Benchmarks show that Intel's Alder Lake chips aren't M1 Max killers

Posted:
in General Discussion edited January 26
New benchmark tests confirm that the Alder Lake Core i9 processor features significant performance gains compared to its predecessor, but the flagship Intel chip is still not going to unseat the M1 Max as an overall package.

Apple's M1 chip series
Apple's M1 chip series


Intel had previously claimed that its Core i9 processor beat out Apple's most powerful M1 Max chip. But although recent PCWorld benchmarks analyzed by Macworld confirm significant gains in performance, there are a few key caveats.

The Core i9-12900HK processor in an MSI GE76 Raider, for example, had an average Geekbench 5 multi-core score of 12,707, about 4% faster than the M1 Max. The difference is well within the margin of error for Geekbench testing.





Apple's M1 Max achieved a single-core Geekbench 5 score of 1,774. The Alder Lake chip had a score of 1,838, about 3.5% faster. Again, that's within the margin of error and basically a tie between the two chips.

Although OpenCL graphics benchmark testing showed a much more dramatic difference in graphical performance, it's important to keep in mind that PCWorld tested laptops with pricey discrete GPUs.

Now, the caveats. For one, the PC benchmarks are all for high-end laptops that cost much more than an Apple device. PCWorld's test device retails for $3,999, about 1.5x as much as the 14-inch MacBook Pro with M1 Max chip that performed nearly as well. It's not presently clear what the MSI model without the Nvidia 3080 GPU will cost.

The biggest difference is power efficiency. The GE76 Raider achieved about 6 hours of offline video playback in PCWorld testing. That's significantly lower than the MacBook Pro's 17 hours. As far as power draw from a wall outlet, the Alder Lake chip was consistently in the 100-watt range and spiked as high as 140 watts. AnandTech testing of the M1 Max found that its draw wa about 39.7 watts.

Anecdotally, from users that AppleInsider has spoken to, the fans are very loud in every operating condition, worsening when compared to the M1 Pro under load.

In other words, the Alder Lake chips are impressive for Intel processors. However, when you compare them to the power efficiency and cost effectiveness of Apple's M1 series, any performance advantages look much less significant.

Read on AppleInsider
patchythepirate
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 56
    Move along, no surprise there.
    sconosciutomagman1979watto_cobra
  • Reply 2 of 56
    rob53rob53 Posts: 2,912member
    Max Tech (YouTube) needs to read this. 
    magman1979watto_cobra
  • Reply 3 of 56
    For one, the PC benchmarks are all for high-end laptops that cost much more than an Apple device. PCWorld's test device retails for $3,999, about 1.5x as much as the 14-inch MacBook Pro with M1 Max chip that performed nearly as well.

    Odds that PC cultists will now stop braying about the "Apple tax" and that Mac users are mindless sheep overpaying for underperforming computers: < 0.

    The biggest difference is power efficiency.

    Yes, thank you, this as well to me is the biggest difference (though there are many big differences), especially with regard to a laptop that is expected to do intensive work such as video editing. CPU throttling to deal with heat dissipation is a very real thing that is seldom taken into account by PC cultists desperate to slag off Apple Silicon. Typically they are thinking about gAmInG first and foremost, to the extent that they consider the effects of heat dissipation at all they are either assuming extraordinary cooling solutions or in the case of a laptop, perhaps they are thinking about using it while seated in a meat locker.

    Yesterday I was browsing through the Mac laptops on offer in the Apple Refurb Store. IF you're OK with an Intel CPU and IF you only need it for run-of-the-mill tasks rather than serious photo/video/3D work, there were some amazing bargains. In one case, a 2019 MB Pro for around $1800 instead of the original $2800.

    But, I consider any Intel-powered Mac a total non-starter for what I need and I suspect that the vast majority of those in the market for a new Mac think so as well. They just seem like a dead-end at this point if you're committed to the Mac platform.

    I wish I could think of a reason to justify buying such a machine. I've even given though to how cheap it would have to be to make me bite; the number I arrived at was somewhere in the mid-hundreds. I make my living with my Mac computers and I am accustomed to them having a useful life for my work of at least 10 years. I can't imagine an Intel-powered Mac - especially a laptop - being useful to me for my work much beyond the next five years.

    edited January 26 scstrrfviclauyycmagman1979h2pwatto_cobra
  • Reply 4 of 56
    netroxnetrox Posts: 1,159member
    This is so comical.  

    Let me get this economics right - you have to pay 1.5 times more for an intel laptop to perform as well as M1 Max Pro and you have to pay for more electricity because it requires consuming at least twice more power to get similiar performance.  

