High Power Mode can improve performance for graphics intensive tasks, exclusive to M1 Max on 16-inch MacBook Pro

The efficiency of Apple Silicon allowed Apple to offer the same chip options across the 14-inch and 16-inch MacBook Pro, with the highest-end M1 Pro and M1 Max configs available for both sizes.

However, there is one small difference: High Power Mode is exclusive to the 16-inch model. The larger chassis 16-inch MacBook Pro chassis allows Apple to increase thermal envelope further, enabling the M1 Max to maximize its performance output.

In a support document, the company says that High Power Mode can improve performance for grueling graphics-intensive tasks. High Power Mode effectively allows the fans to run at higher speeds. The better cooling inherent to the larger laptop allows the M1 Max chip to be pushed to the extreme.

However, it doesn’t seem like most people should be too concerned about missing out on some extra juice. The High Power Mode improvement is there, but it is still subtle and specific to select workflows. Firstly, it doesn’t seem like CPU-centric work will benefit. It appears the higher power ceiling is mostly used to drive the 32-core GPU cores at their fullest potential.

For instance, Apple suggests High Power Mode may benefit users doing high bit-rate 8K video color grading. General video exports and 3D apps may also run slightly faster in High Power Mode. Hopefully, we’ll see some in-the-wild testing and benchmarks soon as to how much difference it makes.

Of course, this extra performance boost comes at the cost of additional fan noise and quicker battery drain. (High Power Mode is available when on the go or when connected to a wall charger.)

How to enable High Power Mode on MacBook Pro

  • On a 16-inch MacBook Pro with M1 Max chip, open System Preferences.
  • Open the Battery preference pane.
  • Select the ‘Battery’ or ‘Power Adapter’ option in the sidebar and change the ‘Energy Mode’ setting to ‘High Power’, as appropriate.

In macOS Control Center, you can open the Battery section to see if you are currently running in High Power Mode.

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