New MacBook Pro chips deliver desktop performance with better power efficiency

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in Current Mac Hardware
Apple's new M1 Pro and M1 Max chips in the MacBook Pro have reached new heights in terms of performance and power efficiency, according to an in-depth analysis and review of the silicon.

Credit: AppleInsider
Credit: AppleInsider


The upgraded Apple Silicon chips, which power the recently announced 14-inch MacBook Pro and 16-inch MacBook Pro, are updates on the M1 platform that bring a host of pro-focused changes and improvements.

Ahead of the Tuesday launch of the new MacBook Pro models, AnandTech has published their in-depth breakdown of the new system-of-chips.

The M1 Pro is a 10-core chip that features increased memory bandwidth and interfaces, and AnandTech notes that it's been designed from the ground up to feature more performance for professional users. The M1 Max is "essentially identical," except for the massive 32-core GPU.

AnandTech highlighted the "huge memory bandwidth" of the new chips, as also pointed out the fact that both chips are well ahead of the competition in terms of power draw and efficiency.

As far as CPU performance, AnandTech notes that Apple hasn't talked much about increased CPU performance, which is likely because not much has changed from the M1. Despite that, the M1 Max still lands as the top-performing laptop chips in AnandTech's ranking. It ranked below the AMD Risen 5950X as far as best overall CPU, but by a close margin.

The site calls the M1 Max's CPU multi-thread performance "a real monster." AnandTech says it's never seen such a design before, but that the M1 Pro and M1 Max will likely "vastly outperform" any other system out there for content creation and productivity tasks like video editing, audio mastering, or code compiling.

As far as GPU performance, the M1 Pro and M1 Max "should prove very welcome" because of significant real-world gains to graphical processing power. "There is a massive amount of pixel pushing power available in these SoCs, so long as you have the workload required to put it to good use," the site wrote. It did note that gaming is a poorer experience overall compared to similar Windows systems.

All in all, AnandTech concluded that the new MacBook Pro models are tailor-made for the specific workflows and use cases in which Macs shine. They will likely be the best laptops for those jobs on the market, the site added.

"The combination of raw performance, unique acceleration, as well as sheer power efficiency, is something that you just cannot find in any other platform right now, likely making the new MacBook Pro's not just the best laptops, but outright the very best devices for the task," the site wrote.

Read on AppleInsider
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 23
    BosaBosa Posts: 73member
    It’s incredible! More efficient than I imagined. Apple has out did itself with these new laptops!

    cannot wait for my 16 M1 Max!!
    edited October 25 viclauyyc
  • Reply 2 of 23
    BeatsBeats Posts: 2,634member
    Windows is still better for gaming? Why can’t Apple tackle gaming??
    williamlondonnarwhal
  • Reply 3 of 23
    Is M1 Max chip physically larger than M1 Pro? 
  • Reply 4 of 23
    KITAKITA Posts: 382member
    Beats said:
    Windows is still better for gaming? Why can’t Apple tackle gaming??
    macOS has essentially no market share or ecosystem in this area compared to Windows.

    Windows devices are still better in the vast majority of workflows and applications, most of that is due to the fact that the applications needed for these workflows just don't exist on macOS.

    If you're going to buy one of these new MacBook Pro laptops, you're probably doing it for something like Final Cut Pro or similar. Even Premiere Pro might still be faster on a Windows laptop.

    These are very specific workflows that Apple is targeting, but they're doing an exceptional job at it.

    I think Dave Lee put it well, the new MacBook Pros are professional tools and they're expensive. Similar to the Mac Pro, unless you have a very specific workflow, you don't need it. 
    muthuk_vanalingamviclauyyc
  • Reply 5 of 23
    The last question, then, is what happens with the true desktop systems next year? I have some thoughts which I’ll post later when I have more time, but I thought I’d ask the question first… 
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 6 of 23
    canukstormcanukstorm Posts: 2,557member
    KITA said:
    Beats said:
    Windows is still better for gaming? Why can’t Apple tackle gaming??
    macOS has essentially no market share or ecosystem in this area compared to Windows.

