An apple ARM-based Silicon chips are powerful and efficient, but what if you need extra grunt and don’t mind sacrificing battery life or power consumption? Apple has a solution for that called High Power Mode.
What chips support high power mode?
As of this writing in October 2021, only the M1 Max chip has been in operation 2021 MacBook Pro 16-inch Supports high power mode. Even if you configure a 14-inch model with the more powerful M1 Max chip, you won’t be able to take advantage of the high power mode right now.
Apple’s justification for this is likely heat production. Since the high power mode allows the M1 Max to operate under a higher load for longer, reviewers have noted that the chassis is noticeably hotter than if the mode was not turned on.
The larger 16-inch chassis should allow more airflow and provide more bare metal to act as a heatsink, resulting in better heat dissipation.
With high power mode
2021 MacBook Pro (16-inch) with M1 Max
Only 16-inch MacBook Pro with M1 Max includes High Power Mode. The 16-inch model with the M1 Pro doesn’t, nor does the 14-inch MacBook Pro with the M1 Max.
High power mode is reserved for required operations
It’s not necessarily possible to “force” High Power Mode in macOS, but there is a toggle within System Preferences that gives your Mac the freedom to act when needed.
While you’re plugged into the wall, you’ll find the option under Battery > Power Adapter > Power Mode, or if you’re using battery power, you’ll find it under Battery > Battery > Power Mode. Move the toggle button to “High Power” to let the High Power Mode do its work.
macOS will require additional power under intense workloads. little apple in internal document High Power Mode provides “ultra-performance” with 8K ProRes video color grading as a potential use case.
The truth is, unless you’re doing serious video processing or 3D rendering, you likely won’t encounter any situations that require high power mode. Unless you can think about the workflow you’re using that could be causing an explosion of fan noise, you probably shouldn’t base your buying decision around high power mode.
In one example proof By YouTube commentator Dave Tong, Adobe Premiere Pro exported for 19 minutes and took 7 minutes and 18 seconds, seeing a drop of just 16 seconds in high power mode.
Related: What is the difference between Apple’s M1, M1 Pro and M1 Max?
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