Apple Announces The M1 Pro / M1 Max, Asahi Linux Starts Eyeing Their Bring-Up
While the Apple M1 was already well regarded for its speed, the M1 Pro and M1 Max are said to deliver up to 70% faster CPU performance than last year's M1. Meanwhile the GPU within the M1 Pro is up to 2x faster than the M1 while the M1 Max's GPU is said to be 4x faster.
Apple's unified memory design is still on the SoC and the M1 Pro offers up to 200GB/s of memory bandwidth while the M1 Max offers up to 400GB/s of memory bandwidth and capacities up to 64GB.
These new Apple SoCs also feature a new display engine and with the 10-core layout is a mix of eight performance cores and two high efficiency cores. There is also a 16-core Neural Engine, Thunderbolt 4 controller, custom image signal processor, and other enhancements.
More details for those interested at Apple.com.
Meanwhile the Asahi Linux crew is preparing for their eventual bring-up of the new hardware. They have pre-ordered the M1 Pro MacBook Pro model and will be procuring the M1 Max model too.
The hope is that the Linux bring-up won't be too fundamentally different from the still-maturing Apple M1 support for Linux. At least with the M1 Apple evolved the SoC design from their earlier SoCs and ideally didn't make any radical changes for the M1 Pro and M1 Max. Granted, even for the original M1 support from last year the various driver changes are still working their way to the mainline kernel. A bulk of that work is in mainline or pending now -- with the relevant patches, the support is currently usable as a basic desktop albeit without GPU acceleration. The huge obstacle still being tackled is the Apple M1 accelerated graphics support with there being some working code but still a long road before having full-featured display capabilities and capable OpenGL/Vulkan support good enough for gaming and making full use of the Apple Silicon.