    Windows devices are still better in the vast majority of workflows and applications, most of that is due to the fact that the applications needed for these workflows just don't exist on macOS.

    If you're going to buy one of these new MacBook Pro laptops, you're probably doing it for something like Final Cut Pro or similar. Even Premiere Pro might still be faster on a Windows laptop.

    These are very specific workflows that Apple is targeting, but they're doing an exceptional job at it.

    I think Dave Lee put it well, the new MacBook Pros are professional tools and they're expensive. Similar to the Mac Pro, unless you have a very specific workflow, you don't need it. 
    You are right that Apple is targeting a very specific market with this: software developers and creative professionals. But other than gaming there isn't really a workflow that Windows can do that macOS can't.
    narwhaladerutterJSR_FDEDwatto_cobra
  • Reply 7 of 23
    blastdoorblastdoor Posts: 2,482member
    Beats said:
    Windows is still better for gaming? Why can’t Apple tackle gaming??
    Maybe they're about to? 

    A challenge for gaming on the Mac has long been that the vast majority of Macs sold are laptops, and the vast majority of those laptops had crappy (for gaming) GPUs. Another challenge (pre-Metal) was a lack of software coherence. 

    Until those two technological problems could be solved, there probably wasn't much point trying to tackle the big problem of developer interest. 

    It's taken a *long* time, but now the technological problems appear solved. The vast majority of Macs being sold by Apple today have the hardware and software capacity to be good gaming computers. If Apple were to ever want to address the issue of game availability, this is the context in which to do it. Fingers crossed!
    tenthousandthingsviclauyycJSR_FDEDwatto_cobra
  • Reply 8 of 23
    KITA said:
    Beats said:
    Windows is still better for gaming? Why can’t Apple tackle gaming??
    macOS has essentially no market share or ecosystem in this area compared to Windows.

    Windows devices are still better in the vast majority of workflows and applications, most of that is due to the fact that the applications needed for these workflows just don't exist on macOS.

    If you're going to buy one of these new MacBook Pro laptops, you're probably doing it for something like Final Cut Pro or similar. Even Premiere Pro might still be faster on a Windows laptop.

    These are very specific workflows that Apple is targeting, but they're doing an exceptional job at it.

    I think Dave Lee put it well, the new MacBook Pros are professional tools and they're expensive. Similar to the Mac Pro, unless you have a very specific workflow, you don't need it. 
    Coding for MacOS is completely different from WindowsOS. A software company has to devote two teams for the same application. Most of them choose not to do so. 
    viclauyycJSR_FDED
  • Reply 9 of 23
    Is M1 Max chip physically larger than M1 Pro? 
    Yes, it has far more transistors.

    But, the chip itself doesn’t do more than be a partial determinant of the size of the package, which also includes the RAM, which are in separate chips on the same package.

    In theory, both M1 Pro and M1 Max chips could be put on silicon with the same size and shape, but defects would have a larger impact on yield and drive up costs of the M1 Pro. 

    For manufacturing, it’s likely easier and less expensive to make the exterior package with the chips be the same size and layout so only one motherboard is required, as well as simplifying cooling.
    williamlondonwatto_cobra
  • Reply 10 of 23
    sflocalsflocal Posts: 5,816member
    Is M1 Max chip physically larger than M1 Pro? 
    Yes.  Quite a bit larger.



    muthuk_vanalingamwatto_cobra
  • Reply 11 of 23
    MarvinMarvin Posts: 14,612moderator
    Beats said:
    Windows is still better for gaming? Why can’t Apple tackle gaming??
    Macs don't have to be the fastest for graphics, the performance here is around an Nvidia 3060, which is expected as the hardware spec is in the same class and this is all it needs to be in a laptop:

    https://www.notebookcheck.net/NVIDIA-GeForce-RTX-3060-Mobile-GPU-Benchmarks-and-Specs.497453.0.html

