As the M2 emerges, I bought M1 instead

here is why

picture from Apple.com

My daily usage

I mainly use Windows as an Data Analyst because the most needed apps are only on Windows such as Microsoft Power BI and Tableau. But I get stuck on when it comes to productivity. Windows makes me easily distracted to play games. It’s totally my fault, but how can I resist if I know that my laptop is able to play tons of games. On the other hand, when I’m on MacOS, playing preferred games are limited. Not every games supported MacOS. I can forget about the game and focus more on to work with MacOS.

  • My life depends on Anaconda and VS Code
  • Photoshop sometimes
  • Video editing sometimes, but mostly done on iPad Pro
  • Blogging, take note of everything in my life using Roam Research and Notion on Web Browser
  • I am superuser who prefer typing on powershell (or terminal) rather than moving mouse around, I can use Linux and totally fine with Vim

Looking at M2, what’s different from M1?

picture from Apple Keynotes

A bit faster

I choose the word ‘a bit’ because just Apple-side claims that M2 is faster. But on which standard? — Apple Standards. They are not telling the whole truth about their product like how much RAM on iPad Pro. When they claim 18% faster, they might tested on some light-loaded apps and calculate the average, statistically bias.

More GPU core but still not support many games as it should be

If I want to play games, I would go for Intel I5 loaded with 32GB RAM, and heavyweight Graphic Card like GeForce GTX 3080, not M2 nor M1.

M2 has 8-core GPU over M1’s 7-core.
Price difference: $US200

There is a benefit when I do run some Machine Learning Algorithms. Comparing to GeForce MX250 I’ve had, M1 is 40x faster, M2 is just 41x faster. I choose to save $US200 for more RAM instead of just a bit faster.

picture from Apple Keynotes

2 more high-efficiency cores

Basically, it faster if the daily usage is just web browsing, not data analytics.
Data Analyst tends to depend on RAM and GPU which M2 is not different against M1.

picture from Apple Keynotes

Additional Media engine

As stated above, I’m using iPad Pro for Video Editing with A12X chip, it’s fast enough for amateur like me. Even I use photoshop doing 200+ layers graphic, this media engine is not care to involve.

If you are the guy that required less time for video processing, M1 Pro or M1 Max is more suitable for you right now. Simply because most of video editing apps optimized to use GPU, not media engine right now.

M1 Pro comes with starting 14-core GPU, customizable up to 16-core.
M1 Max comes with starting 24-core GPU, customizable up to 32-core.
M2 comes with starting 8-core GPU, customizable up to 10-core.

picture from Apple Keynotes

40% better in neural processing

Well, I’m not in level that use neural processing a lot. It doesn’t matter for me even it’s 400% better.

So, what really matter for me?

  • 7-core GPU on M1 is fast enough to handle Jupyter notebook for data analyst and data visualization.
  • 16GB of RAM for web browsing, I’m not that kind of people who opens 20+ tabs on Chrome, 10 tabs is enough for me.
  • 512GB Storage is fine. Majority of files I keep on the cloud. I have 1TB Onedrive by Microsoft 365 subscription, and going to have 50GB more for Apple One subscription.
  • Up to 18 hrs battery life, both M1 and M2 claim the same number.
  • Charging with USB-C, this one is crucial. Among the accessories I put in my bag to live along the day including a 3-port 65w usb charger pd for charging S21, iPad Pro, and upcoming Macbook Air. It’s painful when I have to bring power adapter for Asus ZenBook everywhere I go. And the battery decrease dramatically with life span. As I live with 3 Asus adapter placing on all my working desk at my three houses, so I’m able the plug-in this thing all the time.
  • 720p face camera is fine for me.
  • Lightness.

I’m still waiting for the day that Macbook Air to support FaceID. Windows can do Facial Login right now, but Mac still on hold with no expectation to be released.

In the near future, late 2022 or early 2023, I expect to see M2 Pro and M2 Max with the same old GPU options. Basically, we will not see any amazing innovation for 2–3 years after this. M1 Macbook Air is worth to invest.

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Thongchan Thananate

Thongchan Thananate

People might laugh at it or call it foolish logic, but that’s enough for me. That’s what romanticism is about!