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MacBook Pro 16-inch with M1X could be a performance monster: Here's why

MacBook Pro 16-inch back
(Image credit: Laptop Mag)

The reception for the new MacBook Air (M1, 2020) and the MacBook Pro 13-inch (M1, 2020) has been almost unanimously positive with our own reviewers giving these laptops both near-perfect marks and Editor's Choice awards.

However, there are users that need more and there is good news on that front from LeaksApplePro, a leaker with a reasonable track record, who claims an Apple M1X chip is coming to the MacBook Pro 16-inch in 2021 with some upgrades to the Apple M1 (via TechRadar).

Apple MacBook Pro 13" (M1/8GB/256GB): was $1,299 now $1,249 @ Amazon

Apple MacBook Pro 13" (M1/8GB/256GB): was $1,299 now $1,249 @ Amazon
This Black Friday deal from Amazon takes $50 off the new MacBook Pro. We tested this laptop and gave it the Editor's Choice award for its stellar overall and gaming performance. It packs a 13-inch display, Apple's new M1 chip, 8GB of RAM, and a 256GB SSD.

This isn't the first time we're hearing of a higher-end version of the M1; a 12 core version of the M1 was part of a roadmap that leaked ahead of Apple's launch event in November. It was said at the time this would include eight high-performance cores and four high-efficiency cores, which mirrors what we've seen in the iPad Pro variants of Apple's A-series chips.

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So the name Apple M1X is potentially news, but LeaksApplePro indicates it isn't final, although it's certainly a reasonable guess and aligns with the previous rumors that had suggested the first laptop chips would go by A14X.

The other piece is an alleged statement from someone that used the prototype: "If you think M1 is fast, you haven't seen M1X." It's difficult to know how much of a difference this is going to make, looking at the iPad Pro vs. iPad Air 4, the performance is currently quite close despite the fact that the iPad Pro is using a now two-generation old A12z processor and it still wins on GPU performance benchmarks.

The new iPad Pros should arrive ahead of the MacBook Pro 16-inch with M1X, so we will start to have a better idea of how much of a leap we'll see assuming the forthcoming iPad Pro uses a modified 12-core Apple A-series. 

With the new MacBook Pro with M1 already edging out the MacBook Pro 16-inch (2019) on some benchmarks, like our Handbrake transcoding test, it stands to reason that a new M1X-powered MacBook Pro 16-inch may indeed blow minds. 

The most recent rumors still point to the MacBook Pro 16-inch (and a 14-inch variant) not arriving until mid-2021, so, unfortunately, we still have some time to wait. But with rumors also pointing to a true redesign of the laptop along with the addition of miniLED displays, it sounds like they could be well worth the wait.

Sean Riley

Sean Riley has been covering tech professionally for over a decade now. Most of that time was as a freelancer covering varied topics including phones, wearables, tablets, smart home devices, laptops, AR, VR, mobile payments, fintech, and more.  Sean is the resident mobile expert at Laptop Mag, specializing in phones and wearables, you'll find plenty of news, reviews, how-to, and opinion pieces on these subjects from him here. But Laptop Mag has also proven a perfect fit for that broad range of interests with reviews and news on the latest laptops, VR games, and computer accessories along with coverage on everything from NFTs to cybersecurity and more.