    This is the level most gaming computers are at and handles 1080p gaming at highest quality in almost every available game. This is pretty much PS5 level and can give very high quality output:





    The M1 Max Macbook Pro is the most power efficient high-end gaming laptop. It's the software side that has always suffered with lack of games, poor ports etc. These Anandtech tests use the Rosetta versions of x86 games. Some overhead is ok though, the main thing is compatibility. For games that are over 3 years old, they can be handled with a compatibility library. For newer games, a lot of them are using DirectX 12, which isn't supported on Mac with the compatibility libraries.

    https://www.pcgamingwiki.com/wiki/List_of_DirectX_12_games

    Assassin's Creed Valhalla, Battlefield 2042, Black Ops Cold War, Call of Duty Vanguard, Cyberpunk, Death Stranding, Far Cry 6, Forza 3/4/5, Gears of War, Halo, Hitman 3, Horizon Zero Dawn, Red Dead Redemption 2, Resident Evil Village would need ports.

    They run on PS4/5 without DirectX 12 so the developers have ported to the PS5 APIs and that's because the platform has a significant volume of gamers.

    https://www.vgchartz.com/article/450848/ps5-vs-xbox-series-xs-vs-switch-sales-comparison-charts-through-september-18/

    PS4 - 116m, PS5 - 11m
    XBox One - 50m, XBox Series X - 7m
    Switch - 91m

    Apple would either have to build that size of gaming audience (just now Mac gamers would be around 2 million and mostly involved with casual gaming like The Sims), which wouldn't happen quickly, or they have to make the games as easy to port as possible and they so far have been doing the opposite. What would be useful to a lot of game developers is a translation layer that games build on top of. This is what the game engines do but for big AAA publishers, they often use custom engines so a code translation layer would help them port to other platforms. This is what Apple is trying to do with Web GPU to allow browsers to run the same code but target different lower level APIs like DirectX, Metal, Vulkan etc.

    Porting to Metal manually is a no go for a lot of developers and we can see this from how long it took to port Redshift. They need better tools to make this process as easy as possible. Aspyr/Feral probably have tools to help with this.

    If Apple wants to sort gaming out, they'd need to do a few things. Firstly get a compatibility layer up and running for older games, that should cover the majority of games 3 or more years old. For newer games, either commission ports from Aspyr/Feral/publishers or bring some of those in-house and make porting tools available. They can sort the situation out quite quickly but it seems that they just don't want to get involved. Valve has said this in the past:

    http://archive.videogamesdaily.com/features/gabenewell_valve_iv_sep07_p1.asp

    "Kikizo: People keep asking you about a potential Macintosh version, and your stance is that this is a strictly Windows project...?

    Gabe: Well, we tried to have a conversation with Apple for several years, and they never seemed to... well, we have this pattern with Apple, where we meet with them, people there go "wow, gaming is incredibly important, we should do something with gaming". And then we'll say, "OK, here are three things you could do to make that better", and then they say OK, and then we never see them again. And then a year later, a new group of people show up, who apparently have no idea that the last group of people were there, and never follow though on anything. So, they seem to think that they want to do gaming, but there's never any follow through on any of the things they say they're going to do. That makes it hard to be excited about doing games for their platforms.

    Kikizo: So you think it's all because of staff turnaround in their gaming department?

    Gabe: I just don't think they've ever taken gaming seriously. And none of the things developers ask them to do are done. And as a result, there's no gaming market there to speak of. We'd love it if they would get serious about it. But they never have, and can't even follow trough on any of their commitments for game developers.

    Kikizo: So would you say that the rumour that crops up every couple of years that Apple is about to do a big plan and release a console box, is basically bullshit?

