Apple, coming “Pro mode” to speed up Macs

Apple is developing a Pro mode to temporarily boost Mac performance. Here's how it works

Among the most appreciated qualities of the recent Apple MacBooks there is the quietness: even under continuous stress, in fact, the noise of the fans is never too high and annoying. All this could end soon, and most likely users will be pleased.

The online newspaper 9to5Mac has in fact found between the lines of the code of macOS Catalina 10.15.3 beta a new setting called "Pro Mode". According to what we read in the same notes accompanying the code, the Pro Mode would raise the limit of revolutions that fans can reach, to maximize the cooling of electronics (CPU and GPU in primis) at the expense of acoustic comfort. This, at least in theory, should allow users to enjoy more performance. Or, rather, a longer time during which your Mac can work at maximum performance.

How the Pro Mode works

For what little has been discovered so far, it would seem that the Pro Mode acts only on the speed of the fans. No "overclocking" of the processor, to be clear. But indirectly, letting the fans run at full speed for longer has a positive effect on performance. All modern processors, both GPUs and CPUs, have internal mechanisms of "thermal throttling", i.e. thermal limitation: when the temperature of the processor rises too much, to prevent damage is reduced the working frequency. So a CPU/GPU can work at maximum power until it doesn't overheat too much, at which point it will be automatically "braked". Increasing the power of the cooling fans, therefore, also means moving away from the moment when thermal throttling kicks in and, consequently, being able to exploit maximum performance for longer.

Which Macs will have Pro Mode

It is not yet clear which Macs will be able to take advantage of Pro Mode. Code comments state that this feature "may make apps faster, but may reduce battery life and increase noise." This suggests that Pro Mode will be coming to MacBooks. But at the same time, MacRumors reports that it has received information from anonymous sources about Pro Mode coming to Mac Pros. For sure, the latest Mac Pros are very quiet and, just as sure, there has been at least since 2016 a strong debate on the forums about thermal throttling on Mac Pros.