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2022 MacBook Pro M2 Max: Recommended Models and Accessories

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Consult with Lloyd, to design a complete system for photography or similar including backup and data safety

MPG tested the Apple 16.2" MacBook Pro with M2 Max Chip Z1740017Z, maxed-out excepting 4TB SSD.

Consult with Lloyd to design a complete system for photography or similar including backup and data safety.

2022 MacBook Pro M2 Max

2022 MacBook Pro M2 Max — Conclusion

Incredible performance from the 2022 MacBook Pro M2 Max!

A laptop leaving the fasted Intel-based iMac 5K systems well behind on most tests, and losing out to the 28-core 2019 Mac Pro only when all those CPU cores can be fully utilized, and only modestly.

Only two tests fail to impress:

  • Poor cryptographic hashing speed. This might never improve, the difference stemming from special hardware support in Intel chips that makes them about twice as fast for hashing operations. It appears that Apple Silicon lacks such specialized instructions. UPDATE: erroneous assumption; Java 21 quadruples the hashing speed and it is now twice as fast as on Intel.
  • Photoshop scripting—something is “wrong” with the performance when using javascript to script Photoshop. It might be a security bug in macOS that continually harasses the scripting code for poor performance.

The last issues is the most-important (frequency + time used) thing I do for my photography work, so that is rather ironic.

vs M1 Max

The M2 Max and M1 Max both have 8 performance cores, with M2 Max having 4 efficiency cores and M1 Max having 2 efficiency cores. EG 8+4 vs 8+2.

Overall, the M2 Max chip delivers about 20% faster performance than the M1 Max models. But this can range from 7% (or less) to 43% slower, depending on the task.

As this was updated, the M1 Max models were discounted up to 30% for savings up to $1900 on maxed-out models. For the true power user, fastest is best regardless of cost, but for those of us with a budget, saving that kind of money particularly on a secondary computer might make a lot of sense, which is why I (MPG Lloyd) bought the M1 Max.

Which model?

This work is not free; it is very time consuming with no direct reward. I need your support. Thank you for buying your Macs and other gear at B&H Photo, which provided the machine for testing. Subscribing to my photographic publications is another way to help support work like this—consider that AppleCare alone is $350 on $4000 to $7000 machine.

Clearly the 2022 MacBook Pro M2 Max is a better performer than the 2021 MacBook Pro M1 Max, but only marginally so. Other new features aside, a 2021 MacBook Pro M1 Max discounted by 15% offers better price-performance value.

For those not too price conscious: max-out everything, then choose the appropriate size SSD. It is hard to go wrong with a 4TB SSD, and for many users 8TB SSD will be overkill. Strictly avoid a too-small SSD eg 2TB minimum.

For professional use, MPG advises the M2 Max chip with a minimum of 64GB memory, 4TB SSD (internal flash drive). The 38 vs 30 core GPU is not very important for most uses, but in context might as well.

Prioritize 64GB or 96GB memory if there is any chance that 32GB might not suffice (eg photography or video work). Nothing else will matter as much if memory is too low.

View: current Mac wishlist and all current OWC wishlists.

See the 2022 MacBook Pro M2 Max models at B&H Photo. B&H Photo Payboo pays sale tax for most states.

CLICK TO VIEW: Recommended MacBook Pro Configurations

Backup, peripherals, etc

Budget for peripherals. Also for AppleCare, given the pathetic 1-year warranty.

Memory UpgradesExternal SSDInternal SSDExternal StorageHard DrivesPort ExpansionCables

Backup

Everyone should have an absolute minimum of two backups drives and preferably four: two always-attached, and two offsite. Single drives are best for offsite backup (separable and multiply redundant on power supply).

The OWC Thunderbay 4 makes an excellent “always attached” backup unit for Time Machine and clones spread across its 4 drives (use the drives individually, not RAID).

See the OWC storage wishlist.

Primary storage

Most photographers are going to need large storage like the OWC Thunderbay 4 or OWC Thunderbay 8.

See the OWC storage wishlist.

Port expansion

To attach Mini DisplayPort display, the OWC Thunderbolt 3 Dock is best.

See the OWC port expansion wishlist.

See also OWC Offers Dual DisplayPort and dual HDMI Adapter for Thunderbolt 3 Macs or PCs.

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