    Gabe: We've seen no evidence that they are able to follow through on even simple programs in the game space. It seems bizarre to me because it's like one of the biggest things holding them back in the consumer space. If you look at a Macintosh right now, it does a lot of things really well compared to a Vista PC, but there are no games. Why, I don't know. If I were a Macintosh product manager, it would be pretty high on my list, and a problem to get taken care of, as probably the number one thing holding them back with consumers."

    I expect Apple has changed a bit since then and their moves with Arcade and directly contacting game devs suggest they are more interested in it but they are more focused on iOS casual gaming. AAA desktop gaming is a much more costly and competitive environment than mobile and they won't be able to attract gamers if they don't get most or all of the good games.
    muthuk_vanalingamwatto_cobra
  • Reply 12 of 23
    The last question, then, is what happens with the true desktop systems next year? I have some thoughts which I’ll post later when I have more time, but I thought I’d ask the question first… 

    I for one would be happy with an M1 Max Mac Mini.  I already have an XDR display, and the M1 Max (maxed out) already outperforms my 2017 iMac Pro.  I don't need another iMac, not a large tower machine.  I guess we'll see sometime in the first quarter next year what's in store for the desktop.
    tenthousandthingswatto_cobra
  • Reply 13 of 23
    Okay, so we've seen what Apple has done for the MacBooks, plus the 24" iMac, which I count in the same category. What they do with the redesigned Mini remains to be seen, but it doesn't affect this argument. FWIW, I think it will be a variant of the MacBooks -- it won't be a true desktop (see what I mean by that below, basically what used to be called a workstation).

    Here's what I'm thinking:

    [1] The lack of a larger iMac at this point is likely to be good news. It means it will fit into the true desktop category, unlike the smaller iMac. The higher end will push up against the low end of the Mac Pro and/or iMac Pro. 

    [2] I agree with DED's suggestion in his Twitter feed on October 20 that Apple won't follow a regular timetable for M-series progressions, instead they will come as needed:
    ["As far as I’ve seen, everyone imagined that the next chips from the first generation of Apple silicon Macs would jump to “M2” rather than leveraging the incredible inertia that developed behind “M1” with the success of the first M1 MacBooks, iMac, etc. Juice the M1 brand fully."]
    ["With its A-chips, Apple similarly launched an X version for most of it chip architecture generations that boosted GPU power and memory bandwidth. Thus the A6 iPhone 5 was paired with an A6X iPad 3 that had the GPU power (well almost) to drive its new Retina Display."]
    ["While Apple Silicon’s generational branding incremented each year, that was because iPhones and iPads were also refreshed annually. Few Macs have ever been significantly updated every year. So far, Apple has only incrementally brought its first custom silicon to new Mac models."]
    ["This could explain why Apple continues to create new A-Series chips for its iOS devices, while launching the first Mac-optimized version as an M-chip, rather than calling it something like the A14-M. New A chips annually, but new M chips for Mac refreshes as needed, not marketing."]
    We can nitpick, but in general I think he's right.

    [3] My ideal for the true desktops would be as follows: iMac; iMac Pro; Mac; Mac Pro. FWIW, by "Mac" I don't mean an xMac, I mean a cylinder or cube with easily-replaceable memory and storage. Now is the time to reintroduce the "Mac," since the original, all-in-one Macintosh has been replaced by the iMac.

    [4] So what are they going to do for these desktops? I mean, it's hard to imagine they will use same SoCs as the MacBooks and such. I'm thinking M1-W, M1 Pro-W and M1 Max-W (following Intel's use of W for "workstation" Xeons -- which seems an unlikely marketing choice, but you get the basic idea). Not M2. They will, however, be in a different class from the first round of M1s. But what will that mean? For one thing, I think it will mean socketed unified memory and storage. Possibly user-replaceable. 

