In a recently published YouTube video, renowned tech channel Linus Tech Tips‘s Anthony Young reviewed a number of identical configurations of Apple’s new 2021 MacBook Pro in both the 14″ and 16″ options.
While the video mainly focused on the differences between the 14″ and 16″ variants of the latest MacBook Pro, it happened upon a pretty big win for Apple Silicon.
In Shadow of the Tomb Raider, a triple-A game that runs natively on macOS without the need for a translation layer like Rosetta, the 16″ M1 Max MacBook Pro with a 32-core GPU delivered better performance (90 fps) than the Asus ROG Zephyrus M16 gaming laptop with a dedicated Nvidia RTX 3060 (88 fps).
While gaming still isn’t macOS’s forte, it’s good to see that things have gotten much better with the M1 Pro and M1 Max SoCs.
The top-spec 16″ MacBook Pro also performed 20% better than a 14″ model with identical specifications, which goes to show just how much more thermal headroom and cooling the larger chassis has to offer.
As for the differences between the 14″ and 16″ variants, here are some of the YouTuber’s other observations:
- Performance under sustained workloads is similar on both size options in most cases, and a notable difference isn’t seen until you hit both the CPU and GPU with maximum loads in more than just one application.
- The notch is the same size on the 16″ as it is on the 14″, but it’s markedly less obtrusive on the bigger screen.
- The 16″ has a significantly larger trackpad than its smaller counterpart.
- The 16″ comes with bigger speakers that pump out more bass than the 14″, further improving what Linus Tech Tips already calls “some of the best in the industry.”
- Thanks to its larger chassis and larger cooling solution, the 16″ offers more in terms of heat management. That said, the 14-incher’s performance can be greatly improved by manually controlling the fans, which macOS only runs at 50% even under maximum load, with a third-party application and cranking them up all the way.
According to the YouTube channel, deciding between the 16″ 2021 MacBook Pro and the 14″ mostly comes down to form factor and how big of a screen you want and not performance, since the thermal constraints of the smaller 14″ model’s chassis rarely come into play under typical conditions.