How the new MacBook Pro performs based on the first benchmarks

The M1 Pro and Max chips that power the latest MacBook Pro models leave Intel and AMD laptops behind in terms of processing and graphics prowess.

The first wave of Macbook Pro Reviews (2021) are starting to roll in, and based on early performance tests, the new M1 Pro and Max chips seem to push Apple’s new Pro laptops into a completely different league that’s far ahead of what rival machines Intel and AMD can catch up. As a reminder, Apple introduced two new M1 Pro and M1 Max internal chips earlier this month, and they are powering the updated 14-inch and 16-inch MacBook Pro models.

Both SoCs are equipped with 10 CPU cores, which include eight Firestorm performance cores and two Icestorm efficiency cores. By comparison, the M1 had an octa-core configuration that includes four Firestorm performance cores and an equal number of efficient Icestorm cores. However, a key distinction between the three chipsets is the number of GPU cores. The M1 is equipped with up to eight GPU cores, the M1 Pro doubles that number to 16, while the M1 Max packs 32 GPU cores to handle demanding tasks. It seems the improvements have paid off for Apple.


Related: The new M1 Max MacBook Pro features “High Power” mode for hardcore workflows

Anandtech ran a handful of synthetic benchmark tests pitting the Apple M1 Pro and M1 Max chips inside the new MacBook Pro against laptops powered by the flagship Intel Core i9-11980HK and AMD Ryzen 9 (5980HS) processors. In multi-core performance tests, both Apple chips outperformed Intel and AMD chips in synthetic workload simulations. While the M1 Pro proved to be a mixed bag against Intel and the best of AMD, the M1 Max reigned supreme over the competition, scoring 5x better in some scenarios. In some compute-intensive workloads formulated by the Standard Performance Evaluation Corporation (SPEC), the M1 Max is said to be in a class of its own and even surpasses desktop chips like the Intel Core i9-11900K and Ryzen 9-5800X by AMD. The performance status of the new Apple chips is such that the M1 Max even outperforms the enthusiastic 16-core AMD Ryzen 9-5950X chip on the floating-point performance test component of the SPEC benchmark.

All that power has a price

Graphically, the M1 Pro and Max present themselves as the most powerful options around for integrated GPU chips, far ahead of what Intel can offer. Coming to the graphics-intensive synthetic benchmark tests, the M1 Max inside the 16-inch MacBook Pro is just below the score obtained by the Nvidia GeForce RTX 3080 inside an MSI laptop (309.3 vs 315.0) on the GFXBench 5.0 Aztec Ruins test running at 1440p resolution in off-screen mode. The M1 Pro, with half the number of GPU cores, scored a win over Nvidia’s GeForce RTX 3060 mobile graphics card. The latter is Nvidia’s entry-level offering in the RTX 3000 series, but it’s available as a discrete GPU, which makes the M1 Pro’s win as an integrated GPU even more impressive.

In Handbrake v1.4 tests to render a 12-minute 4K file run from PCMag, the new MacBook Pro models accomplished the task in just five minutes, while machines like the Alienware X17 (Intel Core i7-11800H and Nvidia GeForce RTX 3080) and Lenovo Legion 7i (Intel Core i9-11980HK and Nvidia GeForce RTX 3080) arrived. in second place with six minutes. In the multi-core Geekbench and Blender tests, the M1 Max and M1 Pro continued to outshine their comparable Intel and AMD rivals. Overall, Apple’s new M1-series processors seem to be able to handle any demanding task with ease, but all that raw firepower comes at a high cost. The 14-inch model with an M1 Pro starts at $ 1,999 in the US, while the 16-inch MacBook Pro will set buyers back at least $ 2,499.

Next: 2021 MacBook Pro: Should You Buy 14-inch or 16-inch?

Sources: AnandTech, PCMag

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