    [5] Finally, as an aside, what about Persistent Memory? Intel invested heavily in the technology ("Optane"), but they don't own the concept, IIRC others were working on it, and it seemed like something with a future, especially for scientific and other data-intensive software/servers. I don't really know how big a threat it is to Apple's claims of being on the cutting edge, and maybe it's really all about servers, but it's something I was wondering about...
    edited October 25 watto_cobra
  • Reply 14 of 23
    Want big, cutting edge games? Show the game developers the money. It's as simple as that.

    Much like how AppleTV+ (service) has "billions" being thrown at original programming to create quality programming to watch on that service, the same kind of thing that shows big game companies how to make the most money coding something(s) exclusive for Apple Silicon would get big games coded for Apple Silicon. 

    But Apple seems to value that about like they value massive libraries of video content that sometimes is up for sale: near nill. Without some kind of artificial monetary incentive to develop for Apple Silicon, any game development motivations must be organic. The most likely path to Apple Silicon games for PRO & MAX are iPhone games being coded with some extra advantages when run on PRO & MAX. iPhone is where the money is for game development in any Apple tech, so it is "least common denominator" for target platform. 

    Why are many Mac games just iPhone games scaled up? Because that's where the money is. 

    How do brand new consoles launch with big, cutting edge games? Console makers pay up huge to motivate game developers to create them. Does Apple pay up huge to any game developers for exclusives? As far as I know, the biggest news of Apple and big game developers has been Apple vs. Epic... mostly fighting over about 15% profit, mostly for a VERY popular game from a few years ago. When it comes to game profits, it appears Apple wants their cut FIRST and right off the top even at the expense of banning what was the #1 game from the platform.

    Some of us celebrate the fight, celebrate the lack of access to the banned game and celebrate the win(?)... like we won something too. But what message does that fight and win (or loss?) send to other big game developers? 

    What all businesses want is what Apple wants: more money, more money, more money. Show big game developers how to maximize profits coding for Apple Silicon and the games will roar onto the platform. Expect some kind of magic, organic uptake because programmers want to make much less money than they would building a big game for Windows or consoles... and not many are going to feel much motivation to go that way. 

    Apple seems to have the most applicable key to overcoming this issue. Will they ever turn that key?
    williamlondonmuthuk_vanalingamJSR_FDED
  • Reply 15 of 23
    sflocalsflocal Posts: 5,816member
    With these impressive specs for a laptop, Apple has set the bar very high and it has me wondering what Apple will do to the full-size iMac and MacPro.  I know the iMac is basically a glorified MacBook Pro with a large display but I the extra size and room for more robust cooling results in a system that is at least 2-3 times as fast.  

    Pretty exciting times!
    williamlondonwatto_cobra
  • Reply 16 of 23
    entropysentropys Posts: 3,193member
    Apple actually setting up some decent APIs and port tool products complete with extensive support to convert from DirectX, Vulcan and OpenGL, and actually working with games developers would probably help.

    Apple sells mostly laptops, and the integrated iris graphics of the past, and the Radeon mobile discrete GPUs in 15 and 16 inch MBP probably meant it wasn’t worth chasing gaming developers before this who target Nvidia. Maybe it will change now Apple is getting the hardware capability, although looks like we will have to wait for M2 or even further if we are hoping for hardware raytracing. 

    And it will be up to Apple to decide if it wants to do something on the software side as well in order to even think about buying AAA game investments.
    edited October 25 JSR_FDEDwatto_cobra
  • Reply 17 of 23
    mjtomlinmjtomlin Posts: 2,486member
    Beats said:
    Windows is still better for gaming? Why can’t Apple tackle gaming??

    Microsoft put an axe in Mac gaming in the 90’s with the development of DirectX and getting GPU vendors to support it. And not creating a version of DirectX for Macs. That role reversed on mobile, with the popularity of iOS devices and then Apple’s Metal… But Metal was at first limited to those devices which were mobile. AAA games that needed hardcore GPUs had no reason to port to Metal and they still don’t as the Mac doesn’t have a gaming ecosystem. So most Metal games are just mobile games as that’s the market.