    So, in terms of cost-benefit analysis, M1 Max Pro is a clear winner if performance is the main concern. No companies would be in the right mind to pay for those Intel laptops as it would cost them a lot more to buy them and also cost them more in energy usage. 
     
    sconosciutorob53scstrrfwilliamlondonmagman1979patchythepirateAlex_Vpscooter63watto_cobra
  • Reply 5 of 56
    netrox said:
    This is so comical.  

    Let me get this economics right - you have to pay 1.5 times more for an intel laptop to perform as well as M1 Max Pro and you have to pay for more electricity because it requires consuming at least twice more power to get similiar performance.  

    So, in terms of cost-benefit analysis, M1 Max Pro is a clear winner if performance is the main concern. No companies would be in the right mind to pay for those Intel laptops as it would cost them a lot more to buy them and also cost them more in energy usage. 
     
    AND, unless you're using that laptop in a meat locker, the Intel machine is going to throttle even as the fan is working overtime/loud AF.

    I know I already pointed this out in the comment immediately above yours, but I could not help myself. Right out of the gate, AS has been f'ing killing it and I'm positively giddy about what we'll see in the future. The silver lining for Mac haters is that they'll lose a waist size or two from all the goalpost-moving they'll be doing.
    scstrrfwilliamlondonh2pAlex_Vwatto_cobra
  • Reply 6 of 56
    rob53rob53 Posts: 2,912member
    netrox said:
    This is so comical.  

    Let me get this economics right - you have to pay 1.5 times more for an intel laptop to perform as well as M1 Max Pro and you have to pay for more electricity because it requires consuming at least twice more power to get similiar performance.  

    So, in terms of cost-benefit analysis, M1 Max Pro is a clear winner if performance is the main concern. No companies would be in the right mind to pay for those Intel laptops as it would cost them a lot more to buy them and also cost them more in energy usage. 
     
    Wait, the only thing the PC laptop beats Macs is in worthless gaming apps. It's amazing how much time is wasted playing computer games when people should be out using their hands and brain to actually do something worthwhile. Sorry, my comment shows my age when we didn't have a TV much less a computer to waste our time and energy.

    disclaimer: I started working with and on computerized systems in the middle 70's but the only game I play is Toy Blast on my older iPad.
    sconosciutoscstrrfwilliamlondonmagman1979baconstangAlex_Vwatto_cobra
  • Reply 7 of 56
    This CPU is on a death spiral. 
    sconosciutomagman1979sandyman18Alex_Vdanoxwatto_cobra
  • Reply 8 of 56
    Well if one needs GPU performance - I am running into software for example that simply will not run (bricked) without a beefy GPU...

    from the Macworld article:

      59,774   Apple M1 Max 32 core GPU
    143,594  nVidia 3080 Ti

    240% faster, presumably not 'within margin of error'

    Even more pronounced seem the desktop options (AMD) with the relatively inexpensive nVidia 3060 outperforming passmark scores for many higher priced cards as well as having 12GB VRAM  www.bestbuy.com/site/evga-nvidia-geforce-rtx-3060-xc-gaming-12gb-gddr6-pci-express-4-0-graphics-card/6454329.p?skuId=6454329

    I understood Apple is working on a 'boost' option which may help, and will presumably also ramp up the power and fan requirements...?
    scstrrfdarkvaderbeowulfschmidt
  • Reply 9 of 56
    Serious question:

    What does an Intel Core i9 do that requires it to be as power inefficient in the same processing circumstances as an AS M1 Max?

    Presumably there's a reason why it draws so much more current to achieve the same ends? Are there features in it that are not replicated in the M1 Max? 

    I'm assuming the architecture is radically different, but what stops Intel from changing to that architecture?
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 10 of 56
    jkichlinejkichline Posts: 1,363member
    Well if one needs GPU performance - I am running into software for example that simply will not run (bricked) without a beefy GPU...

    from the Macworld article:

      59,774   Apple M1 Max 32 core GPU
    143,594  nVidia 3080 Ti

    240% faster, presumably not 'within margin of error'

    Even more pronounced seem the desktop options (AMD) with the relatively inexpensive nVidia 3060 outperforming passmark scores for many higher priced cards as well as having 12GB VRAM  www.bestbuy.com/site/evga-nvidia-geforce-rtx-3060-xc-gaming-12gb-gddr6-pci-express-4-0-graphics-card/6454329.p?skuId=6454329

    I understood Apple is working on a 'boost' option which may help, and will presumably also ramp up the power and fan requirements...?
    Except that's not the Alder Gate chip. That's the NVIDIA GPU. What's the GPU performance of the Intel graphics on the Alder Gate chip? Does that account for Metal performance boosts?
    scstrrfpscooter63watto_cobra
  • Reply 11 of 56
    Well if one needs GPU performance - I am running into software for example that simply will not run (bricked) without a beefy GPU...

