💻 Do you need the MacBook Pro M1 Max?

It’s quite a bit of irony. The iPad mini is said to be too slow. Now the M1 Max is said to be too fast.

Naysayers, make up your mind. Pick a trite complaint and stick with it.

For the rest of us, do you need the M1 Max?

Need is a strong word, so it might be a justification.

It’s easy to get carried with new toys. The new machine is faster. It’s the latest. It does more.

The same will be true when new models come out next year and the year after. That’s chasing the dragon.

Let me give a quick story. I paid a significant amount for my current Mac Pro, that was already 4 years old when I got it. As I’ve mentioned it has 2 physical processors for 12 cores, 128GB ram, a 1TB SSD, and originally came with a Titan X 12GB video card. It was a robust machine.

That seems overkill for a QA engineer, but there were no limits to what I could do. To that end, I replicated customer databases on my machine and was able to query for any test data I needed. I parsed multi-gig text files without breaking a sweat. I opened huge spreadsheets that crippled other machines. I pushed our automation to unexpected levels.

Here was the proof of my investment. After having a solid automation suite, there was a need to run a performance test beyond anything we’d done before. The correct process would have involved JMeter, but that would have taken more time and expertise than we had. A clunky, but immediate choice was to use Katalon Studio.

The Mac Pro was pushed to the limit as it ran 50+ instances of Katalon Studio for several hours, generating huge amounts of consistent web traffic.

Turns out we didn’t have to run it for hours. My machine outpaced the server and we proved the issue.

Because of that, and many other results, my career advanced and I was compensated for more than I paid for that machine. It was absolutely worth the price.

I’m still using that machine right now. And I’m still getting results. I still haven’t hit it’s limit.

So, can a new MacBook Pro be justified into your workflow? That depends on several questions.

Are you not doing something today that you will be able to do tomorrow with a new machine?

Does a new machine improve your career trajectory for the future?

Will you save both time and money with a new machine?

Is there a real feature you are missing out on that simply doesn’t run on your current config?

In a year from now, will you be in a significantly improved place because of this upgrade?

The better question to ask, or assessment to make, is will the new MacBook Pro improve your productivity and efficiency in a meaningful way over the next few years?

If you’re getting a new machine to shave 5 minutes off rendering a video, that’s probably not a solid reason.

If you render 10 videos a day, and you save 5 minutes on each one, that’s a more valid reason.

I think the new MacBook Pro and the M1 Max are amazing, and I look forward to getting one. But, the MacBook Pro isn’t for me. My upgrade will come in the form of the next Mac mini, perhaps the Mac Pro mini, if such a thing ever comes into existence.

Depending on how the Mac Pro changes over time, that’s also on the list.

Either way, it will be another significant investment.

It will take a solid machine to be a worthy upgrade to this one, but there is one main factor for upgrading. I’m still on Mojave. I’m on borrowed time. Apps are starting to have 10.14 as the minimum, with plenty showing 11.0. I’m getting shut out.

I don’t need to upgrade because of hardware limits, but software. Apps and the OS are getting further and further away. This machine still has plenty of power and use, and it won’t be completely retired, but an upgrade is coming.

That is my need.

Are you looking to upgrade or are you making an investment?

Maybe I should've written that in a different font.
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