    As Anandtech pointed out, most, if not all, higher-end games on Macs are ports. Until a studio comes along and creates a game from the ground up for Macs, they’re just not going to be gaming systems. If Apple wants to get serious about gaming (they don’t), they’ll have to buy or start a gaming studio to develop Metal first games and possibly even a new gaming engine and have it backed up by custom accelerators on their SOCs. Creating a gaming platform around an TV XL ($399 with M2 Max) wouldn’t hurt either as those games would be instantly available on Macs as well. Does the world want a new gaming platform though? Probably not.

    This is typical of the Mac market though, always has been. Just too small to consider compared to Windows. Apple is going to have to step in and develop and support their own market and gaming platform.
    edited October 25 entropysJSR_FDEDwatto_cobra
  • Reply 18 of 23
    mjtomlin said:
    Beats said:
    Windows is still better for gaming? Why can’t Apple tackle gaming??

    Creating a gaming platform around an TV XL ($399 with M2 Max) wouldn’t hurt either as those games would be instantly available on Macs as well. Does the world want a new gaming platform though? Probably not.

    I'd buy that ASAP.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 19 of 23
    mjtomlinmjtomlin Posts: 2,486member
    The last question, then, is what happens with the true desktop systems next year? I have some thoughts which I’ll post later when I have more time, but I thought I’d ask the question first… 

    As rumored, I think there will be two more M1 variants for the desktop; M1 "Ultra" with 16+4/64, and an M1 "Extreme" 32+8/128. The Ultra will end up in the iMac "pro" and will be released at WWDC. The Extreme will end up in the Mac Pro, announced at WWDC, but released later in the year.

    To keep up excitement in the base M1 systems, We could see a redesigned Air in new colors this Spring. And we may see the lowest end M1 Pro (6+2/14) in a high-end model of the mini and 24" iMac (and possibly the 13" MBP).

    The M2 will come in the Fall and be based on the A16 cores (completely skipping the A15 generation). This will give it a substantial performance/efficiency boost over the M1. It will make its first appearance in an updated iPad Pro and then in new 12" and 14" MacBook models.

    One thing to consider about the Mac SoC's, is that Apple is going to push all these chips into as many different systems as possible and use them as long as possible. Unlike the A-series where there is enough volume for yearly turn around, the Mac sells far fewer numbers of units. This especially going to be true with the higher-end variants.
    aderutterwatto_cobra
  • Reply 20 of 23
    mjtomlinmjtomlin Posts: 2,486member
    mjtomlin said:
    Beats said:
    Windows is still better for gaming? Why can’t Apple tackle gaming??

    Creating a gaming platform around an TV XL ($399 with M2 Max) wouldn’t hurt either as those games would be instantly available on Macs as well. Does the world want a new gaming platform though? Probably not.

    I'd buy that ASAP.

    Unfortunately it's the chicken and egg scenario... A platform needs titles. You can't have one without the other. Microsoft had an advantage with the XBox, there was a huge library of Windows games that were easily ported over to it. (More like, moved to it, as the hardware was just a modified WIntel+nVidia computer.)

    I do think, eventually Apple will set its sights on games, but not until after the transition is over and there's large enough base of higher end Apple silicon based Macs out there. Then start releasing titles for those systems (maybe even in an Apple Arcade+ type package). Then bring out a "cheap" console that can play those titles; like I mentioned, a $399 TV "XL" with an M2 Max. This allows those who don't need a $2000+ computer to play those titles. And then just roll with it.

    The hardware is the easiest part and is basically already in place. The difficult part is the titles. Creating your gaming engine - they basically have the pieces for it already (SpriteKit, SceneKit, Metal, ARKit, etc), but would have to be scaled up. Then start developing your own titles or exclusively contract/finance 3rd party studios to develop them.
    watto_cobra
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