The M1 Max in Apple’s new MacBooks Pro are described as outperforming the AMD Radeon Pro W6900X in a Mac Pro, a $6,000 300 watt desktop class GPU. This test result is from Affinity Photo, one of those apps that benefits from a great GPU. Another example of why video editing apps, like the one talked about in Apple’s M1 MacBook Pro Reviews – If You Watch Just One, Watch This, also perform so well.
Outperforms $6,000 Desktop GPU
In a long Twitter thread from Andy Somerfield, lead for Affinity Photo an excellent image editing app, described how their app uses GPUs. And compared the $6,000 AMD Radeon Pro W6900X to the new M1 Max. Especially relevant with the shipping of the new MacBooks Pro with M1 Pro and M1 Max, and is the occasion that motived Andy to share that Twitter thread.
In his Twitter thread, Andy wrote:
Just for completeness, here is the fastest thing we have ever had on the bench – it’s a 300 watt, $6,000 [AMD Radeon Pro] W6900X in a 12-core Mac Pro (with wheels).Twitter thread by Andy Somerfield
The M1 Max is the fastest GPU we have ever measured in the Affinity Photo benchmark. It outperforms the W6900X – a $6000, 300W desktop part – because it has immense compute performance, immense on-chip bandwidth and immediate transfer of data on and off the GPU (UMA).
Andy is referring to the AMD Radeon Pro W6900X in a Mac Pro with a 3.3GHz 12‑core Intel Xeon W processor. It is a 300 watt desktop class GPU and it’s a monster. That AMD GPU is an optional upgrade that Andy says costs $6,000. Currently Apple’s Mac Pro configurator page for the tower model shows a single AMD Radeon Pro W6900X with 32GB of GDDR6 memory as a $5,600 upgrade, but that replaces the base GPU, a Radeon Pro 580X with 8GB. So in total that probably puts it at around $6,000.
And that Mac Pro configuration Andy’s talking about there, would cost at least $13,000, and that is with just the crappy (by contrast to the other specs) base level of 32 GB RAM and 256GB SSD. So he definitely would have bumped those way up to make buying it at all worth it, so it probably costs over $15,000. Including the wheels…. 😉
Read that full thread for lots of great background details.
Like this on the early signs in 2015 of the Apple Silicon beasts that were coming.
We shipped Photo in 2015 – six years after the design phase – without GPU compute support 🙁Twitter thread by Andy Somerfield
A GPU which did all the things we needed simply didn’t exist. We wondered if we had backed the wrong horse. Happily, a short while later it did exist – but it was in an iPad !
A-series silicon represents, in my opinion, an inflection point for Apple – the realisation that they could make the “whole widget” – that they could do a better job internally than they could do by buying in from 3rd party for CPU/GPU parts.Twitter thread by Andy Somerfield
Here’s something on the CPU too.
… the GPU isn’t the only big win here – the “Vector (Multi CPU)” score in the #M1Max is the highest we have ever measured (for Affinity Designer users), as is the “Combined (Single GPU)” score (for Affinity Publisher, by some margin).Twitter thread by Andy Somerfield
“This Is Insane”
Check out that quote about the M1 Max performance from professional cinematographer Nathan Haugaard in the iJustine YouTube video I wrote about in Apple’s M1 MacBook Pro Reviews – If You Watch Just One, Watch This.