MacBook Air vs. Pro

I’ve searched through the forum threads on the MacBook Air and Pro laptops and the M1 Pro/Max and M2 processors, and while they contain useful information, there is an issue I can’t work out from those threads, and I hope somebody here can provide some insight. To what degree does Dorico leverage the extra juice in the Pro/Max processors in the Pro laptops? Benchmarks from e.g. Ars Technica describe how the base M1/M2 are more or less as fast as the Pro/Max versions, except under serious multi-core use. And even then things are about the same, except when serious workloads (high-end video editing is the typical example) cause the Pro laptop’s fan to kick in—only at that point do the Pro laptops outperform the Air substantially (I think I have understood this all correctly).

So my question is: does Dorico put the M1/2 under enough strain that a user would benefit from the active cooling system in a MacBook Pro laptop? Or is Dorico’s performance “same-enough” under the passive, fan-less M2 MacBook Air laptops?

I doubt there would be much of a difference in performance. I do not believe Dorico would be taxing enough to benefit too much from the active cooling. I haven’t run Dorico on both to find out for sure, so if someone has, they would be able to give better input because it is difficult to say for sure without actually testing side by side. But if I had to guess, I would guess they would be “same-enough” as you said.

There’s another thread here on the MBAir M2 but I’m just catching up after being gone for a few days.
I’ve just received my MBAir M2 and have put it through some paces. A full 30 minute orchestral piece using note performer (in Rosetta–looking forward to NP4).
I kept checking for any heat underneath and have found nothing discernible or any throttling that I’m aware of.
It’s zippy. All my peripherals (with a hub) including MIDI keyboard work well. I’m happy with the purchase.


Thank you for this information. Also relevant is RAM, the new ones have the 24GB option.
Are there moments where many instruments are playing, where the CPU would be taxed? I would think using Halion and various other VSTs, sample libraries etc. would add more as NotePerformer seems quite efficient.
Other factors affecting processor would be in editing - condensing, many layouts, flows, switching between parts and full score and so on.
Did you notice any problems with editing? I would hope the MBA-M2 would cope with “reasonably” complex scores, creation/playing.

Related: Another thread about why is Dorico so slow

Haven’t noticed any problems editing. It’s certainly faster than my seven year old intel MBP but it’s not instantaneous.

Just an update for anyone curious. I just updated my MacBook Air M2 to Ventura and it’s now running 15 degrees cooler than it was under Monterey which was already running safely cool.