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Video Render Tests on Macbook Pro – M2 Max Chip

By: Mich Donovan

Macbook Pro with M2 Max ChipWith our team due for an upgrade to our video editing workstations, we decided to try out the new MacBook Pro and compare it to our current ~2019 iMacs. Individual specs on each tested computer are listed below:

MacBook Pro Premiere/Final Cut exports tested with
MacBook Pro with M2 Max Chip
Base CPU clock speed – 3.5 GHz
12-Core CPU
38-Core GPU
96GB Unified Memory
16-core Neural Engine

iMac Premiere exports tested with:
iMac (Retina 5K, 27-inch 2019)
Processor – 3.6 GHz 8-Core Intel Core i9
Memory – 64GB 2667 MHz DDR4
Graphics – Radeon Pro 580X 8 GB

iMac Final Cut exports tested with:
iMac (Retina 5k< 27-inch, 2020)
Processor – 3.6 GHz 10-core Intel Core i9
Memory – 64GB 2667 MHz DDR4
Graphics – AMD Radeon Pro 5700 8 GB

Though the difference in RAM makes the comparison a bit apples and oranges, we found the overall performance to be a significant improvement above that caveat. Our primary evaluation criteria was through render times from both Final Cut Pro X and Adobe Premiere Pro..

In each scenario, we exported the same 10-minute long 4K clip to a 1080p file with H.264 codec.

Project file is on an external hard drive
Exporting from FCPX to Desktop
MacBook – 3:23
iMac – 7:12

Exporting from Premiere to Hard Drive
MacBook – 1:31
iMac – 5:25

Project is on the network attached storage
Exporting from FCPX to Desktop
MacBook – 5:57
iMac – 7:12

Exporting from Premiere to NAS
MacBook – 2:10
iMac – 4:04

Taking a look at the Activity Monitor. We found the following difference in CPU/GPU performance while exporting from Premiere on network attached storage:

CPU% average was around 145%
GPU% average was around 85%

CPU% average was around 190%
GPU% average was around 98%


  1. What kind of external drive (SSD I presume) and connection type of external drive (USB C, Tbolt 4, etc.)?

    1. We didn’t have an external SSD available to test with, so instead used a Lacie Mini hard disk with USB 3.0 connection. Not ideal for the fastest possible speeds, but consistent between the testing platforms.

    2. Just a plain old 7200 RPM USB 1.1 hard drive. We’ll be purchasing USB-C hard drives for the Macbook Pros

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