance under heavy workloads

Apple has just confirmed that the 16-inch version of the latest MacBook Pro will support the new High Power mode. This applies only to models that run on the M1 Max chip. High Power mode is Apple’s new invention made to maximize performance during periods of intense workloads, such as color grading an 8K ProRes video.

In order to enable the new High Power mode, users will likely need the 16-inch version of the new MacBook Pro, equipped with an M1 Max chip and running MacOS Monterey. According to Apple, the new mode will be enabled through System Preferences and will not be on by default.

new macbook pro 2021.
Image used with permission by copyright holder

It’s still somewhat unclear what the new High Power setting will fully entail. It’s clear that it’s meant to let the MacBook Pro handle periods of highly intensive workloads. Such tasks can involve working with 4K or 8K videos, video editing, design work, and more.

Although this feature should let the 16-inch MacBook Pro run smoothly during resource-intensive tasks, code-level references that were previously found indicate that this will make the fans louder. Whether the temperatures will rise beyond what’s acceptable remains to be seen, but Apple did optimize these new Macs to offer better airflow. Battery life reduction is also to be expected during High Power mode usage.

The first references to the new feature were discovered last month by Filipe Espósito of 9to5Mac in the beta of MacOS Monterey. Prior to this, in 2020, references to “Pro Mode” were found in MacOS Catalina 10.15.3. At that time, the internal code that was found suggested this option will make apps run faster while quickly exhausting the Mac’s battery.

Lifestyle image of someone using the new Macbook Pro 2021.
Image used with permission by copyright holder

Apple hasn’t made a statement as to whether the feature will be enabled on the M1 Pro chip or whether it will be available on the 14-inch MacBook Pro at all. For now, it’s safe to assume that High Power mode will remain reserved for the 16-inch MacBook. This marks a difference compared to the previous assumptions that the 14-inch and 16-inch MacBook Pros will offer the exact same performance, but it still remains to be seen whether this is true.

Pre-orders for the new 14-inch and 16-inch MacBook Pros, equipped with the new-and-improved M1 Pro and M1 Max chips, have already started rolling in. The first units are set to be shipped soon and will arrive on October 26. At that point, we can expect more reviews of High Power mode, which should clarify the extent of the performance increase provided by this setting. Regardless of the final outcome, it’s already clear that the new notebooks are swiftly topping the ranks of the best MacBooks out there due to the new M1 Pro and M1 Max chips installed inside.

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Monica J. White
Monica is a UK-based freelance writer and self-proclaimed geek. A firm believer in the "PC building is just like expensive…
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