New MacBook Pro Tidbits: SD Card Speeds, Peak Brightness for SDR Content, eGPUs Still Not Supported, and More

Apple unveiled new 14-inch and 16-inch MacBook Pro models earlier this week, and we've since confirmed some additional details about the notebooks.

macbook pro 14 16 2021

  • 16-inch MacBook Pro models configured with the M1 Max chip feature a new High Power Mode to maximize performance for intensive, sustained workloads, according to Apple. High Power Mode is not available on other models.
  • Like the Pro Display XDR, the new MacBook Pro displays have a peak brightness of 500 nits for standard aka SDR content, according to Apple. The new MacBook Pro's advertised 1,600 nits of peak full-screen brightness is for HDR content only.
  • In regards to Face ID, Apple said customers love the experience of using Touch ID on the Mac for everything from unlocking their Mac, to filling in passwords online, changing accounts, and making secure purchases with Apple Pay, but the company unsurprisingly said it has nothing to announce about its plans for Face ID on Mac.
  • The SD card reader in the new MacBook Pro models supports up to 250MB/s of data transfer with the latest UHS-II SD cards and up to 90MB/s with UHS-I SD cards, according to Apple.
  • Like other Macs with Apple silicon, the new MacBook Pro models still do not support external GPUs (eGPUs). The new M1 Pro and M1 Max chips have the most powerful GPUs that Apple has ever built and offer massive amounts of unified memory that enables completely new workflows, according to Apple.
  • The new MacBook Pro models have the same trackpad as previous-generation models, according to Apple.
  • Apple said it is invested in dedicated ProRes hardware in its silicon to enable quality, performance, and power efficiency across its platforms for pro video workflows.

The new MacBook Pro models have been available to order since Monday and will begin arriving to customers and launch in stores on Tuesday, October 26. Pricing starts at $1,999 for the 14-inch model and at $2,499 for the 16-inch model.

Related Roundup: MacBook Pro 14 & 16"
Related Forum: MacBook Pro

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Top Rated Comments

aevan Avatar
34 months ago

Yeah, really messed up this wasn’t disclosed before orders went live. It’s not like we can wait for reviews to decide what to buy, if we do that it’ll be mid 2022 before we get the machines! I wanted to go for the 14” but grabbed a 16 because of battery life and the back of my mind being concerned about potential throttling. This is worse than throttling though, and totally sucks for anyone who ordered a 14” Max.
The difference will most likely be small. You’re getting incredible performance in 14” form factor, comparable to a bigger MBP for the first time - that’s amazing. Of course the bigger chassis of a 16” will allow slightly higher performance due to thermals, but this difference will almost certainly be very small.

Let’s be honest, 90% of people here buying an M1 Max are enthusiasts that don’t need half of that performance and would be perfectly fine with a regular M1 or M1 Pro. It’s the same people who claim 64Gb RAM is needed for editing home photos in Photoshop.

Of course, people will jump on benchmarks as soon as they get new machines and we’ll see two results: incredible performance on 14“ and incredible performance +2% on 16”. Of course, the 14” people will be crushed and disappointed with these results and yell how Apple lied and how this wouldn’t happen with Steve and all that. Also something, something the notch.

This is not messed up. It does not totally suck for anyone who ordered a 14” Max. You’re getting 99% performance of the 16” in a smaller chassis. In fact, you’re getting performance that matches or surpasses the biggest, loudest PC laptops when running plugged in, and you’re getting it in this tiny laptop, on battery power. Of course, leave it to these forums to find ways to be disappointed by that.
Score: 24 Votes (Like | Disagree)
xxray Avatar
34 months ago
The 500 peak nits brightness for SDR content is a bummer. Also, Apple might not have shared any FaceID plans for the future, but you can’t tell me that notch isn’t the perfect placeholder for FaceID to come in future iterations of the MBP.
Score: 15 Votes (Like | Disagree)
adamw Avatar
34 months ago
Waiting for Apple to release the M1 Pro and M1 Max Mac mini and iMac models... Don't need a laptop, so cash is staying in my wallet until Apple releases one or both of these other Mac models.
Score: 12 Votes (Like | Disagree)
jarman92 Avatar
34 months ago

The lack of eGPU support and the subpar performance for even old and well-developed macOS games are going to be a dealbreaker for a lot of people.

Unless you are a content creator there’s precious little usefulness for the M1 pro/max’s GPU performance. I suppose it’s cool marketing to say your SoC’s GPU rivals the teraflop performance of a PS5. Unfortunately, these Macs can’t even run StarCraft 2 well. SC2 is an old game developed natively for Macs by Blizzard, a company known for making polished and high performing mac compatible games. Gaming remains a glaring problem for the Mac.
How do you know what they can and can't run well, when they haven't been released yet?
Score: 10 Votes (Like | Disagree)
jabbr Avatar
34 months ago
Why couldn’t apple bump up SDR brightness to 700+ nits? Would be much better for outdoor viewing
Score: 9 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Blue Sun Avatar
34 months ago

The lack of eGPU support and the subpar performance for even old and well-developed macOS games are going to be a dealbreaker for a lot of people.

Unless you are a content creator there’s precious little usefulness for the M1 pro/max’s GPU performance. I suppose it’s cool marketing to say your SoC’s GPU rivals the teraflop performance of a PS5. Unfortunately, these Macs can’t even run StarCraft 2 well. SC2 is an old game developed natively for Macs by Blizzard, a company known for making polished and high performing mac compatible games. Gaming remains a glaring problem for the Mac.
This is probably an unpopular opinion, but Macs are not built to be gaming machines. They're for productivity. If you want to game buy a gaming laptop, PS5, XSX or build a PC.
Score: 8 Votes (Like | Disagree)