    from the Macworld article:

      59,774   Apple M1 Max 32 core GPU
    143,594  nVidia 3080 Ti

    240% faster, presumably not 'within margin of error'

    Even more pronounced seem the desktop options (AMD) with the relatively inexpensive nVidia 3060 outperforming passmark scores for many higher priced cards as well as having 12GB VRAM  www.bestbuy.com/site/evga-nvidia-geforce-rtx-3060-xc-gaming-12gb-gddr6-pci-express-4-0-graphics-card/6454329.p?skuId=6454329

    I understood Apple is working on a 'boost' option which may help, and will presumably also ramp up the power and fan requirements...?
    I assume that your super power needs are into the Pro level of Apple's offerings, in which case you'd be looking at a Mac Pro with the ability to add GPUs or using an external GPU with a thunderbolt connection would be  necessary for an M1 equipped Apple laptop? Presumably you wouldn't automatically expect the CPU to do all of the work, no matter what its make?
  • Reply 12 of 56
     Thanks Intel for confirming that the move to AppleARM was the right move all along. Intel threw all they had at the CPU design and the best they could do was a performance tie at 150% higher power draw.  
    sconosciutoscstrrfmagman1979cat52watto_cobra
  • Reply 13 of 56
    Well if one needs GPU performance - I am running into software for example that simply will not run (bricked) without a beefy GPU...

    from the Macworld article:

      59,774   Apple M1 Max 32 core GPU
    143,594  nVidia 3080 Ti
    Comparing a power-thirsty top-shelf desktop GPU (the price of which is greatly inflated and the availability of which is extremely limited, thanks crypto miners!) to the M1 Max running in a laptop doesn't seem like a level field on which to make a comparison, as the original Macworld article notes.

    If you need the power of a nVidia 3080 Ti for your work then yes, perhaps the M1 Max isn't for you. Later this year we should see the AS-powered Mac Pro, I'm willing to wager right now that it's going to compare very favorably to the best Intel+nVidia GPU combos and even beat them out in specific categories of comparison.
    edited January 26 scstrrfmagman1979tenthousandthingswatto_cobra
  • Reply 14 of 56
    Serious question:

    What does an Intel Core i9 do that requires it to be as power inefficient in the same processing circumstances as an AS M1 Max?

    Presumably there's a reason why it draws so much more current to achieve the same ends? Are there features in it that are not replicated in the M1 Max? 

    I'm assuming the architecture is radically different, but what stops Intel from changing to that architecture?
    Power is consumed when a transistor switch from 0 to 1 or 1 to 0. Switching is controlled by clock cycles. The more switching the more power is consumed. 
    MplsPAlex_Vwatto_cobraLukeCage
  • Reply 15 of 56
    Serious question:

    What does an Intel Core i9 do that requires it to be as power inefficient in the same processing circumstances as an AS M1 Max?

    Presumably there's a reason why it draws so much more current to achieve the same ends? Are there features in it that are not replicated in the M1 Max? 

    I'm assuming the architecture is radically different, but what stops Intel from changing to that architecture?
    Power is consumed when a transistor switch from 0 to 1 or 1 to 0. Switching is controlled by clock cycles. The more switching the more power is consumed. 
    Well, that is presumably a given. And possibly at a slightly lower level than I was alluding to. More specifically, is there some set of processing or overall design feature that Intel does wrong? Or does it do more 'stuff' that the M1 doesn't do? Is it required to support legacy ways of doing stuff that the M1 is free from? 
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 16 of 56
    deleted because others have done a fine job of explaining things
    edited January 26 scstrrfwatto_cobra
  • Reply 17 of 56
    jkichlinejkichline Posts: 1,363member
    Serious question:

    What does an Intel Core i9 do that requires it to be as power inefficient in the same processing circumstances as an AS M1 Max?

    Presumably there's a reason why it draws so much more current to achieve the same ends? Are there features in it that are not replicated in the M1 Max? 

    I'm assuming the architecture is radically different, but what stops Intel from changing to that architecture?
    Power is consumed when a transistor switch from 0 to 1 or 1 to 0. Switching is controlled by clock cycles. The more switching the more power is consumed. 
    Well, that is presumably a given. And possibly at a slightly lower level than I was alluding to. More specifically, is there some set of processing or overall design feature that Intel does wrong? Or does it do more 'stuff' that the M1 doesn't do? Is it required to support legacy ways of doing stuff that the M1 is free from? 
    Simply put, it's an inefficient x86 design with larger transistors. It requires more and bigger transistors to perform the same number of tasks which uses more electricity and consumes more power. The architecture is completely different.
    scstrrfnetroxpatchythepiratepscooter63watto_cobra
  • Reply 18 of 56
    jkichline said:
    Simply put, it's an inefficient x86 design with larger transistors. It requires more and bigger transistors to perform the same number of tasks which uses more electricity and consumes more power. The architecture is completely different.
    Don't you also have to take into account that the Intel chips have a RISC-like internal core, and that the chip microcode converts the x86/x86_64 ISA into those RISC-like instructions? 
    darkvaderwatto_cobra
  • Reply 19 of 56
    zimmiezimmie Posts: 598member
    Serious question:

    What does an Intel Core i9 do that requires it to be as power inefficient in the same processing circumstances as an AS M1 Max?

