Why is it important: When Apple announced the M1 Pro and M1 Max-based MacBook Pro, it made a number of claims about the performance of the new chipsets compared to existing solutions from the PC world. As new devices fall into the hands of more and more people, these claims are verified one by one in various tests. The most impressive discovery to date is that Apple has succeeded in creating energy-efficient mobile chips that can compete with workstation-class hardware for certain performance tasks.
The Apple M1 Max chipset has already proven itself in Adobe Premiere Pro, where it scored more points than 11th Gen Intel processors paired with Nvidia RTX 3000 series notebook GPUs. It’s no small feat, especially since it requires much less power. than these settings.
Affinity Photo lead developer Andy Somerfield was curious about what the new SoC was capable of, so he created a series of tests to validate its GPU. Somerfield also wrote Twitter thread where he details how the Affinity team has progressively built GPU support into application architecture over the past 12 years.
Somerfiled made sure there was no single measure of GPU performance, so the benchmarks he observed can only be seen as an indication of how well Affinity Photo will perform on Apple’s latest crystal. The best GPU for software like Affinity Photo and Affinity Designer will be one that has high computational performance, fast internal bandwidth, and fast on-chip and off-chip transfers.
The fastest GPU previously tested by the Affinity team was the AMD Radeon Pro W6900X, which Apple sells as an MPX module for the Mac Pro and coincidentally costs the same as a fully-loaded 14-inch MacBook Pro. It turns out the M1 Max outperforms it in all Affinity benchmarks, despite only having 400GB / s of memory bandwidth shared with the CPU, neural engine, and media engine. By comparison, the Radeon Pro W6900X has 32GB of GDDR6 memory, which can provide up to 512GB / s of memory bandwidth.
The only result where the Radeon Pro W6900X comes close to the M1 Max is in the Raster (Single GPU) test, in which it scored 32,580 points, while the Apple chipset stretches that value to 32,891 points. It’s also worth noting that the AMD card can draw up to 300W of power, while the M1 Max draws significantly less in all scenarios.
Overall, Apple’s latest chip appears to be built for power users and builds on the solid foundation of the M1 chipset. The only workload that the M1 Pro and M1 Max don’t seem to do well is gaming, with the former being slower than an Nvidia RTX 3060 laptop GPU and the latter easily outperforming an RTX 3080 or AMD Radeon 6800M laptop GPU. …
This shouldn’t come as a surprise, of course, since Mac is not the most popular platform for gamers. If you’re looking for a detailed analysis of Apple’s new chips, AnandTech’s Andrei Frumusanu has excellent spelling…