When Apple first unveiled the new MacBook Pro earlier this week, some users were surprised by a supposed downgrade in the specs of the media engine. While the M1 Max was always listed as having two encode and decode engines, the spec sheet for the M2 Max was only listed as having one. This page has since been updated to reflect to reality of the machine.
Apple’s initial press release always listed the M2 Max chip as having two ProRes Encode/Decode engines, and it was only the specs page for the 14-inch MacBook Pro that showed the M2 Max chip as having one.
The media engine section of that page has since been updated, listing two video encode engines and two ProRes encode and decode engines. This hardware-based encoding is much faster and more efficient than any software, CPU-based rendering of videos. While an average consumer may not notice much difference with the extra encode engines, the change will be particularly noticeable for video editors, who often work with multiple video files at once and professional codecs such as ProRes and ProRes raw. The clarification of this upgrade over the M2 Pro likely makes the M2 Max chip a worthwhile upgrade for many when configuring machines.
While the new 14- and 16-inch MacBook Pros look the same on the outsides, the improved media engine is only a small part of the upgrades this generation of Apple notebook saw. The M2 Pro and M2 Max chips have more CPU and GPU cores, for improved multicore performance, and the MagSafe cables are color-matched to their devices – a nice improvement for aesthetically minded individuals.
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