Moving from the X1 Carbon 9th Gen running Fedora to a Macbook Pro 14 with M2 Pro

11 Jan 2024 • Reviews

As I will be going to the US for a few months this year, I knew I would not be able to take a huge Desktop PC with me. Hence, I started researching for solutions.

The MacBook Pro 14 with M2 Pro seemed like a good fit. It is a very powerful machine with great battery life, and given that the successor with the M3 Pro is already out, it was possible to get a good deal on the M2 Pro.

Shortly before Christmas, I discovered a relatively reasonably priced MacBook Pro M2. I have been thinking about moving to a MacBook for quite some time now as it: - Offers a UNIX-like philosophy, so little mental changes relative to Linux. - Has highly competitive hardware and battery life. - Just works (mostly).

Hence, when I saw an offer for around 2000 CHF for a MacBook Pro 14 with M2 Pro, 32GB RAM, and 1TB SSD, I decided to go for it.

I have been using it for a few weeks now and wanted to retroactively document my experience.

The Good

Performance is outstanding. Not only is the device really fast (see more details below), but also the fan is very quiet. Only when really stressing the device does the fan become audible. But it really takes a lot to make them spin up. The thermal management by Apple on this device is really impressive.

Tightly coupled to performance is battery life. It blows my previous X1 Carbon out of the water. I can easily get 10 hours of battery life with my normal to heavy workload (i.e., multiple browser tabs, multiple terminals, docker containers running, Spotify running, etc.).

I have it set such that when I am not connected to power, the device switches to battery saving mode. Even though there is a difference on paper (see below), I have not noticed any difference in daily use. The device is still blazing fast.

The touchpad is miles ahead of any competing offering using Linux. I have been an avid mouse user and tried to avoid touchpads, however since I got the MacBook, I have been using them all the time. The only problem is that after a day of heavy touchpad usage, I can definitely feel it in my wrist.

The Not So Good

I cannot say much about the hardware of the machine. Obviously, it is not as sturdy as my Lenovo. Unfortunately, I also managed to get a first scratch into the aluminum of the cover.

The keyboard is way better than expected. I was very worried about the low travel, but it turns out to work quite well. Nevertheless, I still prefer my mechanical keyboard at home, and the X1 Carbon had a vastly superior keyboard.

My main complaint is about macOS. Given I have a Swiss keyboard, I immediately had to install Karabiner-Elements to map certain keys (such as the different brackets) back to their “normal” position.

Window management without a tool such as Rectangle is severely lacking. However, in Apple’s defense, it could also be me who did not understand their utterly genius window management system (i.e., either full screen or a mess).

My biggest complaint here is by far that macOS provides no way of programmatically moving active windows between virtual workspaces, which Gnome with its Ctrl-Alt-Shift-Arrow keys has nearly perfected (at least for me). Very often I find myself using the touchpad, which is quite tedious.

Last but not least, I am quite disappointed by Finder. Getting paths in Finder required quite some searching on the web. Connecting to servers is very limited. I used to be able to navigate the ETH high-performance cluster from Nautilus on Linux, however, to do the same on macOS, I had to install Cyberduck. Also, I did not find a way yet to quickly open a terminal in a remote folder.

Comparison to My Desktop and My Previous Laptop (X1 Carbon 9th Gen)

In the following, I have compared three devices:

  1. New MacBook Pro 14 with M2 Pro and 32GB RAM
  2. X1 Carbon 9th Gen running Fedora 39 with i7-1165G7 and 32GB RAM
  3. Desktop with i7-12700K and 70GB RAM running Linux Mint 21.2

Here you can see Geekbench 6 results:

MacBook Pro 14 M2 Pro 32GBPerformance Mode & Plugged In265312353Link
MacBook Pro 14 M2 Pro 32GBBattery Saver Mode & Unplugged17519701Link
X1 Carbon 9th Gen i7-1165G7 32GB Fedora 39Performance Mode & Plugged In20807057Link
X1 Carbon 9th Gen i7-1165G7 32GB Fedora 39Balanced Mode & Unplugged21066670Link
Desktop (i7-12700K and 70GB RAM) Linux Mint 21.2Normal268712033Link

Interestingly, Linux did not really throttle the X1 Carbon when unplugged. Nevertheless, the MacBook Pro 14 with M2 Pro is pretty much on par with the Desktop. This might not sound too impressive, but taking into account that the MacBook’s fans were not audible during the test compared to the X1 Carbon, which sounds like a jet engine when opening a browser tab, I am very impressed.

Further, I am also quite shocked to see that the MacBook Pro M2 Pro’s performance is on par with the Desktop (especially as the Desktop has a completely different power envelope).


Even though once in a while I am quite annoyed by macOS’ quirks, I am more than happy with it. I can run all the software and simulations I need directly on the computer while having outstanding battery life.

I think that at some point I will definitely be trying out Asahi Linux. Having the power and freedom of Linux combined with this nearly flawless hardware would make this device even better.

Have any feedback?

Please feel free to send me a mail! I would love to hear from you.