    Presumably there's a reason why it draws so much more current to achieve the same ends? Are there features in it that are not replicated in the M1 Max? 

    I'm assuming the architecture is radically different, but what stops Intel from changing to that architecture?
    Power is consumed when a transistor switch from 0 to 1 or 1 to 0. Switching is controlled by clock cycles. The more switching the more power is consumed. 
    Well, that is presumably a given. And possibly at a slightly lower level than I was alluding to. More specifically, is there some set of processing or overall design feature that Intel does wrong? Or does it do more 'stuff' that the M1 doesn't do? Is it required to support legacy ways of doing stuff that the M1 is free from? 
    Short answer is that x86 and amd64 instruction sets are old, and they tried to be everything to everyone. As a result, they are extremely complex. Instructions and data are put together (for example, the instruction to move data, the source register or value, and the destination register are strung together into one bit sequence), and instructions have variable bit sizes. Determining which part is the instruction and which part is the data basically requires a whole tiny CPU by itself.

    Intel's "Core" line was built in part because they were having trouble getting older designs to go faster. They built a new internal architecture which is a lot simpler, then added a sort of translation layer which takes the more complex instructions and breaks them into "micro-operations". That approach has served them well, but there's only so much you can do in hardware without removing instructions and simplifying what the processor offers to software.

    ARM is radically simpler than x86.

    Well if one needs GPU performance - I am running into software for example that simply will not run (bricked) without a beefy GPU...

    from the Macworld article:

      59,774   Apple M1 Max 32 core GPU
    143,594  nVidia 3080 Ti

    240% faster, presumably not 'within margin of error'

    Even more pronounced seem the desktop options (AMD) with the relatively inexpensive nVidia 3060 outperforming passmark scores for many higher priced cards as well as having 12GB VRAM  www.bestbuy.com/site/evga-nvidia-geforce-rtx-3060-xc-gaming-12gb-gddr6-pci-express-4-0-graphics-card/6454329.p?skuId=6454329

    I understood Apple is working on a 'boost' option which may help, and will presumably also ramp up the power and fan requirements...?
    This gets a little complicated. With Apple's "unified memory", their GPU cores have access to everything in the whole up-to-64-GB of RAM. A lot of non-gaming uses of GPUs involve manipulating huge datasets. If the data you're working with is bigger than can fit in the card's VRAM (12 GB for the 3080, 24 GB for the 3090), you're basically going to be swapping between VRAM and normal RAM. That seriously hurts performance and is why Nvidia has been making their compute-specific cards (Tesla, until that brand was retired in 2020) with 12+ GB per GPU since 2014.

    For math across large datasets, the M1 Max can actually beat the RTX 3080 just because it doesn't have to spend so much time shuffling data around.

    This is also the idea behind AMD's Radeon Pro SSG (Solid State Graphics). They added a 2 TB NVMe SSD to use as on-card swap space for VRAM. It's meant for video editing and allows you to keep a huge chunk of the video all on the card.
    sconosciutoAlex_Vcat52watto_cobra
  • Reply 20 of 56
    MplsPMplsP Posts: 3,614member
    rob53 said:
    netrox said:
    This is so comical.  

    Let me get this economics right - you have to pay 1.5 times more for an intel laptop to perform as well as M1 Max Pro and you have to pay for more electricity because it requires consuming at least twice more power to get similiar performance.  

    So, in terms of cost-benefit analysis, M1 Max Pro is a clear winner if performance is the main concern. No companies would be in the right mind to pay for those Intel laptops as it would cost them a lot more to buy them and also cost them more in energy usage. 
     
    Wait, the only thing the PC laptop beats Macs is in worthless gaming apps. It's amazing how much time is wasted playing computer games when people should be out using their hands and brain to actually do something worthwhile. Sorry, my comment shows my age when we didn't have a TV much less a computer to waste our time and energy.

    disclaimer: I started working with and on computerized systems in the middle 70's but the only game I play is Toy Blast on my older iPad.
    That’s patently false. My Intel MBP works very well as a lap warmer or an auxiliary stove!
    watto_cobra
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